Antonia Ford and the Spies of the Civil War

Antonia Ford and the Spies of the Civil War

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Antonia Ford was born at Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia on July 23, 1838. She had a father who was a merchant and a secessionist. She had a brother named Charles who died at the Battle of Brandy Station. Her brother fought in General James Ewell Brown Stuart's Horse Artillery as a lieutenant. General J.E.B. Stuart and John Singleton Mosby were two men who every so often visited the Ford house. When Federal troops came to Fairfax in 1861, Antonia would tell General J.E.B. Stuart of their doings and activities. He then awarded her with a written honorary commission as an aide-de-camp because of her help of telling the General about the troops and their plans."Know ye, that reposing special confidence in the patriotism, fidelity and ability of Miss Antonia Ford, I, James E.B. Stuart, by virtue of the power vested in me, as Brigadier General in the Provisional Army of the C.S.A., do hereby appoint and commission her my honorary aide de camp to work as such from this date. She will be obeyed, respected and admired by the lovers of a noble nature.", was part of the commendation that the General gave her. She was then arrested and sent to the Old Capital Prison in Washington, D.C. for being a Confederate spy. She was believed to have helped the General before the Second Battle of Manassas/Bull Run in 1862 by warning him of the Union's plans. She rode her carriage for twenty miles and through rain just so General J.E.B. Stuart would know.
Antonia Ford was freed from jail by Major Joseph C. Willard, a man who was a marshal at the Fairfax Courthouse. He had her sign a loyalty oath to the Union and she was released from jail. After that, the two were wed. When Antonia was in prison her health had grown increasingly bad from lack meals and care. She died at the age of thirty-three in one thousand eight hundred seventy one from the bad treatment in jail. The South still thinks that the North killed her because of the way they treated her. Antonia was always described as, “decidedly good-looking woman with pleasing, insinuating manners.”
The Confederate and Union spies of the Civil war were a very important aspect in the war. They determined the next moves of everyone. The first spies were men, but women soon came into take that job.

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Women were sick and tired of staying home and doing housework. They wanted a part in the war and spying was an easy way to help. Women would be less suspicious than men when it came to espionage. Women were also used because they usually had more accurate information than the men did. They could disguise themselves as men in the army, slaves, or other figures that would call little to no attention at all when in public and around others. Women would also just have to listen to their gossip clubs to find out what some of the news was. Women played a major role in the war and we might not have the same lives we do now if it wasn't for them and their help in the war.

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