At age 17 Belle Boyd shot and killed a Union soldier; at age 19 she was in a Union prison, a Confederate spy who got caught. A spunky West Virginia girl full of charm and with a zest for adventure, Belle worked among the highest-ranking officers and lowliest foot soldiers of the Civil War with an indomitable spirit that defied Union authority.
As a spy Belle Boyd was amateurish, yet she managed to confuse Union officers and convey useful information to Southern military leaders. Southern newspapers dubbed her Joan of Arc of the South, Siren of the Shenandoah, and Cleopatra of the Secession, while Northern reporters referred to her as camp follower, the most overrated spy, and insincere courtesan. French newspapers, meanwhile, reported the exploits of La Belle Rebelle.
Like many historical figures, Belle Boyd may appear in retrospect larger than life, but in this delightful biography her life is portrayed within the limits of its actual dimensions.