Rose O'Neal Greenhow (Wild Rose )


Rose O'Neal Greenhow operated as a Confederate spy. Born in Maryland, Rose later moved to Washington and became a leader of high society there. Rose was also the aunt of Mrs. Stephen A. Douglas. Traveling in important political circles of Washington, she was able to obtain information regarding Union General Irvin McDowell's plans for the 1st Bull Run campaign. She passed this and other information onto Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard. For her suspected traitorous activities, Rose was placed under house arrest at her home in Washington. When other leaked information was traced back to her home, she was then imprisoned, along with her daughter, "Little Rose," in the Old Capitol Prison in January of 1862. Released from her confinement in the spring of that same year, she was sent south where she was hailed as a heroine by Southerners. Rose then traveled to France and England, where she penned a book entitled, "My Imprisonment." Upon her return to the United States, in September of 1864, her ship ran aground off the coast of North Carolina. While rowing ashore in a small boat with two Confederate agents, a large waved capsized the boat and Rose was drowned. It is rumored that she was carrying large amounts of heavy gold on her person, bringing it back to the Confederate Government. She was buried with honors and her daughter became an actress of the stage.

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