Union Spies Essay

979 words - 4 pages

Spies are found all throughout the world. They are most likely looking for clues to help another person. Believe it or not, spies were sent out from the North and South during the Civil War to help provide information “behind the lines.” Spies supporting the North were called, Union Spies. This group contained both men and women. There were few slaves, but often there were patriotic people. The spies of the Civil War worked hard to give their side any small edge in winning. Elizabeth Van Lew, Pauline Cushman, Sarah Thompson, and Sarah Emma Edmonds were Union Spies that played a huge role in relaying information from the South to the North to increase the North’s chance of succeeding ...view middle of the document...

Bowser made it easy for Van Lew to obtain information because Bowser would overhear all conversations while serving dinner. Elizabeth Van Lew died in 1900 and was buried in Richmond, from where she grew up. She remains a true American Civil War hero.
Pauline Cushman was an actress born in Louisiana. Because she was from the South, it would help her protect her identity and pass as a Southerner. After a performance Cushman was paid to toast Jefferson Davis. This would also help her cross enemy lines. She was a camp follower and was touring with the Confederate Army in Kentucky and Tennessee. Cushman’s best achievement was finding out General Braxton Bragg’s battle plans. Pauline had the battle plans, and was acting suspicious which was noticed by others. Before she knew it, she was caught with the battle plans. The military court sentenced her to death. Union troops invaded the area three days before she was supposed to be hanged. She was free to go. Some people say that in later life Pauline returned to being a slave in the South and was dressed as a male. Other people say she toured the country giving speeches on her exploits as a spy. Pauline Cushman died in 1893 of an overdose of pain medication.
Sarah E. Thompson was born in Tennessee. She was married to Sylvanius H.Thompson, who was a recruiter for the Union Army. Sarah would act as a recruiter as well and was always working along her husband’s side (library.duke.edu). In 1864, Sylvanius was killed by a Confederate soldier. Therefore, Sarah felt an urge to help out the Union. She was still involved in organizing recruitment efforts, but also interacted as being a federal nurse and delivering dispatches. General John Hunt Morgan and his troops spent the night in Greenville. Sarah alerted the Union...

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