Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy

By Seymour Reit

In 1861, whilst warfare erupted among the States, President Lincoln made an impassioned plea for volunteers. made up our minds to not stay at the sidelines, Emma Edmonds cropped her hair, donned men’s garments, and enlisted within the Union military. Posing in flip as a slave, peddler, washerwoman, and fop, Emma grew to become a crafty grasp of conceal, risking discovery and loss of life at each flip in the back of accomplice lines.

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How may perhaps she discover? the place could she get the proof she wanted? Emma beloved to make judgements and act on them. She hated the belief of non-public failure, yet she couldn’t appear to holiday in the course of the shell of secrecy. one other troublesome week glided by without effects. Then she got here up with a wild plan. It used to be unusual—daring and dangerous—but it simply may perhaps carry issues to a head. it will possibly additionally, if anything went incorrect, price Charles Mayberry his existence. 14 March 10, 1863 the subsequent morning, Charles waited till the store was once quiet and there have been no shoppers to take care of. He tapped lightly on Aylesworth’s door, popped his head in, and requested for a observe in inner most. Curious, the fellow waved him to a chair. “What am i able to do for you, Mayberry? ” The younger guy cleared his throat nervously. “I’ve . . . uh . . . come to a massive selection, sir,” he acknowledged in a low voice. “The . . . um . . . truth is, good, I’ve determined to affix the accomplice military. ” Aylesworth’s hairy eyebrows shot up. “Bless my soul. Are you certain approximately this? ” Mayberry nodded. “Yes, sir. It . . . it was once no hasty decision—I’ve been brooding about it many years. you recognize that my sympathies have consistently been with the South; now i actually are looking to do my half for the reason. ” The service provider frowned. “War isn't any lark, boy. you already know you may be killed? ” Mayberry shook his head. “I’m ready, Mr. Aylesworth. this can be whatever I . . . I simply need to do. i assumed it out and feature no selection, yet i do know it isn’t effortless to control. I . . . uh . . . was hoping, sir, perhaps you’d be capable to aid me not directly. ” Aylesworth lit a cigar, leaned again, and stared on the ceiling. “This comes as a shock, Mayberry. We’ll leave out you within the store. yet I comprehend the need—yes, certainly. ” He went to the door and peeped out to ensure not anyone was once listening. Then he lower back to the table and diminished his voice. “If you’re critical, i will be able to assist you. the following day, go away the store at your typical time. get back presently sooner than 9 o’clock. You’ll locate horses out again, saddled and prepared. ” “Will you be my advisor, sir? ” Charles requested. Aylesworth shook his head. “I think you recognize my good friend Mr. corridor? good, he . . . uh . . . has definite dealings with the Confederacy. Has a few, allow us to say, vital files to carry. you could journey in addition to him. corridor has a mystery direction. From Louisville, you’ll head south towards Garnettsville, and at one aspect a barge will ferry you around the river to the Southern traces. ” He patted Mayberry at the shoulder. “I respect your spirit, lad. sturdy success together with your plan—and now not a note to an individual. ” The younger man’s center was once racing; for the remainder of the day, he had hassle focusing on the books and ledgers of Aylesworth & corporation. yet quitting time got here ultimately. ensuring he wasn’t being undefined, he moved quickly to satisfy his touch. whilst Mayberry defined what he’d performed, the touch grinned with approval and advised him to keep on with via conscientiously at the preparations. “Leave with corridor, simply as planned,” he acknowledged. “Somewhere at the Garnettsville street, you’ll stroll into a Union ambush. after all we’ll need to arrest you either, to make it glance reliable.

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