Female Spies In The Civil War

By: Ashlyn & Rive`

       In the Civil War there were many women spies. They were perfect for the job, because no one would suspect a woman getting information from a man. Though women in the late 1800’s were suppose to be very proper and gentle they would use their charm to trick men into giving them their secrets. There were spies from the both the Confederate and Union sides. The spies would hide any evidence that they found in the hoop skirts, baskets that they carried, or even sewed inside dolls. Men were easily tricked by their appearances, so it would make getting information easier. In a way, female spies could of been a turning point in the Civil War. They were very important for their causes.

A real sign during the Civil War

Elizabeth Van Lew

    Elizabeth Van Lew grew up in an upper class family with many slaves in Richmond, Virginia. Later, when she was older she wanted to free slaves, or at least help them out, so she went to Libby Prison bringing clothes, medicine, and food to Union soldiers. She felt bad for the men in the prison, because many men died from disease or starvation. She communicated with the prisoners by putting messages in books. Elizabeth later decided that she would try to free some of the soldiers from the prison. Elizabeth helped them escape, and for short periods of time she would keep them in her house, and then they could go walk out a free man. In 1863 General Benjamin Butler was impressed with the bravery of Elizabeth, so he recruited her as a spy. She was the lead of all of Butler’s spies. Whenever Elizabeth needed to send out a message back to the general she would put her codes in a colorless liquid, and when mixed with milk turned black.

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