Historian Karen Abbott's new book "Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy" tells the little-known tale of women who served in battle and in intelligence roles during the Civil War.
The subjects of Karen Abbott's engrossing "Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War" managed to achieve remarkable success as spies with little more than their shrewdness, boldness and dedication to their cause.
The four women of the subtitle are Belle Boydand Rose O'Neal Greenhow, who worked for the Confederacy, and Elizabeth Van Lew and Emma Edmondson, who were Union operatives. Boyd was 17 in 1861 when the war began. Of the women Ms. Abbott profiles, Boyd most blurred the line between patriotism and thrill-seeking. Known as "the Secesh Cleopatra" and "La Belle Rebelle," she "filled her days flirting and spying," never making pronounced efforts to conceal her espionage activities."