Rose Greenhow

A Confederate Spy in the Civil War

Rose Greenhow

Rose Greenhow was born in 1813 and was a widow and hostess her early life. Then in her early 20s, she became a spy to help the Confederacy win the Civil War. She wanted her home state, Maryland, to secede. To help win the Civil War, Rose Greenhow became a spy for the Confederacy. According to Britannica, Biography of Rose Greenhow, she recruited many spies to work for her, and during the Civil War, she had many of her messengers in places such as the Navy Department, War Department, and in the government.
On Civil War Spies, Greenhow was eager to complete any job given to her. This was one of her many traits that made her so successful. Greenhow was an overall intelligent woman who was capable of doing anything she put her mind to.

Greenhow's Values and Beliefs

Rose Greenhow valued her home state, Maryland, her rights, and she believed that the Confederacy should win the Civil War and that Maryland should secede. According to Smithsonian, Civil War, to help the Confederacy win the war, Greenhow believed that if she became a spy, she could help the Confederacy beat the Union by gathering intel about the Union and that she did. If she didn't value her home (Confederate) state and her rights, Greenhow wouldn't have become a spy and the Confederacy wouldn't have had as much of an advantage over the Union.

Greenhow's Mission

Greenhow's first mission was to retrieve the Union's plans for the Battle of Bull Run. According to Civil War Spies, what she found out was that the Union army had 35,000 troops ready in D.C. and the Confederacy had 22,000. Greenhow obtained this information by talking with the Senior of Military Affairs as they were good friends. This mission gave her valuable information about the Union which in turn allowed her to help the Confederacy to win the Battle of Bull Run. Now that the Confederacy knew how outnumbered they were, they were able to devise a plan to help them succeed.

Rose Greenhow's Impact on the Civil War

The effect/impact that Rose Greenhow had on the Civil War was that she helped the Confederacy win battles. For example, she helped the Confederacy win the Battle of Bull Run by finding out vital information about the Union's military troops. What she discovered is that the Union had 10,000 more troops than the Confederacy. Greenhow Reported this info to the Confederate officials and they started planning for the battle. With the intel that Greenhow discovered, the Confederacy successfully beat the Union and claimed victory.

Allan Pinkerton

Allan Pinkerton, head of the Union's Secret Service was suspicious of Greenhow. He discovered that she was a spy for the Confederacy and passing on valuable information about the Union to the Confederacy. Based on what it says on History, Rose Greenhow, after finding out about this, Allan made the mistake of putting her under house arrest instead of putting her in jail. This was a mistake because all of Pinkerton's agents were men, allowing Greenhow privacy and time alone while she bathes and changes. One of Greenhow's agents came over to the house and brought her a military map and plans to be smuggled to the Confederacy generals. Pinkerton's mistakes made Greenhow more successful.

Rose Greenhow's Legacy

Rose Greenhow inspired the military in today's time by having more spies. Rose Greenhow was very successful in helping the Confederacy win the Battle of Bull Run. Today, there are even more spies to help figure out intel on the enemy. Spies can blend in with the enemy or be double agents. Several sources such as History, Smithsonian, and Britannica, all agree that Rose Greenhow was a very famous and renowned spy in the Confederate States of America. Greenhow is important because she inspired many army forces and military forces to have their own spies too so that they could have the advantage that the Confederacy had when she was a spy for them


Works Cited

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Rose O'Neal Greenhow." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 25 May 2016. <>.

"Rose Greenhow Dies." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 25 May 2016. <>.

"Rose O'Neal Greenhow (1817-1864) and Her Daughter Rose by the Mathew Brady Studio." Rose O'Neal Greenhow (1817-1864) and Her Daughter Rose by the Mathew Brady Studio. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2016. <>.

"Rose O'Neal Greehow." Civil War Spies: Rose O'Neal Greenhow. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2016. <>.