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Spies in the Civil War

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Meg Rice

on 21 March 2013

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Transcript of Spies in the Civil War

Spies In the Civil War Spies were vital to both sides in the Civil War. They passed important information directly to the commanders of the armies. They reported the opposing side's strengths and their movements. Without them, battles could have turned out differently. The Civil War probably saw more espionage- the act of spying- than any other war in history. Spying happened all the time. Spies were always undercover over the enemy lines. Yet officials never tried to really stop the enemy's spying. Spies repeatedly would present themselves to civilians and military officers, get information from them, and then leave, without getting into trouble. It was easy for espionage to carry on because of the war's nature. However, it was harder for it to stop. In this time, spying was not a important art that
many people had practiced and mastered. The Blue and Gray agents played an amateur's game. Spies were always improvising and experimenting. They made their own rules and broke the few rules of spying that had been set before. Even though spying lacked a strong structure, the spies were determined and had a lot of energy. Spies of both Blue and Gray were
a mixed group of people. Not all of
them were trained in this skill. They all
came from different sources of backgrounds.
They ranged from shoe clerks to young plantation owners, lawyers to grandes dames, actresses to plump housewives. Confederate Spies In the beginning of the war, the Union and the Confederacy did not have a security organization or a secret service; the United States had never known to have one. However organized intelligence units gradually formed. The South had many; some of them were put together by the government and others were not under any control at all. The focus of most Southern espionage was on Washington. But as the war carried on it became more tactical. The spies for the Confederacy found and gave information to Confederate generals. The generals soon found this information to be very important in winning a battle and relied heavily on the spies. General Robert E. Lee used many secret agents to collect Northern newspapers to inform him of their actions. One newspaper told him of McClellan's withdrawal and as a result, he shifted his troops. http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/civilwar.pdf
http://www.civilwaracademy.com/civil-war-spies.html Women made up most of the spies in both the Union and the Confederacy. Although, there were many important men that also served as spies.
One of the most famous spies for the Confederacy was Rose O' Neal. She passed a secret message to General P.G.T. Beauregard containing critical information about the military movements of the Union. She also gave the plans of the Union General Irvin McDowell. This information helped win the First Battle of Bull Run. Confederacy Espionage There were many spies for the South, however not all of them were recorded. Here are some of the most famous ones.
Loretta Janeta Velasquez
Belle Boyd
James Dunwoody Bulloch
Richard Thomas
William Norris
Jean Guzman
Henry Thomas Harrison Union Espionage The North did not have an official espionage before the war. Then during the war, a new secret service was established. Authority over this service was temperate. The State Department supervised intelligence matters in the beginning, but then the War office looked over it. Sometimes Washington spies seemed to be spying on other spies. But then, if only because of the war's course, which turned steadily better for the North, the Union system became more expert than the Confederacy's. However there were many other unofficial spy units that had also developed all over the North. Union Spies The Union had many spies, even more than the Confederacy had. Here are a few of the many that practiced espionage.
Pryce Lewis
Lafayette C. Baker
Charles C. Carpenter
George Curtis
Timothy Webster
Henry Young
Philip Henson
Hattie Lawton
Harriet Tubman Joseph Dunwoody Bulloch Actual Civil War agent badges that the official government spies wore. Harriet Tubman The full story of the American espionage during the Civil War will never be completely known. Most of it was never written down or recorded. Many incidents were usually only witnessed by a few people and even they did not share all of the facts. But what we do know is that spying was a very important influence of the Civil War. Many battles could have turned out differently if it had not been for information given by spies.
Spying was an effective skill that worked for both sides of the war. Many spies worked hard, and took risks for little of no reward. By the end of the Civil War the value of intelligence gathering, its timely transmission, and its accurate analysis had been well proven. Never again would the United States be without a secret intelligence branch. Works Cited: By Emily Riha and Meg Rice
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