Spies for the Confederacy
Print Spies for the Confederacy Reading Comprehension
||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 7 to 9
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||counterspy, standing, stonewall, Albans, cavalrymen, disrupt, blockade, undermine, urgent, defeat, cavalry, raiders, widow, refused, raid, courier
||James Bond, Civil War, Thomas Jordan, Rose O'Neal Greenhow, Henry Wilson, Senate Military Affairs Commission, Bull Run, Allen Pinkerton, Jefferson Davis, North Carolina
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.
5 One of the other great Confederate spies was Belle Boyd. Belle passionately loved the South and joined the Confederacy when she was 17. A pretty, socially brilliant young woman, she used all of her wiles to gain the information she wanted. By the time she was 21, she'd been reported for spying almost 30 times, arrested at least 6 times, and jailed twice. Belle reported all of her findings to "Stonewall" Jackson. She also had to spend years abroad, and when the war was over, she became an actress in England. She eventually moved back to the U.S. and died in 1900 while on a speaking tour in Wisconsin.
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