Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since Seller Inventory IQ Language: English. Brand new Book. Seller Inventory APC Delivered from our UK warehouse in 4 to 14 business days. Belle Boyd. This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Buy New View Book. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title. But this is a digression. Let us glance a moment at Belle Boyd in prison, sketched by other hands than her own.
In the month of August, , the editor of the "Iowa Herald," D. Mahony, Esq. The following extracts from Mr. Belle, as she is familiarly called by all the prisoners, and affectionately so by the Confederates, was arrested and imprisoned as a spy On inquiry, we were informed that it was Belle Boyd. Some of us had never heard of the lady before; and we were all Page 13 inquiring about her.
Who was she? Whenever she availed herself of this privilege, as she frequently did, the greatest curiosity was manifested by the victims of despotism to see her. Her room being on the second story, those who occupied the third story were civilians from Fredericksburg I heard her voice, my first night in prison, singing 'Maryland, my Maryland,' the first time I had ever heard the Southern song.
The words, stirring enough to Southern hearts, were enunciated by her with such peculiar expression as to touch even sensibilities which did not sympathize with the cause which inspired the song. It was difficult to listen unmoved to this lady, throwing her whole soul, as it were, into the expression of the sentiments of devotion to the South, defiance to the North, and affectionately confident appeals to Maryland, which form the burden of that Page 14 celebrated song.
The pathos her voice, her apparently forlorn condition, and, at those times when her soul seemed absorbed in the thoughts she was uttering in song, her melancholy manner, affected all who heard her, not only with compassion for her, but with an interest in her which came near, on several occasions, bringing about a conflict between the prisoners and the guards.
Several of these were personally acquainted with Belle, as she was most of the time, and by nearly every one, called. In the evenings these prisoners were permitted to crowd inside of their room-doors, whence they could see and sometimes exchange a word with Belle. When this liberty was not allowed, she contrived to procure a large marble, around which she would tie a note, written on tissue-paper, and, when the guard turned his back to patrol his beat in the hall, she would roll the marble into one of the open doors Page 15 of the Confederate prisoners' rooms.
When the contents were read and noted a missive would be written in reply, and the marble, similarly burdened as it came, would be rolled back to Belle.
Thus was a correspondence established and kept up between Belle and her fellow-prisoners, till a more convenient and effective mode was discovered. This occurred soon after some of us were transferred from room No. Sheward and I were rummaging in an old, dirty, doorless closet in No. Here was a discovery! No sooner was it made, than we set to writing a note, which was tied to a thread and dropped down through the discovered aperture.
It happened to be seen by Belle, who soon returned the compliment. Thenceforth a regular mail passed through the floor in No. It would not be the least interesting chapter in the history of the Old Capitol to give in it these letters of Belle Boyd. But the time is not yet. It was, of course, provoking; but was such a place a proper one in which to imprison a female, and especially one who, whatever may have been Page 20 her offence, was in the estimation of the world, a lady?
Many a patriotic lady of Baltimore has been arrested by Federal officers for singing the patriotic song of "Maryland. At one of the most celebrated eating, drinking, and singing saloons in London, the classical resort of authors, actors, poets, and wits, for these hundred years at least, the famous band of boys, who sing better than any choir outside the Sistine chapel in Rome, after having got "the words and air of 'Maryland' by heart," are not allowed to sing it, for fear of giving offence!
It might possibly "offend" somebody were they to chant the "Marseillaise. On Page 21 these occasions she wore a small Confederate flag in her bosom. No sooner would her presence be known to the Confederate prisoners, than they manifested towards her every mark of respect which persons in their situation could bestow. Most of them doffed their hats as she approached them, and she, with a grace and dignity that might be envied by a queen, extended her hand to them as she moved along to her designated position in a corner near the preacher.
We Northern prisoners of State envied the Confederates who enjoyed the acquaintance of Belle Boyd, and who secured from her such glances of sympathy as can only glow from a woman's eyes. If she kept her room, a solitary prisoner, her health, and probably her mind, would become affected by the confinement and solitude; and if she indulged herself by sitting outside her room door, she became exposed to the gaze of more than a hundred prisoners, nearly all of them strangers to her, and many of them her enemies by the laws of war.
Nor was this all. Page 22 She could not help hearing the comments made on her, and the opinions expressed of her, by passers-by; some of them complimentary and flattering, it is true, but oftentimes couched in expressions which were not what she should hear. The guards, too, were sometimes rude to her both by word and action. One time, especially, one of the guards presented his bayoneted musket at her in a threatening manner. She, brave and unterrified, dared the craven-hearted fellow to put his threat into execution.
It was well for him that he did not, for he would have been torn into pieces before it could be known to the prison authorities what had happened. Her room fronted on A Street, and, as usual with all the prisoners whose rooms had windows opening towards the street, Belle would sit at her window sometimes, and look abroad upon the houses, streets, and people of the city named after Washington.
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It happened frequently that troops were moving to and fro, and it was on such occasions especially that Belle, prompted by Page 23 that curiosity which seems to be a law of nature in mankind, would look through her barred window at the soldiers. No sooner would they perceive her than they indulged in coarse jests, vulgar expressions, and the vilest slang of the brothel, made still more coarse, vulgar, and indecent by the throwing off of the little restraint which civilized society places upon the most abandoned prostitutes and their companions Yes; and participated with the soldiers in uttering the most vulgar language and indecent allusions to the imprisoned woman; and that, too, without having the remotest idea of who she was, or of what she was accused.
It was enough for them that she was a defenceless woman, to insult and outrage her by such language as they would not dare to apply in the public streets to an abandoned woman who had her liberty. And these men were going forth to fight the battles of the Union! They had just parted with mothers, Page 24 wives, and sisters. It would seem that, in doing so, they turned their backs upon the virtues which give beauty to woman and dignity to man As soon as it became known in the 'Old Capitol' that she was about to leave, there was not one, Federalist or Confederate, prisoner of state, officer of the 'Old Capitol,' as well as prisoner of war, who did not feel that he was about to part with one for whom he had, at least, a great personal regard.
With many it was more than mere regard. While every man who had any delicacy of feeling for the apparently forlorn prisoner rejoiced at her release from such a loathsome place, and from being subjected, as she continually was, to insult and contumely, there Page 25 was not a gentleman in 'Old Capitol' whose emotions did not overcome him as he saw her leave the place for home.
But was not Mr. Mahony "guilty" of being the Democratic nominee for Congress? I may not deny that my gloomy 'constitutional' seemed thenceforward a shade or two less dreary; but, though community of suffering does much to abridge ceremony, it was some days before I interchanged with the fair captive any sign beyond the mechanical lifting of my cap, when I entered and left her presence, duly acknowledged from above. One evening I chanced to be loitering almost under the window. A low, significant cough made me look up; I saw the flash of a gold bracelet, and the wave of a white hand; and there Page 27 fill at my feet a fragrant, pearly rose-bud, nestling in fresh green leaves.
My thanks were, perforce, confined to a gesture and a dozen hurried words; but I would the prison-beauty could believe that fair Jane Beaufort's rose was not more prized than hers, though the first was a love-token to a king, the last only a graceful gift to an unlucky stranger. I suppose that most men, whose past is not utterly barren of romance, are weak enough to keep some withered flowers till they have lived memory down; and I pretend not to be wiser than my fellows.
Other fragrant messengers followed in their season; but if ever I 'win hame to my ain countrie,' I make mine avow to enshrine that first rose-bud in my reliquaire with all honour and solemnity, there to abide till one of us shall be dust. Like the flashing of the plume in the helmet of Navarre, the glancing of the Confederate ensign, when waved by a woman's hand, has never failed to fire the soldier's heart to "lofty deeds and daring high;" and on more than a hundred Southern battle-fields that proud banner, consecrated by prayers and kisses, baptized in tears and blood, has been greeted by the closing eyes of its dying defenders as the oriflamme of victory.
Not that Mr. Lincoln was their friend: on the contrary, every man and woman in the South, and every child born within the last four years, regarded him as the official head and personal embodiment of all their enemies. But, by the removal of the Commander-in-Chief of the great army and navy with which they were contending, a far more vindictive and unrelenting man is invested with the supreme power of the nation.
It is usual in cases of murder to look for the Page 31 criminal among those who expect to be benefited by the crime.
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In the death of Lincoln his immediate successor in office alone receives "the benefit of his dying. I have yet to learn that the written programme of Colonel Dahlgren, which designed the burning of Richmond, the ravaging of its women, and the murder of President Davis and all his cabinet, has ever been disavowed or denounced by the Washington Government, or by the newspapers that support it.
Philosophy and religion alike teach us that, while crime only belongs to the act, the sin of murder consists in the intent. In the light of this Page 32 judgment, faint in comparison with that "awful light" yet to be thrown, not only upon all human actions, but upon "the very thoughts and intents of the heart," both North and South, friend and foe, rebel and loyalist, the victim and the victor, the living and the dead, must all be tried and sentenced by ONE who "judgeth not as man judgeth. London, May 17th, There is, or rather I should say, there was, no prettier or more peaceful little village than Martinsburg, where I was born, in All those charms with which the fancy of Goldsmith invested the Irish hamlet in the days of its prosperity were realized in my native village.
Martinsburg has met a more cruel fate than that of "sweet Auburn. While America was yet at peace within itself, while the States were yet united, Page 35 many very beautiful residences were erected in the vicinity of Martinsburg, which may be said to have attained some degree of importance as a town when the large machinery buildings were raised, at a vast outlay, by the Baltimore and Ohio Railway Company. They were not destined to repay those who designed them. While they were yet in course of construction their doom was silently, but rapidly approaching.
They were destroyed, as the only means of averting their capture by the advancing Yankees, by that undaunted hero, that true apostle of Freedom, "Stonewall" Jackson. Reader, I must once again revert to my home, which was so soon to be the prey of the spoiler.
Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison
Imagine a bright warm sun shining upon a pretty two-storied house, the walls of which are completely hidden by roses Page 36 and honeysuckle in most luxuriant bloom. At a short distance in front of it flows a broad, clear, rapid stream: around it the silver maples wave their graceful branches in the perfume-laden air of the South. Even at this distance of time and space, as I write in my dull London lodging, I can hardly restrain my tears when I recall the sweet scene of my early days, such as it was before the unsparing hand of a ruthless enemy had defaced its loveliness.
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I frequently indulge in a fond soliloquy, and say, or rather think, "Do my English readers ever bestow a thought upon that cruel fate which has overtaken so many of their lineal descendants, whose only crime has been that love of freedom which the Pilgrim Fathers could not leave behind them when they left their island home? Do they bestow any pity, any sympathy, upon us homeless, ruined, exiled Page 37 Confederates?
Do they ever pause to reflect what would be their own feelings if, far and wide throughout their country, the ancestral hall, the farmer's homestead, and the labourer's cot were giving shelter to the licentious soldiers of an invader or crackling in incendiary flames? With what emotions would the citizens of London watch the camp-fires of a besieging army?
I passed my childhood as all happy children usually do, petted and caressed by a father and mother, loving and beloved by my brothers and sisters. The peculiarly sad circumstances that attended my father's death will be found recorded at a future page. Where my mother is hiding her head I know not: doubtless she is equally ignorant of my fate. My brothers and sisters are dispersed God knows where. But to return to my narrative.
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I believe I shall not be contradicted in affirming, that nowhere could be found more pleasant society than that of Virginia. In this respect the neighbourhood of Martinsburg; was remarkably fortunate, populated as it was by some of the best and most respectable families of "the Old Dominion" - Page 39 respectable, I mean, both in reputation and in point of antiquity - descendants of such ancestors as the Fairfaxes and Warringtons, upon whom Mr.