tv Civil War Espionage CSPAN November 1, 2015 1:01pm-2:54pm EST
adamonian? that doesn't sound right. we don't have a word for it. we have jeffersonian. but we don't have a word for adams, even though he's probably the most brilliant political thinker of the mall. it's interesting, there is no word for it. thank you. [applause] >> up next on american history tv, clayton laurie discusses espionage and intelligence gathering tactics used during the civil war. how intelligence was used during the war and why they are so few primary source documents on civil war era intelligence gathering. the smithsonian associates hosted this event. it is a little under two hours.
>> he is a historian with the central intelligence agency. he joined the u.s. government in 1986 as a staff historian at the 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 deputy and chief historian at the national reconnaissance office and at the office of director of national intelligence. dr. laurie has taught at the american university and university of maryland at baltimore county. he specializes at the history of intelligence. he is the author of 40 articles on both military and intelligence history from the 19th century to the present. please join me give you a warm welcome to dr. clayton laurie.
[applause] dr. laurie: i would like to thank you all for coming here tonight and i would like to thank the smithsonian associates. can you hear me in the back there? i wanted to point out as part of the introduction i am born and raised in iowa, so i come from a northern state. when i first moved here, i lived for many years in maryland and spent the last 16 years in northern virginia.
i say that because i do not have a dog in this fight. i have been north and south and in between. i am a cia historian here trying to enlighten, instruct, and inform about civil war intelligence. the other caveat i want to point out is i noticed my title slide is different from the slide in your program. there will be no secrets revealed tonight. the things we will talk about were secret at the time. in my decades as a historian and teacher, i spent some time with civil war intelligence history, but i found that this topic, more than any other i had experience with, is subject to myth and legend. there is a dearth of coverage in the broad literature of the civil war.
unlike other has picks of the civil war, there is primary source documents in civil war intelligence affairs. these are the documents historians used as their baseline hard evidence from determining what went on. these could be somebody's briefing, somebodies chart. when richmond fell, the city burned and most of the records of the confederacy went up in smoke. after that, even union records became scattered. we don't know everything we need to know about civil war intelligence because the evidence is just there. that will come up several times as we explore these myths and 3hard intelligence successes and failures. there's not a lot of evidence to support either way.
this primary record, that is very thin to begin with, is clouded somewhat by self-serving memoires, by people who were intelligence officers in the civil war. alan pinkerton comes to mind. pinkerton lost all his records. he supposedly had good records in 1861 and 1862. they were all lost in the chicago fire of 1871. he said he had to reconstruct his exploits from, "my photographic memory" that he has. [laughter] then again even the primary players are embellishing somewhat their exploits and records, and that further confuses the actual historical record. pinkerton, as well, takes a good time and attention in undercutting his chief rival, a man by the name of lafayette baker, who claimed to be the
chief of u.s. secret service intelligence during the civil war. it was a title that those two individuals claimed that nobody else affirmed or took during the civil war. the memoirs tend to cloud the record. these were covert operations. these were highly secret operations. they didn't often keep records, they didn't often keep true lists of the names, and they very rarely recorded what they did. there is an example we will see tonight of an organization that did keep those records that we use today still. most of these organizations are in. they were only there for a short period of time. they didn't have enough money to record their histories, they are not bothering to archive paper
even if they have it. most of these are not going to be there. finally, we are going to talk about the hundreds if not thousands of people north and south who were involved in the broad applications of intelligence during the civil war. most of these people are amateurs because there are no professional intelligence organizations. they will do work for a week, month, two months, then disappear. we have references to many people who supposedly provided information to lincoln or the confederate government and various military leaders. and they provided this information read we will note several of these later on tonight. there is no continuity of personnel or record-keeping. the history of intelligence in the united states is one where
we adopt intelligence organizations where the war or the crisis disappears until the next time there is a war or crisis. there are no organizations like the intelligence communities today or the central intelligence agencies that are there 24/7. they are not keeping these records. we don't have a full-time or permanent intelligence community until after world war ii. the use of intelligence in american history is very much an ad hoc and amateurish affair. only in times of war and crisis and then it disappears. at the time of the civil war all the lessons had been learned from the time of the mexican war. all of the lessons that were learned during the revolution had probably one of the most
extensive intelligence organizations. for both north and south, it is not an existence won the war starts in 1861. nobody knows how to do this and there is no written record to go back and take out the the how-to manual. we see a great deal of innovation and technology, which will also carry down to the future 20th century organizations. first what we want to talk about is the open force and the vast majority of intelligence collected during the civil war is coming from what we call multiple sources, newspapers, magazines, journals, and just plain simple observations.
somebody sees a unit going by. nonetheless in spite of the deeds of derring-do and the espionage, most intelligence is collected from open sources, coming from both sides. mainly newspapers and the reporting of war correspondence. and the use of northern newspapers to collect intelligence will prop sherman to state that newspaper correspondence -- nonetheless efforts will be increased on both sides during the civil war to clamp down on the presence of newspaper reporters and military camps. we do have open press in this country and the civil war where most are allowed to go into the encampment. when the army is mobilized, it is off on a march 3 and these newspapers are fed into the intelligence line, so they make it to richmond or they make it
to washington. so you have open source reporting that is often revealing some very sensitive things. true today that open source is a 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, during the time of lincoln's inauguration, as most of you know washington is a southern city. maryland is a border state, a slave state nonetheless with a good many who prefer to see themselves joined the confederacy. at the same time we have virginia, which had seceded by
april 1861. there are enormous numbers of southern sympathizers throughout the washington dc area. even in the federal government, most people live either in virginia or in maryland or d.c.. and with divided sympathies we see a lot of southern sympathizers in the primary departments of government, including the war department. you see them among the congressional staffers. you see them in the patent office, they are everywhere. many of them are actively watching and listening to see
what federal plans are. we are going to see it fill with sympathizers. when he was making plans to deploy down to the battle of first manassas. they would not talk about plans or intentions. he would actually take people he needed to speak to out into the hallway and whisper plans and intentions, because he cannot be sure that somebody who was a southern sympathizer would not be listening. soon after lincoln, who left springfield for washington -- rumors of assassination were swirling around washington. a union opposite is going to be appointed to oversee the d.c. militia. the d.c. militia was thought to be chock of rebel sympathizers. so it would be a stone's throw to see if these people would be rooted out or forced into retirement. 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, as well as rooting out federal employees. detectives will provide security during lincoln's inauguration, and they will secure the capital in summer of 1861. these assassination rumors are still swirling around when lincoln is coming from springfield to his inauguration. allan pinkerton will first appear at this time. pinkerton is a railroad detective from chicago, and he's going to be the man who secures the route for lincoln to get safely in. he is going to create an elaborate plan to smuggling can into the capital by cutting communications and distributing watch officers and watching for
any suspicious activity. this appeared all over in the press of abraham lincoln dressed up as a female. that is not true. abraham lincoln did like shawls. he is always wrapped in a shop. perhaps he came off the platform but his critics said he is coming in dressed as a woman. some say this story cause lincoln great discomfort and 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 cut lincoln into the city secured by stone, offered his services to abraham lincoln at that time in early spring of 1861, offering to provide personal security.
but lincoln had hired his own intelligence officer. a man by the name of william alvin lloyd. lincoln hired lloyd as his personal intelligence agent and paid and the norm is some of $200 per month, which is comparable to $4000 per month today. 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. lloyd is an interesting character because we do not 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 lincoln's assassination. much of what he reported is lost to history. lincoln's cabinet did not even know he was getting information from his own personal
representative. lloyd's activities were extremely secret and we still don't have a very good read on what is going to be reported to the president. the picture is one you can go visit today. this is colonel -- one of the new york firemen. federal troops are reported in the city in 1861. one day he is sitting here in washington dc, he looks over the horizon to alexandria. and on top of a hotel that used to be in a location directly across from the government center on king street, there is a hotel with a rebel flag. again, an indication that there are rebels right across the river. so he will take a detachment over to the hotel, and this detachment will go to the top and tear down the stars and bars and come down the stairs here.
the fellow is a man named marshall, who will promptly kill ellsworth by shooting him point blank in the chest. it is 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 at the national portrait gallery downtown owned by the smithsonian. let's talk about espionage and intelligence collection. the confederate signal corps is going to include a covert secret service bureau run by a man named william noris, and this is the closest thing the confederacy has to a national intelligence service. it will be at the heart of intelligence activity in the confederacy for most of the war.
they will create a secret headquarters in canada, which we will discuss later on. and they will also set up espionage missions, propaganda, and covert collection activities in europe, primarily in great britain and france. this is going to be an incredibly sophisticated network for this early in the war. intelligence needs of president jefferson davis, who recognized the self-inherent two advantages. they are very much like george washington at the start of the revolution. he is outclassed, outgunned, outnumbered. jefferson davis, due to benjamin william noris, said to the camp we have to know when the north
is going to do it, they outnumber us and are much stronger. they will start setting up intelligence lines. there are going to be three of them. the largest and most secretive is the line down to richmond. the other two are called the doctor's line and the postman line. that is because most of the people who worked on these lines were either doctors or postman. doctors 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. or in the eastern shore region of maryland, nobody is going to suspect they are doing anything. we had a network of doctor to doctor to doctor, smuggling documents into richmond down through the northern neck. the postman line is even mourn if areas.
this is postal service employees who have severance of the fees who the next southern sympathizer is down the line. you can give them a secret document, delivery to the next guy, deliver to the next guy, and then across the record and often to the richmond. lafayette baker, who worked with charles leroi stone -- there are all these networks that are filtering information out of the washington area down to the south and being very effective in doing that. one of these is going to be used very well by who is often referred to as the star espionage agent of the confederacy. we will get more to the controversy in just a bit. edc socialite, she is 44 years old. she is a widow. she is openly pro-south. she has quite a reach. she is a personal friend of president buchanan.
she is related by marriage to james and dolly madison. and she is described by one historian as an agent with masterly skill who bestowed the knowledge and all the forces trained at the capital. she socialized with many federal government employees and soldiers. she developed ciphers to smuggle secret reports down through richmond and eventually employed a ring of 17 agents that were all in place by april of 1861. after the battle of bull run, put under surveillance by allan pinkerton. she was exposed by the spy and arrested in august 1861 with much incriminating evidence being smuggled by one of her cohorts, an agent by the name of betty duvall. the story, if it is true, is an intriguing one. told her, we suspect you of espionage, and immediately roses daughter started screaming to the neighborhood they are
arresting my mother, they are arresting my mother, which is a good tip off any of her sympathizers in the area to get out of the area. rose says i need to go to the bedroom and change clothes. while she is in her bedroom, which is her operating office, betty duvall is there. she had so much secret material under her clothing. rose is going to be arrested for espionage. she is going to be sent to the old capital prison. this is on the site of where the current supreme court sits. this is the general prison for everybody. there are murderers and robbers and all sorts of unseemly people. and rose is the socialite. she goes in there with her
daughter. i have some means of protecting myself and say yeah, take this to your cell with you. she was virtually under house arrest. she personally negotiates her role with abraham lincoln. lincoln says, we will let you go. she says yes and the first-place she visits is jefferson davis and she offers her services to jefferson davis. her secret network is going to behold. but jefferson davis asks her, will you be my envoy to england and see if you can get those two nations to support our cause? she will be the toast of the town throughout england. she will meet with the prime minister lord palmerston. she will actually have an audience. by 1863, especially after the first of january when the emancipation proclamation is is issued, neither can afford to have the moral stigma. rose has nothing else to do. she boards a blockade runner by the name of condor. and they come to the coast off of wilmington north carolina. the seas are very choppy. he absolutely insists to the captain to take me ashore. it is way too dangerous. the seas are too choppy. we will put you ashore the next morning. rose is not one to be denied and she insisted. the captain said ok, we will put you in the bow. they get away from the main ship. the crew either swims to shore.
the next day when they find her body, they discover she had large quantities of gold bullion sewed into her dress. every year on the anniversary of her death they do have a ceremony in her honor. she also raises one of the questions that she is one of the controversial figures that we have a difficult time separating myth from legend. greenhouse legacy represent the controversy surrounding many civil wars spies. some claim she was the greatest spy of the civil war. and also the fanciful stories that show up in the allan pinkerton memoirs and those of lafayette baker. remember, baker and pinkerton -- pinkerton trying to establish his business after the civil war, baker trying to establish his reputation with history, try to make her out as an existential threat to the united
states. pinkerton, especially if you are trying to sell protective law enforcement services, it is always good to have a memoir to give to a client that tells them how absolutely great you are. the republican abolitionists government had it hands around the neck of the washington capitals. and also secretary baker said i did an awful lot with her as well and these are the things she was up to. rose's legacy doesn't have that documentary evidence. there are several good biographies out of there, but again the evidence is not as solid as it is for some others. one of the things rose is supposed to be most famous for is that her and 17 agents, including betty duvall and a man by the name of antonio ford supposedly provided the information to general beauregard that allowed him to prevail over the union forces
under irving mcdowell. but the great controversy still exists, did she really revive enough of the information that allowed confederate forces to prevail that day? military historians have often pointed out that the defeat at bull run was caused by federal intelligence not knowing where rebel forces were, poor leadership on mcdowell's part, raw union troops, most of whom had only been in washington for a few weeks before they were called to battle. and this is not necessarily an intelligence crew on the part of the south, but a military leadership tactical failure on the part of the north. i would not 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 with hundreds of picnicking d.c. r esidence going along to see the fun. this picture was painted depicting the route after union forces were depleted from the battlefield, along with local
d.c. residence who had their picnics interrupted by the civil war. again, rose's legacy is one that we wish we had more information on, but that is not the case. onto the next, almost all of you have heard of belle boyd. where the nickname "the cleopatra of the secession" came from, i have never seen that in an official document, she is from west virginia. she is also a spy for the south. at that time, it is virginia, now it is west virginia. coverage in their opposition to the republicans and the union.
one thing she did accomplish is that in may of 1860 two, she provided intelligence to stonewall jackson on the disposition of union forces in the valley, allowing him to defeat that force. as the popular rendition of this goes, on one occasion she dashed through open fields under open union fire, waiting to get stonewall jackson information. she had her hair up in a bun, and when she got to jackson's headquarters, she took out her hair, and pulled out a needle of intelligence that she had smuggled in her bun. she was arrested by baker on many occasions. she was very vocal in what she was doing.
baker arrested her. she characterized him as an arrogant route she could easily outwit. he did not get her to admit to espionage activities, but he did indicate that her career might be 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. they were buried, and this connection by a union naval
officer ruined his career. he eventually committed suicide, making her a widow at the age of 21, which led belle to get out of the espionage business, write her book, and then took her act in the stage and spent the rest of her life on stage for training instances out of her espionage career during the civil war. historians say she did this one thing for sure. nonetheless, they are not sure if she was as vital to the confederate war as often
portrayed. the union also had spies with notable successes. perhaps some of the most famous was timothy webster. he was hired by allan pinkerton in 1861. he was a british board in new york city policeman who actually infiltrated richmond. this is something military services wanted to have, someone in the confederate capital, as high up in the military structure as you could get them. webster was a social individual, met jefferson davis. he actually befriended the confederate secretary of state of war. because he trusted webster so
much, he hired him to curate documents for the confederate war department. they cannot get any better than this. webster went back and forth between washington and richmond. but on at least four occasions, dealing what were his detailed intelligence assessments. these intelligence reports were so detailed that it took pink men and two operatives all night to sit and read and assess them. pinkerton did not have career services or a network. he did have safe houses. 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 tradecraft. he also would collect documents and say, well, i can go the next month or the month after that and make a document drop. so often times, the information was stale, weeks or months old. the one thing that you always want any intelligence service is timely intelligence. it does not matter if it happened two months ago. spring, timothy westerman is sick.
he will be bedridden for several weeks. during his absence, pinkerton is getting the report from webster. he is getting concerned about what happened. so bickerton is going to buckle and send two more agents south to richmond to figure out webster's condition, what is going on with webster. these intelligence agents by the name of bryce lewis and john scully are well-known to many of these pro-south patriots who have left washington and gone to richmond. when they get to richmond, they are rapidly identified by people who need them. a pair, they are turned over to the authorities. they confess they are agents for pinkerton, looking for something else. they say if you do not give us the information we want, you are going to go to the gallows. they both said it is timothy webster. so timothy webster is arrested. he confesses and is tried. he is convicted of espionage. in this early time of the war, the same thing true with military forces, often times visitors were exchanged for parole. later on in the war, somebody convicted or tried for espionage would be hanged or shot. there was a time where the north could intervene on webster's behalf and get him parole. rose is another example, although during the war they did not shoot or hang female spies. they would usually be let loose. webster's attempts to have free
time, his body snapped, they picked him off the ground, dusted him off, marched them back to the top, put in other rope on him. he muttered the words "as i die a second time," indeed he did. probably one of the better intelligence agents of the war is elizabeth van lew. she is an aristocrat who is educated in philadelphia. while she is going to college, she becomes an ardent abolitionist and wants to devote the rest of her life to slavery in the south. when the war breaks out, she is well connected in richmond society, and she will put
together a 12 member agent ring that is probably state-of-the-art for the time. she is going to run an escape route for union pows from the south. she is going to create her and ciphers, as you see up to. she is going to have a series of live safe houses between richmond and washington dc, where agents can go to the safe house, drop off materials, and go back home. it can relay information in a very rapid manner. she will figure out new ways of hiding information. for example, she is going to invent the hollowed out egg, where you blow out the egg and you have a shell. you put a document inside the hollowed out egg. you put it in a basket with a bunch of other eggs, and you could just start walking toward washington. she also invented the technique of putting coated messages into dress patterns. she also created a very simple
elizabeth in lieu is a richmond native. a soul their slaves before the civil war. she will be educated in philadelphia she becomes an she isabolitionist welcome but -- well connected in richmond society and she will member agency 12 that is state-of-the-art for the time. she is going to run an escape route for union pows from the south. she is going to create her and ciphers, as you see up to. she is going to have a series of live safe houses between richmond and washington dc, where agents can go to the safe house, drop off materials, and go back home. it can relay information in a very rapid manner. she will figure out new ways of hiding information. for example, she is going to invent the hollowed out egg, where you blow out the egg and
you have a shell. you put a document inside the hollowed out egg. you put it in a basket with a bunch of other eggs, and you could just start walking toward washington. she also invented the technique of putting coated messages into dress patterns. she also created a very simple tactic of taking a document with intelligence on it, folding it up and wanting it into a ball, stuffing it in her pocket. you take it up to somebody in the north, and they will sit down and peace that information together. she will also create invisible ink. initially, she will report directly to president lincoln. president lincoln will pass her to secretary of war stanton, and
later in the war she would report to george sharp, the union military bureau of information chief, and this is why we know so much about her. she becomes part of that former intelligence chain that the union army has. she will do this on her own time and dime. as one individual stated, she risked everything that is dear to man -- friends, fortune, comfort, health, life itself, all for the desire that slavery might be abolished and the union preserved. we know more of her because she was in the union reporting chain, and the other factor is that because she spent her own money, when the war ended she was destitute. she waited for several years then filed a complaint with the federal government for the expenses she had. the federal government says, yes, we will reimburse you, but you need to tell us absolutely everything you spent and everything you did. she spent her latter years
writing down everything she did and all the expenses she had to get the reimbursement, which she eventually did. again, we will talk about her in the future as well. she comes up again. the last one we want to talk about pauline cushman. she is a kentucky aspiring actress come a very much like belle boyd. she retired early but established her pro-south credentials from the stage. she would get up for performances in 1861 and 1862, and before she started her act, she would denounce the north, denounce republicans, and speak highly of the south in jefferson davis. her activities did not 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. very shortly after she was detained, the troops guarding her were called away, redeployed. they had no idea what to do, so they just left her. when she made it to the north, she said, i'm done with this. she wrote her memoirs and spent the rest of her life on strange, making money and describing her intelligence exploits. slaves and former slaves proved the next want willing source of information for the north, and they constituted a network at the start of the war. runaway slaves gave tactical information to union commanders. a move easily between the lines and inside the south. the material they provided to the union was referred to as black dispatches. this is a play on words. not only is it being delivered by african-americans, black is a word for covert. they were valued for their
timeliness, and they were considered some of the highest quality intelligence available. the slave population in the south, 3.5 million, provided a source of information for union commanders and intelligence services. smart military officers in the union took advantage of this. when slaves would come to the union army, they would sit them down and say, where have you come from? what have you seen? are the rebels in the local area? the vast majority were willing to provide information. some were more useful and special than others. john scoble, for example, was a former mississippi slave that was hired by pinkerton in late
1861. he worked with timothy webster. he traveled around the south as timothy webster's personal servant. when webster was arrested, he was intensely interrogated by the confederate secret service, right along with one of his other cohorts, a woman by the name of lofton, a female operative. they did not bother to interrogate scoble at all. they just told him to go away. he would not have been involved in any kind of espionage whatsoever, something you would not assume a former slave would do. he took on on our jobs throughout virginia. he worked on riverboats, military centers, and continue to feed information back to elizabeth family that was still getting up to the north. another freed african-american religiously reported to northern commanders confederate troop
movements and dispositions during the 1862 campaign in the peninsula. mary was a freed slave who worked in the home of a confederate engineer who happened to be designing the css merrimack in 1962. she had a photographic memory and noticed the plans for the merrimack sitting on the desk of this confederate engineer, and she took the news of that to u.s. navy officials, who speeded the development of the uss monitor, in time to counter in
1862. finally, mary elizabeth bowser was placed by elizabeth van lue. she was the guardian to jefferson davis's children. she was supposed to be illiterate as well, but she did not have slaves working beside the house. security for her was nonexistent. she basically would go to jefferson davis's office every evening and see what was laying on the desk and report that to elizabeth. she was described as having a
photographic mind and saw everything on the rebels desks and would repeat it word for word. finally, harriet tubman. most americans are familiar with their exploits, creating the underground railroad for runaway slaves. tubman was born in maryland. she put together this system prewar. it is a ready intelligence network when the war began. it is a way of funneling intelligence assets up to the north where they can be interrogated by the indian officials. she will also put a network together in the carolinas. she puts together nine x slaves. they would collect intelligence on with the rebels were doing in those areas. she would also do some early military covert operations in july of 1863. it's what a union general reported to the secretary of
war, this is the only military command in american history where a woman, black or white, led the raid. that, of course, there is a union officer comment here that they know the country very well and are willing to share that information with us. again, they become a vital source of intelligence. on the cia public website, there is a small monograph called black dispatches, talking about these individuals -- freed slaves who agreed to go back to the south because slaves could move more easily throughout the south, sometimes as northern intelligence operatives could. it is a very good monograph based on some good solid information. covert operations also take place during the war on both sides. perhaps the earliest was one that is familiar to most of you,
the great locomotive chase of the andrews raid, which took place in april 1862. this was when volunteers from the union army led by a civilian, james j anderson, or test to travel undercover to steal a rebel train and sabotage a 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 operator extensive, so this rail line between atlanta and chattanooga is pretty vital for keeping rebel armies supplied. andrews is already a scout known on both sides. he is a scout and part-time spy from kentucky, also reputed to be a gunrunner and a smuggler. he will recruit 22 union soldiers and one other civilian and will sit down and plan the operation and chattanooga, and they make their way to northern georgia, down to marietta, where they will hijack the train near what is now kennesaw, georgia. this is an operation that is
supposed to be causing great mayhem to rebel logistics in that area. with all due credit to walt disney, the first part of his re-creation -- the actual taking of the train is fairly accurate. when he gets to the end game where things start getting serious, it kind of goes off the rails. nonetheless, andrews group waits for the general to pull in, and as was done at that time when there is no food, everybody goes off the train and gets into the station restaurant, including the conductor and his crew. at that point, andrews and his people get on the locomotive, they push it forward, and off they go. the story goes, the the conductor of the train watches it leave the station, says i am not going to allow this, and eventually finds a locomotive of his own to give chase. this chase will cover 160 miles north of big shanty, go north of ringgold. it will be just a few miles south of chattanooga when andrews' locomotive runs at a halt. they are all captured.
seven of the raiders, including andrew, are executed as spies. they were deemed to be engaged in acts of unlawful belligerency. eight others of the andrews party will manage to escape after trial. six others are returned 1863 and a p.o.w. squad. the medal of honor is up there because the first medals of honor were awarded to the andrews raiders, 19 of them. only military people qualified because andrews was a civilian, and his other party was a civilian as well. they were not given that award. they were not eligible. but this represents one of those early attempts to cover
operations that could have done some real damage to the southern logistics chain in that section of georgia. they managed to tear up some rails and telegraph lines but did not accomplish the mission. the south as well will lead a chase itself. if you ever go to big shanty, a huge visitor center. 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. again, as we mentioned earlier with rose great how, the south was seeking to reduce british and french intervention on
behalf of the confederacy. there is considerable sympathy among segments of the british population, especially those among textile mills, who are not getting cotton from the south as their primary source. so the south 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 will seek to covertly obtain arms and ships used for a blockade. in europe, security is so poor that they find out what ship they are on. they will intercept the ship in atlantic, take mason and slidell into custody, and return them to new york city.
these are diplomatic personnel accredited by the french and the richest, and they both protest, and it becomes a major flap adjoined united states and britain. the united states will put these guys back on the ship and they go off to perform their duties. slidell in particular is very active in obtaining arms and carrying out pro-slave propaganda campaigns by distributing handbills and planting articles in british newspapers, and recruiting american and european agents. he is recruiting europeans because he wants to buy arms. it is illegal to sell arms to a belligerent. he will hire a british subject that will go through the deal, by the weapons, put them on the ship, the confederate blockade runner will put them on the side and the deal is done. slidell will create a foreign extension of the secret line. they will hire foreign agents to create blind purchases.
he will also succeed in the purchase of two raider ships -- the css florida and css alabama. they will do this in conjunction of another famous confederate agent who was a relative of theodore roosevelt. he will also try to purchase rams from the layer company, the ships that you see in the center. they are actual ironclads that produce real damage. these are state-of-the-art warships. bullock is putting together the agreement. this is going to before oil that the last minute by several
american diplomats, henry sanford, the u.s. minister to belgium. he will catch word that this is taking place and work with the u.s. council of london, a man by the name of harlow morse, and the u.s. council of liverpool, where the rams are being made. they will succeed in bribing workers to give us the blueprints, the timetable, the dimensions of the ships and when they are expected to be released. they will collect this information, forward it on to the u.s. ambassador in london, who will go to the foreign minister and tell him flat out, if these rams end up in confederate hands, we would consider that a u.k. act of war against the united states with results that you could expect. the british will defer and cancel the sale. the two ironclads -- i think one was sold to france, the other turkey, but it did not end up in u.s. hands. but again, in confederate hands. this is done behind the scenes, so none of it is known publicly
except for the parties involved. after the civil war, the united states will file a lawsuit against the british for the damages done by the uss florida and alabama, and the british will actually end up settling and making good most of the damage done by the confederacy on merchant shipping in the latter years of the civil war. covert operations at home, in 1864, the confederates will create an intelligence budget in the amount of $5 million to finance campaign sabotage in the north. $1 million of this will go to toronto, canada. canada at the time is pro-south. there is a pervasive belief that if the south does secede from the union, the united states will compensate by invading canada. not sure where that came from, but they will tolerate southern sympathizers. the first ring is operating out of toronto.
it is carried out by thomas henry heinz, one of the more active confederate agents. his project is to organize pro-south northerners living in what we would call the old northwest today -- indiana, ohio, michigan, illinois. what heinz wants to do is reach out and see if we can organize all the pro-south residence of these northern states into a rebellion, creating a northern confederacy. as one historian pointed out, thomas henry heinz was very much a southern patriot and idealist, and he happened to come in contact with a lot of people who did not necessarily share his enthusiasm. he goes onto to other things. he has a plot to seize chicago
during the democratic national convention in 1864. >> he will actually have 70 of his operatives in his city during the convention, waiting for word from richmond to go ahead and do this. after they take over chicago, they will liberate the pows at camp douglas, releasing these several thousands of prisoners into the northern heartland. part of the plan was that they would go next-door to indianapolis and liberate the prisoners in a camp there, then go up to sandusky, ohio and liberate confederate officers there, having a massive rebellion behind the lines. that did not work as well. this ring would eventually be exposed by an infiltration agent by the name of felix steiger, who would be placed inside one of the indiana pro-south organizations known as the southern knights of the golden
circle. he will take notes on who he meets and what plans he hears. he will turn this over to union military authorities, and this ring will be wiped out, wrapped up, and rolled up in the fall 1864. another confederate agent, very active, is john yates biel, another agent coming out of toronto. he is very active in new york. one of his plots was to seize the uss michigan, the navy gunboat on the great lakes. that plan did not come to fruition, so he had to sabotage railroads, burning railroad bridges in new york. he is caught. he is tried, convicted, and sabotaged, and he would be hanged in 1864. one of the last times that we actually do here at this toronto group is their plot in november of 1864 to start a series of fires in new york city in
hotels, with the hope to burn down the city and spark of riots, similar to the race riots that had occurred the year before. they do actually set fires in new york city, but the conflict was not nearly the extent that they want. this is a certificate from the confederate treasury, written on a stationary 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 bad movie in the 1950's, the rate on saint albans in october 1964. this involves confederate operatives operating out of toronto who attacked saint albans. if you have been there, it is barely across the border from canada. they rob several banks of nearly $200,000, and then they escaped back into canada. the united states will pressure
the canadian government to track these people down. they are tracked down and imprisoned in canada for violation of canada's law against launching armed attacks into other nations. they will be released at war's end. again, one of the most successful reactions. -- a more successful covert actions. -- more successful covert actions. one final point we want to make before we go away from the stash during the civil war, distinctions between scouts and spies are going to be 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. when it comes to scouts working for the military or spies working for civilians, a custom would tend to prevail -- if you are caught in a uniform, you are a prisoner of war, if you were a spy, you would be hanged and possibly shot.
the number of spies executed by both sides through the civil war is unknown because of the lack of records. most records burned in 1865. there was scant record keeping of most military units north and south. if somebody was suspected of being a spy, they were probably dealt with harshly, and we don't have a record of scores for -- or hundreds, perhaps thousands of people. we also want to point out during the civil war, technical innovations become prominent. the united states is in the opening stages of the industrial revolution, and intercepting
military communications is going to become a 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 has the direct report to general stanton. this is a very 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. he sat down and thought about this and came up with something known as the wig-wag systems of communications. if you move flags to the right or left, it represents letters and numbers. standing atop large signal
towers, soldiers could communicate across large distances. using telescopes, they can also observe and maintain -- enemy communications. myers' deputy setting up the system is a captain in the union army by name of the alexander porter. mr. porter says, i would rather go home and serve the south, and he takes myers' system with them. the wig-wag system becomes a central communication system for the confederacy as well. each side can read each other's communications. both sides developed code systems to encode their communications.
myers would remain with the corps long after the war, and would end up being the founder of the u.s. weather service. this is the major albert myers , who fort myer in virginia is named after. they signal communications as their primary mission, but you can imagine if you are studying a 100 foot tower in the countryside, you are looking for the highest absolute point to do that for the maximum visibility. once you get that tower constructed and get a signal officer up there, he can see confederate or northern forces. they are often collecting intelligence on dispositions or movements when that is not primarily the purpose. a good amount of intelligence would come from the signal corps. this is alexander's disclaimer, promising that i am not going to steal your information as he goes off to the south. this is comparable to what people would sign today, saying
i am not going to reveal the secrets, but he nonetheless did. also, the invention of the telegraph will prompt the national world war ii museum also, the invention of the telegraph will prompt the development of signals interception through wiretapping. but the instances of this taking place in the civil war are very scant. there are allusions that wires were tapped, but it is quite rare. the atlantic telegraph cable and
into operation in 1858. it is coming in through the north. there are no only getting communications to mystically, but they are getting foreign communications with an intelligence value as well. it often took place through captured telegraph offices. telegraph operators would scramble words and prearranged patterns to make them secure, a technique known as the routing code that kept communications from being read. there will be a memo from robert e lee telling people not to send messages from a telegraph because they can be intercepted. one of the most famous cases is albert sidney johnston, who at that time is going to be headquartered in bowling green, kentucky, is going to have all of his communications for a seven month period intercepted
and translated. so they had actually gotten the wire off the pole and put it in their tents because it is more comfortable. this might not actually be something that is real. this might be a postwar creation of what you could not do. encryption's and ciphers. again, the confederates will use an encryption system. not too wisely, they will use one is developed in france in the 16th century. it is a keyword set up to a matrix, in which each letter is coded. the system is widely known in europe and the united states. it is very easily broken. through most of the war, the union was reading coded confederate messages. in the north, out berkemeyer would develop a cipher disk, that looks much like the picture here that the confederates use. anson stagger will be hired, the general manager of the western union company. remember, mcclellan is a railroad engineer prior to the war. he knows stagger already. stagger would put together a cipher system that is going to be used throughout the war by the north.
it contains a message in a number of three determined columns that are read either up, down, or across according to a key given in the first word of the message. translating the codeword tells you that you read the first portion top-down, then you go to the second column bottom up, then the third top-down, the fourth bottom up. this is a system that serves the north quite well. they don't have a deciphering problem that the confederacy did. president lincoln had an -- a very personal interest in decryption. he thought this was fascinating. he would go over to the war department he would often sitting next to three of the decryption experts. one was named david homer bates.
these were named as the sacred three, because they had a talent at breaking messages. another technical innovation, the birth of overhead reconnaissance. 28-year-old thaddeus sc lowe will make the first balloon ascent above washington in june of 1861, in a demonstration of overhead reconnaissance for president lincoln. he will provide the first real-time message from the air to the president. i understand this was re-created by the smithsonian on the one -- on the 150th anniversary, but he would take his balloon close to where the washington monument is today, and he would have this message sent down to lincoln. again, pointing out that this the an enormous intelligence asset to the union. the union army balloon corps is
going to be for visit result in be formed as a result in 1861. lincoln is impressed. those balloons are a technical innovation for the day. unlike most balloons at the time filled with hot air, most balloons use hydrogen gas per lift. the balloons are a company by wagons which contain two departments, one full of iron findings and another with liquid sulfuric acid. when they pull up to the point , the two are combined to make a chemical reaction producing , hydrogen gas. while the hydrogen allows the balloons to stay aloft longer, the transportation network at the time is making the movement difficult. in addition, the fast-paced of troop movements means balloons are far behind. it would typically take three to
four hours to raise this balloon enough that you can get aloft and actually put a man in it. you can imagine the army moving off, and you are back there filling up your balloon, not timely intelligence. the greatest success of the balloon corps is between march and may of 1862. they provided intelligence in the army of the potomac, they verify the defenses in richmond, as mapped out by john c babcock. they mapped out the defenses of richmond from the air. you can see the map coming up here. john c babcock is going to be doing this. they will also provide order of battle information, which is the number of troops in confederate ranks on the rebels at fair oaks, virginia, and they will use this to determine rebel strengths.
counting rebel campfires at night is a good way to determine the size of the rebel army. you figure that there is one campfire for so many individuals. you can extrapolate numbers of enemy soldiers. they also engaged in artillery spotting for federal batteries. the balloons also interested union soldiers, in particular fitzgerald porter. he is pictured here courtesy of lowe. he was followed by george armstrong custer. porter ann kuster had somewhat of a rivalry. custer was actually ordered to go up and make daily follow-up ascents. he's adjusted going aloft after -- he suggested going aloft after revelry every morning to
observe breakfast and cooking fires. the campfires of the enemy could be seen at many points, and an approximate strength could be formed. an assessment impossible to make in daylight. through daily observations, custer becomes an expert at locating enemy positions, determining day-to-day enemy troop movements. his first reaction is reported in his memoir, a few weeks after porter said, i want you to go up, george. he later reported that when he was asked, he said, i really don't want to, but i don't care. nonetheless, it becomes a 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, but the muskets lacked the range. often, artillery fired at balloons brought rapid counter fires. the balloon's locations were communicated by telegraph. the union made attempts to conceal their efforts, creating fake cannons, known as quaker cannons, logs painted black to look like artillery pieces from the air, and telling troops that you are going to have to blackout your camp, extinguisher campfires, or consolidate them. logistical difficulties in operating those balloons proved very frustrating for those in the balloon corps. lowell also ran afoul on secretary of war stanton for
misappropriating funds. lowe instead wrote a 3000 word history of his a compliment's, then resigned and returned to private life in june of 1863. the u.s. army balloon corps was disbanded soon after that, not to return until later on in the century. military intelligence in the civil war. going away from the technical and espionage to what military services do with this. what are the major problems? one of the major problems that intelligence organizations had during the civil war is, even when you get good intelligence, accurate intelligence, it is difficult sometimes to get the commander to accept it as genuine or make proper use of that. that is a problem with intelligence services around the
world, even yet today. good intelligence not used by a policymaker for whatever reason. this is a problem in the north and south during the civil war because of the traditional military doctrinal idea. military intelligence, up into the time of 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. depended onligence the intelligence of the commander and its 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 the 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 -- this happen on both sides -- they often relied on their own
judgment in making command decisions and found much of the information they were presented to be suspect or unreliable. ulysses s. grant, a very good book on grant's use of intelligence during the war, was one of these receptive to intelligence being given to him. he was 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, may be a risk, he would take that opportunity rather than use intelligence reporting. during the civil war, intelligence reports came from a variety of sources. again, very rarely is a military commander getting intelligence from a sole-source. he is more than likely being inundated with information from multiple sources that he has to sort out.
the president secretary of war, , army commanders, all received units,ated collection and at one time or another received a multitude of reports from scouts and spies. the second quote of here that commanders tended to be skeptical about the reliability of the information they are receiving, not necessarily a bad thing. again, these quotes come from the u.s. army's official history of military intelligence, written by two colleagues. it goes into depth on what intelligence was like in the army of the time, right through the first world war. it is very telling. again, sometimes intelligence is very vital to a commander, sometimes it's not. it often depends on the individual. most military commanders were receiving intelligence from a single individual.
for example, allan 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, and later, when mcclellan becomes commander of the army of the potomac. the curtain is a scottish born immigrant to the united states. he decides he does not like being a policeman 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 eyes, the eyeball in the center. we never sleep, so the eyeball is always open. he made a good business out of this. he knew lincoln before the war and worked with mcclellan. he was a natural to be hired by mcclellan when mcclellan took command of the army of the potomac. he took on the cover name of major e.j. allen. -- heead -- and
.esignated himself no one else considered him that, that was a title he kind of made up for himself. he is going to have an agency of about 28 people working for him. they are going to do a very good job of trying to do strategic assessments. he is going to be remembered today for providing erroneous estimates of rebel strengths to mcclellan. this is a controversial topic. you can find historians on both sides. allegedly the worst-case scenario is that mcclellan provided -- pinkerton provided mcclellan the numbers that mcclellan wanted to hear about rubble strength rather than the , information he should have given that was more accurate.
during the peninsula campaign, for example, mcclellan estimated that there were 100,000 rebels under lee's command, when the number was actually about half that. later on that fall, mcclellan will claim that lee's force is advancing into maryland and has over 170,000 people. just for a sanity check, the army of northern virginia never exceeded 100,000 people. he says, i need more people. mcclellan is just brand-new on the payroll and he is going to estimate from mcclellan that lee's army is 98,000, double from what it was. mcclellan is saying 170,000, a guesstimate at best, he has no idea. pinkerton is --
supposed to have the agents out -- is going to come up with a figure that is not as intends is 170,000, but again, it was 98,000, twice what it was. they knowingly inflated figures, presumably because mcclellan was seeking more troops and resources. pinkerton will retire with mcclellan and go back to his private practice in chicago. after the war, he is going to run a very successful law enforcement agency. the tech of agency. he will produce the james brothers, butch cassidy and the sundeck -- sundance kid. the pinkerton's would become very notorious in the 19th century, and egerton will die in
1884, still very much -- -- and pinkerton will die in 1884, still a controversial figure. his primary rival -- we do want to point out that mcclellan is getting the services of pinkerton, only pinkerton is not working for the entire union army. he is the personal intelligence for pinkerton. same thing for lafayette baker. he 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 in 1861. like pinkerton, he called himself chief of the u.s. secret service, although he initially worked for enfield scott, and he worked for secretary of state stewart, finally working for secretary of war edwin stanton. he ran an association with 30 employees centered in washington. they did very little outside
work, very few infiltrations of the confederacy, but baker was a zealous at working against profiteers, corrupt officials prostitutes, racketeers, and , gamblers. combining accused of law enforcement and intelligence collection. he is notorious for talking to suspects at a prison, that lincoln once remarked to a citizen complaining about an organ grinder on the street, that baker would steal the organ and throw it in the old capital, and you will never be troubled with this guy again. like others, baker allegedly -- served a man and not an entire nation. he allegedly traveled through cover in virginia. arrested,egedly question and interviewed by jefferson davis. he did not break cover and was released 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 tall tales. again, serving a man, not necessarily the entire cause. one individual we oftentimes overlook, one of the more successful intelligence officers of the civil war. as an intelligence achieve and directly report to u.s. grant and william sherman in the west. he's a former railroad engineer. he had a broad view of intelligence, and put in a lot of thought into organizing military services. he got about 138 agents through mississippi and georgia. there are over 200 intelligence missions on record that his people carried out. use very adept at using multiple searches, including runaway slaves. very quick to use women.
a well-trained core of scouts, cavalry, and prounion southerners that he recruited for reconnaissance behind the lines. very adept at gathering information from any source that he could. he understood counterintelligence and was one of the first soldiers to encrypt all of his communications and those of his superiors. he was instrumental in providing intelligence for sherman's march to the sea in 1864. fundedtingly enough, he his operation, hired his people, paid their salaries by selling contraband cotton they came across. when confronted dodge said i'm , running a business for william sherman, and stanton said that's , fine with me. [laughter] from council bluffs, iowa, to san francisco in 1869.
he has a memoir that is not very detailed. it brings the point is that those that tended to write the most about their intelligence exploits tended to have the fewest intelligence exploits. those that did more tended to write less. intelligence failures north and south, and we will take a short break. intelligence failures -- jeb stuart often acted as the eyes and ears of lee's army in virginia. he once said of stewart that he never bought a piece of false information. stuart provided reconnaissance and scouting, as well as run agents. one of his most useful agents was benjamin franklin's stringfellow. if you're familiar with stringfellow wrote out in fairfax county. stringfellow was a dental assistants in alexandria, virginia, who regularly provided stewart with intelligence on troop movements.
cavalry again has the purpose of being a highly mobile combat force. one of the primary functions during the civil war is to provide scouting and reconnaissance. many military commanders, both north and south, had a difficult time getting cavalrymen to do this routine riding around the countryside. most preferred to do rating -- raiding take prisoners, anything , but looking for rebel troops. jeb stuart was better than most. in the fall of 1852, lee is planning to invade the north. he's going to move into the north's backyard, bringing forward intervention. he has an army of approximately 60,000 men and hopes to attack and destroy harrisburg, pennsylvania. however, due to poor security, lee's plan, known as a special order 191, is discovered by a union corporal at an abandoned confederate campsite, wrapped in three cigars. this is discovered in december
1862. we have a picture of special order. this is lee's campaign plan going out to his five core commanders, who tend to travel separately until they converge on the battlefield. this document is supposed to be going to general dh hill, and it is dropped by a courier wrapped around a bundle of three cigars. these are probably the most famous cigars and american history. -- in american history. this order is given to mcclellan. where this is controversial, at many people say, mcclellan with his good fortune said, this cannot be real, this has to be a deception. you don't leave your operational plan sitting out in the middle of nowhere. you can imagine what the courier was thinking at the same time. dh hill had no idea his orders had not come through. he had already received a copy of the orders.
so nobody knew that mcclellan had this. mcclellan, some historians say, was very skeptical at first. most recent sources say no, he looked at this and solve that this was the genuine article, and now he had the operational plan for the antietam campaign. he was able, if he would move quickly, to get his army together and deal a crushing blow to lee's army. as we know, mcclellan is a very cautious commander. waddle forddle -- d five days before he gets his army together at antietam. this is called, by one historian, an amazing intelligence coup, but also an intelligence coup that is eventually squandered because mcclellan does not move fast enough. the interesting thing about this -- special order 191, before the battle of antietam, 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 turn out to be a double intelligence plan for the south, because the south was typically reading new york newspapers. they did not see this article in time to report back to lee, by the way, your plan is sitting on the front page. [laughter] again, the other failure in this is that mcclellan, while he did believe this was a genuine document, did anticipate that operational changes take place in any document. we know whenever a battle plan is made, the first time shots are fired, the plan goes out the door. as lee's forces came up to sharpstown, maryland, the operational plan changed a few tweaks and mcclellan did not anticipate this. again, a bungled operation all the way around. we can characterize the battle of antietam by poor intelligence on both sides. it is overwhelmingly however military leadership and tactical failure, not as much an intelligence failure.
pinkerton, for all of his missed estimates of enemy forces, is 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 others. all of this was bypassing pinkerton, who was not as -- oflized director of an intelligence. this was all going directly to mcclellan. virginia was just another report to mcclellan. if anything, mcclellan was suffering from a glut of intelligence and intelligence noise. for the north, this comes down to poor leadership that could have ended the war had the commanders moved far more aggressively. we do want to mention that in the aftermath of antietam, there are consequences to failed intelligence. lee will manage to retreat back to northern virginia with most of his army intact. mcclellan, who had a reserve of 25,000 men, and did not bother
to use them during the battle is , going to be fired by abraham lincoln. pinkerton going out and back to his private business. most of his staff will continue to stay involved in intelligence for the rest of the war, working for the union army. next episode that we have is about intelligence failure. ambrose burnside who takes over the army commander of the potomac. he is not an astute collector of intelligence. when he is advancing through northern virginia, he did not use local spies available to him. he did not have his people question pow's or deserters. he didn't insist on the calvary going out and doing scouting. with the results being a major in december 1862. inwas sacked, of course, january 1863.
as a intelligence historian wrote, the story of burnside's preparations for the campaign of fredericksburg is the list of things not done. we don't remember burnside as being a very astute commander. -- consumer. however, burnside's replacement, who is joseph hooker, often remembered as being a mediocre general, is going to be the person who put into place the first all-source intelligence organization in the union army. he is going to hire a new york city policeman, lawyer, rather, as a deputy provost marshall as the army of the potomac in february 1863. and sharp is charged with creating an intelligence service. he will be aided by john babcock, who had worked with pinkerton, now will work for sharp. sharp is a yale educated lawyer. he will create what is known as
the bureau of military produceion, which will open source materials and eventually assemble 70 agents. he will be providing the first competence of intelligence, both strategic and tactical, for the army of the potomac. he will command the bureau of military intelligence and provide in-depth battle intelligence to the days before the chancellorsville campaign. again, putting together intelligence like we see it in the modern era. here is sharp sitting with his officers. sharp is a staff level direct report to hooker, so he is on hookers military staff. and contrary to legend, hooker is a very astute consumer of intelligence, although prone to recording when there is too much noise. sharp will collect cavalry, pow's, people do collection and analysis. that makes his intelligence service not a function of command, but a staff function.
his assessments of lee's order of battle are going to be good prior to chancellorsville. actually it will be within 2% of the actual strength of lee's army. this is an order of the battle assessments. if we were to blow this up and read the handwriting, this is a complete listing of all the units and commanders and their strength in lee's army of northern virginia prior to the battle of chancellorsville. so this is the type of reporting that a commander can use. it is something that sharp and his people said, this is something we can provide to the commander that is actionable intelligence. this is news they can use. however, hooker is going to fall victim to a major failure. it will forever tarnish his reputation, not only for his use of intelligence, but also his military acumen. quite unfairly. during the battle of chancellorsville, on a second day, lee is going to break off
stonewall jackson's 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. federal troops are going to be defending the opposite direction. they are just settling in for the night on the afternoon on may 2, 1863. it's 6:00 p.m. and they will be caught by surprise by jackson's troops coming up from behind them through the woods. while they are caught by surprise that evening, federal troops will rally the next day on the third of may. but a very badly shaken hooker will order a wholesale retreat. hooker's subordinates, one of the key things to remember about intelligence going up and down the chain -- hooker's subordinates are actually watching stonewall jackson's redeployment take place. they are passing by their
positions within eyesight. they are seeing this taking place throughout the afternoon. most of hooker's subordinates are expecting intelligence to be coming down from the top to their commands. they are not thinking, things are happening here, i should be reporting up the chain. by the time that hooker realizes what is happening, it's too late for sharp to do anything about it and 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 the failure at chancellorsville. we want to point out -- we have this in capital letters here -- it's 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 won't go public with this. despite the dispute with hooker, hooker did not fire sharp and continued in command of the army.
sharp, for his part, continued to be a professional and to provide hooker with the same level of intelligence as before. hooker used it wisely. nonetheless, lincoln will fire hooker as commander of the army of the potomac june, 1863, replacing him with george gordon meade. hooker did get an awful lot of information. perhaps, he received too much information for him to be able to make wise decisions 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 meet both knew of lee's movements, also local reporting and calvary. deserters and pow's were also informing him of these northward advances into pennsylvania. mead, indeed, had better
intelligence of lee than lee had of the potomac. nonetheless, lee will receive reports from a very mysterious spy, a man by the name of henry thomas harrison, who knew the general location of union forces, reporting to lee, allowing him to concentrate the army of northern virginia in time to respond to the appearance of the union armies in a southern pennsylvania. but not to put his troops in a place or time of his own choosing. after harrison reports to lee, giving him great information about yankee movements, he disappears and we have no other word of who he was. he just went out into history. mead, on the other hand, was a master of intelligence. perhaps the best since washington. he was able to analyze masses of intelligence reporting.
on his own, determine the proper course of action the plymouth. the occupation of high ground in advance of lee's arrival in gettysburg reflects mead's excellent work. he knew what he was supposed to do and where he was supposed to do it. mead had a nine page report from sharp on lee's movements, including a complete order of battle in his army, the marching orders, and direction of the confederate armies. the confederate army, and this is a quote, "is is under marching orders, and other general lee, part of the country where they would have no railroad transportation." as battle is engaged, sharp in the military information bureau are still collecting intelligence to report to mead as the fighting is actually taking place. sharp will continue to collect lee's forces. it will be his analysis of what units have been engaged in the battle on the first and second of july that is going to give a production to mead that there is
one more division left in lee's army that has not yet been engaged. the 100th strength division led by general. this last division might be employed somewhere on the 30 day of battle. on the third day of battle sharp , is going to take credit for this. when picket's charge takes place on the third day of battle, it relates to what sharp told mead he could expect. robert e lee miscalculated the strength of the union line. they launched a frontal infantry assault of 12,000 men and failed to break the union lines with heavy losses. lee would later noted the mistake, but will also reported that he had less information on union forces at that time then at any other point during the war. he fought the battle of gettysburg without the benefit of any intelligence, especially with jeb stuart's poor scouting.
sharp continued to provide detailed reports for the remainder of the army of the potomac, including scouts for sheridan during his shenandoah campaign, where sheridan remarked that sharp's guys cheerfully go wherever ordered to obtain that great and essential information. sharp's bureau of information provided information on troops, artillery, and any information wanted by u.s. grant until the end of the war. serving in grant's headquarters as a member of his staff, sharp had even page. one of his greatest intelligence a college men's was the agreement of samuel roof, the superintendent of the richmond fredericksburg potomac railway, working under sharp's orders. he would collect information on rebel supply and movement, and slow repairs to cracks and bridges.
roof was arrested on being a spy, but his cover was so good he was 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. within the month after the end of the civil war, in keeping what was becoming a very disturbing american tradition, the intelligence networks of both sides went into the history books and will be forgotten for a generation until the next crisis later on in the century. i want to point out a couple books before we break for 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 in the ugly books -- read as much as you possibly can. history has a wonderful way of self creating, or self-correcting. if there is a very bad history out there, historians will note it and pass it on to other
historians there are a plethora of books on intelligence during -- pass it on to other historians. there are a plethora of books on intelligence during the civil war. two that i find most useful on a lot of intelligence officer's bookshelves on the civil war -- the first from edwin official, who is a national security agency officer for many years. this book came out in 1996. he unfortunately passed away 1999. it is a real myth busting book. i 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 at the national archives in 1959, spent the next 40 years writing his book.
the next one is grant's secret service, it came out a couple years ago about grant's of intelligence. then some free things. military intelligence is available from the u.s. army service, also available online and in pdf form at www.history.army.mil/ you can actually download an electronic copy. the other put out by the central intelligence agency, a small monograph put out by the office of public affairs. but it's good and well researched. it's available on the cia's public website, www.cia.gov. just go on the search line and typing civil war. also black dispatches, the small monograph on the small country visions of the african-americans during the civil war. i want to thank you for your time and attention. i am available to take any questions that you might have. [applause] >> thank you.
>> very few questions, because we are out of time. yes, sir? >> just curious, what was the navy doing? >> they had a blockade around the south. trying to prevent blockade runners coming in from great britain. and doing very well at it. sir? >> thank you for this good presentation. two quick questions. one, i noticed all the images say unclassified. is there anything from the civil war that is still classified? >> absolutely not. nope. >> another thing -- after the battle of manassas, the first one, my understanding is that some commanders in the confederate army wanted to go to washington. based on the assessment of the intelligence, jeff davis decided otherwise. i wonder if you have any thoughts on that?
>> yes. >> did stuart's riding around of the union army about depriving lee of his eyes and ears influence the battle or not? >> that's still controversial to this day. i don't think so. lee had a good idea where union forces were. very rarely did lee not have a clue where union forces were. they operated mainly in northern virginia, and when they came area lee had an , intelligence support network. "hey, he just went by my house." it's more common for northern intelligence to keep track of lee while he was in the north. lee did not have the same problems of keeping track. he could've been there earlier on during the first day. not sure if his showing up earlier would have changed the tide of the war or battle.
i am somewhat skeptical. we have a question over here as well? >> did you find any evidence that dr. mary elizabeth walker, was a union spy? any evidence? i don't know. i'm not familiar with that, sir. i am told i am over my time. question. very quick what happened to her daughter? >> large extended family. she had other children as well. good question. >> thank you. >> lee was surprised by the advance on petersburg. was there any explanation for that? >> other than the fact that grant is moving, he's not back in the old pattern of the army
of the potomac, get beat, withdraw, try again next season. grant came very quickly. there is no relent in the attacks from the wilderness. it was one of right after the other. that was part of grants strategy. >> thank you very much for coming tonight. [applause] onjoin american history tv saturday, november 7 from the national world war ii museum in new orleans. we will explore several exhibits . will take your questions for historians joining us from new orleans throughout the day. att is saturday, november 7, 11:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span3. now an interview with museum president and ceo nick mueller. nick: