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The Civil War
(1861-1865)

Spies for the Confederacy



Spies for the Confederacy
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.64

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    counterspy, stonewall, standing, raiders, Albans, blockade, cavalrymen, disrupt, undermine, urgent, rail, cavalry, refused, raid, communication, victory
     content words:    James Bond, Civil War, Thomas Jordan, Rose O'Neal Greenhow, Henry Wilson, Senate Military Affairs Commission, Bull Run, Allen Pinkerton, Jefferson Davis, North Carolina


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Spies for the Confederacy
By Mary Lynn Bushong
  

1     Many people find the idea of spies as romantic or exciting, like watching a James Bond or other action adventure movie. When the Civil War started, many people stepped forward to act as spies for their side, but none more than the men and women of the South.
 
2     Even before the war officially broke out, a small group of spies was already in place within Washington, D.C. A former U.S. army officer understood the prudence of placing agents where they could learn the most. His name was Thomas Jordan.
 
3     By the summer of 1861, he left the new spy ring in the hands of Rose O'Neal Greenhow. She was a Southern widow of high social standing. Using her influence, she was able to get a great deal of good information to help the Confederate cause. She had a suitor named Henry Wilson. He was on the Senate Military Affairs Commission. Her information contributed to the Confederate victory at Bull Run.
 
4     She was suspected of being a spy by Allen Pinkerton, a detective and counterspy. She was imprisoned in August 1861. After her trial, she was deported to Richmond, where she was greeted as a heroine. In 1862, Jefferson Davis sent her to Europe as a courier, and she stayed there until 1864, when she returned with urgent messages for Davis. Her ship, a blockade runner, was chased as it neared the North Carolina coast. To avoid capture, she tried to go ashore in a small boat, but it capsized and she drowned because of the weight of gold she carried. She was buried with military honors in Wilmington, N.C.

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