TDISH: A Southern Belle

On July 29, 1862, Maria Isabella “Belle” Boyd was arrested in Northern Virginia by Union troops after she was discovered spying on Northern movements and reporting them to her father, a soldier in Stonewall Jackson’s regiment of the Army of Northern Virginia.  Belle was a member of a wealthy family in Virginia who had strong Southern sympathies.  During a skirmish near her family home, Belle was propositioned by a drunken Union soldier who attempted to force himself on her.  Belle pulled a gun and killed the man.  From there she decided to use the Union soldiers’ perceptions of women to turn the tides on them.  She seduced Union officers using her so-called Southern Charm and then proceeded to pass the information she learned from them onto her father and eventually onto Stonewall Jackson himself.  Her luck came to an end on this date in 1862 when she was arrested and imprisoned in the Old Capital Prison in Washington, DC.  She was eventually released as part of a prisoner exchange, but her role in the war was mostly over.  She arranged to sail to London where she waited out the remainder of the war afterwards, she moved back to the United States and settled with her new husband in Wisconsin where she lived out the rest of her life.

Source: “Maria ‘Belle’ Boyd.” Civil War Trust.
Featured. “Belle Boyd.” By Brady-Handy Photograph Collection (Library of Congress) – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cwpbh.01990. Public Domain.

 

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