Martinsburg in Berkeley County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
Belle Boyd House
Home of a Spy
—Antietam Campaign —
In the spring of 1862, Belle Boyd paid a visit to her Aunt Fanny Stewart in Front Royal, Virginia. There, on May 22, Boyd first gained fame as a spy. When Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson and his army approached the town, which was occupied by a small Federal Garrison, Boyd walked several miles to find him and report Union troop numbers and dispositions. Federal authorities later imprisoned Boyd twice for “communicating with the enemy” then released her. In December 1863, she sailed for England on a blockade runner, bearing diplomatic letters from Confederate President Jefferson Davis. When the ship was captured, Boyd persuaded the Federal naval officer in charge to let
Her flamboyant personality, scandalous behavior (by the standards of “well-bred” Southern society), reckless courage, and undeniable charm made her a natural for the stage, where she recounted her exploits. In 1865, she published Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison, blurring the lines between fact and legend. Married three times and the mother of four, she died on June 11, 1900 in Kilbourne, Wisconsin.
(Sidebar) Benjamin R. Boyd, Belle’s father, built this Greek Revival-style house in 1853. When it was threatened with demolition in August, 1992, the Berkeley County Historical Society rescued it. The Society operates the Belle Boyd House as a museum and learning center open to the public.
Erected by Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the West Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 39° 27.576′ N, 77° 57.708′ W. Marker is in Martinsburg, West Virginia, in Berkeley County. Marker is at the intersection of East Race Street and North Spring Street when traveling east on East Race Street. Touch for map. It is at the Belle Boyd House Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 126 E. Race St, Martinsburg WV 25401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. Belle Boyd House (a few steps from this marker); Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Shop Complex (within shouting distance of this marker); Martinsburg Roundhouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Baltimore and Ohio Roundhouse and Shop Complex (within shouting distance of this marker); Berkeley Hotel (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Roundhouses and Shops / Railroad Strike of 1877 (about 600 feet away); Avenue of Flags Monument (approx. ¼ mile away); Civil War Martinsburg (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Martinsburg.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Belle Boyd's life, as traced by markers.
Also see . . .
1. Belle Boyd, Cleopatra of the Secession. from "Spies For the Blue and Gray" by Harnett T. Kane. (Submitted on July 28, 2007.)
2. Wikipedia Entry. “Belle Boyd’s espionage career began by chance. According to her 1866 account, on July 4, 1861, a band of Union army soldiers saw a Confederate flag hanged outside her home. They tore it down and hanged a Union flag in its place. This made her angry enough, but when one of them cursed at her mother, she was outraged. Belle pulled out a pistol and shot the man (Submitted on July 28, 2012.)
3. Berkerly County Historical Society. (Submitted on February 25, 2013, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.)
Additional keywords. Civil War Trail - Antietam Campaign
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 28, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 5,153 times since then and 67 times this year. Last updated on February 22, 2013, by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia. Photos: 1. submitted on July 28, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. 2. submitted on April 14, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 3, 4. submitted on July 28, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. 5. submitted on July 28, 2012, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 6. submitted on October 21, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.