Rose O’Neal Greenhow (1817 -1864)

  • Spymaster and operative for the Confederate States of America; with her spy network, operated out of Washington, D.C.
  • Socialite; hosted social gatherings for military and political leaders to secretly obtain intelligence.
  • Wrote and sent coded messages concerning Federal troop movements, supplies, and military strategy.
  • Secret communication she sent to General Pierre G.T. Beauregard helped the South win the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run).
  • Credited by Jefferson Davis for providing information that aided the Confederate victory at First Manassas.
  • Arrested and imprisoned in her home by Allen Pinkerton in August 1861.
  • Continued her espionage activities while under house arrest.
  • Employed ingenious methods, such as hiding a secret message inside a hair bun, to relay intelligence information.
  • May 1862 was released and ostracized from the Union and sent to Richmond, Virginia.
  • Toured England and France on a diplomatic mission as a representative of the Confederacy.
  • To read several original documents relating to Greenhow, such as letters to
    and from her, at Duke University’s Online Collection.
rose oneal greenhow civil war
Greenhow with her daughter
during her imprisonment

Photo Credit: Library of Congress,

Click on image for larger view

Antonia Ford Willard portrait
Antonia Ford Willard
Photo Credit: Mosby's Rangers

Antonia Ford Willard (1838 – 1871)

  • Spy for the Confederacy based in Virginia.
  • Courier for Rose Greenhow.
  • Reported on conversations between Union officers quartered in
    her house to General J.E.B. Stuart and Colonel John S. Mosby.
  • Before the Second Battle of Manassas (Bull Run), rode 20 miles by carriage and in the rain to warn Stuart about a Union plan to use Confederate colors (flags) to confuse his soldiers.
  • Arrested in 1863 and imprisoned for spying and helping Colonel Mosby kidnap General Edwin H. Stoughton.
  • Turned-in by Frankie Abel, who, unknown to Willard, was an undercover female agent working for the Union
cap and collar made by antonia ford willard in prison
Lace cap and collar made by
Willard while in prison.

Photo credit: Library of Congress
Click image for larger view






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