West Virginia State Museum Education

West Virginia's Historic People

Important People

Marie Isabelle "Belle" Boyd

Belle Boyd

Isabella “Belle” Boyd (1844-1900) was born in Martinsburg (then in Virginia) and acted as a Confederate spy during the Civil War. She became a heroine of the Confederacy in May, 1862, by signaling Stonewall Jackson’s troops to accelerate their advance to save the bridges at Fort Royal. Arrested three times, she attempted to escape to England carrying Confederate dispatches in 1864, but was captured. She escaped to Canada with the help of Union Officer Lieutenant Sam Harding. Boyd then made her way to England, where she and Harding married. She wrote a dramatic account of her life as a spy titled Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison.

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e-West Virginia Isabelle "Belle" Boyd