CHARACTER NAME: Maria Isabella Boyd
BIRTH PLACE: Martinsburg, Virginia
BIRTH DATE: May 4, 1844
EDUCATION: Mount Washington Female College of Baltimore, age 12 to 16.
FAMILY BACKGROUND: Belle was from a typical Southern family. Father Ben was a store merchant and grocer. Several brothers died before the Civil War. Belle's father joined the Virginia Cavalry. Belle was left with her sister Mary Jane, age 10, her brother Bill, age 4, her mother and grandmother.
1861. Soon after the start of the Civil War, Belle was organizing parties to visit the troops. At that time she also shot and killed a Union soldier who had pushed her mother. She was acquitted of the crime. Shortly thereafter, she became a courier for Generals Beauregarde and Jackson, carrying information, delivering medical supplies and confiscating weapons. Belle made a few heroic rides through battle fields in order to get her "secrets" across the lines to the South.
Belle Boyd was imprisoned in 1862 in the Old Capitol Prison, formerly the Old Capitol and before that the Congressional Boarding House. In 1863 she was imprisoned in Carroll Prison, formerly the Carroll Hotel, next door for several months and was released for health reasons (typhoid fever).
In 1864, she was sent to England as a diplomatic courier, captured aboard a blockade runner, The Greyhound, and passed through the lines to Canada. From there she sailed to England to work with the Confederate Secret Service network there. She married Sam Hardinge, a disgraced and court-martialed Union naval officer (She was the cause) at St. Paul's Cathedral in London on August 24th of that year. The marriage failed.
She wrote and published her memoirs and became an actress after the war, sometimes using the stage name "Nina Benjamin."
She married two more times and had four children.
PLACE OF DEATH: Kilbourne City, Wisconsin now known as Wisconsin Dells,Wisconsin. She is buried in the Spring Grove Cemetery in Wisconsin Dells.
DATE OF DEATH: 1900
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