Greetings! I’m Tara Kingston, historical romance author and lover of all things Victorian. I’m fascinated by history through the ages, especially the bold, brilliant women who helped shape our world, and I’m delighted to be a monthly contributor to History Undressed. I’ll be sharing facts about daring women through history—some famous, some not so well-known, but all remarkable with their own unique contributions.
Today’s post takes a look at several female spies of the Civil War era. Driven by fierce loyalty, women on both sides of the conflict faced incredible risks to gather intelligence that help defeat the enemy. This month, the focus is on some of brave women who spied for the Union.
Elizabeth Van Lew ~ The true story of the Richmond, Virginia matron known as Crazy Bet was the inspiration for the cagy spymaster in Pistols, Parasols & Passionate Little Lies, the second book in my Secrets & Spies series. Abolitionist Elizabeth Van Lew capitalized on her eccentric personality while she operated a spy ring out of her Richmond home. While making visits to provide aid and food to Union prisoners at Libby Prison, she was able to funnel information to the inmates and aided those who managed to escape.
Pauline Cushman ~ Actress Pauline Cushman served as a Union spy behind enemy lines, using her charm and acting skills to gain access to intelligence. Caught with Confederate battle plans, she was tried and sentenced to hang, but narrowly escaped execution. After her rescue by Union forces, she was honored by President Lincoln and awarded the rank of Brevet-Major by General James Garfield.
Harriet Tubman ~ The renowned Underground Railroad conductor served as a spy behind the Confederate line during the Civil War, establishing a spy network of former slaves. In 1863, she became the first American woman to lead a military expedition when she led a raid to free hundreds of slaves from rice plantations along the Combahee River in South Carolina.
Sarah Emma Edmonds ~ Disguised as a man, Sarah Edmonds (under the alias Frank Thompson) enlisted in the 2nd Michigan Infantry as a male field nurse. She later is said to have served as a spy, infiltrating the Confederate Army behind enemy lines using a variety of disguises, including the persona of an Irish peddler named Bridget O’Shea and dyeing her skin with silver nitrate to affect the persona of a black man named Cuff.
Petticoat spies like these courageous women inspired my Secrets & Spies series. The first book in the series, Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies, is on sale for Kindle until May 28 for only 99 cents! Here’s a link: Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies on Kindle
Here’s a little about the story:
A heart's destiny cannot be denied when a daring Union spy abducts a beautiful runaway bride he suspects of being a traitor.
Emma Davenport was a model senator’s daughter: prim, proper, but hell-bent on escaping the dreaded fate of spinsterhood that awaited her under wartime Washington’s all-too watchful eye. She was going to be a bride, and no one was going to stop her. Not even the daring renegade who steals her from a train transporting her to a forbidden marriage. Her heart tells her this mysterious desperado is a dangerous man, but the pleasure of his touch is a more potent threat than any weapon.
Union Army Major Cole Travis is a highly trained operative, as skilled with deception as he is with a gun. Keeping a beautiful traitor from her rendezvous with a treacherous scoundrel shouldn’t be a challenge for the battle-seasoned spy—but he’s not the only one after his tempting captive. Emma Davenport must be kept out of enemy hands at all costs. Drawn to this woman whose innocent allure may be just another weapon in her arsenal, Cole risks his neck to shield her. Soon, however, protecting her from his own heart’s desire becomes another story entirely.
To Read More About Civil War
https://www.nps.gov/resources/person.htm?id=76 All photographs are in the public domain.
About The Author:
Award-winning author Tara Kingston writes historical romance laced with intrigue, danger, and adventures of the heart. A Southern belle-out-of-water in a quaint Pennsylvania town, she lives her own love story with her real-life hero in a cozy Victorian. The mother of two sons, Tara's a former librarian whose love of books is evident in her popping-at-the-seams bookcases. It goes without saying that Tara's husband is thankful for the invention of digital books, thereby eliminating the need for yet another set of shelves. When she's not writing, reading, or burning dinner, Tara enjoys cycling, hiking, and cheering on her favorite football team.
Connect with Tara at www.tarakingston.com and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTaraKingston
In a world where a man’s loyalty doesn’t depend on the color of a uniform, danger, intrigue, and passion are facts of life for the men and women of Tara’s Secrets & Spies series, historical romances set against the backdrop of the Civil War. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GK677PY/ref=series_rw_dp_sw