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Belle Boyd

Boyd, Belle, 1844–1900, Confederate spy in the Civil War, b. Martinsburg, Va. (now W.Va.). Operating (probably unofficially) in Martinsburg and Front Royal, she provided Gen. T. J. (Stonewall) Jackson with valuable information on Union activities in the Shenandoah Valley in 1862. In 1864, after being twice imprisoned and released, she went to England, supposedly with secret dispatches from Jefferson Davis to Confederate agents there. The first of her three husbands, a Union officer who had been her captor, followed her to England to marry her. After his death she began a career on the English stage (1866) and on her subsequent return to the United States toured widely, especially in the Middle West, giving dramatic talks about herself and sundry episodes of the Civil War. She wrote Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison (1865).

See biography by L. A. Sigaud (1945).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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