Rose O'Neal Greenhow (1817-1864)

Mathew Brady1862/1862

Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation

Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation
Pleasantville, United States

Rose Greenhow was a Washington socialite. In 1861 the Confederate Army recruited Mrs. Greenhow to head an espionage ring in Washington. The three messages she sent prior to First Bull Run gave the Southerners the inside information that led to the Confederate victory in the war’s opening battle. Allan Pinkerton, working for the federal government, placed Greenhow under house arrest. Because she continued to send information to the South, she was transferred to D.C.’s Old Capitol Prison in 1862, along with her youngest daughter Rose (pictured here). When Greenhow was exiled to the Confederacy, President Davis sent her as a courier to Europe. She met with Queen Victoria and pleaded the Confederate cause without success.


  • Title: Rose O'Neal Greenhow (1817-1864)
  • Creator: Mathew Brady
  • Date: 1862/1862
  • Physical Dimensions: Gelatin silver print from glass plate negative (printed later), 3 1/4" x 2 1/8"
  • Provenance: The Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation
  • Subject Keywords: Civil War spy
  • Type: Photograph

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