Sunday, 10 January 2010

Female spies

Sarah Emma Edmonds was a remarkable woman who disguised herself as a man to fight for the Union cause in the American Civil War. She
enlisted in a Michigan volunteer infantry company as Franklin Thompson, successfully evading detection as a woman for a year. She participated in the Battle of Blackburn's Ford, First Bull Run / Manassas, the Peninsular Campaign, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. Sarah Edmonds sometimes served as a spy, "disguised" as a woman (Bridget O'Shea) or as a black man.
Aphra Behn was one of Britain's first professional woman writer, author of plays and novels, and also a spy.
She was reportedly bisexual, and held a larger attraction to women than to men, a trait that, coupled with her writings and references of this nature, would eventually make her popular in the writing and artistic communities of the 20th century and present day.

By 1666 Behn had become attached to the Court, possibly through the influence of Thomas Culpepper and other associates of influence, where she was recruited as a political spy to Antwerp by Charles II. Her code name for her exploits is said to have been Astrea, a name under which she subsequently published much of her writings. The Second Anglo-Dutch War had broken out between England and the Netherlands in 1665.[3] She became the lover to a prominent and powerful royal, and from him she obtained political secrets to be used to the English advantage.
The Women's History site at has a massive site about female spies, including American Civil War spies, Second World War spies, and Cold War spies. Times Online has a detailed site about the Special Operations Executive, including Lise Villameur, Pearl Witherington, Odette Hallowes, and Yvonne Cormeau. And not forgetting Violette Szabo.

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