Introduction - Belle BoydWhen it comes to the American Civil War there were important women on both sides of the conflict who made important contributions. Maria Isabella "Belle" Boyd was one of those women. She was a confederate spy who went to extremes to deliver information to General Stonewall Jackson. When she began spying as just a kid of about 17, she did so by reporting what she saw or heard from union soldiers who were stationed outside of her house. She eventually went to such extremes as walking out onto fields where battles were taking place to supply the Confederate Army with information. The interesting list of facts and information below gives some insight as to why Belle Boyd became such an important female heroine of the south during the Civil War and serves as a short biography and timeline of her life.
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Belle Boyd- Short Biography
- Boyd was born to a slave holding family in May of 1844 in Martinsburg, Virginia. Her parents were Benjamin Reed and Mary Rebecca Boydin.
- The beginning of her involvement in the American Civil War was when word got out to Union soldiers that she had Confederate flags in her room at home. They responded by hanging a union flag outside her home.
- Growing up a tomboy who enjoyed climbing trees and playing in the woods, Boyd was also a staunch defender of her family. When a union officer spoke unkindly to her mother, she had no problem taking the family pistol and killing the offender. Ultimately, Boyd was exonerated for killing the union soldier but from that point on union soldiers began keeping a close eye on her, even keeping watch outside her house.
- Boyd's good looks, flirty ways and fearlessness helped her in her spying activities. On more than one occasion, she was able to charm a union officer into giving her secret information which she then relayed to Stonewall Jackson.
- Boyd did not rely on her good looks and charm alone. She often secretly listened to conversations among Union soldiers for important information she could supply to the Confederate soldiers.
- Just before Stonewall Jackson and his men began the Battle of Front Royal, Belle Boyd bravely slipped onto the battlefield to clue Jackson in to some last minute information she had about the Union positions.
- For her notorious ways as a confederate spy during the Civil War, she was arrested at least six times. It was the summer of 1862, however, before she was finally imprisoned for her actions. She was in and out of prison until December of 1863 when she was ultimately released and forced to go south.
- After the war, Boyd fled to Canada and then England where she married for the first time.
- By the time she returned to America in 1866, she was a widow and the mother of one child.
- Boyd went on to marry two more times and had four children with her second husband before divorcing him.
- Belle Boyd turned her life experiences into memoirs and even began an acting career, but when she passed away at the age of 57 she was living in poverty.
List of Belle Boyd Quotes
- "A true woman always loves a real soldier."
- "Politically I did not like Mr. Lincoln for in him I saw the destroyer."
- "I only wanted to help my people."
- "What a jolly thing military surveillance is!"
- "I thank god that I can say on my death bed that I am a virtuous woman."