|Died||April 29, 1862 40) (aged|
|Cause of death||Execution by hanging|
Timothy Webster (March 12, 1822 – April 29, 1862) was a British-born American lawman and soldier. He served as a Pinkerton agent and Union spy, and was the first spy in the American Civil War to be executed.
Webster came to America with his parents in August 1830 and settled in Princeton, New Jersey. He became a policeman in New York City sometime before 1850. He met Allan Pinkerton in 1853 and took a job with Pinkerton's private detective agency in 1856.
Webster married Charlotte Sprowles on October 23, 1841 in Princeton, New Jersey and the couple had four children, two of whom died young. Their son, Timothy Jr., born in 1843, joined the Union Army from Onarga, Illinois on July 30, 1862 and was wounded in the Battle of Brices Crossroads near Ripley, Mississippi on June 11, 1864, and taken to a Confederate prison in Mobile, Alabama where his leg was amputated. He subsequently died there on July 4, 1864. His body was transported north to Onarga, Illinois and buried in the Onarga Cemetery next to his grandfather, Timothy Webster Sr., who died in Onarga in 1860.
In early 1861, Pinkerton sent Webster and Hattie Lawton to pose as a Southern gentleman and wife (Mrs. Webster) in the Baltimore area and became a member of a pro-Southern group in order to report on secessionists' plans and activities.Some of the information provided by Webster gave support to Pinkerton's assertion that there was a Baltimore Plot to assassinate Lincoln as he moved through Baltimore on his way to his inauguration in 1861.
After the outbreak of war, Pinkerton began to provide agents to the Union armies under George B. McClellan. Webster continued to gather information on the Confederacy from 1861 through 1862 in southern Maryland and Richmond, Virginia. In Richmond in 1862 he was stricken with inflammatory rheumatismand was too ill to send reports back to Pinkerton. As a result, Pinkerton sent Pryce Lewis and John Scully to locate Webster. The two men were recognized as being Union spies and captured by the Confederacy. Scully eventually revealed information that caused Webster and Lawton to be arrested.
Confederate officers had trusted Webster many times with valuable documents and information and the Confederacy was extremely embarrassed by Webster's betrayal. While Lewis and Scully were eventually released, Webster was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death by hanging. Hattie Lawton was imprisoned and later released in an exchange of prisoners.
When Pinkerton heard the news of the sentence, he and President Lincoln sent a message to the Confederacy threatening that if Webster was put to death, the Union would reciprocate by hanging a Confederate spy.Union policy had been to keep Confederate spies in jail and exchange them for Union prisoners.
The Confederacy ignored the threatand on April 29, 1862, Timothy Webster climbed the gallows in Richmond, Virginia at Camp Lee. After the initial attempt to hang Webster failed, he was helped to the gallows again and was heard to say, "I suffer a double death!" before being killed on the second attempt. He was buried in Richmond, but in 1871, Pinkerton sent George Bangs and Thomas G. Robinson (Timothy's son-in-law) to Richmond to locate his body and bring it to Onarga, Illinois for burial. He was buried next to his father, Timothy Webster Sr., and his son, Timothy Webster III.
The Confederate States of America (CSA), commonly referred to as the Confederate States, the Confederacy, or the South, was an unrecognized breakaway confederate republic in the Southern United States that existed from February 8, 1861, to May 9, 1865. The Confederacy comprised eleven U.S. states that declared secession and warred against the United States during the American Civil War. The states were South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
Allan J. Pinkerton was a Scottish-American cooper, abolitionist, detective, and spy, best known for creating the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in the United States and his claim to have foiled a plot in 1861 to assassinate president-elect Abraham Lincoln. During the Civil War, he provided the Union Army – specifically General George B. McClellan of the Army of the Potomac – with military intelligence, including extremely inaccurate enemy troop strength numbers. After the war, his agents played a significant role as strikebreakers – in particular during the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 – a role that Pinkerton men would continue to play after the death of their founder.
Rose O'Neal Greenhow was a renowned Confederate spy during the American Civil War. A socialite in Washington, D.C., during the period before the war, she moved in important political circles and cultivated friendships with presidents, generals, senators, and high-ranking military officers including John C. Calhoun and James Buchanan. She used her connections to pass along key military information to the Confederacy at the start of the war. In early 1861, she was given control of a pro-Southern spy network in Washington, D.C., by her handler, Thomas Jordan, then a captain in the Confederate Army. She was credited by Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president, with ensuring the South's victory at the First Battle of Bull Run in late July 1861.
Tactical or battlefield intelligence became vital to both sides in the field during the American Civil War. Units of spies and scouts reported directly to the commanders of armies in the field, providing details on troop movements and strengths. The distinction between spies and scouts was one that had life or death consequences: if a suspect was seized while in disguise and not in his army's uniform, he was often sentenced to be hanged. A spy named Will Talbot, a member of the 35th Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, was left behind in Gettysburg after his battalion had passed through the borough on June 26–27, 1863. He was captured, taken to Emmitsburg, Maryland, and executed on orders of Brig. Gen. John Buford.
Maria Isabella Boyd, best known as Belle Boyd was a Confederate spy in the American Civil War. She operated from her father's hotel in Front Royal, Virginia, and provided valuable information to Confederate General Stonewall Jackson in 1862.
In the context of the American Civil War (1861–65), the border states were slave states that did not secede from the Union. They were Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri, and after 1863, the new state of West Virginia. To their north they bordered free states of the Union, and all but Delaware bordered slave states of the Confederacy to their south.
The U.S. state of West Virginia was formed out of western Virginia and added to the Union as a direct result of the American Civil War, in which it became the only modern state to have declared its independence from the Confederacy. In the summer of 1861, Union troops, which included a number of newly formed Western Virginia regiments, under General George McClellan, drove off Confederate troops under General Robert E. Lee. This essentially freed Unionists in the northwestern counties of Virginia to form a functioning government of their own as a result of the Wheeling Convention. Before the admission of West Virginia as a state, the government in Wheeling formally claimed jurisdiction over all of Virginia, although from its creation it was firmly committed to the formation of a separate state.
The Confederate Secret Service refers to any of a number of official and semi-official secret service organizations and operations conducted by the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. Some of the organizations were under the direction of the Confederate government, others operated independently with government approval, while still others were either completely independent of the government or operated with only its tacit acknowledgment.
Black Dispatches was a common term used among Union military men in the American Civil War for intelligence on Confederate forces provided by African Americans, who often were slaves aiding the Union forces. They knew the terrain and could move within many areas without being noticed; their information represented a prolific and productive category of intelligence obtained and acted on by Union forces throughout the Civil War.
The American state of Virginia became a prominent part of the Confederacy when it joined during the American Civil War. As a Southern slave-holding state, Virginia held the state convention to deal with the secession crisis, and voted against secession on April 4, 1861. Opinion shifted after the Battle of Fort Sumter on April 12, and April 15, when U.S. President Abraham Lincoln called for troops from all states still in the Union to put down the rebellion. For all practical purposes, Virginia joined the Confederacy on April 17, though secession was not officially ratified until May 23. A Unionist government was established in Wheeling and the new state of West Virginia was created by an act of Congress from 50 counties of western Virginia, making it the only state to lose territory as a consequence of the war. Unionism was indeed strong also in other parts of the State, and during the war the Restored Government of Virginia was created as rival to the Confederate Government of Virginia, making it one of the states to have 2 governments during the Civil War.
Richmond, Virginia served as the capital of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War from May 8, 1861, hitherto the capital had been Montgomery, Alabama. Notwithstanding its political status, it was a vital source of weapons and supplies for the war effort, as well as the terminus of five railroads, and as such would have been defended by the Confederate States Army at all costs.
Aaron Van Camp was an espionage agent for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. He and his son Eugene B. Van Camp were members of the Rose O'Neal Greenhow Confederate spy ring, which in 1861 was broken up by Allan Pinkerton, head of the newly formed Secret Service.
Cypriano Ferrandini was a barber from Corsica who emigrated to the United States, and established himself as the long-time barber and hairdresser in the basement of Barnum's Hotel, in Baltimore, Maryland. There he practiced his trade from the mid-1850s to his retirement long after the close of the Civil War. He was accused, but never indicted for plotting to assassinate U.S. President-elect Abraham Lincoln on February 23, 1861, and while once caught in a secessionist dragnet in 1862, was never prosecuted for his pro-Southern convictions and membership in the Knights of the Golden Circle.
The Baltimore Plot was a conspiracy in late February 1861 to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln en route to his inauguration. Allan Pinkerton, founder of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, played a key role by managing Lincoln's security throughout the journey. Though scholars debate whether or not the threat was real, clearly Lincoln and his advisors believed that there was a threat and took actions to ensure his safe passage through Baltimore, Maryland.
Hattie Lawton, also known as Hattie H. Lawton, Hattie Lewis, and Hattie Lewis Lawton was an American detective, who worked for Allan Pinkerton, of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Lawton may have been born around 1837, although most details of her life, before and after the American Civil War, are unknown. "[Hattie] Lawton was part of Pinkerton's Female Detective Bureau, formed in 1860 to 'worm out secrets' by means unavailable to male detectives."
Kate Warne was an American law enforcement officer known as the first female detective, in 1856, in the Pinkerton Detective Agency and the United States.
The Bureau of Military Information (BMI) was the first formal and organized American intelligence agency, active during the American Civil War.
Eugene B. Van Camp was an espionage agent for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, assisting his father Dr. Aaron A. Van Camp in his spying activities.
Pryce Lewis was an operative of the Pinkerton Detective Agency and Union spy during the American Civil War. His activities in Charleston, Virginia and the surrounding area heavily assisted the Union Army during the early years of the war. Lewis was later captured and played a part in the trial and execution of fellow agent Timothy Webster.
Spotswood Hotel was a five-story luxury hotel located in Richmond, Virginia. After Richmond became the capital of the Confederacy in May 1861, the hotel served as a meeting space for the leaders of the Confederacy. Jefferson Davis used the Spotswood as his home until the White House of the Confederacy was completed. Due to the hotel's clientele and their association with the Confederacy, the Spotswood became a hub of espionage. On Christmas Day, 1870, the Spotswood Hotel was engulfed in flames and destroyed.