Vindicating the Confederacy: Confederate Female Spies and their Memoirs 1863-1876

Matthews, Melissa. “Vindicating the Confederacy: Confederate Female Spies and their Memoirs 1863-1876.” (Under the direction of Dr. Susanna Lee.)

Belle Boyd, Rose O‟Neal Greenhow and Loreta Velazquez were all Confederate female spies that risked their lives to support the Confederacy. Their memoirs completed either during or after the Civil War are pieces of Confederate propaganda because they supported Confederate nationalism and vindicated Confederate men. While these women did fulfill the traditional female roles in society during peacetime, they became spies during the war and wanted to be remembered as Southern ladies that helped the Confederate war effort in unique ways. They explained their wartime adventures within their memoirs as well as their own personal upbringing and their constant reliance on Confederate men. In addition to their personal stories, they also juxtaposed the Confederate soldier image with the Union soldier image in order to show that Confederate men as well as their new nation were superior. They wanted to portray Union men as the villains in an epic struggle over states rights. An examination of their memoirs contributes to the study of Civil War memory because they believed their work supported the Confederate war effort and thus the Lost Cause after the war. The Lost Cause movement began during the Civil war and continued for many years afterward. Its main goal was to vindicate Southern men and try to reestablish the antebellum social order. Southern white women participated in Ladies Memorial Associations and eventually the United Daughters of the Confederacy in order to vindicate Southern men. These three women were part of the early efforts to vindicate the roles men had in society. They wrote their memoirs in the hope that they could contribute to the glorification of the Southern way of life.

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