Tomb of Belle Boyd

Spring Grove Cemetery, just east of Wis 13 on Wis 23

Final Resting Place of Belle Boyd, Spy for the Confederate States of America

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Overview

The tomb is capped with stones from every Confederate state.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in July 2015

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Description 

On July 29, 1862, Maria Isabella "Belle" Boyd was arrested by Union officers for spying, the first of three times she was arrested for spying. She was never held for very long.

Belle Boyd was born in Martinsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia) and was 17 years old when the Civil War erupted. She shot and killed a Union officer for assaulting her mother, she was cleared for the justified shooting.

Belle was dubbed by the Union and newspapers as the "Siren of the Shenandoah," "La Belle Rebelle," and the "Amazon of Secessia." Boyd delivered critical information to Confederate officers and was actually arrested three times for spying. After the third arrest, she escaped to Canada with the assistance of a Union officer. They went to England, where they married.

While in England, she wrote her memoirs and took up a career as an actress. Boyd was also speaker, billing her experiences The Perils of a Spy. She was addressing the GAR in Kilbourn City, Wisconsin on June 11, 1900. She died at the age of 56, apparently of a heart attack, while on stage according to some reports. She was interred in Spring Grove Cemetery.

Kilbourn City was renamed and today is better known as a favorite family vacation destination, Wisconsin Dells. Of the thousands of people that visit Wisconsin Dells every year, few are aware of a Confederate spy buried nearby.

Boyd's grave is capped with large stones from every Confederate state. A memorial is on the top of the tomb, along with a flag standard that identifies her as a confederate veteran of the Civil War. A small copy of the stars and bars used to fly over her tomb, but it was removed in 2015. The tomb is covered with a large, concrete slab, reportedly added when a plot to steal her body and return her to Virginia was uncovered. Before the cap was laid, however, ladies from the Elliot Grays Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy spread dirt from Virginia so the Siren of the Shenandoah could rest in peace in her native soil.

Update Log 

  • October 6, 2015: Added by J.R. Manning

Sources 

  • J.R. Manning - Lugnuts969 [at] gmail [dot] com