A board of inquiry exonerated her, but sentries were posted around the house and officers kept close track of her activities. She profited from this enforced familiarity, charming at least one of the officers, Captain Daniel Keily, into revealing military secrets. Belle was considered very attractive and her charm won over many Union suitors. One evening in mid-May of , Union General James Shields and his staff gathered in the parlor of the local hotel.
Belle hid upstairs, eavesdropping through a knothole in the floor. She learned that Shields had been ordered east, a move that would reduce the Union Army's strength at Front Royal, Virginia. That night, Belle rode through Union lines, using false papers to bluff her way past the sentries, and reported the news to Colonel Turner Ashby, a Confederate scout. When the Confederate Army advanced on Front Royal on May 23, Belle ran to greet General Stonewall Jackson 's men, braving enemy fire that put bullet holes in her skirt.
She urged an officer to inform Jackson that "the Yankee force is very small.
Tell him to charge right down and he will catch them all. Jackson also gave her captain and honorary aide-de-camp positions.
Boyd had been arrested twice before the Front Royal action but was not detained due to the social practices of the time and the inability of the Union to house her. Belle continued to boldly amass information despite a growing notoriety and a warning to cease.
Here she was admired for her undying loyalty to the Confederacy. She was later subsequently arrested and imprisoned again, but was set free soon after. While there she met and married a Union naval officer, Samuel Wylde Hardinge, who died shortly after the war's end.
A year later, she began touring the country giving dramatic lectures of her life as a Civil War spy. She died from typhoid fever at 56 years old in Kilbourne City, Wisconsin now known as Wisconsin Dells.
I have done so; and hence the publication of "Belle Boyd, in Camp and Prison." The work is entirely her own, with the exception of a few suggestions in the. Belle Boyd, Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison. In Two Volumes. London: Saunders, Otley, and Co., Summary. In , Belle Boyd was born in.
She is considered one of the most famous spies of the American Civil War. New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards. James Shields were quartered in the same residence as Boyd in Front Royal, and Boyd overheard their plans for a withdrawal from that town.
She undertook a hazardous journey through the lines to inform Gen. This was the only major success in intelligence work she is known to have had.
We were unable to complete your request. American Prisoners of the Revolution. Later, while Boyd and her mother were staying at hotel in Virginia, she eavesdropped on the plans of Union soldiers in the room next door — information which she then delivered to Confederate officers. Colonel Washington. Despite being apprehended again, Boyd somehow convinced the Union authorities to let her go to Canada. Boyd started out as a courier, carrying information and transporting medical supplies. Jefferson Davis.
After her return to Martinsburg, Boyd continued to spy openly for the Confederates and served also as a courier and scout with J. In Boyd was arrested on a warrant signed by U.
Secretary of War Edwin Stanton ; she was eventually released as part of an exchange of prisoners. Arrested again after her return to Union-held Martinsburg, Boyd was again released, in , after a bout with typhoid fever in prison.
Her usefulness in the North at an end, she was thenceforth employed as a courier. In she sailed on a blockade runner to England bearing letters from Confederate Pres. Jefferson Davis.
After her ship was intercepted by a Union vessel, she utterly distracted an officer named Hardinge who was placed aboard as prize master. He allowed the Confederate captain of the vessel to escape and for that was court-martialed and discharged from the navy, after which he went to England , where he married Boyd in August In she published her two-volume memoir , Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison.
Soon after, she began living as a widow, though scholars are divided on the actual fate of Hardinge. Most believe he died in or after returning to the United States to face charges of aiding and abetting a spy Boyd.
Others believe he may have lived much longer and may even have rejoined Boyd in England. In she turned to the stage, making her debut in The Lady of Lyons in Manchester and then returning to the United States to make a tour of the South. She appeared in New York in The Honeymoon in She retired the following year, but in , her third marriage having brought her into financial difficulties, she began a career as a lecturer on her own exploits.
Boyd died during a speaking tour in Wisconsin. Belle Boyd. Article Media. Info Print Cite.