Reliable Confederate spy records are hard to find. When Union troops were on their way to the South’s capital in Richmond, the Confederate Secretary of State, Judah P. Benjamin, panicked and burned every bit of them that he could find. Diligent historians have, however, been able to piece together a lot of the story.
What is known is that the South’s intelligence efforts were full of intrigue, sabotage, and fascinating true tales that were exciting enough to seem more like legend than reality.
The Confederacy’s particular brand of intelligence was made up of a mishmash of various sects of spies and saboteurs. It included a Signal Corps, the Secret Service Bureau, arsonists, disinformation specialists, guerrilla men, and rabble-rousers whose job it was to set Southern passions on fire against the Union and demand secession.
The building of the Southern spy network started early on in Washington, D.C. itself. When Virginia was in limbo between having seceded but not yet having joined the Confederacy, the governor of that state, John Letcher, began recruiting spies while he had an open loophole of sorts. He had been a recent Congressman, so he knew many people on the Hill, both in office
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(The opinions in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Southern Nation News or SN.O.)