BELLE BOYD, Confederate Spy

21 February 2018 16:51 น. Civil War, Dallas , ,

Belle Boyd of Virginia, famous during the Civil War as a girl spy, for the Confederacy, had married an Englishman named (or called) Col. J. S. Hammond and moved to Dallas. On August 4, 1884, the Herald, in an unusually plain written report, told how Col. Hammond (who made an astonishing salary of $3,000 per year representing a soap company) had a fight with one J. R. Shepherd because of Shepherd’s “undue intimacy with his wife, Belle Boyd.”

Belle Boyd, Confederate SpyBelle denied it later, in a divorce action, saying she “regards Shepherd as a boy….” The divorce was granted. Belle’s troubles were not over. In October the Herald further reported, “Belle Boyd shot a man in the arm at her home in The Cedars yesterday after she accused him of compromising her daughter.” Belle Boyd left Dallas in January 1885 with a drama troupe, telling her story in a specially designed uniform of gray from stage.

Early Life
Belle Boyd was born in what is now West Virginia in May 1844 and became a Confederate spy before her 18th birthday. Her Civil War missions often involved transporting information and supplies to Southern troops, and her age allowed her to go virtually unnoticed by Union soldiers. Once the press got a hold of her story and made her famous, Boyd was regularly arrested, although she was never held for more than a few months.

Boyd was sent to Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. where she spent a month behind bars. She had a longer prison stay the following year, being incarcerated for five months. Boyd then banished to the South, but she refused to stop her work. Instead of remaining cooped up, she set sail for England in May 1864 to transport Confederate papers there. But her ship was stopped by a Union naval ship and she was again arrested as a spy. Boyd fell in love with one of her captors, a Union officer named Samuel Hardinge. The pair later married and had a daughter together. As she explained in her memoir, she thought that she might be able to woo him to the Confederate side. Hardinge did serve time in prison for giving aid to Boyd.

Despite being apprehended again, Boyd somehow convinced the Union authorities to let her go to Canada. From there, she made her way to England. Boyd turned to writing about her war adventures as a way to make money. She penned in the 1865 memoir Belle Boyd, in Camp and Prison, which also featured contributions from her husband Hardinge on his time in prison.

She eventually moved to England, where she wrote a book about her spy-related exploits. An actress later in life, Boyd died on stage in Wisconsin in June 1900, at age 56.

Courtesy Dallas The Deciding years-a Historical Portrait by a. C. Greene and Biography dot com.