Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Belle Boyd the Civil War Spy

Spring Valley - Belle Boyd the Civil War Spy

Hello everybody. Now, I learned about Spring Valley - Belle Boyd the Civil War Spy. Which is very helpful if you ask me therefore you. Belle Boyd the Civil War Spy

Belle Boyd, La Belle Rebelle, (May 9, 1843 - June 11, 1900) was a Confederate darling.

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Young, attractive Belle Boyd was a Confederate spy. Belle was born in Martinsburg, Virginia (Martinsburg is now part of West Virginia) and was only seventeen when the Civil War started. She had a knack for listening in on the conversations of Union officers who patronized her father's Front Royal hotel. Her familiarity with the countryside of the Shenandoah Valley provided the Confederates with valuable information in the spring of 1862.

Young Belle was an enthusiastic Confederate. The year before her spying activity began, Belle shot to death an intoxicated Yankee soldier who was attempting to raise the Stars and Stripes over her Martinsburg home. She was arrested and put on trial for murder. Belle's defense was justifiable homicide and she was acquitted, free to go on her way.

Belle Boyd provided General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson and General Ashby Turner with important information during Stonewall's Shenandoah Valley Campaign, that helped with the capture of Front Royal, Virginia on May 23, 1862. Belle warned the Confederates they should move fast so they could cross bridges before Yankee soldiers destroyed them.

In appreciation for her information and spy service regarding Union troop movement during the Valley Campaign, Stonewall Jackson gave Belle Boyd the rank of captain and made her an honorary member of his staff as an aide-de-camp. Jackson wrote to the young Belle (the "La Belle Rebelle" as a French war correspondent called her); "I thank you, for myself and for the army, for the immense service that you have rendered your country today." Boyd was a brave young lady, she served Colonel John S. Mosby and his guerrillas as a scout and courier. Once while on a mission, Yankees shot bullet holes through her skirt.

Belle's lover gave her away as a spy. On July 29, 1862 she was arrested on order of United States Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton. She spent a month in Old Capital Prison in Washington before being released in a prisoner exchange.

Belle was arrested for a third time in June, 1863 and remained in jail until being released the following December. She had contracted typhoid, so she sailed to Europe to improve her health and also to deliver some letters for Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Belle then returned from Europe on a blockade runner, but this ship was captured by a Union warship.

With her capture, things may have been looking grim for the young, attractive Confederate spy La Belle Rebelle. Maybe she would be imprisoned, or even executed, but her luck had not run out. Union Captain Samuel Hardinge was put in command of Belle's blockade runner, his duty being to take the ship to the North.

Quickly, Captain Hardinge fell under the charms and spell of beautiful Belle. Hardinge let Belle and the blockade runner's captain, escape to Canada, they then made their way to England.

Captain Hardinge, lost in love as he was for spy La Belle Rebelle, was court-martialed and discharged from the Union navy. He followed Boyd to England and the two love-birds were married in August, 1864. Belle Boyd had won a romantic victory by marrying her Yankee captor.

In England, Belle Boyd wrote an account of her spy activities entitled, Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison and she began a stage career. Sadly, the love story of the Confederate La Belle Rebelle and the Union captain would soon end abruptly with Samuel Hardinge's death in 1865. Belle Boyd made her way back to the United States in 1868 and continued her career as an actress, but also gave lectures about her exciting life.

Belle Boyd died in 1900 while on a lecture tour in Wisconsin.

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