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AMERICAN CIVIL WAR

Overviews

A - E

Allen, Thomas. Intelligence in the Civil War. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2006. [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/additional-publications/civil-war/index.html]

This is an excellent, brief (50 pages) overview of the intelligence activities on both sides of this conflict.

Antonucci, Michael. "Code-Crackers: Cryptanalysis in the Civil War." Civil War Times Illustrated, Jul.-Aug. 1995, 46-53. [http://www.eiaonline.com/history/codecrackers.htm]

This article describes Confederate and Union ciphers and each side's effort to read the other's messages.

Axelrod, Alan. The War Between the Spies: A History of Espionage during the American Civil War. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1992.

Surveillant 2.5 describes this work as a "summary and general review of the existing literature on espionage in the Civil War." The AIJ 14.1 reviewer is enthusiastic, calling it a "fascinating book for Civil War buffs interested in intelligence.... Interesting and recommended." Not so Tidwell, FILS 11.5, who comments that "no serious student of the war or the craft of intelligence should clutter his mind or his library with it." A reviewer for MI 19.3 opines that the author's "stories become repetitive" and he "does not fully explore any one person's exploits.... While he has a large bibliography, there are no footnotes to reference specific information to."

Knott, I&NS 9.2, says that Axelrod "seems to have relied considerably on [inflated] memoirs." The lack of footnotes is troubling, and the book is an "awkward read" with an "occasional tidbit of information that piques the reader's interest." Nevertheless, the author's "study of the importance of intelligence..., while not original, is accurate and well presented." This book "would be best for the young reader who might be attracted to its light-hearted accounts of espionage. It is not for the serious student of intelligence history or of the American Civil War."

Beymer, William Gilmore. On Hazardous Service: Scouts and Spies of the North and South. New York: Harper, 1912.

D'Aoust, Maurice.

1. "Hoodwinked During America's Civil War: Union Military Deception." Civil War Times, May 2006. [http://www.historynet.com/magazines/civil_war_times/3038701.html]

There are "abundant incidents of deception found throughout the Official Records, as well as memoirs, letters and even war literature. A sampling of the ruses adopted by Union forces is presented here."

2. "Hoodwinked During America's Civl War: Confederate Military Deception." Civil War Times, Jun. 2006. [http://www.historynet.com/magazines/civil_war_times/3446521.html]

While the Union managed "to pull off" its "fair share," the Confederates "were responsible for the majority of the hoaxes that were perpetrated during the Civil War.... Desperately lacking in both men and materiel, Rebel commanders were often forced to resort to correspondingly desperate measures, such as deception, in order to mask or offset those deficiencies." Magruder, Beauregard, Forrest, and Lee are singled out.

Davis, Curtis Carroll. "Companions of Crisis: The Spy Memoir as a Social Document." Civil War History 10, no. 4 (Dec. 1964): 385-400.

In this article, Davis looks at Civil War spy memoirs. He identifies "nineteen published autobiographical narratives of intelligence service, as well as five biographical accounts which properly belong to the group." Six of the individuals involved are listed in the Dictionary of American Biography -- Baker, Cushman, Pinkerton, Richardson, Boyd, and Stringfellow. The "Civil War spy memoirs exhibit the following attributes...: they are dull, they are festooned with the spangles of romanticity, they give off a bookish aura."

Dykstra, Robert R., ed. "Intelligence and Security." Civil War History 10, no. 4 (Dec. 1964): Entire issue.

Eicher, David J. "Deploy the Skirmishers." Civil War Times 42, no. 5 (Dec. 2003): 16-17.

"In a war in which intelligence about enemy units ranged from very good to nonexistent, skirmish lines often had to serve as the eyes and ears of regiments or brigades on the march or when choosing fighting positions. Skirmishers were sent forward or along the flanks of moving bodies of troops to gauge the enemy and often to draw the fire that would lead to a general engagement.... Skirmishers ... often ended up fighting with no notice, running for their lives, or frantically communicating rapidly changing situations back to officers who accompanied the main body of troops."

Either, Eric. "Intelligence: The Secret War Within America's Civil War." Civil War Times, Apr-Mar. 2007. [http://www.historynet.com/magazines/civil_war_times/8188057.html]

A quick walk-through of balloon reconnaissance; Allan Pinkerton's spies; prisoners, deserters, and newspapers; slaves and free blacks; scouts, cavalry, and guerrilla units; signal towers used as intelligence posts; and the Army of the Potomac's Bureau of Military Information.

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[*Graphic from: http://www.geocities.com/EnchantedForest/Dell/2645/illus.html]