Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison by Belle Boyd

By Belle Boyd

First released in 1865, Belle Boyd's memoir of her studies as a accomplice undercover agent has stood the try of time and curiosity. Belle first won notoriety while she killed a Union soldier in her domestic in 1861. throughout the Federal occupations of the Shenandoah Valley, she mingled with the servicemen and, utilizing her female wiles, bought worthwhile details for the insurgent cause.

In this new version, Kennedy-Nolle and Faust think of the family part of the Civil struggle and likewise determine the price of Boyd's memoir for social and literary historians in its problem to our realizing the main divisive years in American history.

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46 Yet the Washington Star of August 4, 1862, scoffed at attempts to frame Boyd's exploits romantically: "Romancers have given this female undue repute by describing her as beautiful and educated. " Despite 44. See Drew Faust's discussion of the debate surrounding southern women's efforts to become nurses and teachers in Mothers of Invention, 82-113. 45. July 19,1862. 46. I Rode with Stonewall (Chapel Hill, 1940), 52. 47 In an interview of June 4,1862, that was widely syndicated, Nathaniel Paige of the New York Tribune grappled with the double meaning of Boyd's behavior by studying her presentation: In personal appearance, without being beautiful, she is very attractive.

Yet the fact that Boyd partly relied on the ring's charm to subvert the traditional wifely obedience to a husband suggests a revisionary potential within slaveholding ideology that is often overlooked. Hardinge's journal intertwined questions of gender identity with pressing questions of national status in 1864. As a Federal turned Confederate, Hardinge had been insubordinate to his country, and as "Mr. Belle Boyd," he subordinated himself to his wife. Hardinge's questionable masculinity and sudden turncoat conversion also figure him as a symbol of the demoralized, emasculated Confederate army.

Her December 2,1863, run-in with the commander of Fortress Monroe reads like a well-played scene, one in which her carefully staged retort to Butler gave her the opportunity to say what so many women longed to. By initially flattering him to suppose that she feared his reputation, she put him off guard, only to quickly unleash her wrath: "You are a man whose atrocious conduct and brutality, especially to southern ladies, is so infamous that even the English Parliament commented upon i t . . I naturally feel alarmed at being in your presence" (168).

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Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison by Belle Boyd
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