Photo of Union spy Pauline Cushman

In a war where one's appearance and speech did not give away one's loyalty, espionage and the black market thrived. This was particularly true in border areas, where the people's sympathies were divided. Many former slaves and some southern Unionists provided valuable local knowledge to Union forces. Confederate women spies, such as "Rebel Rose" Greenhow of Washington, D.C., and Belle Boyd of Virginia were particularly celebrated for their exploits in a Romantic age.

People from Spies

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    Pauline Cushman

    Photo of Pauline Cushman

    Pauline Cushman, born as Harriet Wood, was a New Orleans-born actress who traveled the country before the war. She became a Union spy in 1861, narrowly escaping hanging by the Confederates in Kentucky, and was "promoted" to become known as Miss Major Cushman. She ended the war on the lecture circuit, telling of her exploits. Read more

  • Sarah Edmonds

    Photo of Sarah Edmonds

    Although women were barred from military service during the Civil War, Sarah Edmonds didn't let that stop her. Read more

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