Belle Boyd House-Home of a Spy - Martinsburg WV
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Don.Morfe
N 39° 27.576 W 077° 57.708
18S E 245177 N 4371968
Quick Description: Isabelle “Belle” Boyd, the Confederate spy, lived here during part of her childhood.
Location: West Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 8/24/2020 10:20:18 AM
Waymark Code: WM13191
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member jhuoni
Views: 1

Long Description:
Belle Boyd House-Home of a Spy— Antietam Campaign —Isabelle “Belle” Boyd, the Confederate spy, lived here during part of her childhood. The ten-year-old and her family moved here in 1853 and left in 1858 for a dwelling (no longer standing) on South Queen Street. According to Boyd, when Union Gen. Robert Patterson’s army occupied Martinsburg in July 1861, she escaped prosecution after she shot dead a soldier who invaded the Queen Street house and insulted her mother, Mary Glen Boyd.

In the spring of 1862, Belle Boyd paid a visit to her Aunt Fanny Stewart in Front Royal, Virginia. There, on May 22, Boyd first gained fame as a spy. When Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson and his army approached the town, which was occupied by a small Federal Garrison, Boyd walked several miles to find him and report Union troop numbers and dispositions. Federal authorities later imprisoned Boyd twice for “communicating with the enemy” then released her. In December 1863, she sailed for England on a blockade runner, bearing diplomatic letters from Confederate President Jefferson Davis. When the ship was captured, Boyd persuaded the Federal naval officer in charge to let her go and later married him.

Her flamboyant personality, scandalous behavior (by the standards of “well-bred” Southern society), reckless courage, and undeniable charm made her a natural for the stage, where she recounted her exploits. In 1865, she published Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison, blurring the lines between fact and legend. Married three times and the mother of four, she died on June 11, 1900 in Kilbourne, Wisconsin.

Benjamin R. Boyd, Belle’s father, built this Greek Revival-style house in 1853. When it was threatened with demolition in August, 1992, the Berkeley County Historical Society rescued it. The Society operates the Belle Boyd House as a museum and learning center open to the public.
Type of site: Historic Home

126 E Race Street
Martinsburg, WV USA

Admission Charged: No Charge

Website: [Web Link]

Phone Number: Not listed

Driving Directions: Not listed

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