Scouts and Spies of the Civil War


The Civil War was the backdrop for the formation of numerous secret service organizations and the theater for a host of characters involved in espionage from both the North and the South. The pool of spies and scouts comprised diverse individuals, ranging from eager young volunteers signing up for "extra dangerous duty" for their respective armies to society ladies spying for both the Union and the Confederacy. At the turn of the nineteenth century, William Gilmore Beymer went in search of the stories of these first spies and recorded his findings in Scouts and Spies of the Civil War. Beymer's endeavor was one of the first attempts to move the study of Civil War scouts and spies away from the realm of "cloak and dagger" romance stories to historical research grounded in factual details. Included in this dynamic collection are personal narratives told to Beymer by a few surviving secret service operatives; stories pieced together from diaries, journals, letters, and archival research; and the remembrances of family and friends that tell of the mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons who risked their lives for their cause.


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