Confederate Virginia Bethel Moon Escapes Imprisonment
Virginia "Ginnie" Bethel Moon (1844-1925) was born in Ohio in 1844.
She moved to Memphis, Tennessee with her mother in 1862 where she began a short but notable career as an espionage agent working with Memphis entrepreneur-turned-soldier Nathan Bedford Forrest and other Confederates. When the Union forces occupied the city, she was arrested for spying but escaped. She continued her work further south and was eventually imprisoned in New Orleans. Ginnie returned to Memphis after the war and became a philanthropist, particularly helping with the yellow fever epidemics of the 1870s.
She died in New York City in 1925.
Confederate spy and, later, Memphis philanthropist, Virginia Bethel Moon was a student at an Ohio girls' school when the Civil War began. After initial resistance, school officials finally acquiesced to her demands and allowed her to leave school and join her mother in Memphis. Previously, Moon had supported the abolitionist cause, but after the war commenced, she became more sympathetic to the Confederacy.
In the early days of the war, her sister, Lottie Moon, had carried dispatches and papers from Memphis to Cincinnati disguised as an Irish washerwoman, and Ginny Moon also began to carry Confederate documents behind the Union lines and traveled to Canada on a mission for the Confederate army. She then disguised herself as an Englishwoman and entered the city of Washington where, according to legend, she rode in a carriage with Abraham Lincoln.