tv Civil War Espionage CSPAN January 18, 2016 10:00am-12:01pm EST
i think that's something that's really powerful especially in rural america. >> watch "the communicators" tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. up next on american history tv, cia historian clayton laurie discusses espionage and intelligence-gathering tactics used during the civil war. he addresses topics such as spy rings used by both the confederacy and the union, how intelligence was used during the war, and why there are so few primary source documents on civil war-era intelligence gathering. the smithsonian associates hosted this event. it's a little under two hours. >> so it's a pleasure to welcome dr. laurie back. he's an historian with the history staff at the central intelligence agency. he joined the u.s. government in 1986 as a staff historian with history's division of the u.s.
army center of military history where he served for 14 years before he joined the cia. during his time with the agency, he also served in rotational assignments as the deputy and chief historian at the national reconnaissance office and at the office of the director of national intelligence. in addition to government service, dr. laurie has taught undergraduate military and intelligence history courses for the departments of history at the american university and at the university of maryland in baltimore county. especializes in the history of intelligence, the two world wars, and the war in vietnam. he's the author of over 40 articles and books on military and intelligence history from the 19th century to the present. so please join me in a warm welcome for dr. clayton laurie.
>> good evening. i'd like to thank you all for coming here tonight. and i'd like to thank the smithsonian associates for giving me the opportunity to speak to you on civil war intelligence. can you hear me in the back there okay? okay. sketchy, okay. talk up a little bit more? is that better? okay. i wanted to point out as part of the introduction, i'm born and raised in iowa. so i come from a northern state. when i first moved here to the washington metropolitan area, i lived for many years in maryland, a border state. and i spent the last 16 years living in northern virginia. i say that because i don't have a dog in this fight. i'm not a partisan one way or the other. i've been north, south and in between. so we want to point out that i'm a cia historian here to try to enlighten, instruct and inform about aspects of civil war intelligence. the other caveat i want to point out right before we start is that i noticed that my title slide is different than the
slide title in your program. there will be no secrets revealed here tonight. and i say that for my employer, no secrets talked about tonight. things that we talk about were secret at the time, but they're not now, and we won't talk anything secret. okay. to start out here, in all my decades as an historian both with the government and as a teacher, i've spent some time with civil war intelligence history, but i found that this topic more than any other i've had experience with is subject to myth and a lot of legend. there is a dearth of coverage on civil war intelligence in the broad literature of the civil war, and that's from self reasons, due to several reasons. first and foremost, unlike other aspects of the civil war or of history, there is a real paucity of primary source documents on civil war intelligence affairs. these are the documents that historians use as their baseline
hard evidence for determining what went on. this can be somebody's report, somebody's briefing, somebody's chart. but when the civil war ended when richmond fell, the city burned and most of the records of the confederacy went up in smoke. in the decades after that, even union records became scattered. they deteriorated or became lost. so first and foremost, we don't know everything we need to know or could know about civil war intelligence because the evidence is just not there. that will come up several times this evening as we explore some of these myths and some of these hard intelligence successes and failures. there's not a lot of evidence to support either way. the second is that this primary record that is very, very thin to begin with is clouded somewhat by self-serving memoirs by people who are intelligence officers during the civil war. allen pinkerton comes to mind. pinkerton lost all his records. he supposedly had very good records of his intelligence
exploits in 1861 and 1862, and they all were lost in the great chicago fire of 1871. and he says, you know, i have to reconstruct my memoirs and my exploits from my photographic memory that i have. many of his critics would say, well, this is his fantastical memory rather than his photographic memory. but then again, even the primary players are embellishing somewhat their exploits and their records, and that further confuses the actual historical record. pinkerton as well, in his memoirs, takes a good time and attention to undercutting the reputation of his chief rival in washington at the time, a man by the name of lafayette baker who also, like pinkerton, claimed to be the chief of u.s. secret service intelligence during the civil war. it was a title that those two individuals acclaimed that noblt affirmed and thobls took during the civil war. so again, the memoirs also tend
to cloud the record. thirdly is the secret nature of what these people were doing. these were covert operations. these were highly secret operations. they didn't often keep records. they often department keep true lists of the names of their assets or agents. and they very rarely recorded what they did. there's going to be one notable example that we'll see about halfway through tonight of an organization that did record what they did and accomplished and kept those records that we use today still. but nonetheless, most of these organizations come in. they're only there for a short period of time. they're understaffed. they don't have enough money like our current federal government to hire historians to record their histories. they're not bothering to archive their paper even if they have it. so most of these are not going to be there. and then it's secret on top of that. and then finally, we're going to talk about a few of the hundreds, if not thousands of people north and south who are involved in the broad application of intelligence
during the civil war. most of these people are amateurs. they're not professional intelligence officers because there are no professional intelligence organizations. they will come in and do some work for a week, a month, two months, three months, collect some money and disappear, and they're lost to history. and so we have references to many, many, many people who supposedly provided information to lincoln or to the federal government, the confederate government, various military leaders. and one reference only, and they provided this information just disappeared. we'll note several of these later on tonight. so we do want to point out there's also no continuity of personnel or recordkeeping. the history of intelligence in the united states is one where we adopt intelligence organizations during times of war and crisis when the war or the crisis disappears, we get rid of the intelligence organization until the next time there's a war or crisis. so there is no organization like the u.s. intelligence community
today or the central intelligence agency that is there 24/7 decade after decade after decade. so they're not keeping these records. and so we don't have a full-time or permanent intelligence community until after world war ii. so i again want to emphasize as we go on to the first slide here that the use of intelligence in american history is very much an ad hoc fragmentary and often an aventurish affair. only appears in times of war or crisis and then it disappears. at the time of the civil war, all the lessons that had been learned about intelligence during the time of the mexican war were very brief were lost. all of the lessons that were learned during the american revolution and george washington had probably one of the most extentive intelligence organizations in american history, those were forgotten as well.espionage, covert action, s not in existence when the war
starts in 1861. nobody knows how to do this. and there is no written record for them to go back and pick out the how-to manual that this is how to do these things. this war, the civil war in particular, will see a great deal of innovation and technology, which will also carry down to the future into 20th century organizations. the first slide we want to talk about is the open source. and the vast majority of intelligence collected during the civil war is coming from what we today would call open sources. newspapers, magazines, journals, and just plain simple observation. somebody sees a unit going by, they say that's interesting. i'm going to report that to somebody. that's an open source of information. that's not really espionage. but nonetheless, in spite of the deeds of daring do and espionage, most intelligence during the civil war is collected from open sources. coming from both sides, mainly newspapers and the reporting of
war correspondence, federal efforts to censor newspapers and utterly are unsuccessful early on in the war, and the use of northern newspapers to collect intelligence will prompt sherman to state that newspaper correspondence should be treated as spies and are worth 100,000 men. his other more spicy quote is up here that they ought to be taken out and shot. nn nonetheless, efforts will be increased on both sides to clamp down on the presence of newspaper reporters in military camps. we do have an open press in this country. and in the civil war, journalists were allowed to go into the encampments and interview soldiers. when the army was mobilized, it went off on a march. this was often reported in the paper, what units and what armies and what direction they went to. and these newspapers published openly or fed into intelligence lines and they headache it to richmond, or in the case of richmond, they make it to washington. you have open-source reporting that often is revealing some very, very sensitive things.
again, open source. same true today, that open source is a major, major source of intelligence information. let's go back to 1861. and the first use of intelligence and intelligence services. during the spring of 1861, actually, during the time of secession and the time of lincoln's inauguration. as most of you know, washington is a southern city. it is deep inside the south at the time the civil war opens, maryland is a border state. slave state, nonetheless, with a good many marylanders who would love to see themselves join the confedera confederacy. and at the same time, we have virginia which had seceded by april of 1861 just across the river. so there's enormous numbers of southern sympathizers throughout the washington, d.c., area. even in the federal government, then as now, most people working for the federal government live either in virginia or they live in maryland or d.c. and with divided sympathies,
especially in the slave states, we see a lot of southern sympathizers in the primary departments of government including the war department, navy department, you see them in state, you see them among the congressional staffers, in the post office, in the patent office, they're everywhere. and many of them are actively watching, looking and listening to see what federal plans are. so we're going to see filled with sympathizers, general wenfield scott in a very famous story when he was making plans to deploy down to first manassas, battle of first manassas, would not talk about plans and intentions in his office. he would actually take people he needed to speak to out in the hallway, and he would whisper his plans and intentions in their ear because you could not be assured that somebody who was southern sympathizer might not be listening. soon after lincoln left springfield for washington, rumors of assassination are going to be swirling around
washington. and charles pomeroy stone, union officer, is going to be appointed to oversee the d.c. milit militia. the d.c. militia was thought to be especially chockful of rebel sympathizers. and so it's going to be stone's job to make sure that these people were rooted out and either forced south or at least forced into retirement. so throughout the spring and early summer of 1861, stone is going to be looking for people in the d.c. militia who are openly hostile to the union and as well as rooting out federal employees whose loyalties might be toward the south. stone's detectives will also provide security during lincoln's inauguration, and they will secure the capitol thereafter in the summer of 1861. these assassination plot rumors are still swirling around when lincoln is coming from springfield to his inauguration in washington in the spring of 1861. and allen pinkerton will first
appear, pinkerton works for the railroad in chicago and he secures the route for lincoln to get safely in for the march in 1861. he is going to create an elaborate plan to smuggle lincoln into the capitol by switching trains, by cutting communications and distributing watch officers all the way along the route to watch for any kind of suspicious activity. lincoln is rumored to have been smuggled into washington, arriving in women's clothing. this appeared all over in the press of abraham lincoln dressed up as a female. that is not true. abraham lincoln did like shawls, if you see many of the photos of him he was always wrapped in a shawl. perhaps he came off the platform and was wrapped in one of these big shawls. but his critics picked this up and said well, he's coming in dressed as a woman. some historians say this caused lincoln great discomfort, and that caused him to basically issue personal security for much of the war, that he was afraid of what the critics might say.
pinkerton, after he safely got lincoln into the city secured by stone, offered his services to abraham lincoln at that time, in early spring of 1861 offering to convey his dispatches and provide personal security. but lincoln had already hired his own intelligence officer, a man by the name of william alvin lloyd who was a travel author and a map maker. and lincoln hired lloyd as his personal intelligence agent in april of 1861, paid him the enormous sum of $200 per month, which is comparable to about $4,000 a month today. and it was lloyd's mission to travel around and collect information on southern sympathizers and travel into northern virginia and report on confederate dispositions directly to lincoln. now, lloyd is an interesting character because we don't know a great deal about him today. we don't know what he told lincoln. he stayed as lincoln's personal
intelligence agent all the way through the time of lincoln's assassination, but most of what he reported to the president is lost to history. lloyd's activities were so secret at the time, linkcoln's cabinet did not even know that he was getting information on the side from his own personal representative. so lloyd's activities were extremely secret. and we constitutional to this day don't have a very good read on what is going to be reported to the president. the picture up here is one that you can go visit today. this is colonel elmer ellsworth who was a new york fireman who has raised a regiment named after himself. federal troops that are reporting into the city in the spring of 1861. now, recall, of course, virginia has seceded from the union. it's visible right across the river. and one day ellsworth is sitting in washington, d.c. he looks out to the horizon over to alexandria. and on top of a hotel that used
to be right in the location directly across from the government center on king street, there is a hotel with a rebel flag, the stars and bars flying on top of it. again, an indication there are rebels right across the river. so ellsworth will take a detachment over to the hotel known as the marshall house. and this detachment will go up to the top of the roof and they'll tear down the stars and bars and come down the stairs here. the fellow here in the -- with his suspenders off is the proprietor of the house, a man named marshall who will promptly kill ellsworth by shooting him in the chest. marshall will also be killed there. but it's an early indication that passions in this city were extremely harsh, even in these earlier days. ellsworth is going to be the first union officer killed during the civil war. and his pistols are available on display over at the national portrait gallery downtown here.
owned by the smithsonian. let's talk about espionage and intelligence collection. the confederate signal corps is going to include a covert squet service bureau that's run by a man named william norris. and this is the nearest thing that the confederacy has to a national intelligence service. it will be the heart of intelligence activity in the confederacy for most of the war. they will create a secret headquarters in canada which we'll discuss a little bit later on of agents operating out of toronto against the united states. and they will also set up espionage missions, propaganda and covert collection activities in europe primarily in great britain and trancfrance. this gs to be an incredibly sophisticated network for this early in the war. it was going to serve the intelligence needs of the secretary of war and president jefferson davis who recognized
the south inherent disadvantages and the importance of intelligence about northern strategy and tactics. also, their intentions. in this regard, jefferson davis and benjamin are very much like george washington at the start of the revolution. he's outclassed. he's outgunned. he's outnumbered. he does not have the luxury of military defeats and not knowing where the british are and what they're up to. so jefferson davis, general ben they're part of the same camp. they have to know when they're going to do it because they do outnumber us and they are much stronger. so they will start setting up intelligence lines. there's going to be three of them. the largest and the most sophisticated is the secret line that goes directly from washington, d.c., down through northern virginia to richmond. the other two are called the doctors line and the post men line. and that is because most of the people that worked on these lines, part of the confederate network, were either doctors or postmen. doctors at the time had to make house calls in the middle of the
night. they had a black bag. they could put secret documents in that black bag. they could go out and ride all over the countryside, northern neck of virginia or in the eastern shore region of maryland. nobody's going to suspect they're doing anything. i am doctor so and so out going on a house call. so we had a network of doctor to doctor to doctor smuggling documents in through richmond down through the northern neck. the postmen line, this is actual u.s. postal service employees who have southern sympathies and know who the next southern sympathizer is in the next post office down the line. you can give them a secret document. they put it in their mail bag, delivers it to the next guy, the next guy and then across the river into the northern neck and off to richmond. lauf wfayette baker, while he w with stone, was very, very quick to figure out the postmen's line, so that one was shut down very, very early. but nonetheless, there are all these networks that are
filtering information out of the washington area down to the south and being very effective at doing that. one of these is going to be used very, very good or very well by ms. rose o'neill greenhow. and she is often referred to as the star espionage agent of the confederacy. and we'll get a little bit more to the controversy in just a bit. rose greenhow is a d.c. socialite. when the war starts, she's 44 years old. she is a widow. she is openly pro-south. she has quite a pedigree. she's the aunt of mrs. steven douglas. she is a personal friend of president buchanan, often visits the white house to see her good friend. she's related by marriage to james and dolly madison. and she is described by one historian as an agent with masterly skill who bestowed on the confederacy her knowledge of all the forces which reigned at the capitol. she socialized with many federal
government employees and soldiers. she developed cyphers to smuggle secret reports down the secret line to richmond and eventually employed a ring of 17 agents in d.c. that all were in place by april of 1861. after the battle of bull run, green-how was put under surveillance by pinkerton. she was exposed as a spy and arrested in august of 1861 with much incriminating evidence being smuggled out of her home by one of her cohorts, an agent by the name of betty duvall. the story, if it is true, is quite an intriguing one. pinkerton's people exhibited just horrible police work. they approached rose's home. they told her that we suspect you of espionage. and immediately rose's daughter went out and climbed a tree in the front yard and started screaming to the fabd, "they're arresting my mother!" which is a good tipoff for any of rose's sympathizers to get
out of the area. rose is flush and says i need to go into the bedroom and change clothes. i can't go to jail like this. and while she's in her bedroom which is also her operating office, betty duvall is there, her cohort. and betty is promptly stuffing incriminating documents under her clothes, so many of them, as the report states, she had to actually waddle to the door when they were taking rose away. she had so much secret material under her clothing. nonetheless, rose is going to be arrested for espionage. she's going to be sent to the old capitol prison. and this is the old d.c. jail. it was on the site of where the current supreme court sits. and it was full of narrative wills. this was the general prison for everybody. so there are murderers and robbers and all sorts of unseemly people in there. and rose is a socialite. and she goes in there with her daughter. they're both taken into custody because there's nobody to care for her daughter, and she will ask the provost of the prison, i
need some means of protecting myself, and the provost will give her a colt revolver and say, yeah, you can take this to your cell with you. so she was virtually under house arrest until early 1862. she personally negotiates her parole with abraham lincoln. and lincoln basically states, we will let you go back to richmond if you promise that you never engage in espionage again. of course she says yes. and the first thing she visits is jefferson davis. and she offers services to jefferson davis, her secret line network is going to go cold. but jefferson davis asked her, will you be my official envoy to britain and france? go over to england and see if you can get those two nations to support our cause. so rose will leave in 1862. and she will be the toast of the town throughout england. she'll meet with the foreign
minister, the prime minister, lord palmerston. she'll actually haven aaudience. but by 1863, when the emancipation proclamation is issued, neither britain nor france no matter how much they need southern cotton cannot have the stigma when they have slavely not only at home but in the empire. rose has nothing else to do. she's bound and determined to get home. she boards a blockade runner by the name of the condor, crosses the stormy atlantic, and they come to the coast off of wilmington, north carolina. and the seas are very choppy. it's the middle of the night. and rose suffers from motion sickness, had on many occasions in her life. she absolutely insists to the captain, lower a boat and get me a crew and take me to shore. he said we can't, the seas are too choppy.
rose was not one to be denied. and she insisted. the captain said okay, we'll put you in the boat. they put her in the boat, they get away from the main ship, the rowboat capsizes. the crew either swims to shore or grabs the boat. rose green-how goes straight toe the bottom like a rock. the next day with they find her body, she discovered she had large qualities of gold bullion sewn into the hem of her dress that was going to go into the confederate treasury. she is considered a hero. she was given a military funeral, buried in wilmington, north carolina. and every year on the anniversary of her death, they do have a ceremony in her honor. now, she also raises one of these questions that she is one of the controversial figures that we have a difficult time separating myth from legend. green-how's legacy represents the controversy surrounding many civil war spies. some claim she was the greatest spy of the civil war. others point out that much of
green-how's legacy is due to her, her telling her own stories in her own book and also the fanciful stories that show up in allen pinkerton's memoirs, her primary nemesis, and those of lafayette baker. now, remember, again, baker and pinkerton -- pinkerton trying to establish his business after the civil war, baker trying to establish his reputation for history, embellish their encounters with rose and try to make her out as an existential threat to the united states. so there's a lot of fiction in these. pinkerton especially if you're trying to sell protective law enforcement was ises, it's always good to have a memoir to give to a client that tells them how absolutely great you are. so the three main sources that we have, because there is a lack of good, solid, hard evidence from confederate archives, we have rose's book that she wrote in 1863, how she did her best to subvert the abolitionist government that had its hands around the neck of the capitol.
self-serving memoirs by pinkerton and then also secretary baker said i did an awful lot with her as well, and these are the things she was up to. so again, rose's legacy unlike some that we're going to see a little bit later on doesn't have that documentary evidence. there are several good buying onfies out there. but again, the evidence is not as solid as it is for some others. one of the things that rose is supposed to be most famous for is that her and her 17 agents including betty duvall in d.c. and a woman by the name of cantca antonia ford who was out in fairfax for most of the war, supposedly provided the information to beauregard at the battle of first manassas that allowed him to prevail over the union forces under mcdowell. she allegedly alerted beauregard through her couriers, betty duvall especially, to the size, the movement and the destination of federal troops under union general irv y mcdowell.
the great controversy still exists, did she really provide enough of the information that allows confederate forces, beauregard and stonewall jackson, to prevail that day? military historians taking a look at the way this battle was fought and who the players were will often point out that the union defeat at bull run was caused more by poor federal intelligence, not knowing where rebel forces were, not knowing their size, poor leadership on mcdowell's part, poor command as well, raw union troops most of whom had been in washington for a few weeks before being called up to go to battle. this is not necessarily an intelligence coup on the part of the south but a military leadership tactical failure on the part of the north. the case is still out. i would suggest, however, that in rose's credit, it is extremely hard to hide a noisy and large federal force that is going to the south on every available road out of washington, d.c., with hundreds
of picnicking d.c. residents going along to see the fun. this photograph -- or this picture was painted depicting the route after the union forces were defeated and fled from the battlefield along with all the local d.c. residents who had their picnics interrupted by this first battle of the civil war. so again, rose's legacy is one of these that we wish we had more information on and could establish more firmly, but that's not the case. on to the next. almost all of you have heard of bell boyd. where the nickname cleopatra of the secession came from, i've never seen that in an official document. i've seen it many times in her own memoirs. belle boyd is from mart innsburg, west virginia. she is also a spy for the south. at that time it's virginia, now today west virginia. very vocal in her opposition to the union and to the republicans. one thing that we know that she did actually accomplish is that
may of 1862, she did provide intelligence to stonewall jackson on the disposition of union forces out near the valley, allowing him time to defeat that force. as the popular rendition of this goes, on one occasion, she dashed through open fields under fire, union fire, weavie i waiv bonnet to give stonewall jackson information. she allegedly had her hair up in a bun. when she got to swrjackson's headquarters, her dark locks cascaded over her shoulder and then she reached in her hair and pulled out the vital intelligence she had smugged through in her bun. she was arrested on many occasions. she was very vulnerable in what she was doing. lafayette baker arrest eed her. she characterized him as an arrogant rube she could easily outwit. she was imprisoned at least three times by baker.
he did not get her to admit to espionage activities, but he did indicate that her career might be kind of short. she fled abroad, spent several years in england and eventually came back on a union naval vessel where she fell in love with a union naval officer. and they were married. and this connection by a union officer to belle boyd who was quite notorious. she was a household word. ruined his career. he eventually committed suicide, making her a widow at the age of 21. when she came back from abroad, belle got out of the espionage business and decided that she was going to write her book, "belle boyd in karcamp and pris" and then she took her act to the stage and spent the rest of her life on stage displaying various instances during her career during the civil war. again, historians say yes, she did this one thing we know of for sure. we know she had a very parapetic personal life, but nonetheless,
we're not sure if she was really as vital to the confederate war effort as she often portrayed. intelligence in the north, the union also had spies with some notable successes. perhaps one of the most famous who had unfortunately a very short career was timothy webster, hired by pinkerton in 1861. he was a british-born new york city policeman who actually infiltrated richmond. and this is something all intelligence services wanted, to have somebody right in the confederate capitol as high up in the government and military structure as you could get them. webster was a very social individual. met jefferson davis. he actually befriended the confederate state secretary of war judah benjamin. they became quite good friends. because benjamin trusted webster so much, he actually hired him to courier documents for the confederate war department which you can think is wow, could it get any better than this? webster went back and forth between washington and richmond.
on at least four occasions in 1861 to 1862. delivering what were described as very richly detailed intelligence assessments to pinkerton. and these intelligence reports were so detailed that it took pinkerton and two operatives, usually all night to sit and read and assess them. pinkerton did not have courier services, did not have a courier network, didn't have safe houses like many of the earlier es espionage agents did. so when webster took materials from richmond to washington, often on a very direct route, he is carrying the actual documents on his person, which is extremely bad trade craft. he also would collect documents and then decide, well, i could go up next month or the month after that and make this big document drop. so oftentimes the intelligence that webster is bringing to pinkerton, even though it's detailed, is stale. it might be weeks or months old.
and the one thing that you always want in an intelligence service is timely, actionable intelligence. and it doesn't matter if such and such cavalry unit crossed the river if it happened two months ago. okay. spring of 1861, timothy webster gets sick. and he is going to be bedridden for several weeks. and during this absence, pinkerton is getting no reporting from webster. he's very very concerned what has happened to my prize agent in richmond. actually in the war department. and so pinkerton's going to bungle and send two more agents south to richmond to find out what is webster's condition? what is going on with webster ? these two intelligence agented by the name of bryce lewis and john scully are well known to many, many of these pro-south expatriates who have left washington and gone to live in richmond. when they get to richmond, they're rapidly identified by people who knew them up here. they are turned over to the
authorities. they confess and say yes, we are agents for pinkerton. we are down here looking for somebody else. and they say if you don't tell us who and don't reveal the information we want, you're going to go to the gallows. so scully and lewis both say, well, it's timothy webster. so timothy webster is arrested. he does confess. and he is tried. and he is convicted of espionage. in this early time of the war, the same thing true with military forces, oftentimes prisoners were exchanged and paroled. later on in the war, somebody convicted or tried or suspected of espionage would be hanged or shot. there was a thought at the time that the north could intervene on webster's behalf and get him paroled and sent home. rose greenhowe is another example. except during the civil war, they did not shoot or hang female spies. they were usually let loose. webster's not so lucky. all the efforts to have him freed and paroled fail. and historians think this is
probably because of judah benjamin. this was a man he counted as his friend who not only betrayed his trust, betrayed his friendship. so judah benjamin was bound and determined that timothy webster is going to hang. he went to the gallows on the 29th of april, 1862, and another bizarre twist, he had to be hanged twice. when they dropped the trap the first time, his body weight snapped the rope. they picked him up off the ground, dusted him off, marched him right back up to the top, put another rope on him, and timothy webster uttered the immortal words that "i die a second time," and he indeed did. truly great and well-documented northern intelligence agent, probably one of the better ones of the war. that we do have a lot of material on. elizabeth van lew, a richmond native from an aristocratic slave-owning family who sold their slaves before the civil war which becomes important later. and she's going to be educated in philadelphia. and while she is going to
college, she becomes an ardent abolitionist, and she wants to devote the rest of her life to ending slavery in the south. so when the war breaks out, she is very well connected in richmond society. she is very wealthy, and she will put together a 12-member agent ring that is probably state of the art for the time. she's going to run a clandestine escape route for union p.o.w.s for the south. she's going to create her own s cyphers awe see here. she's going to have a series of five safe houses between richmond and washington, d.c., where agents can go to the safe house, drop off the material, go back home and another agent takes it on to the next safe house and can relay information in a very rapid and timely manner. she will figure out now ways of hiding information. for example, she's going to invent the hollowed-out egg where you blow out the egg and you just have a shell. you put the document inside the hollowed-out egg. you put it in a basket with a whole bunch of other eggs, and your agent can just start walking toward washington.
nobody's going to suspect. they're off to the farm market. she also invented the technique of putting coated -- coated messages into dress patterns. she also created a very simple tactic of taking a document that has intelligence on it, folding it up and ripping it up in tiny little pieces and wadding it in a ball and stuff it in the pocket. and you can take that up to somebody in the north, and they will sit down and they'll piece that message back together. all sorts of different ways of concealment. also created some invisible ink. initially she's going to report directly to president lincoln. president lincoln will pass her off to secretary of war stanton. and later in the war, she'll report to george sharp who is the union military of -- bureau of information chief. and this is why we know so much about her because she becomes part of that formal intelligence chain that the union army has. she will do this all on her own time and dime. she's going to be very, very
adept at placing her former slaves in positions where they can collect intelligence that she can filter back up through the line. and as one individual stated, she risked everything that is dear to man, friends, fortune, comfort, health, life itself, all for the one absorbing desire of her heart, that slavery might be abolished and the union preserved. again, we know more of her because she was within the union reporting chain, the military chain later on in the war. and the other factor is that because she spent her own money when the war ended, she was destitute. she waited for several years, and then she filed a claim with the federal government for reimbursement for the expenses she had running an intelligence network during the civil war. the federal government says, well, yes, we will reimburse you, the funds that you expended, but you need to tell us absolutely everything you spent and everything that you did. so she spent her latter years writing down everything she did and all the expenses she had to get the reimbursement, which she eventually did.
so again, she is one we'll talk about her in the future as well. because she comes up again. the last one we want to talk about is pauline cushman, a kentucky aspiring actress. she is very much like belle boyd. she retired very, very early. but she established her pro-south credentials from the stage. she would get up before her performances in 1861, '62. and before she started her act, she would denounce the north, denounce lincoln, denounce republicans and speak highly of the south and jefferson davis. so everybody thought, this is pretty good. her activities didn't last very long. she was discovered on one of her first intelligence missions in the south. she was taken into custody by the confederate army. and the odd thing is that very shortly after she was detained, the confederate troops guarding her were called away. they were redeployed. had no idea what to do this woman, so they left her.
when she made her way up to the north, she said i'm done with this. she sat down, wrote her memoirs and like belle boyd, spent the rest of her life on stage, making money describing her intelligence exploits, however brief they were. afric african-americans as intelligence collection. slaves and former slaves proved an excellent and willing source of information for the north, and they constituted a network in place at the start of the war. runaway slaves gave tactical information to union commanders. they moved very easily between the lines and inside the south. and the material that they provided to the union, to most intelligence operatives and military commanders were referred to as black dispatches. this is a play on word. not only is it being delivered by african-americans, black is the word for covert. they were valued for their timeliness. and black dispatches were considered some of the highest-quality actionable intelligence available.
so the slave population in the south, 3.5 million, provided a ready source of information for union commanders and intelligence services. smart military officers in the union took advantage of this when slaves would approach union lines or come over to the union army. they would sit down and say, where have you come from? what have you seen? are there any rebels in the local area there? and the vast majority of runaways were extremely happy to provide the information. some, however, were a little bit more useful and more special than others. john scobile, for example, the man in the center of this drawing here tipping his hat was a former mississippi slave that was hired by pinkerton in late 1861. and he worked with timothy webster in richmond. he traveled around the south as timothy webster's personal servant. and when webster was arrested, he was, of course, intensely interrogated by the confederate secret service right along with
one of his other cohorts, a woman by the name of lawson, one of pinkerton's female operatives. they didn't bother to -- didn't bother to interrogate him at all. they just told him, "go away." based on the assumption, he was totally unwitting and guileless, he wouldn't be involved in any kind of espionage whatsoever. something that you wouldn't assume that a slave or former slave would do. he then after that point took on all sorts of odd jobs throughout the east and virginia. he worked on riverboats. he worked on rebel centers, military centers as a cook and laborer and continued to feed information back now to elizabeth van lou that was still getting up to the north. w.h. ringgold was also a freed african-american, worked on a riverboat transporting rebel supplies. and he religiously reported to northern commanders especially to george mcclellan, confederate troop movements and dispositions during the 1862 campaign in the peninsula. he is also part of van lou's
ring. mary was a freed slave who worked in the home of a confederate engineer who happened to be designing the css merrimack in early 1862. now, she was supposed to be illitera illiterate, but she had a photographic memory, and she notices the plans for the merrimack sitting on the desk of this engineer, and she took the news of that to the u.s. navy officials who speeded the developments of the "uss monitor," the northern ironclad in time to counter the "merrimack" in 1862. then finally, mary elizabeth bowser was placed by elizabeth van lou. she was one of van lou's former slaves freed before the war. and she was actually placed on the household staff at jefferson davis. she was the nanny to jefferson davis's children. and she was supposedly supposed to be illiterate as well. so security for her was nonexistent.
and she basically would go into jefferson davis's office every evening, take a look to see what was laying on the desk, and she would report that to elizabeth van lou. and she was described that she had a photographic mind and saw everything on the rebel president's desk, and she could repeat it word for word. then finally, harriet tubman, most americans are already familiar with harriet tubman's exploits in creating the underground railway for getting runaway slaves to freedom in the north. prior to the civil war. t tubman, of course, was born in maryland. she put together the system pre-war, and it's a ready intelligence network when the war begins. it is an excellent way for funneling intelligence assets up to the north where they can be interrogated by the union officials. she also is going to put a network together in the carolinas. she puts together nine ex-slaves as her agents. and they will collect intelligence on what the rebels are doing in those areas. and she will also do some early
paramilitary covert operations in july of 1863. as one union general reported to the secretary of war, this is the only military command in american history wherein a woman, black or white, led the raid and under whose inspirations it was originated and concluded. and then, of course, there is a confederate -- there is a union officer comment here that they know the country very well. and they're very, very willing to share that information with us. so, again, they become a very vital source of intelligence. we'll come back to this again. on the cia public website, there is a small monograph called black dispatch that talks about a score of these individuals, runaway slaves, freed slaves who agreed to go back to the south because slaves could move more easily throughout the south than sometimes northern intelligence operatives could. and it's a very, very good
monograph. based on some good, solid information. covert operations also take place during the war. both sides, north and south. perhaps the earliest one is one that's familiar to most of you. walt disney and fess park if for no other reason. this is the great locomotive race which took place in april 1862. this was when volunteers from the union army led by civilian james jay anderson were tasked to travel undercover to steal a rebel train and sabotage the rail line between atlanta and chattanooga to prevent rebel reinforcements in advance of a union assault. rail network in the south, as most of you know, is not very extensive. and so this rail line between atlanta and chattanooga is pretty vital for keeping rebel armies supplied. andrews is already a scout. he's known on both sides. he's a scout and a part-time spy from kentucky. he's also reputed to be a gun
runner and a smuggler, dealing with both sides of the line. he will agree to undertake this operation. he will recruit 22 union soldiers and 1 other civilian. they will sit down and plan the operation in chattanooga. they'd break into small groups, change into civilian clothes, and they make their way to northern georgia. down to marietta, georgia, where they will hijack the train "the general" near what is now big shanny near kennesaw, georgia. big visitors center down there. this is an operation that, again, is supposed to be causing great mayhem to rebel logistics in that area. in all due credit to walt disney, the first part of his -- his first part of his recreation, his dramatization with fess parker of the actual taking of the train is fairly accurate. when it gets toward the end game where things really start getting serious and all that, it kind of goes off the rails. but nonetheless, andrews' group
will actually wait by the station. they're loitering by the station in a big shantee, and they wait for the general to pull in. as was done at that time when there was no food car, everybody gets crew. and at that point andrews and his people get on the locomotive, they push the throttle forward and off they go. now, as the story goes, the conductsor of the train william allen fuller looks out as he's watching his train leave the station and he says, i'm not going to allow this. he takes off after the train first on foot and then on a hand car he will eventually find a locomotive of his own and give chase. this chase will cover the distance of about 116 miles north of big shanty. it will go north of ring gold and a few miles south of chattanooga when andrews' locomotive runs out of fuel and comes to a halt. they all take off, seven of the raiders including an crew are executed as spies on the 7th of
june 1862. having deemed to be engaged in acts of unlawful belligerencecy and the civilians to also be unlawful combatants and spies. eight others of the andrews' party will escape north after trial. six others are returned in 1863 in a p.o.w. swap. the medal of honor is up there bhauz the first neddals of honors went to the andrews' raiders, 19 of them. only military people qualify because andrews was the civilian and one of his other party was a civilian as well. they were not given that award. they weren't eligible. but this represents again one of these early attempts to do a covert operation that could have, if successful, done some real damage to the southern logistics chain in that section of georgia. as it was, they managed to burn or char a few bridges, tear up some rails, cut some telegraph lines, but they did not accomplish the mission.
the south as well is going to -- here's the chase itself. and this is taken on status of legend. if you ever are in big shanty, huge visitor's center, the general has been preserved and again very early example of covert action. the confederates also engaged in covert action far more sophisticated than what we see with the north. this is covert operations not only in the united states but especially abroad. and again, as we mentioned material with rose greenhow, the south was seeking to influence british and french intervention on behalf of the confederacy. there is considerable -- especially those folks who own textile mill whoz are not getting cotton from the south anymore, their primary source. so the south realizing that they might get some sympathy over in
britain or in france will send two former u.s. senators, john slidell, former senator from louisiana, to france and james mason, a former senator from virginia, to the united kingdom, and they're supposed to overtly seek support and covertly buy arms and ships that could be used to break the federal blockade. when they are leaving for europe, security is so incredibly poor that the north finds out which ship they're on. they will intercept their ship in the mid-atlantic and take slidell and mason into custody and bring them back to new york city. now these are diplomatic personnel accredited by the french and british and they both protest and it becomes a major flap between the united states and britain and france. the united states will relent, put these guys ba s back on the and they goo off to perform their duties. slidell in particular is very active in conducting a pro-slouj pro-slavery propaganda campaign
by distributing hand bills throughout both britain and france and planting considera id recruiting european agents. he's recruiting european agents because he wants to buy arms. it's illegal in britain to sell arms to a belligerent. so he'll hire a go-between, a british subject, to will go do the deal, buy the weapons put them on a ship. the ship will go outside international waters and a confederate blockade runner will pull up outside, offload the material and the deal is done and the british can say, we didn't break any laws. slidell will create a foreign extension of a secret line. he'll hire foreign agencies to make blind purchases and he will also succeed in negotiating the purchase of two raiders ship, the css florida and the css alabama. he'll do this in conjunction with another very famous confederate agent by the name of james dunnwoody bullock who is a relative of future president
theodore roosevelt. he will also try to purchase rams from the laird company, the rams are the ships that you see in the center. they are actual ironclads that can do some real damage if they collide with a merchant ship. these are state-of-the-art war ships and bullock is putting together the agreement. now, this is going to be foiled at the last minute by several american diplomats, henry shul ford sanford, the u.s. minister to belgium. he's going to catch word that this is going ta icking place, he's going to work with harlow morris in england and where the rams are being made at the laird company and they will succeed in bribing several british workers to give us the blueprints, give us the timetable, give us the dimensions of these ships and when they're expected to be released, and they will collect this information. they'll forward this on to the u.s. ambassador in london charles francis adams who will go to the foreign minister lord russell and will tell him
flat-out, if these rams end up in confederate hands, we would consider that a uk act of war against the united states with results that you could expect. the british will defer, and they will cancel this sale. the two ironclads are eventually i think one is sold to france, the other sold to turkey. they just did not end up in u.s. hands. but again -- confederate hands. this again is done behind the scenes so none of this is known publicly at the time except to the parties involved. later after the civil war, the united states the file a lawsuit against the british for the damages done by the "uss florida" and the "alabama." it will be known as the alabama claims and the british will actually end up settling and making good most of the damage done by the convict ged rascy on merchant shipping in the latter years of the civil war. covert operations at home, in 1864, the confederate government is going to create something
known as a secret service fund. it's like an intelligence budget it's in the amount of $5 million to finance the campaign of sabotage within the northern tats. 1 million of this is going to go to confederate saboteurs based in toronto, canada. canada at the time oddly enough is pro-south. there is a prervasive belief north of our border that if the south good does secede from the union, the united states will invade canada. not sure where that came from, but they will tolerate southern sympathizers and saboteurs in their midst and this goes on throughout the civil war. the first major operation of this ring operating out of toronto is carried out under thomas henry hyde, and he is one of the more active confederate agents. his first and primary project is to organize the copperheads, these are pro-south northerners
living in what we would call the old northwest today, indiana, ohio, michigan, illinois. and what heinz wants to do is reach out to clement a lending hand, try to see if we could organize all the pro-south residents of these northern states into a rebellion. they'll revolt against the united states and create a northern confederacy. as one historian pointed out, thomas henry heinz was very much a southern patriot and idealist and enthusiast and he happened to come into contact with a lot of people who didn't necessarily share his enthusiasm. this is one of his plots that did not take place. so he goes on to other thixgs. he has a plot to seize chicago during a democratic national convention in 1864, will actually have 70 of his operatives in the city during the convention waiting for word from richmond to go ahead and do this. after they take over chicago, they're going to go and liberate the p.o.w.s at camp douglas,
releasing these several thousands of prisoners into the northern heartland. part of the plan was that they were going to go next door to camp morton in indianapolis and liberate the prisoners there, then go up to northern ohio to camp sun dusky and actually have this massive rebellion behind the lieps. that did not work as well. the ring is going to be exposed by a man by the name of felix stieger who will be placed inside one of the indiana pro-south organizations known as the southern knights of the golden circle. and he will dutifully take notes on who he meets and what plans he hears. he'll turn this over to the union military authorities and this will be wrapped up and rolled up in the fall of 1864. another confederate agent that is very active during this time year period is john yates biel,
another agent coming out of toronto. he is very active in new york. one of thhis plots was to seize the "uss michigan," a u.s. navy gun boat on the great lakes. that plan did not come to fruition so he had to settle for sabotage railroads and burning railroad ybridges in northern nw york. he is tried and convicted of sabotage and he will be hanged on the 24th of february of 1864. one of the last times that we actually do hear of this toronto group is their plot in november of 1864 to start a series of fires in new york city in the hotels there with the hope to burn down the city and spark off riots similar to the draft riots and race riots that had occurred the year before. they do actual little set fires in new york city, but the concentration is not nearly of the extent that they want. this is the check given to the secret service fund to the toronto people from the confederate treasury. again, signed by benjamin and
also written on the stationery of the executive office of jefferson davis. one other famous covert action raid by confederates operating out of toronto, one of the most successful also made into a very bad movie back in the 1950s is the raid on st. all bins in 1864. this involves 22 confederate operatives operating out of toronto who attack st. albans. it's barely across the border from canada. they rob several bank s of neary $200,000 and escape back into canada. the united states knowing of course that this is a confederate raid will pressure the canadian government to track these people down. they are tracked down. they are imprisoned in canada for violation of canada's law against launching armed attacks into other nations. they will be be released at war's end. but again, one of the more successful covert actions.
one final point we want to make before we go away from this, during the civil war, distinction between scouts and spies are going to be very much blurred. the distinction between what they would call information or what we would call intelligence today is also blurred. many of these terms are used interchangeably. but when it comes to scouts working for the military or spies working for civilians an age-old custom would tend to prevail. if you were caught in your army's uniform you were considered a prisoner of war. if you were in disguise you were a spy and you could be hanged or summarily shot. such happened to the rebel spy sam davis who was executed on the twe27th of november 1863 ev though he was 16 years old. the number of suspected spies executed by both sides is unknown because of the lack of roshds. most confederate records burned in 1865 and the secrecy that
surrounded most executions and the amateurish nature in scant local record keeping. so chances are if somebody was suspected of being a spy, they were probably dealt with quite harshly and we don't have a record of scores or hundreds or perhaps even thousands of people that had this -- that filled this fate. we also want to point out during the civil war technical inventions and innovations become very, very prominent. united states just is in the opening stages of the industrial revolution so science and technology is appearing where none had before. and intercepting military communications is going to become a very, very rich source of intelligence on both sides. the primary player here for the north is albert j. myers pictured here who becomes in 1863 the chief of the u.s. army signal corps. he is a direct report to general stanton so this is a very, very
highly placed, important post. myers had worked before the war as a telegraph operator and as a medical officer on the frontier. he had noticed various american indian tribes using smoke signals and hand signals to communicate with each other. so he sat down and thought about this and came up with something known as the wigwag system of communications. this involves using flags, two flags on each side, somewhat like semaphore, but if you move the flags to the right like morse code of dots and dashes it served to form letters and numbers. standing atop large signal towers, we'll go back and see the towers, soldiers could communicate across large distances using telescopes they could also observe enemy communications. now, myers' deputy setting up this wigwag system is a captain in the union army by the name of e. alexander porter.
in 1861 mr. porter who is a virginian decides, i'd rather go home and serve the south and he takes myers' system with him. so the wigwag system becomes the signal communications system for the confederacy as well, which greatly complicates things. now each side can read each other's communications. so both sides had to develop deciphering systems or code systems to encode their communications. myers would remain with the u.s. army signal corps long after the war, and he would actually end up being the founder and the director of the u.s. weather service. this is the major albert myers who ft. meyer here in virginia is named after. communications and intelligence collection a very important part of the signal corps signals communications is their primary mission. but you can imagine if you're going and setting up a 100-foot tower out in the countryside you're looking for the highest absolute point to do that for the maximum visibility.
once you get that tower constructed, and you get a signal officer up there, he is looking around. he can see confederate forces or he can see northern forces. so they're often collecting intelligence on dispositions and movements when that's not primarily their main purpose. so a good amount of very good intelligence will come from the signal corps. and again, the union signal flag here. this is alexander's disclaimer promising that i'm not going to steal your information, as he goes off to the south. so this is comparable to what people would sign today saying, i'm not going to reveal secrets, but he nonetheless did. okay, other signals intelligence. the invention of the telegraph in the 1840s will prompt the development of signals interception through wiretapping although documented cases of this actually taking place in the civil war are very scant.
there's many allusions to the fact, we tapped into the wire here, we tapped into the wire it there, but documented cases of actually having an impact are quite rare. the u.s. military telegraph system is going to handle about 4500 messages per day at home and abroad. the atlantic telegraph cable had just gone into operation in 1858. it is coming into the north so they're not only getting communications domestically, they're getting foreign communications that have intelligence value as well. most telegraph intercepts, however, took place through captured telegraph offices. federal telegraphers would scramble words in a prearranged pattern, a technique known as a routing code, to prevent their communications from being read. but there is going to be a communication that goes out from robert e. lee in 1862 telling his people, don't send messages in the clear over the telegraph because they can be intercepted. one of the more famous cases is albert sydney johnson who at
that time is going to be headquartered in bowling green, kentucky, is going to have all of his communications for a several month period intercepted and translated. this is befored battle of shilo. so the stylistic picture here of the guy sitting in the tent actually having gotten a wire off the pole and they're putting it in the tent because it's a lot more comfortable than doing what the other guy is, this not actu might not be what's real. it might be a post-car of what you could do. encryptions and ciphers. the confederates will use an enkrimgs system. not too wisely they'll use one invented in france. it's a key word that is set up to a matrix in which each letter is acquired a different equivalent each time it was used in a message. the system is widely known throughout europe and the united states. it's very easily broken. through most of the car, the union was reading coded
confederate messages. in the north, albert meieror will develop a cipher disk that looks a lot like the cipher wheel pictured here that the confederates use. mcclellan will go one step better. he's going to hire an ston stagger, the general manager of the western union company. remember mcclellan is a railroad engineer prior to the war, railroad vice president, so he knows stagger there. and stagger will put together an unbreakable route cipher system that will be used throughout the war by the north. it contains a message and a number of predetermined columns that are read either up or down or across according to a key that is given in the first word of the message. so on translating the code word tells you that you read the first column first from top down, then you go to the fifth column, read it bottom up, then the third column top down, and
fourth bottom up. nouns are all going to be code words. so this is a system that serves the north quite well, and they don't have the deciphering problems that the confederacy did. president lincoln had a very personal interest in encryption. thought this was fascinating material. he used to go over to the war department, which is the oemd executive office today next to the white house, and he would often sit next to three of the union army dekripgs experts one named david homer bates, arthur chandler and charles tinker. these three were known as the sacred three because they had a very, very refined talent of being able to break messages. so lincoln would often sit there and work with them through the night as cables came in. another technical innovation, we see the birth of overhead reconnaissance. 20-year-old thaddeus s.c. lowe is a tankerer, an arrow naught and he will make the first balloon ascent above washington on the anticipateth 18th of juna
demonstration of overhead reconnaissance for president lincoln and provide the first realtime message from the air to the president. i understand this was re-created by the smithsonian several years later on i think the 150th anniversary. but lowe will take his balloon up quite close to where the washington monument is today and he will have this message sent down to lincoln who is watching it take place in the white house. and again, pointing out that this could be an enormous intelligence asset to the union. the union army balloon corps is going to be formed as a result in 1861. president lincoln is very, very impressed. it will swr seven balloons and nine balloonists with lowe of course being appointed the chief u.s. aero naught. lowe's balloons are a technical innovation of the day. unlike most balloons at the time filled with hot air, lowe's balloons used hydrogen gas for lift. these balloons are accompanied by gigantic wagons you see in
the pictures. these wagons contain two compartments, one full of iron filings and the other with liquid sulfuric acid. when they pull up to the deployment point, the two are combined and they -- bubbles away. while the hydrogen allows the balloon to stay aloft longer, the transportation and road network at the time is very crude making movement difficult. in addition, the fast pace of troop movements and combat operations often means the balloons are far behind and their equipment a nonpriority item for either rail or wagon transport. it would typically take three to four hours to raise this balloon enough that you could get it aloft and actually put a man in it. you can imagine if the army is moving back and you're still back there trying to fill up your bloonl, it's not going to be timely intelligence. the greatest success of the balloon corps was between march and may of 1862 when they
provided intelligence to the army of the potomac and george mcclellan during the pennsylvania campaign. they verified the defenses of richmond as mapped out by john c. babcock. they mapped out the defenses of richmond from the air. we see the map coming right up here. john c. babcock one of pinkerton's former intelligence agents is going to be doing this. they will also provide order of battle information which is the number of troops in the confederate ranks on the rebels at fair oaks in virginia. and they'll use these new methods to determine rebel strengths. counting rebel camp fires at night is a particularly good way to figure out how large is the rebel army. you figure there's one camp fire for so many individuals. count the fires and you can extrapolate numbers of enemy soldiers. they also engaged in artillery spotting for federal batteries. the balloons also interested many union soldiers.
in particular, fitz john porter was the first union officer to ascend above 1,000 feet. he's pictured here courtesy of lowe. he was followed by george armstrong custer. porter and custer had somewhat of a rivalry and porter said, i went up to 1,000 feet. i bet you, george, wouldn't be willing to do the same thing. custer was actually ordered to go up and he was ordered to make daily follow-up ascents. no longer viewing these after the first few flights with the reluctance attending the reception of the first, he suggested going aloft just after revelly every morning to observe breakfast and cooking fires. the result custer wrote, fulfilled my expectations. the fires could be seen -- an assessment impossible po make in daylight. through daily observations custer becomes expert at locating enemy positions discerning artillery muzzle flashes and determining day-to-day enemy troop
provements. his first reaction is recorded in his memoir after porter said, i want you to go up, george, and george said, sure, i'll do that, i can handle this. he later recorded that when he was asked, do you really want to do this? he said, you know, i really don't want to, but i kind of on the hook here. so nonetheless, becomes a very, very vital intelligence collection tool. but, as with any new technology that comes into the intelligence world, there are going to be efforts to counter it. the confederates would initially try to shoot down these union aero naughts, but the muskets lacked the range. the artillery pieces did not have the range. the balloonists could communicate by telegraph with union artillery where the rebel guns were located. the confederates took other americas however to conceal their efforts by in placing in campments and woods placing fake cannons, logs painted black to look from the air like artillery
pieces and telling their troops that you're going to have to black out your camp, extinguish your camp fires or consolidate the camp fires. so every technical innovation tends to create a counter effort. logistical difficulties in moving and operating lowe's balloons, the rapid movement of armies all proved very frustrated for those in the balloon corps. lowe also ran afoul of secretary of war stanton in the spring of 1863 for alleged misappropriation of funds and government equipment. he was called back to washington by stanton to sit down and detail in writing an accounting for his procedures and where the money and equipment had gone. lowe instead sat down and wrote a 300,000-word history of his accomplishments and then resigned and returned to private life in june of 1863. the u.s. army balloon corps was disbanded very soon after that. not to return until later on in the century.
military intelligence in the civil war. going away from more of the technical, going away from the espionage to what do the military services do with this both north and south. one of the major problems when we talk about collectors and customers one of the major problems that intelligence organizations had during the civil war attached to the military is even when you get good intelligence, actionable intelligence, accurate intelligence, it's difficult sometimes to get the commander to accept it as being genuine or to make proper use of that. that is a problem with intelligence services around the world even yet today. good intelligence not used by the policy maker for whatever reason. this is particularly a problem in the north and the south during the civil war because of a traditional military doctrinal idea. military intelligence up until the time in the civil war and even beyond that is considered to be a function of command. it is something that any
professional officer should know how to do and should do. so the intelligence depended on the intelligence of the commander and intelligence collector and analysis and use was seen as a command function. if the commander understood the importance and use of intelligence, prudent decisions could and would be made. if the commander had no ideas what intelligence was or how to use it to inform decisions, disaster could and very often did result. even when a commander had an intelligence service and this happened on both sides throughout the war, they often relied on their own judgment in making command decisions and found much of the information they were presented with to be suspect or unreliable. ulysses s. grant as we'll point out a little bit later on a very, very good book on grant's use of intelligence during the civil war was one of these that was very receptive to intelligence being given to him. he was very good at sorting out what was valid and what was not.
but he would never let the intelligence dictate what he did. if he saw an opportunity, maybe if it's even a risk, he would take that opportunity rather than be -- what was in the intelligence reporting. during the civil war, intelligence reports came from a variety of sources and reached an equally astounding number of consumers all who could act or fail of to act on what they had received. so, again, very rarely as a military commander getting intelligence from a sole source. he's more than likely being inundated by information from multiple sources that he has to sort out. the president, secretary of war general and chief of the union army, governors, all received or operated intelligence collection units at one time or another or received a multitude of reports from scouts and spies. so the second quote up here, the commanders tended to be skeptical about the reliability of the information they are
receiving is not necessarily a bad thing. and again, these two quotes come from the u.s. army's official history of military intelligence written by two colleagues. used to work with years ago, goes into depth on what intelligence was like in the army at the time right up through the end of the first world war. it's very telling. so again, sometimes intelligence is very vital to a commander. sometimes it's not. but it often depends on the individual. most military commanders were receiving like politicians intelligence from a single individual. for example, allen pinkerton is going to be the contractor, not government official, the contractor hired by george mcclellan to set up an intelligence service for his command. first the division of the ohio when he's out in west virginia and later when mcclellan becomes the commander of the army of the potomac. pinkerton has pre-war experience. he is a scottish born imbrant to the united states.
he becomes a chicago policeman. decides he doesn't like that work and sets up his own private detective agency. this is the signboard that used to hang outside his office. this is where we get private eye. because of the eyeball in the center. we never sleep. so the eyeball is always open, private eye. so he made a good business out of this. he knew lincoln before the war. he had also worked with mcclellan. mcclellan was the vice president of the illinois central. so he was a natural to be hired by mcclellan when mcclellan took command of the army of the potom potomac. he took on the cover name of e.j. allen and designated himself the chief of the united states secret service. again as we mentioned earlier, nobody else considered him that. that's a title made up for himself. nobody else was taken except lafayette baker. we weren't paying attention to him so you could have the title. he was going to have an agency of about 28 people working for him while he's working for mcclellan. and they're going to do a very
good job of assessing trying to do strategic assessments. he again knows both lincoln and mcclellan. he is going to be remembered today for providing erroneous estimates of rebel strengths to mcclellan. and this is a very controversial topic. you can find historians on both sides of it. allegedly the worst case scenario is that mcclellan provided -- that pinkerton provided mcclellan the numbers that mcclellan wanted to hear about rebel strength rather than the information he should have given that was far more accurate. during the peninsula campaign, for example, mcclellan estimated that there probably were about 100,000 rebels under lee's command that he was facing in that campaign to advance on richmond when the number was actually about half that. later on that fall, mcclellan is going to claim that lee's force advancing into myrrh maryland
today the battle of an teat a.m. has over 100,000 people. just for sanity check, the people in northern virginia never exceeded 100,000 people. mcclellan is reporting to stanton there's 170,000 rebels in lee's force. i need more people. now, mcclellan is just brand-new on the payroll and he's going to estimate for mcclellan that lee's army is about 98,000. that is about double what it was. historians are puzzled at this. mcclellan saying 170,000, that is a guest i mat at best. he has no idea. pinkerton who's supposed to have the agents out who are actually counting heads and units is going to come up with a figure that's not quite as extensive as 170,000, but it's 98,000, which again is twice what it was. historians have uncovered evidence of collusion by both of them to knowingly inflate figures, the purpose supposedly being because mcclellan was seeking more troops and resources. mcclellan will keep pinkerton on
as his main intelligence officer even after the inconclusive battle at an teat um that will result in mcclellan being fired by lincoln. pinkerton will retire with mcclellan and go back to his private practice in chicago. after the war's going to run a very, very successful law enforcement agency, detective agency. he will pursue the james brothers, butch cassidy and the sundance kid, the pink othertons will become very, very notorious as strike breakers in the latter part of the 19th century and pinkerton will die in 1884 very much still controversial figure. and again the order of battle figures are still debated yet today. his primary rival, we do want to point out mcclellan is getting the services of pinkerton only. pinkerton is not working for the entire union army. he is the personal intelligence adviser for pinkerton. same with lafayette baker. lafayette baker is a new yorker. before the civil war, he was a
vigilante in california, very active in san francisco during the vigilante era. he initially worked with charles pomeroy stone in 1861 and like pinkerton he called himself the chief of the u.s. secret service, although he worked just for initially winfield scott. then he transferred to work with secretary of state seward and finally he ended up working for secretary of war edwin stanton. he ran an organization he called the national detective police. it had 30 employees centered in washington, d.c. they did very little outside work or very few infiltrations of the confederacy. but baker was extremely zealous in police and intelligence services within the district of columbia, especially against profiteers, corrupt officials, prostitutes, desseerters and gamblers. he's accuses of acting in excess and combining law enforcement with agency brat operations.
he is so notorious for tossing suspects into the old capitol prison that lincoln one remarked to a citizen complaining about an organ grinder on the street that baker will steal the organ and throw the owner in the old capitol and you'll never be troubled by this guy again. like others, baker served a man and not the entire nation. he allegedly traveled through virginia under cover on several occasions, was allegedly arrested and questioned and interviewed by jefferson davis. he would not break his cover and he was released to report on richmond circumstances to federal authorities. this is detailed in his memoirs. there is no surviving solid documentation to support any of that. one of his critics said, yes, his memoirs are full of an incredible number of quite tall tales. so, again, serving a man, not necessarily the entire cause. one individual was oftentimes overlooked, one of the more successful intelligence officers of the civil war, grenville
dodge. grenville dodge will serve as the intelligence chief and will be a direct report to u.s. grant and william sherman in the west. he is a former railroad engineer from council bluffs, iowa. he had a very broad view of intelligence, put a lot of thought into organizing intelligence services for the army of the west. he ended up running agents about 130 in number from mississippi through georgia. there are over 200 intelligence missions on record that dodge's people carried out. he was very adept at using multiple sources including runaway slaves, very quick to use women and a well-trained corps of scouts, cavalry and including many pro-union southerners he would recruit for reconnaissance behind the lines. very adept at gathering information from whatever source he could. he understood intelligence and counter intelligence and what was one of the first soldiers to encrypt all of his communications and those of his superiors. he is instrumental in providing
intelligence during the atlanta campaign and for sherman's march to the sea in 1864. interestingly enough, he funded his operation, funded his people, hired his recruits and paid their salaries by selling contraband cotton that he come acro across. this caught the eye of edwin stanton in 1864 who said, what are you doing with all this money? and dodge told him, i'm running an intelligence service for william sherman, and stanton said, that's fine with me. later the chief engineer of the union pacific railroad oversees construction of the first transcontinental railroad from council bluffs, iowa, his hometown to san francisco, california, completed in 1869. he has a memoir. it's not very detailed, which brings up the point that those who tended to write the most about their intelligence exploits tended to have the fewest intelligence exploits. those people that did more tended to write less. intelligence failures north and south and then we're going to
take a short break here. intelligence failures, jeb stewart often acted as the eyes and ears of lee's army of northern virginia. lee once said of stewart he never brought me a piece of false information. stewart would provide reconnaissance and scouting as well as run agents. one of his most useful agents was benjamin franklin stringfellow if you're familiar with stringfellow road in fairfax county. he was a dental assistant that provided information to lee. cavalry again has the purpose of being a highly mobile combat force, but one of their primary functions during the war is providing scouting and reconnaissance many many many military commanders north and south had a very difficult time getting cavalrymen to go out and do this routine riding around the countryside. most preferred to do raiding. most preferred to take prisoners. most preferred to do anything but just riding around looking
for rebel troops. jeb stewart was better than most. in the fall of 1862, lee is planning to invade the north, and he's going to move into the north's backyard to bring foreign intervention hopefully. and he has an army of approximately 60,000 men and he hopes to attack and destroy harrisburg, pennsylvania. however, due to very poor security, lee's plan known as special order 191 is discovered by a union corporal at an abandoned confederate campsite wrapped in three cigars discovered on the 13th of december of 1862. i have a picture here of special order 191. this is lee's campaign plan that is going out to his five core commanders who tend to travel separately until they converge on the battlefield. much easier with an army that doesn't have a very secure supply line to fan your troops out, let them live off the land. and so this document is supposed to be going to general d.h. hill
and it is dropped by a courier by a camp fire wrapped around a bundle of three cigars. as one historian said, despite fidel castro, these are probably? of the famous cigars in history. this order is given to mcclellan. now, where this gets controversial is many people say well, mcclellan looked at this good fortune and said, this really can't be real. this has to be a deception. you don't leave your operational plan just sitting out in the middle of nowhere. you can imagine what the courier who dropped this was thinking at the same time. d.h. hill had no idea that his orders hadn't come through because he had already received them. this was a copy of the orders coming to him. so nobody knew that mcclellan had this. so mcclellan some historians say was very, very skeptical at first. most recent sources i looked at said, no, he looked at this and saw this was the genuine article and now he had the operational plan for the an teat um campaign. he was able, if he would move quickly, to get his army
together and to deal a crushing blow to lee's army. but as we know, mcclellan is a very cautious commander. he will dwaud el for five days before he gets his army together at ant eat um. and this is called by one historian an amazing intelligence coup but also one that's squandered because mcclellan doesn't move fast enough. the interesting thing about this, special order 191 before the battle of an teat um appeared in the new york herald. several officers had leaked this intelligence coup to the press. the press went right ahead and wrote about it in the paper. so this could really turn out to be a double intelligence failure for the south because the south was typically reading the new york newspapers, did not see this article in time to report book to lee that, by the way, your plan is sitting on the front page. and again, the other thing the other failure in this is that mcclellan, while he did believe this was actually a genuine
document, didn't anticipate that operational changes take place in any document. we all know whenever a battle plan is made, the first time a shot is fired, the plan goes out the door. well, as lee's forces came up to sharpstown in maryland, the operational plan changed a few tweaks and mcclellan didn't anticipate this. so, again, it's a bungled operation all the way around. we can characterize the battle of an teat um, characterize by poor intelligence on both sides. it's overwhelmingly, however, military leadership and tactical failure not as much as an intelligence failure. pinkerton, for all his misestimates of enemy forces, was not the only source of intelligence that mcclellan was receiving at the time. mcclellan was getting reports from signals officers, from his cavalry and also from balloons and all of this was bypassing pinkerton who was not a centralized director of central intelligence, but this is all going directly up to mcclellan.
so pinkerton was just another report up to mcclellan. if anything, mcclellan was suffering from a glut of intelligence and a great deal of intelligence noise. for the north, this comes down to basically poor leadership led to an indecisive battle that could have ended the war, had the commanders moved far more aggressively. we do want to mention that in the aftermath of an teat um there are consequences to failed intelligence. lee will manage to retreat back to northern virginia with most of his army intact. and mcclellan who had a reserve of 25,000 men and didn't bother to use them during the battle is going to be fired by abraham lincoln. pinkerton, of course, going out and going back to his private detective business. most of his staff that we see pictured here is going to stay involved in intelligence for the rest of the war working for the union army. next episode we have about intelligence failure, this
is a.m. broes birdside who takes over the army of the potomac. he's not a very astute collector of intelligence xs when he's advancing into northern virginia during the fredericksburg campaign he didn't use the local spies that were available to him, didn't have his people question p.o.w.s or deserters, he didn't insist on the cavalry going out and doing scouting. so he is largely ignorant of lee's dispositions and strengths rg rebel defenses at fredericksburg with the results in major defeat in december of 1862. he was sacked of course in january of 1863. as the intelligence historian edward fisher wrote, the story of burnside's intelligence preparations for the campaign, fredericksburg, is a list of things not done. so we don't remember burnside as being a very astute consumer. however, burnside's replacement general joseph hooker, who is often remembered as being a
mediocre general, is going to be the person who puts into place the first all-source intelligence organization in the union army. he is going to hire a new york city policeman or lawyer, rather, george a. sharp as a depp thank you provost army of the potomac in february of 1863. he's going to be aided by john babcock who had worked for pinkerton now is going to come work for sharp. sharp is a kingston, new york, rutgers and yale educated lawyer so he will create what is known as the bureau of military information which will produce analytical reports from interrogations, open source materials. he will assemble eventually 70 agents and he will be providing the first comprehensive intelligence reports both strategic and tactical for the army of the potomac. he will command military intelligence and provide in depth order of battle intelligence too hooker in the
days before the chancellorville campaign and again putting together intelligence like we would see it in the modern era. here's sharp, of course, sitting with several of his officers. slarp is a staff-level direct report to hooker so he is on hooker's actual military staff. contrary to legend, hooker is a very astute consumer of intelligence, although often prone to a glut of reporting. so there's too much noise coming in. sharp will collect from cavalry, p.o.w.s. he will do the collection and analysis, and that makes his intelligence service not a function of command but a staff function. and his assessments of lee's order of battle are going to be very, very good prior to chancellorville. actually, it would be within 2% of the actual strength of lee's army. this is a order of battle assessment. so this listing if we were to blow this up and be be able to read the handwriting is a complete listing of all the units and commanders and their strengths and lee's army in
northern virginia prior to the battle of chancellorville. so this is the type of reporting that a commander can really really use. it is something that sharp and his people said, this is something that we can provide to the commander that is actionable intelligence. this is really news they can use. however, hooker is going to fall victim to a major failure that's going to forever tarnish his reputation not only for his use of intelligence but also his military acumen. quite unfairly. during the battle of chancellorville on the second day, lee is going to break off stone wall jackson's troo troops a force of about 26,000 that are going to skirt around union lines and come up and hit the union positions from the rear. and federal troops are going to be defending the opposite direction and they're just settling in for the night after dinner on the afternoon of the 2nd of may 1863 at 6:00 p.m., and they're going to be caught
by surprise by jackson's troops coming up from behind them through the woods. and while they're caught by surprise that evening, federal troops will rally the next day on the 3rd of may but a very badly shaken hooker will order a wholesale retreat, withdrawing before rebel army only half the size of his own, 60,000 troops versus 130. now, hooker's subordinates one of the key things to remember about intelligence going up and down the chain are actually watching stonewall jackson's redeployment take place. they're passing by their positions within eyesight. so they're seeing this actually taking place throughout the afternoon of may 2nd, but most of hooker's subordinates are expecting intelligence to be coming down from the top to their commands. they're not thinking things are happening here, i should be reporting up the chain. so by the time that hooker realizes what is actually happening, it's too late for sharp to do anything about it
and to provide an actual assessment. so this does become a major intelligence surprise. in the aftermath of this, hooker is going to blame sharp and the bureau of intelligence for failure at chancellorville. we want to point out we have this in capital letters here, it is not unusual to blame failures on the intelligence service for tactical or political failures. sharp, however, is going to push back in military circles within the army. he's not going to go public with this. and despite the dispute with hooker, hooker did not fire sharp and continued in command of the army as lee approached gettysburg in late june of 1863. sharp for his part continued to be a professional and to provide hooker with the same levels and quality of intelligence as before and hooker used it quite wisely. nonetheless, lincoln will fire hooker as the commander of the army of the potomac in june 1863 replacing him with george gordon immediate. the assessment by christopher
andrew is pretty apt, that hooker did get an awful lot of information and perhaps he received too much information for him to be able to make a wise decision based upon it. contrary to legend, the battle of gettysburg as we have often heard was not an intelligence surprise with two armies bumping into each other. hooker and meade both knew of lee's movements from sharp's reporting and other sources. local reporting and also from the cavalry. deserters and p.o.w.s also were informing him of lee's northward advance into pennsylvania. meade indeed had better intelligence of lee than lee had of the army of the potomac. nonetheless, lee is going to receive reports from a very mysterious spy a man by the name of henry thomas harrison who knew the general location of union forces that reported to lee, allowing him to concentrate the army in northern virginia in time to respond to the appearance of the union armies in southern pennsylvania. but not to put his troops in a
place or time of his own choosing. after harrison reports to lee, gives him great information about yankee movements, disappears. we have no other word of what he was, who he was, where he went after that. just went out into history. meade, on the other hand, was a master of intelligence, perhaps the best since washington. he was able to analyze masses of intelligence reporting and on his own determine the proper course of action and deployment. the occupation of high ground in advance of lee's arrival at gettysburg reflects meade's zlent work. he knew what he was supposed to do and where he was supposed to do it. in addition, meade of had a nine-page report from sharp on lee's move pmentes since may of 1863 including a complete order of battle and his army, the marching orders and direction of the confederate armies. the confederate army and this is a quote is under marching orders and an order from general lee was very late he read to the troups announcing a campaign of long marches and hard fighting
and part of the country where they would have no railroad transportation. so, as the battle is engaged, sharp and the military information bureau are still collecting intelligence to report to meade, as the fighting is actually taking place. sharp is going to continue to collect collection on lee's forces, and it's going to be his analysis of what units have actually been engaged in the battle on the 1st and 2nd of july that is going to give a prediction to meade that there is one more division left in lee's army that has not yet been engaged. a small under strengthed division commanded by general pickett. based on this information, meade is anticipating this last confederate fresh division might be deployed somewhere on the third day of battle. so again sharp is going to take credit for not only saying, hey, we have such good read of what the enemy forces are and what enemy forces are depleted and have not been used that we can actually predict what might happen on the battlefield.
so when pickett's charge does take place on the final day of the battle, it importance to what sharp had told meade that he could probably expect. robert e. lee will count pickett's charge as a major intelligence failure. he had miscalculated the strength of the union line atop cemetery ridge. he had launched a frontal inf t infantry assault who failed to break the line and suffered losses. lee would later note the mistake in launching the attack but also record that he had less information on union forces at that time than at any other point during the war. he fought the battle of gettysburg without the benefit of any sort of intelligence, especially due to jeb stewart's late arrival and poor scouting. sharp continued to provide detailed reports to the remainder of the war to the army of the potomac including scouts for sheridan where shared a remark where sharp's guys cheerfully go wherever ordered in order to attain that great information. sharp's bureau of information
provided intelligence on numbers of troops, artillery and any specific information wanted by u.s. grant at petersburg until the very end the war. serving in grant's headquarters as a member of his staff sharp had even placed agents in the confederate war in navy departments by this time. one of sharp's greatest intelligence accomplishments in this period was the recruitment of samuel roof, the superintendent of the richmond fredericksburg potomac railway. working under slarp's orders, roof would -- and slowed repairs to tracks an bridges. roof was arrested on suspicion of being a spy but his cover was so good he was soon released for a lack of evidence. sharp tightened security efforts especially in the last two wars, clearly showing the importance of intelligence in modern war and to the modern commander. within months at the end of the civil war, however, in keeping what was becoming a very disturbing american tradition, the intelligence networks of
both sides went into the history books as going to be forgotten for a generation until the next crisis later on in the century. i want to point out a couple of books before we break here for any questions. as i suggest to my intelligence officers on what books to read, i tell them, read everything. read the good books. read the bad books. read the ugly books. read as much as you possibly can. history has a wonderful way of sel self-correcting. so if there's a very bad history out there, historians will usually note it and pass it on to other historians. but there are a plethora of book out there, several score on intelligence of the civil war. two that i find most useful and on a lot of intelligence officers bookshelves is the first 1 by edwin fischel who was a national security agency officer for many, many years. this book came out in 1996, fischel passed away in 1999.
it is a real myth busting book. i would encourage you to take a look at that. based on primary sources, he had access to george sharp's papers that had been untouched since the civil war. discovered them out at the national archives in 1959, spent the next 40 years writing this book. the other one is grant's secret service came out -- just came out a couple of years ago about grant's use of intelligence. also very good. then some free things. first book up here, military intelligence is available for the united states army center of military history down at ft. mcnair, also available online in pdf. go to the army website www history.army.mill and you can find that title, and download an electronic title. the other two are put out by the central intelligence agency. the first one intelligence in the civil war is a very small mono graph put out by our office of public affairs but it's very good, very, very well researched. it is available on the cia's public website at www.cia.gov.
just go to the search line and type in "civil war" and it will come out. also black disattapatcdispatche. -- i want to thank you for your time and your attention. and i am available to take any questions that you might have. [ applause ] >> very few questions because we are out of time. yes, sir? >> just curious, what was the navy doing? >> had a blockade around the south trying to prevent blockade runners from coming in from great britain. and doing very well at it. sir? >> thank you for the very good
presentation. two quick questions. one, i noticed that all the documents -- all the images say unclassified. is there anything from the civil war that's still classified? i doubt not. >> absolutely not. no. >> based on the years and all that. another thing is, after the battle of manassas, the first one, my understanding is that some commanders in the confederate army wanted to go to washington and based on assessment and intelligence jeff davis decided other ways. i wanted to see if you had any thoughts on that. >> yeah. >> did stewart's writing around the union army prior to gettysburg and depriving lee of his eyes and ears influence the outcome of the battle or not? >> no. you know, it's still controversial to this day i. don't think so actually. lee had a pretty good idea where union forces were, and fischel makes the comment that very,
very rarely did lee not have a clue where union forces were. they operated mainly in northern virginia. and when they came into northern virginia lee had an intelligence support network where people would when they came into nortn virginia, lee had an intelligence support network of people saying a huge army just went by my house. so it's far more of a problem for northern intelligence to keep track of lee when he's in the north. but lee did not seem to have the same kind of problems of keeping track. >> he was upset that seward didn't show up until the second day. >> very much so. it could have changed the whole battle. quite disappointed, but not sure if his showing up earlier would have changed the tide of the war or changed the tide of battle. i'm somewhat skeptical. we have a question over here as well? >> yeah, did you find evidence that dr. murray lizwelizabeth
walker, was a union spy? in the evidence? >> i don't know. sorry. i am told i'm over my time. >> it's a very quick question. after ms. liz died, what happened to her daughter? >> greenhow? the one that crawled up the tree, large extended family, she had other children as well and went to live with them as well. >> thank you. >> good question. >> lee was surprised by the advance on petersburg, was there any explanation on that? >> other than grant is moving, he's not back in the old pattern of the beat, withdrawal, try again next season. grant came very quickly and there was no relenting between the attacks from the wilderness and the cold harbor, petersburg, one after another. that was part of grant's
strategy. okay, thank you very much for coming tonight. [ applause ] you're watching american history tv. 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on cspan-3. follow us on twitter @cspan history for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. american history tv is featuring hartford, connecticut. the birthplace of the boys and girls club of america in 1860. our comcast cable partners worked with cspan city tour staff when we traveled to hartford to explore the history. learn more from hartford here on american history tv. welcome to bush national park. we are looking at the beautiful soldiers and sailors memorial
art dedicated to the 4,000 men from hartford who fought in the civil war. in 1860 hartford was a city of 29,000 residents. that tells us in hartford everyone knew someone who fought in the civil war, probably everyone knew someone who died or came back badly wounded. it's believed the founders were looking to make a statement when they designed this amazing art. the arch was designed by a local architect by the name of george keller, very prominent in connecticut and statewide and did many national commissions as well. he was an immigrant from corke with his family to new york city. and then at the age of 23 moved to hartford to work for the madison memorial company.
he involved several sculptors in the arch because he really wanted it to tell a story. there is a beautiful freeze made of terra cotta. it stretches 160 feet all the way around on both sides. and there were two different artists involved in designing it. the woman in the middle of the freeze is an alegorical figure. this is a woman in the middle posted aphoebus, after the darkness is the sun. that's the motto of hartford since its founding. this is the side of the freeze facing south saying welcome back, welcome home from the war. on this side of the arch we see the soldiers returning home, many of them being badly wounded. some being carried. it's a scene of joy and of
sadness on the north side of the arch with a second freeze by a different sculptor whose family is from england. this shows what kind of war, what kind of battle the civil war sailors and soldiers faced. it was immediate face-to-face torturous, bloody combat. there is one historical face on the arch on horseback. we see the figure of ulysses s. grant, general grant. that is the only face that we know historically accurate. we don't know who the others are. one of my favorite things about the arch is that george keller wanted to note that this was a citizen army. and this arch shows those lucky ones who were able to get back and put down their items of war
and take up their trade. so we can identify each one of these as returning to his trade. i know you can see the side of the stone has a carving. on this side there's a stone mason. you can see he's got a trowel in his hand. most importantly, behind him you can see the union army jacket and can even see every tiny button. this one is returning to academia. he's got a cap and gown and is able to discard his military kit bag and go back to being a scholar. this fellow is the blacksmith. he was traveling with the cavalry. he has a cavalry sword in his right hand, which he can now
discard. and take up his trade. and this is the farmer looking behind him. we can see an image of some wheat and his kit bag that he will be able to finally leave behind him. george keller, the architect, originally wanted to include the statue of the merchant as the sixth statue on the tower, but sometime in those six years before they actually were placed on the arch, he changed his mind and did something very interesting. he decided that the sixth statue would not be a merchant but it would be a freed slave. this a statue where the person is not returning to their trade or profession or job of before the war. this freed slave, of course, was freed in the course of the war.
i want to tell you about this plaque that was added to the arch in 1988. a seventh grade boy was very interested and actually concerned that the only image of the black person on the arch was the freed slave. he knew that there were free blacks living in hartford at the time of the civil war and that some of them had probably fought. he did original research and he identified the names of 128 free blacks from hartford who fought in the civil war. in 1988 when rededicated the arch, they included this plaque for the rededication. and they especially rededicated it to hartford's 128 black soldiers who were not previously honored for their bravery and valor in the great civil war. up we go, 96 steps.
one of the things we love to talk about at the top of the arch are the two angels. we have gabriel blowing the trumpet. and rafael with the symbols. angels were a very popular vi victorian decoration. we believe gabry yell was there for judgment and rafael there for the after life. another thing we like to show people from up here are the beautiful views. this is our state capital. the capital building was built in 1878. the arch is one of the iconic images of hartford. for us as arch volunteers, we have been deeply moved by
realizing the impact of the civil war on hartford. our city's tour of staff recently traveled to hartford, connecticut, to learn about its rich history. learn more about hartford and other stops on our tour at cspan.org/citiestours. you're watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. a landmark court case loving versus virginia proved it was unprofound for interracial marriage. he discusses how it affected similar legal