tv The Civil War Union Spy Elizabeth Van Lew CSPAN September 30, 2018 11:00am-12:01pm EDT
university of virginia professor elizabeth barron talks about elizabeth van loon who operated a union spy ring out of the confederate capital of richmond. this hour-long talk was part of the annual summer conference posted by the get a birds college is -- gettysburg college. >> member of the history department here at gettysburg college, i'm also the director of the civil war institute. it is my pleasure this afternoon to enter his elizabeth barron, the associate director of the -- for civil war history. also the -- of american history. all the university of virginia. thankfully, she is not a hockey buff. she said go cap's. what has happened to the american sports team.
i never thought a civil war conference people would be jawing about hockey. she opposed in number of books including, we mean to be counted, white women and the politics in virginia. published by the university of north carolina. that's 98. this union which is one of my favorite overviews of the political press of the 1850's -- this union is published by the university . and victory and freedom at the end of the civil war. published by oxford, it is an outstanding book. it is a way to look at appomattox beyond the surrender proceedings looking at visual culture, appomattox how i resided in american memories. it is outstanding. and, today.
publishing the true story of elizabeth van --. a union agent in the heart of confederacy. elizabeth barron. [applause} >> all right. so, i bring your greetings from virginia and i'm delighted today to tell you about a remarkable virginian. aizabeth van lu, i wrote biography about her 15 years ago called southern lady yankees by. as the approach the 200 amber three -- anniversary of her birth, we're coming up on the anniversary. i more fascinated by her than ever. in part because new details of her life continue to come to light and because we now know more than ever about the phenomenon that she represented,
namely white southern unionism. after my lecture. it was clear to me from the start, when i began researching her life more than 20 years ago. she is, in many ways, a problematic subject for a biographer. part of the problem is that by the time i started writing, the vast majority of americans and never heard of her. she was a of secure figure. -- obscure figure. civil war aficionados was a mythical figure, known the book cloaked in all sorts of tall tales. finally, for people in her native, richmond. she had been a very polarizing figure. in some as a heroine quarters in richmond and to this day, as a pariah in others. i want to start by briefly sketching it the myth and legend
of her handed down over the years. i will focus on offering my corrective to that met. i will close of observations about the historical significance and her significance for civil war studies. the legend, first. the principal features are as follows. so the story goes, a rare white southern abolitionist whose anti-slavery sentiments can be traced to her northern parentage and education philadelphia. motivated by opposition to slavery, she had of the union, filing -- third she had again, according to the myth, access to these union soldiers and confederate prisons. her northern sympathies were well known to many confederate richmond are, she avoided detection during the war by crafting a reputation and
essentially harmless old spinster. her contemporaries knew her and she is been remembered as crazy. treatmentsars, many of family has suggested that the role of crazy vet came easy to her. she was an audit woman. this mythical bill has proven resilient in part because the nature of the sources available to us. van imperfect sources that lu had to journal during the war. left behind, it a bunch of personal papers. she kept these buried at an undisclosed location so if confederate authorities burst and they were not find them. working with these papers is tough going but if we plunge their murky depths and put them in context and recover other voices and perspectives on her, we can reconstruct her story.
i'll make the case today, that the true story of elizabeth van lu is much more compelling than the mythological version. -- are especially salient. first of all her views on slavery. second, the military significance of her spy network. didn't matter that she let this underground. the issue abortion never got caught. -- issue of why she never got caught. she's trying to hide what she did from public view. finally, i was face me about the origins and problems with his crazy vet image. --quebec to her early life let's go back to her early life. according to the myth, she was in abolitionist.
someone who knew from the time she was a child of that slavery was wrong, someone who committed herself to emancipation. the word abolitionism of course was and is a loaded term and has to be unpacked. for the detractors, the sympathetic to the confederacy, colin her in abolitionist was a way to branch or as an outsider to the south. someone who thinks to her northern heritage that she picked up was never a real virginian. for the defenders over the years, calling her in abolitionist has been a way to painter as a moral paragon, someone who saw the light. a close reading of the sources revealed that she was not in abolitionist in the sense that william lloyd garrison or frederick douglass were abolitionist. and set of rejecting slavery in the company of slaveholders, her and her family carefully staked out a position on a middle
ground between abolitionism and the proslavery creed. family was an upper-middle-class family and one of richmond's neighborhoods, lived in a mansion on church hill. they made every effort to fully assimilate into southern society. the family owned dozens of slaves. at the same time, her and her lamented thetely evils of slavery, hoping all the while that their individual acts of kindness and charity. they could gradually erode slavery from the inside. the van lu and her family supported the african colonization movement which was thought to support free blacks to africa. she said her family the most valued slave, mary richards, to
liberia as a teenager only to as a she they returned to her to slavery in richmond. while there is some evidence that sources are murky, that she secretly freed some of her slaves and 11 to stay working for wages. she gave a kind of secret freedom to some slave. her family had ownership with half a dozen bond people. while to the civil war, this is not the profile of abolitionist. she believed in gradual voluntary emancipation. the system reform from the inside, this is no northern heresy. this is a distinctly virginia outlook in her youth. an attitude to support colonization.
selling out of favor over the course of the antebellum. , gaining ground in those positive slavery. leaving the key to understanding the spy career. she did not see herself as someone who repudiated the confederacy. or the south. instead, she believed that the confederates were the traders to the south. reckoning, it was the succession is who in the wake of lincoln's 1860 election, abandoned virginia's heritage and -- in political moderation. the succession of the rejected reform and compromise. the --came blinded by proslavery. the procession crisis which you watch very carefully, the debates in richmond, represented for van lu, a catastrophe.
lu did any, van elaborate a sophisticated critique of slavery. that critique was forged in the firestorm of discussion. watchedalked -- succession, she concluded slavery made southern whites antidemocratic intellectually backward and dangerously --. slavery was the root cause of the madness of succession. she saw succession of madness. other unionists, those folks would remain trueblue throughout, rejected the succession is a votes, the claimant one rebel could whip tendencies and so on. she believed that most of these unconditional yunis stated that -- and virginia put it, a carnival of debt.
there is some penalizing evidence that suggested she may have been influenced by african-americans working in her household. to see slavery in this framework of sin and redemption. not long after virginia succession family remembers one of the family servants predicted the downfall of the confederacy, telling her that you will see, they shall fall down. that is the settlement of the prophecy. we wrote those words in her drought followed by a brief post saidt that she wrote, so was clear and bright hope, the owners caller: -- appeared and looked to the union arming to fill his prophecy. during the war, family would take measures to promote emancipation. including those working in her hassle to flee be south. it was only after succession close off that sort of imagined
middle ground in the slavery debate. elizabeth and braced abolition. richmond,to stay in she could have easily gone to the north there it she chose to stay in richmond. an awful felt she had responsibility to her fellow virginians, particularly the blacks. and her political calculus, the unionists were remaining true. her in short evolved into one. this is key to understanding her mentality. she would bring to her spite work, a special of the law. born of guilt and regret of a late comer to the truth. how was it they fill that awful responsibility as she saw it.
she would rally the assistance of union prisoners. help them to survive, to escape. war, shed half of the headed a intelligence operation that gathered vital information for the grand army. even this aspect of the store has enclosed in ms.. -- ms.. jews regarded as so crazy and harmless she was allowed to wander confederate prisons at will. hatching plans of the prisoners in gathering data dissent union forces. it is true that in the first year of the war, she had access to some confederate prisons in richmond. she did befriend and assist the intimate union men who were imprisoned there. she secured a act above and the plate in her image as a southern lady. she probably justified her administration to union soldiers. an act of charity to the unworthy.
keeping with the fema imperative to be benevolent. after martial law was imposed on richmond in 1862, and measure was followed by the sweeping arrests of dozens of unionists, she could no longer visit with union prisons the way she had. she was never allowed to enter the notorious -- prison. the union underground. under the wake of her leadership cracking down on unionism, manage somehow to the new atmosphere. -- provide an escape for prisoners heard helping a civilian. why a black southern units to flee the confederacy. richmond yunis and her circle of praise circle of
operatives. worked there to provide a scabies with safehouses in passes and disguises and guides and contacts to take into union line. the main weapons in her arsenal of these early days were her family's wealth. which she spent to bribe confederate guards and officials. her family social standing. her mother was set up as a archetypal southern lading. very high standing. parlayed that social standing and numerous favors from influential confederates. in other was, it is true that she resorted to play acting to get her way her favorite role was the role of the lawyer, respectable confederate lady. in the presence of confederate officials, she and her mother
did their best to talk southern confederacy. they even took in confederate borders and open their home to the rebel wounded. confederacyto the that would throw them off. important asset for the union underground was back in and her family resources, the most important was the cooperation of african-american union. according to memorize this. --.ion or three bright sharp college met on the watch near libby prison. always rate to conduct a escaped prisoner to safety. the richmond underground represented in interracial collaboration under her discussion.
thanks that discretion to that her agent, her family mentioned provided a way station for fugitives on the journey beyond confederate lines. the most fabled of those african-american to work the richmond underground is mary elizabeth bowser. rumors began to circulate after van lose death in 1900. war, she planted a black servant as a spy in the inner sanctum of the confederate. up, it seemed so improbable. by thecle published richmond leader of 1900, furnished some details. passing from the scene according to this article, they sent one of their slaves to philadelphia to be educated, then center onto liberia, only to welcome her back to richmond on the eve of the war.
is of the richmond papers did not name initially was planted so this article claimed, and the confederate white house. is a domestic disturbance. the spy gathered intelligence for the union. the startek on a new life when reportedlyr -- ascertain the identity of this mysterious white house by -- anal of the needs heard merry was the bowser. assing the name onto journalist name of william again more inner he made this information does. they white house by. -- spy. life, i washed her keen to learn everything i could about mary bowser.
what i learned, trying to follow is thatil of evidence, the woman all these years that we have remembered as mary bowser, was in fact mary jane richard. the records of the american colonization society and the freedmen's bureau along with that sources demonstrated it was a slave girl named mary richard. she was sent to liberia and summoned back to richmond. step ahead of the authorities as she worked in the richmond underground by using a series of aliases. including mary henley and mary jones. after reconstruction we have letters in her own hand revealing to the freedmen's bureau that she had served as a federal agent or in the war. clobber her story and map it on to the house her
story. .his is an object lesson the most striking single piece of evidence on mary richards wartime exploits did not come to light after i published the book. published myter i book about van lou, someone of the state library in virginia sent me a newspaper article from a new york newspaper. one of the premier african newspapers in the company. that new super article covered speech given by a woman going by the name rich ammonia richard. baptistklyn new york church in september of 1855. in this article, we see the
claim, we see richard is credited with having said that she had gone into president david's house while speaking -- and making a winter pride office where she open the drawers and scrutinized the papers. here is evidence from a few months after the war that puts mary jane richards in the confederate white house. something i looks for a not found -- looked for and not found. i was thrilled by the emergence of this source. i was chagrin i had not found it myself. i had not thought in a million years that should pop up in brooklyn. with our wonderful digitized newspapers were we can keyword search and so on, i might've found the source more quickly. that article represents a whole new set of leaves i hope folks will follow.
richards and others like van lou , beginning in the winter of 1853, her double life where she's pertaining to be a loyal lady while working for the union. was considerably more risky as she her fellow union operatives are formally enlisted into the federal secret service. gathering, got wind from various people who made their way out of richmond. there was a underground there and others reached out to her. her role at this point is crucial. her mansion on churchill is the nerve center of the spy operation. she is best described as a spy master who oversaw and deployed a devoted group of unionist operators. people willing to take your orders that question and to risk their lives to do so.
to my mind as all this came to light, the very existence of this network to me undercut the crazy series that was hard to believe that men and women would have trusted their lives. she a practice acting arrested in public. she inspired the trust of the people in her network. the network it reached far beyond richmond into the neighboring counties. her operatives practiced a primitive but effective spy namescraft they used code and invisible ink to write message. --y carried messages written hidden in shoes and clothing. the keeping a want to emphasize is that this is not only a great story of airing and all the rest, it was profound military and political applications for the union war efforts.
at a time and the last year of the war, when great with having to fight simultaneously on two fronts in virginia along the richmond petersburg corridor in the shenandoah valley, her operatives provided key information on the movement of confederate reinforcements back and forth between lee's army and in the last. -- west. there's been to have he was insight to howt he was moving them. being transferred to be valley, grant could strike plus at the richmond consensus conversely when the unit underground is able to say divisions were to arrive in richmond. charity can strike. this is a set of tactical insight. it cannot be emphasized enough this limited stuff. men were moving back and forth
between these two fronts. in truth got on her off the railroad cars, that was information the thought grant should have. van lou and her fellow unionists knew they relied on this information. they relied on military intelligence. also for assessment of the political atmosphere and living condition in the rebel capital of richmond. together, unionist reports from the last year of the war provide it picture of increasing desolation as grant is laying siege to it. rampant inflation. old man being herded into the rebel army, bitterness at lincoln's election. she had her finger on the pulse of richmond and the morale of the city. this kind of information was
crucial to --. grantg at the panel on third is information confirmed during a time at which she was under a lot of public criticism. high casualties and the lack of decisive victories. it for him that his plan was working his grand strategy was working. the siege was training confederate resources. just how much the federal high command value to these insights is revealed by officers. a grand or so eager for news from richmond that he would sometimes go and meet in person with scouts. what a fair topic of conversation around the campfires at night, was the latest news from the richmond underground. family was in daily contact with grant -- van lou was in daily
contact with grant. the work of the underground influence public opinion in both the north and in the south. ripples of influence we can trade. we've testimony of scores in the scabies and refugees from richmond who are aided by -- escapees and refugees from richmond. forhtening northern press the support indicates the case that the regime was oppressive. there were southerners yearning to be white southerners. message filled with northern morale. prisoners often attest to the fact they had been aided by southern blacks in their plight. the positive image of african-americans best.
effortsrground's undermined confederate morale. if mr. maddox seats of these richmond unionist were two things you cannot make up if you tried. the escape of 109 union officers from prison, the heart of the confederacy, the hard the confederate capital the dug a tunnel underground. they helped many make their way to safety in the north. the second of the most amount of contribution was the re-burial on it unionist soil of slain union kernel all right -- ulrich. the confederate press is only where of these incidents and called them the libby prison escape. the great escape the great resurrection. a fascinating story.
it is a failure. killing confederate suggesting that his marching orders -- to jefferson davis. during controversy over whether there were such papers are at in any case, the confederate are so livid at this finding that they mutilate his body and give him what they consider a dogs burial in unmarked grave. meant as an act of disrespect. he was the son of the union admiral. he had his voice body returned to him and the confederates said no but eventually they relent and had a terrible surprise may go to dig up his body. van lou and her operatives had gotten there first and dug up his body.
cart covered with toteus, through -- produce the form of a virginia unionist given him a proper aerial -- burial. his body is not there. the great resurrection, and this kind of activity suggested to confederates that this richmond underground was capable of working miracles. this was unnerving to confederates. the significance to the union war effort comes from the pen of george sharp. the union chief of military intelligence for the army of the potomac. sharp would write in a post war letter and i quote, for a long time, then lou represented all that was left of the power of the u.s. government and the city
of richmond. is a remarkable thing for a 19th century man to say about a 19th century woman. she cannot vote. have basic rights of citizenship. clearly, on the outs of the confederacy but she represented nothing less than the power of the u.s. government and the estimation of this intelligence. let's turn, an overview of what she did. let's turn to why she was not cot. -- not caught. the best smith suggest that her mantle of madness, the fight as she went around town dressed in a bit drag old way. impunity.r a it is just not so. her agents were traveling to and from her house with dispatches
and orders and the family was vulnerable. vulnerable to the exposure. indeed, a moment of reckoning comes in 1864. when acting on a tip, the confederate authorities launch a formal investigation of the van loo family. the confederate state police seek to build a case against the women by getting inside the social circle. and want to find someone they interrogate family, friends, and those friends do not do anything. they finally star witness in the form of elizabeth strange's sister-in-law. this sister-in-law will swear in that sheion in 1864 had often heard elizabeth and her mother express ardent desire for the success of federal arms
and the failure of the confederate states to establish independence. accusing of treason. deposition after his is taken, a provost marshal in charge of this case said the copy of it to the inspector general's office asking chow other evidence be taken with a view to the removal of the families from the confederacy. -- that would be banishment as a penalty. of the general's office to this query, sheds more light than any other document how then lou got a way with her espionage. charles blackford stipulated that ms. elizabeth van lou of the city is a very and friendly
her sentiment toward the government. like most of her sex she seems to have talked freely. but -- but, it does not. that she has not ever done anything to and from the cause. she has never done anything to inform the cause. at this point, she helped 109 union men another way out of prison. she was in daily contact with grant. she had reburied --. the ultimate signing was that no action to be taken. the qualities of van lou by those judging her, were her wealth and position of her family and your bad habits. they started talking it to much. confederate prejudice is served to insulate van lou. the sexism of the men whose job
it was to root out disloyalty, inclined them to believe that a frail, spinster was capable of a significant act of disloyalty. it was only when authorities infiltrated her family that they were able to gather evidence of disloyal sentiments. they cannot find hard proof of her disloyal action. enough toas a cute overestimate her enemies even as a fullest the underrated -- underestimated her/ when rissman falls to union forces, elizabeth van lou false to personal vindication. she wrote how glorious was your welcome. at that historic moment, she also confronted the truth that so many white americans cannot bring themselves to face. theough the war was ending, war of reckoning with racism had
only just begun. she would write in her article that when paternity test. you will written them by the almighty, their on hand stories. to be read before us. capped weeksut she to us and towns that are poignant and solomon. hoped histhat she would pride her for her honesty and division. irony of the story, a central theme, running through her journal is her conviction that she was a pillar of sanity in a world gone mad. the tragedy of her life in a sense was that the world rejected her vision of herself. and robust or attempts to project an image of her incompetence. the story of her wartime exploits first became widely known by the public.
going above ground after the war. first he comes widely known when eight and 69 she was appointed postmaster of richmond. that's. at first, i didn't know what to make of this. we think of a postmaster as a bureaucratic position. as a plum patronage job. all of the old postmasters are kicked out. each postmaster is supposed to the head of a partisan army. other to appoint all party faithful to positions in the post office. it was widely understood that a postmaster ship with a stepping stone to political influence. benjamin franklin with a postmaster. this was important. if you are a postmaster of a major city it cared a nice dowry.
she was appointed postmaster britain because she led a spy ring during the war. white people in richmond new is to say, rail against the appointment of a female spy. the postmaster bridgman. no one charged her with craziness, yet. and her eight years in office for it as postmaster of richmond , during grants to terms. by her own account, she tried to project a public image of fairness and efficiency. rely on andto anyone political fashion. time, she also very bravely and with great pride adapted the mantle of truth teller on the subject of race relations in richmond. she wrote letters to the northern press, revealing the oppressive treatment of african americans by confederates trying to convey the facts as they are.
the rations prescription that fell among free people. neither the white republicans who she sought to represent, nor s in richmondocrat his policies she oppose were willing to concede the competence and rationality. only the african-americans were willing to honor her. she may have been unprecedented of uttering not hiring african-americans to work in the post office. she battle in vain to retain her office. acuity of african-american men headed by --. passed the resolution declaring is any other person is appointed postmaster, they'll have no chance of getting employment. weitzman across the political spectrum responded to van lou's handling of this office.
by marshaling allegations that van lou was erratic and hysterical. a backlash against her office holding, more than her wartime that -- to regard them live in her old age as crazy. it is important to note that it was not only former confederates are resented her behavior as postmaster, but republican men who believe that job was a man's job. that's our should be a man's salary. we have a tragic situation. in her waning years, she's a postmaster ship when hayes comes to office. in her last year, she is poverty-stricken, she spent much of the family fortune on her spy work during the war. she is frightened for her life. there are a papers, death threats.
, seems to a.ic skittish, paranoia and, frightened. she seems of sets for their own persecution. it was all to easy to mistake her alienation and her fear for a kind of madness. in a sense, what happens is that over the years, as is reconstruction story and flex family's reputation, we see an image of a nervous, poverty-stricken crone. planting an image of her as a articulate spymaster. take a few last minutes to say if words about her historical significance.
there is great recent scholarship that is trained our attention on the contributions of women to the war effort. of great books on dissent in the south and how dissent within a south contributed to the demise of the confederacy. also great work on the memory of the civil war commemoration and memories. her life was dramatically connecting -- and southern unionism. a few brief or is the women's history payment -- history theme. absolute representing the countless women that we all know, many of their stories. they were determined to go beyond what the gender conventions at the time asked of them during the war and demanded of them. the doctrine, women were supposed to be domestic preachers. theiricing amend to
causes and put their skills to use on behalf of armies. she wanted to do more. was among those women who sort of breach the boundaries between battlefront in homefront she represents women's warfront, growing political agency, and interestingly, she represents debates about female accountability. people felt women shall be classed among the innocent and war who are not agents, they should be held accountable for their actions, rewarded or punished. in was an object of study the debates over political accountability. they think that was really emerged for me was the frame in which to see her better. you finish a book and learn new things. is of things i have learned the strength and supporting a southern unionism.
it is, for us to stay. the south lost the war. as a number of recent studies have shown, that short hand loss is over. obscuring the strong presence of these white unionists. they are's -- symbolic importance. south is versus the jaw-dropping statistics on the subject. 450,000 slaves were blue uniforms. 450,000 men from slave states. most of these were african-americans in the union army or it -- union army. border state whites -- kentucky. 100,000 white men from confederate states war union lou. -- blue.
perhaps most famous example in virginia, the war of the union blue areas the statistics give us a new perspective on an old debate. because of the overwhelming numbers of the north or didn't die of internal cause and a failure of the will? if we recognize the present of these unionists in the south we can fuse these two explanations and see how internal divisions within the south contributed to the north. unionism issouthern primary importance is political or symbolic. we have to stipulate and recognize, and emphasize. the vast majority of whites in the confederate state support in the confederacy. units were a minority. asy were important because shown in a recent book about north carolina, while unionists were not able to establish
control over the south, they destabilized the home front. they destabilized certain counties. confederacy had put up brush fires and devote resources to putting out. i have a new book coming out next february called armies of deliverance in which i will argue, a case about the symbolic importance of these unionists. i will argue that as northerners march off to war into an 61, they believe the mission is to save the south. these pockets of southern unionism that they represent, few believe that once the power is displaced the south can be redeemed for the union. there are people like van loser can be a vanguard. last point, her is -- and her memory,
late wars of the 19 century. there is a reason we don't see monuments to southern unionists. cause memory tradition with its emphasis on confederate righteousness and confederate unity crowded out and suppressed wiped out rival memory traditions. a very good illustration of this, it was not enough for former confederates to drive her and her fellow nativeborn republicans out of office. they also tried to wipe them out of existence. the myth that elizabeth van lit was a crazy, lonely spinster. dangerous than the truth that she was the head of a brave interracial network of
virginians. the myth is much easy to dismiss. frederick douglass said there was a right side and a wrong side in the late war. to that, she would have said a man -- amen. lifetime andher the postwar. were forgetting the basic truth. she was appalled to watch richmond become the hub of the lost cause. she would write on the lee statue, ever since the lee unveiling, i have felt this is no place for me. otherhat mullah, not all things it she suffered made her feel that there is no place for her. 1900, thedied in confederate sympathies or remember her as a spirit haunting her old neighborhood of churchill. at the very same time that
circulated in the press, her oldest friend, a woman namedist, a eliza noland, was trying to publish her own account of families life. van loo, to portray the zest -- believed slavery to be a blot on the nation. patrick henry stood old saint john's church and shouted to me liberty or give me death. the walls of the van loo mansion echoed. her heart caught up the refrain and said give them liberty or give me death. love for her family sustained her and her child through life. . that int to her to put its proper place in context. to recover a sense of the real elizabeth van lou.
in woman we should remember not one for her intelligence gathering but for her intelligence. see the herto ability to tell it. [applause} i would be delighted to take questions. >> my father grew up in church hill not very far away from the van loo mansion. i've always heard the story, how you seem to say that was not used to much. i thought about how she got into the prison to visit with the union troops.
by acting crazy. act andnk she did play there were times she disguised there is some evidence that at times she disguised herself and pretended to be someone else. i do not think that she wanted to give the impression that she was crazy. it was much more, her family connections and her play act and the role of a loyal confederate a ruse thatt was she was crazy. to prisons. access again, her access was never as great as myth would have it. that sheortant to note is the mastermind of this operation. woman,an middle-aged quite frail.
is directing her operatives and agents. i felt, again for it there may think about the --. that's not at up. no of them without there's inclination of that in the formal investigation. it was widely thought that she was crazy. why would that not have come up. there is no information of it there. the thing at more than anything else they gave me pause was the both are operatives in union authorities reached out to her and a great deal of trust in her. it -- as a units in richmond. the prison -- might be vanished.
property confiscated. or you could be executed. there were executions. it was a game she was playing. meant toher a point such a high position evidence of her collaboration and why wasn't she outed by somebody and what she'd been at a great risk physically? appointed, she is a celebrity in the papers which is appointed. the story does come to light to a certain extent. she had to be very careful about not revealing --. the underground railroad. both operations tried to selectively let the enemy know they were there. the network identity of people. they are fighting a battle of
public opinion as well as a battle to move people across the landscape. act. a balancing she wanted her story to be known. but while protecting crucial details that might make people vulnerable. the people associated with her were vulnerable to reprisals and she was, hard to convey. socially isolated she was, particularly in her later years. during reconstruction they have the union army present in richmond and in the south. that project is ongoing. the seven republicans and leadership. and measure of protection was when reconstruction and. a extreme of vulnerability. given a prominent social
position during the war, did she have any social contact with prominent women like marina davis? an american chestnut spent a lot of time in richmond, or other confederate officials? i don't think she ever met marina davis but it is not impossible. their family is best described as upper-middle-class. they belong to a social -- a business minded merchants. unionism,ain her there is lots of varieties of unionism. hers is colored by the families wiggery.e -- hoping a common with diversifying -- the economy would diversify.
sources i read not reveal much about her socializing with confederates. although one has to presume that she did. as part of the act. >> thank you for bringing such interesting women to life. is there any historical documents on the life of mary jane after the war? records are some bureau on which, a very exciting find for me. she was literate. working for the freedmen's bureau and places like georgia, after the war. so in theer, she says brooklyn church, i mention she was a big advocate of education. -- with van lou.
hope someoneand i does this work. moving on to other projects. to minded about this dilemma about whether to go back. i think that the article in the anglo african, suggest that there are other such clues out there. that they represent a whole new set of leaves to follow when it comes to marriage and richards. much more is noble about mary jane richards that i thought. probably because of the vast number of sources that have been digitized. i haven't done the work of going to every available --. but whoever does that work, will be rewarded with more details about her life.
i think we are at the end of our time, thank you all so much for coming. [applause} >> this weekend, on american history tv on c-span3, at 4 p.m. eastern, on real in america. the 1919 film, the lost battalion heard about the lead up to the end of world war i or it in army unit of men from new york who ran out of water and food after they were surrounded by german forces for seven days in october. at 6 p.m. on an american artifacts, women's history with a visit to civil war related sites in alexandria, virginia. where women worked as nurses and age communities. a 8 p.m., on the presidency, lookout first ladies of influence political and cultural times through fashion. watch american history tv this weekend on c-span3.
were history unfold daily. in 1979, c-span was great as a public service by america's to bring youiontoday, we contie unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. -- c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. next on lectures in history, eric sheldon of the university of virginia's college it wise teaches a class on political philosopher john rolfe and his justice,""a theory of which has heavily influenced the ideas behind modern american liberalism. when president bill clinton awarded rolfe the national humanities medal in 1999, he called him "perhaps the