Boyd, Belle, 1844–1900, Confederate spy in the Civil War, b. Martinsburg, Va. (now W.Va.). Operating (probably unofficially) in Martinsburg and Front Royal, she provided Gen. T. J. (Stonewall) Jackson with valuable information on Union activities in the Shenandoah Valley in 1862. In 1864, after being twice imprisoned and released, she went to England, supposedly with secret dispatches from Jefferson Davis to Confederate agents there. The first of her three husbands, a Union officer who had been her captor, followed her to England to marry her. After his death she began a career on the English stage (1866) and on her subsequent return to the United States toured widely, especially in the Middle West, giving dramatic talks about herself and sundry episodes of the Civil War. She wrote Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison (1865).
See biography by L. A. Sigaud (1945).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
Boyd, Belle(1843–1900) Confederate spy; born in Martinsburg, Va. She brought information about Federal troops to Confederate commands, especially to General “Stonewall” Jackson. She was arrested twice (1862, 1863) and was captured on her way to England carrying letters from Jefferson Davis. Capitalizing on her notoriety, she appeared on the London stage (1866) and the New York stage (1868), then took to the lecture circuit after 1886.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.