Rose O’Neal Greenhow: Rebel Rose
By Victoria Gray
Rose Greenhow was in many ways Elizabeth Van Lew’s opposite. A popular Washington, D.C. hostess, she flattered secrets out of the nation’s political and military elite. Married as a young woman to a State Department employee, Robert Greenhow, Rose associated with notables such as Dolley Madison and John C. Calhoun. Sophisticated and gracious, her charm proved as effective a disguise as Crazy Bet’s eccentricities when the war broke out in 1861 and Rose’s sympathy for the Confederacy led her to betray those who considered her a friend.
“Rebel Rose” quickly proved her mettle as a spy, providing Union general Beauregard with information that helped the South rout the North in the First Battle of Bull Run. Transporting the sensitive intelligence in the hair of a female courier, Rose demonstrated her ingenuity and her effectiveness.
While in Old Capitol, Rose became a propaganda tool for the South, which portrayed the Northerners who’d imprisoned her as brutal for imprisoning both a woman and her child. Following a hearing that seemed to accomplish nothing, Rose Greenhow was exiled to Richmond. Mrs. Greenhow soon traveled to Europe, meeting with Queen Victoria, Napoleon III, and other members of the elite to garner support for the Confederate cause, while her book detailing her confinement in Washington during the first year of the war became a best seller in Britain.
While she met a tragic end, Rose Greenhow lived her life defiantly, serving a cause she believed in quite passionately. She was a daring woman who stood up for her convictions, regardless of the cost, one of many women on both sides of the conflict who made great sacrifices for their beliefs.
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Victoria Gray writes sizzling Civil War era romance novels. Visit her at: http://www.victoriagrayromance.com/ or http://victoriagrayromance.blogspot.com/