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News Story
Updated: 10/13/2013 08:00:00AM

African-American spies during the Civil War

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Richard Ramos

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Throughout the Civil War, African-Americans resisted their Southern oppressors by spying on the Confederacy and providing valuable intelligence to the Union. Acknowledging the damage caused by the African-American spy networks, Confederate General Robert E. Lee said, “The chief source of information to the enemy is through the Negroes.”

Mary Bowser, a free black woman and arguably the Union’s most valuable spy, worked in the home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Working as a house servant, she gathered information in Davis’ home, which doubled as the Confederate White House.

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