Thus writes Belle Boyd, nicknamed La Belle Rebelle, a 17-year-old Confederate spy during the Civil War. Belle’s exploits began when she shot and killed a drunken Union soldier to defend her mother and their home. After being cleared of any wrongdoing, she found herself among Union soldiers and in a position to listen in on their military plans. Her coded reports were soon in the hands of Confederate leaders, including General Stonewall Jackson.
In one particularly harrowing incident, Belle had to scramble across a battlefield through a hail of bullets and shells to deliver her report. Roused by the sight of a young woman miraculously running into their midst, the Confederate soldiers charged and won the day.
Belle was arrested for spying several times and, ironically, ended up marrying a Union officer who had been her captor. They moved to England and, after he died, she began a career on the English stage. Her autobiography, Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison, was published in 1866.