Belle Boyd defied belief. Her astounding career as a Confederate spy, fugitive, Prisoner of War, actress and celebrity intertwined fact and fiction so tightly that historians have found it difficult to unravel the truth. One authority considered her among “the most active and reliable of the many secret women agents of the Confederacy.” Another writer thought her exploits were mythical.
In an age when women were supposed to be obedient homebodies and social ornaments, Belle Boyd was overly bold, outspoken and flashy. To her, chastity became a matter of dispute. Boosters touted her as “The Siren of the Shenandoah,” and “The Secesh Cleopatra.”