Rose Greenhow Biography

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In September 1864, Rose O’Neal Greenhow left Europe and headed for the confederate capital, Richmond Virginia, aboard a British blockade runner, the Condor. When the ship entered the mouth of a river near Wilmington North Carolina, a Union gunboat started following them. Rose had previously been imprisoned by the Union and if caught she would be captured again. Against the captain 's advice she decided to take two companions and try and row to shore. She refused to leave her two thousand dollars in gold on the ship and stuffed it in her petticoat as she boarded the rowboat. As they set out dark clouds covered the moonlight making their escape easier. A storm came and suddenly, halfway to the shore, the boat was turned over causing the occupants…show more content…
She died the way she lived, on the run from those who sought to end her. Greenhow worked as a Confederate spy during the civil war. She was born Montgomery County, Maryland in 1813. In 1817 at the age of 4 her father, an owner of a major plantation, was killed by one of his slaves. This caused Rose to leave her family 's former plantation and move in with her aunt in Washington DC. She became a belle of Washington and in 1835, age 26, she married Robert Greenhow, age 43. Robert Greenhow was a wealthy and socially well placed man working for the Department of State. During their marriage they had eight children and became popular socialites in Washington DC. In 1854 Robert was killed in an accident while on a mission for financial…show more content…
When her husband died Rose became a leading figure in Washington and made friends with many important people. The relationships she created with multiple political leaders led to her recruitment to be a confederate spy in the spring of 1861. The man who recruited her was Virginia Governor John Letcher who already had a spy network in the greater Virginia area. In July of 1861 Rose Greenhow 's legacy started as an accomplished confederate spy when she warned the confederates of the Union General, Irvin McDowell, plans to attack Bull Run on July 16th. The information was passed on hidden in one of her associates hair bun. This information gave the confederates the ability to get reinforcements there on time which helped them win the battle. On July 22nd after the battle, Rose was sent a letter from Confederate President Jefferson Davis thanking her for her work. Along with thanks from Davis, General P.G.T. Beauregard, second in command to the confederates ranking army officer, wrote a letter in 1863 crediting the win of the battle to Rose
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