Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Bold...Brilliant...Brave...Heroines Throughout History PETTICOAT SPIES ~ Part Two by Tara Kingston

Welcome back to History Undressed, our regular 3rd Tuesday blogger, Tara Kingston! Today she's bringing us Part Two of her Petticoat Spies article. The first can be viewed here. Enjoy!

Bold...Brilliant...Brave...Heroines Throughout History
PETTICOAT SPIES ~ Part Two

by Tara Kingston


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 Confederacy.



Rose O’Neal Greenhow ~ The widowed Washington, D.C. socialite known as “Rebel Rose” used her considerable connections to spy for the Confederacy. A charming hostess, Rebel Rose gleaned information on military activities and Washington’s defenses and passed this on to Confederate leadership. Her activities drew the suspicion of Allan Pinkerton, resulting in her house arrest and eventual confinement in the Old Capitol Prison for several months. Deported to the South, Mrs. Greenhow was sent on a diplomatic mission to Britain and France by Jefferson Davis. During her time in England, Mrs. Greenhow wrote and published her memoirs.



Belle Boyd ~ Born in West Virginia in 1844, Belle Boyd began spying for the Confederacy at the age of seventeen. Using her skill at flirtation to help her gather info, Belle served as a courier, passing information to Confederate generals such as Stonewall Jackson and P.G.T. Beauregard. The woman known as “Cleopatra of the Secession” and “Siren of the Shenandoah” was arrested on multiple occasions by Union forces and faced eventual imprisonment in the Old Capitol Prison. Following her release, Belle boarded a ship bound for England in 1864, intent on transporting Confederate papers. After the ship was intercepted by a Union Navy vessel, Belle was again arrested as a spy. She fell in love with a Union officer who was one of her captors, Samuel Hardinge; they later married and had a daughter. After the war, Belle Boyd wrote and published a memoir, Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison, and launched a career as an actress and performer, eventually touring the country giving lectures on her adventures as a Civil War spy.



Antonia Ford Willard ~ Born in Virginia in 1838, Antonia Ford gathered information from occupying Union soldiers in her hometown, Fairfax Court House and provided military intelligence to Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart and spied for Colonel John Mosby, leader of a group of Confederate rangers. Miss Ford received an honorary commission as an aide-de-camp from Stuart in 1861. Accused of spying in 1863, Antonia Ford was arrested and held in the Old Capitol Prison. Her arresting officer, Major Joseph Willard, had lobbied for her release. After taking the Oath of Allegiance, Antonia was released from prison and went on to marry Major Willard. Their son later became the lieutenant governor of Virginia.


Petticoat spies like these courageous women inspired my Secrets & Spies series. The three books in the series are available for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. Here’s a link to the first book in the series: 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 Petticoat Spies:

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.

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



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