When you think of the Civil War, do you think of the crafty women who infiltrated enemy lines, risking their lives to pierce the fog of war and retrieve secrets for their side? No? Why on Earth not? The Civil War was all about female espionage. Here are seven fantastic titles, fiction and non-, about the femme fatales of the Civil War.
This book follows four women as they hide their identities and take a big risk. As gripping as fiction, this true life story is an ideal book club pick.
The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini
Elizabeth van Lew is a Union sympathizer in a Confederate land. Using her education and wits, she’s able to do a lot for the Richmond underground…and the political prisoners being held by the rebels!
An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
Most people would just be happy to have their freedom after a life begun in slavery. Not Elle Burns! She turns spy and discovers that espionage comes with its share of romantic entanglements in this work of romantic fiction.
Stealing Secrets: how a few daring women deceived generals, impacted battles, and altered the course of the Civil War by H. Donald Winkler
Did you know that one of the ways that women smuggled war secrets out from behind enemy lines was by concealing them in their hoop skirts? It’s true! All those details and more come to vivid life in this nonfiction book.
All the Daring of the Soldier: women of the Civil War armies by Elizabeth D. Leonard
In an era when the best women could hope for was the life of a servant, many felt that spying was a more stimulating career option. Exploding myths and painting vivid portraits, this nonfiction book is a must-read.
Miss Lizzie’s War: the double life of southern belle spy Elizabeth Van Lew by Rosemary Agonito
This is the spy upon whom Chiaverini’s The Spymistress is based! She was an actual person and her true-to-life story is all written down here, including the clever strategies that she used to aid the Union Army.
Wild Rose: Rose O’Neale Greenhow, Civil War spy by Ann Blackman
Using her Washington connections, this spy for the Confederacy charmed secrets from Union officials as easily as a wave of her fan.