Civil War Women Spies V

Lead: During the American Civil War, socialite Elizabeth Van Lew ran a Union spy ring in the capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Elizabeth Van Lew was a southern girl, born in Richmond, in 1818, the daughter of a wealthy family with connections and kin in the north. Van Lew was educated in Philadelphia and returned home a vigorous and keen abolitionist. During the 1850s she convinced her family to free their slaves and at the outbreak of hostilities remained loyal loyal to the Union. She committed herself to do whatever she could to support the Federal cause.



Civil War Women Spies III

Lead: Civil War Union spy Sarah Emma Edmonds spent a good part of her life disguised as a man. In the Army she often disguised her disguise.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Although women were not permitted to enlist as soldiers in either army during the Civil War, perhaps as many as 400 did so, by bending their gender. In April 1861 Sarah Emma Edmonds, after four attempts, finally was able to enlist in Flint, Michigan as a male volunteer, Private Frank Thompson.

Edmonds was born in Nova Scotia in 1841. She ran away from an unfortunate home situation as young girl and at the outbreak of the war, was living in Flint, working as bookseller, disguised as a man, using the name Frank Thompson. After Fort Sumter, she continued the transgender role, after four attempts enlisted, and served as a male nurse and occasionally as a spy.


Civil War Women Spies II

Lead: In the summer of 1861 Washington hostess Rose Greenhow helped the infant Confederacy win the First Battle of Manasas at Bull Run Creek.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Rose O’Neal Greenhow was born to a slaveholding family in southern Maryland in 1817. As a young woman, she moved to Washington City to live with her aunt who ran a boarding house in the Old Capitol Building. She earned the nickname “Wild Rose” because of her subtle mind and biting tongue. Charming, intelligent, and witty, Rose entertained frequently and cultivated friendships with some of the most powerful political figures of her time – John C. Calhoun, James Buchanan and William Seward. Rose became one of the most popular and captivating figures in Washington’s antebellum society.



Civil War Women Spies I

Lead: Of the many roles women played during the American Civil War, the most dangerous, daring and deadly was spying.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Espionage, someone has said, is the “second oldest profession.” It certainly has been a part of every major war in history. Of the thousands who engaged in spying during the American Civil War, among the most famous were women. It was a time when Union and Confederate women were called upon to take on many tasks theretofore considered unconventional – farming, nursing, factory work or office management. For the adventurous few there was spying. Civil War women spies were amateurs often motivated by fervent regional patriotism. Most of the time they worked alone, but occasionally as in the case of Elizabeth Van Lew were part of a team or spy “ring.” Women served as informants, smugglers, couriers, or guides.



Laura Ingalls Wilder

Lead: In 1930 Laura Ingalls Wilder began writing about her childlhood experiences on the American frontier. The result was classic literature read by young people and adults throughout the world.

                 Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                 Content: The inspiration came from her daughter, Laura Lane, a San Francisco journalist. Then in her mid-sixties, Laura Wilder, writing on school tablets and using pencils, created eight loosely autobiographical novels, known collectively as the “Little House Books,” published between 1932 and 1943. They have been praised as vividly detailing frontier domestic life, seen through the eyes of a young girl.

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