Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Gold Took Her Down

Rose Greenhow was a heroin of the Confederacy,  she drowned  October 1st 1864, while trying to get away from a grounded ship with $ 2,000 in gold.

Maria Rosatta O’Neal was born 1817 in Port Tobacco,Maryland. She received the nick name Wild Rose at an early age. Her father John O’Neal was killed by one of his slaves when she was young, leaving her mother Eliza with a cash poor farm to manage. To help with finances, Rose was sent to live in Washington,DC with an Aunt who ran a boarding house. She married Dr Robert Greenhow in 1835, and was the toast of Washington society.  They were blessed with four daughters.

As a member of Washington’s high society Rose traveled in important political, and military circles. These connections allowed her to become a top Confederate Spy. She passed information to General PGT Beauregard regarding the Union plans for the First Battle of Manassas, perhaps changing the out come of the day. She was arrested in Aug of 1861 by Allan Pinkerton, and transferred to the Old Capitol Prison in January. Even while in the prison Rose was able to get and send information to the Confederate government. In May of 1862 Rose and her 8 year old daughter were deported to Richmond,VA.

Rose spent 1863 and 1864 in Europe, traveling through France and Britain raising sympathy for the Confederacy among European aristocrats. While in London Mrs. Greenhow wrote a book about her time in prison, which sold well in England. In September of 1864 she headed home on the “Condor”; a blockade runner, carrying $2,000 in gold sewn into her dress for the Confederacy. The ship was run aground near Wilmington, North Carolina October 1st 1864, and Rose was drowned while trying to escape in a rowboat.


No comments: