Posts Tagged With: confederates

Emeline Pigott….Civil War Spy and Nurse…..North Carolina



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North Carolina native Emeline Pigott offered her services to the Confederate Army as a spy. Single and 25 years old, Pigott hosted parties for local Union soldiers and gathered information about their plans. In the folds of her voluminous skirts she hid important papers and other contraband, which she later passed on to the local Rebels – until 1865, when she was arrested and jailed.

Emeline Pigott was born in December 15, 1836, in Harlowe Township, Carteret County, North Carolina, and spent her youth there. When Emeline was 25 years old, just after the Civil War began, she and her parents moved to a farm on Calico Creek at Crab Point on the coast – what is now part of Morehead City.

Soldiers of the Confederate 26th North Carolina Division soon arrived to defend the coastline and made their camp just across the creek from the Pigott home. Emeline had a passionate desire to assist the Confederate cause. She offered her services as a spy and gathered food and clothing for the soldiers. She hid these items in designated hollow trees, so the soldiers could retrieve them later. She cared for wounded soldiers who were brought in from the battlefields, sometimes nursing them back to health in her home.

Working in three neighboring counties, Emeline distributed mail and supplies to the soldiers and gathered information about Federal ships, their tonnage and cargo, and passed it on to the authorities across Calico Creek.

The Confederate troops left coastal North Carolina and moved up the river to New Bern. The Battle of New Bern was fought on March 14, 1862, led by Union General Ambrose Burnside and accompanied by armed vessels, opposed by an undermanned and rather badly trained Confederate force of North Carolina soldiers and militia. The Union won the battle.

Confederate soldiers were rushed out of town by flatcar to Kinston, North Carolina – 40 miles inland. Emeline went along to care for the wounded on the last train out before the Northerners occupied the town of New Bern. Many residents fled. When the Yankees arrived, the houses were empty, and the army used them as barracks, offices and hospitals.

New Bern was an important shipping port and a stop on the Atlantic and Northern Railroad, and it became the center of Union operations in eastern North Carolina for the rest of the Civil War. The Confederates tried to take it back twice, but failed.

Emeline and a soldier named Stokes McRae and fell in love, but decided not to marry until after the war was over. When McRae went to the battlefield, he took along a special Confederate flag that Emeline had made just for him. He survived the Battle of New Bern but lost the flag. McRae was killed at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in July 1863. Devastated by the news, Emeline rededicated herself to helping the Southern cause.

When Emeline returned home to Calico Creek, she found the Yankees had occupied the entire area. She continued to gather intelligence about Northern blockade ships in port. She also carried letters and other items from family members to Confederate soldiers, and made numerous dangerous journeys to New Bern and other locations.

She narrowly escaped capture several times, and disregarded her own safety in order to complete her mission. She sometimes carried up to thirty pounds of supplies and intelligence information in huge pockets inside her hoop skirt.

She obtained valuable information while entertaining Union soldiers in the parlor of her home, while her brother-in-law Rufus Bell dispensed food from her pantry to hungry Rebel soldiers out the back. Local fishermen also gathered information as they sold fish to the Yankees and then reported to Emeline.

Emeline Pigott became North Carolina’s most famous spy and smuggler. In 1865, as the war was ending, Union officials were watching Emeline and Rufus Bell very closely. One day she and Bell got into his carriage and headed toward Beaufort to deliver the supplies they had collected. Along the way, however, they were stopped, arrested and sent to jail by Union soldiers, and they confiscated the carriage.

While the Yankees were trying to find a female to search Emeline, she ate some of the papers she had tucked inside her blouse which contained important information and tore up others. She shredded some of the mail she carried, but the Unionists discovered the large amount of supplies that were hidden in the pockets inside her skirt.

Though she faced the death penalty, after two months she was inexplicably released without going to trial. She had been nothing but trouble to the soldiers who guarded her. She was, however, watched and harassed until the end of the war. was . She returned to her family’s farm. She never married; her heart was always with Stokes McRae.

After the war, Emeline greatly enjoyed telling others about her escapades, but she never revealed how she came to be released from prison. She remained active in the community until her death.

Emeline Pigott died on May 26, 1916, at the age of 80. She was buried in the family cemetery on the north side of Calico Creek. It is open to the public, and is appropriately located on Emeline Place in Morehead City.

Categories: Civil War | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Civil War…Confederate Spy….Rose O’Neal Greenhow..




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She was born Maria Rosetta O’Neale in Montgomery County, Maryland to John O’Neale and Eliza Henrietta Hamilton and was orphaned as a child. When she was a teenager, she was invited to live with her aunt who ran the exclusive Congressional Boarding House in Washington, D.C. and was introduced to important figures in the Washington area. O’Neale was considered beautiful, educated, loyal, compassionate, and refined. Many were surprised when she accepted the marriage proposal of Dr. Robert Greenhow, a quiet physician and historian, who worked in the U.S. State Department and married him on Tuesday, May 27, 1835. Their marriage record lists her as Miss Rose Mariea O’Neale. Through her husband, she came to meet the leading southern politicians of the day, including Jefferson Davis, who was to become the first and only president of the Confederate States of America. The Greenhows had four daughters: Florence, Gertrude, Leila, and little Rose. Dr. Greenhow died in 1854, soon after little Rose’s birth. As the country moved toward war, Greenhow continued to host parties for both southern and northern politicians, but she made her views clear, that she was a southerner first, last, and always. A young lieutenant from Virginia named Thomas Jordan knew that Greenhow was probably the best-placed southerner in Washington and, after meeting with her, he proposed that she spy for the Confederacy, acting on behalf of Gen. Beauregard and she accepted. On July 9 and 16, 1861, Greenhow passed on secret messages to Confederate General Pierre G. T. Beauregard containing critical information regarding the 1st Bull Run (known in the South as the Battle of Manassas) campaign of Union General Irvin McDowel. Confederate President Jefferson Davis credited Greenhow’s information with securing victory at Manassas for the South. On August 11, 1861, she was able to send a report several pages long, detailing the complete Washington defense system. Every fort in the Washington area was described in detail, along with the number of guns, their caliber and range; weak spots in the earthworks; regiments identified by state origin and their strengths; the level of troop morale; number of officers and their experience; the political beliefs of the officers; the number of muskets issued to each regiment and the number of shots and grape issued for each weapon; the number of mules for freight-hauling available and the condition of the animals; itemized lists of wagons, ambulances and stores for each fort. This was the kind of information she delivered. She was arrested as a spy by Allan Pinkerton on August 23, 1861. Mrs. Greenhow was kept a prisoner in her home, which had been labeled “a clearing house for spies.” Her home was officially made her prison by government decree on August 30, 1861. When guards discovered a Confederate plot to free Greenhow, the government acted, ordering her and her daughter, “Little Rose” transferred to the Old Capitol Prison on January 18, 1862. For five months, she and her daughter remained at the Old Capitol Prison, however, even her imprisonment did not deter her from continuing to provide information to Southern loyalists. This prompted Federal authorities to banish her south. On June 2, the New York Times recorded her release and removal under close custody. On June 6, 1862, she and her daughter arrived in Richmond to wildly cheering crowds. Asked by the government to act as a courier to Confederate diplomats, she assumed the role of blockade runner and traveled to England and France. In September 1864, she boarded a blockade-runner, the Condor, bound for North Carolina. Spied by a Union gunboat in the waters just off the coast near Wilmington, North Carolina, the Condor raced ahead up the Cape Fear River hoping to avoid confrontation. Instead, the Condor ran aground on a sandbar. Desperate to escape, Greenhow boarded a lifeboat that capsized in the rough water and drowned due to the weight of over $2000 in gold that was sewed into her garments. In the afternoon of Saturday, October 1, 1864, her body was carried in a long funeral procession through the streets of Wilmington, a guard of honor accompanying her horse-drawn casket which was draped with a huge Confederate flag. Thousands of soldiers marched behind it, led by Admiral Hampden and many other Confederate officers, to Oakdale Cemetery. A squad of Confederate soldiers fired their muskets over her grave as the guns of Fort Fisher boomed in her honor. Note: A great white stone was later placed above her grave, purchased by the Ladies Memorial Association of Wilmington. On it bears the legend: “This monument commemorates the deeds of Mrs. Rose Greenhow, a bearer of dispatches to the Confederate government. She was drowned off Fort Fisher from the blockade runner ‘Condor’ while attempting to run the blockade on September 30, 1864. Her body was washed ashore at Fort Fisher Beach and brought to Wilmington.”

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Long after death, Confederate Teenage spy honored in Ark.



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The story of David O. Dodd is relatively unknown outside of Arkansas, but the teenage spy who chose to hang rather than betray the Confederate cause is a folk hero to many in his home state.
Street signs and an elementary in the state capital have long borne Dodd’s name, and admirers gather at his grave each year to pay tribute to Dodd’s life and death.
“Everyone wants to remember everything else about the Civil War that was bad,” said one of them, W. Danny Honnoll. “We want to remember a man that stood for what he believed in and would not tell on his friends.”
A state commission’s decision, though, to grant approval for yet another tribute to Dodd has revived an age-old question: Should states still look for ways to commemorate historical figures who fought to defend unjust institutions?
“(Dodd) already has a school. I don’t know why anything else would have to be done to honor him,” James Lucas Sr., a school bus driver, said near the state Capitol in downtown Little Rock.
Arkansas’ complicated history of race relations plays out on the Capitol grounds. A stone and metal monument that’s stood for over a century pays tribute to the Arkansas men and boys who fought for the Confederacy and the right to own slaves. Not far away, nine bronze statues honor the black children who, in 1957, needed an Army escort to enter what had been an all-white school.
The newest nod to Dodd would mark a site across town where he was detained after Union soldiers found encoded notes on him about their troop locations. Dodd was convicted of spying and sentenced to death, and legend has it he refused an offer to walk free in exchange for the name of the person who gave him the information.
“He was barely 17 years old when the Yankees hung him” on Jan. 8, 1864, Honnoll said. “Yeah, he was spying, but there (were) other people that spied that they didn’t hang.”
Dodd is certainly not the only teenager to die in the war or even the lone young martyr, said Carl Moneyhon, a University of Arkansas at Little Rock history professor.
“If you start talking about the 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds who were killed in battle, the number is infinite,” Moneyhon said. “There are tens of thousands of them. They become unremarkable.”
So it seems all the more curious that some have come to portray Dodd as Arkansas’ boy martyr.
“It’s part of the romanticizing of the Civil War that began in the 1880s and the 1890s, that looks for … what could be called heroic behavior to celebrate in a war filled with real horrors,” Moneyhon said.
And it’s caught on, though many question why.
“It’s a very sad story, but at the end of the day, Dodd was spying for the Confederacy, which was fighting a war to defend the institution of slavery,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Sharon Donovan — who lives on West David O. Dodd Road (there’s an East David O. Dodd Road, too) — said she wouldn’t mind another Dodd namesake in her neighborhood.
“The fact that we live in the South, I could understand why he would want to do it because he was actually working for us in a way. … For that era, I think it was probably a noble thing to do,” Donovan said.
About a half-mile away, a banner outside an elementary school proclaims, “David O. Dodd Committed to Excellence.” A doormat bearing Dodd’s name shows a black boy smiling next to a few white ones. About half of the school’s 298 students last year were black and only 27 were white.
Jerry Hooker, who graduated from Central High School years after the desegregation standoff over the Little Rock Nine, lives at the site where he says Dodd was detained almost a century and a half ago. The Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission approved his application and agreed to chip in $1,000 for the marker noting the spot’s historical significance.
Hooker, 59, said the move to commemorate Dodd is not about honoring slavery, but about remembering the past.
“I don’t think it has a thing to do with race whatsoever,” Hooker said. “He was a 17-year-old kid with a coded message in his boot that had enough of whatever it is in him that he didn’t squeal on his sources.”
Still, in a city that stripped “Confederate Blvd.” from its interstate highway signs shortly before dignitaries arrived in town for the opening of Bill Clinton’s presidential library, the question remains: Should Dodd’s name be etched into another piece of stone or metal for posterity’s sake?

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