Confederate Spy: Virginia B. Moon
Posted On: 12/18/2017 - 12:02pm, Posted By: Christine Engels, Archives Manager, Manuscripts Department
Virginia B. Moon (1844-1925) was a student at the Oxford Female School in Oxford, Ohio when the Civil War began. Moon was from the South and her loyalty remained there during the war. Virginia Moon and her sister Lottie served as spies for the Confederacy and carried information, documents, and medicine between the North and South. She often traveled between her hometown of Memphis and Cincinnati and was said to have frequently supplied information to the notorious Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.
In 1862 Virginia and Lottie were detained on board the steamer Alice Dean on their way to Memphis. One of their trunks was examined and found to contain proof of their disloyalty. In addition to morphine and opium they carried letters that gave away Union military movements. Captain Andrew Kemper describes the Moons' detainment and mentions that another trunk was left on the steamer. Kemper also mentions in the April 5th letter that Moon is well traveled and well known as a spy and that “The known disloyalty and disloyal connections of these women demands that now that two of these that have been so long and so energetically working in such a way against the Federal Government are apprehended, an effective stop should be put to these disloyal practices.”
Kemper's letter to Colonel L Richmond describing the arrest of the Moons.
List of items confiscated from the trunk belonging to the Moon sisters
In the April 4th letter Virginia angrily requests that this second trunk not be searched in the manner the first one was. She also takes issue with the confiscation of her clothing and rails particularly at Enoch T. Carson, Surveyor of Customs in Cincinnati, who examined the trunk. The Moons were released on a $5,000 parole and allowed to stay with Judge James Clark at Jones Station near Oxford. Clark was later found to have sent large amounts of medical supplies to the South during the war.
Virginia B Moon writes to Captain Kemper on April 4, 1862
Mss VF 2509 was initially part of the Kemper Family Papers (Mss qK32) but were cataloged separately due to their distinctive nature in the mid twentieth century.
Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entry.php?rec=936 (accessed November 2, 2017)
Caldwell, James Parks, edited by George H. Jones. A Northern Confederate at Johnson’s Island Prison: The Civil War Diaries of James Parks Caldwell. McFarland, 2011.