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Civil War Espionage with Spy Museum, Willard Hotel, Ford’s Theatre

Belle Boyd was one of the most famous Confederate spies during the Civil War. Photo by Matthew Brady. Library of Congress.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Barbara Bahny
Tel. 202-637-7309

Civil War Spies: An Exploration of Union and Confederate Intelligence with the International Spy Museum, Willard InterContinental and Ford’s Theatre

Washington, DC, June 3, 2011 — Vividly illustrating how intelligence helped to shape the greatest of American struggles, the Willard InterContinental in collaboration with the International Spy Museum and Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, National Park Service, will bring to life the stories of real Civil War spies with a three-program series.
In this three-part exploration of Union and Confederate intelligence operations, a distinguished group of historians and espionage experts will introduce some of the most amazing spies and spy cases of the conflict. The programs take place June 21 (Spy Museum) , July 19 (Ford’s Theatre), and July 26 (Willard Hotel) from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Series Tickets are $60; Individual Tickets are $25. Group rates are available. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 202.654.0932.
The program is in conjunction with Destination DC’s regional Civil War to Civil Rights commemoration.

• Deception and Spycraft: Military Intelligence in the Civil War. Tuesday, June 21 at the International Spy Museum.
Spies, cavalry, and telescopes were the traditional intelligence tools available to the Civil War strategist, but there was also cutting edge high tech: the telegraph and the observation balloon. How did the Union and Confederate armies combine these to help their generals make strategic decisions? Explore the key role that intelligence played in the North’s victory at Gettysburg, Pinkerton’s intelligence network, the “spy” gadgets available to the Civil War era James Bond, and find out how both sides used music for intelligence and deception. Join International Spy Museum historian Mark Stout; Professor William B. Feis, of Buena Vista University, author of Grant’s Secret Service: The Intelligence War from Belmont to Appomattox; and James A. Davis, Professor of Musicology at State University of New York–Fredonia, for a fascinating discussion of Civil War intelligence.
• The Lincoln Assassination Conspiracies. Tuesday, July 19 at Ford’s Theatre
Why did a handsome, popular, theatre idol murder President Lincoln? Was Booth’s act a result of a Confederate conspiracy? Was he a Confederate spy acting as part of a larger plot or simply a lone gunman? Was he a player in an internal Union scheme? Was a White House spy involved? Many theories have been proposed and discarded. Examine the controversies surrounding Lincoln’s assassination anew–at the very scene of the crime–during this eye-opening session. Join renowned experts Michael Kauffman, author of American Brutus; Frank J. Williams, Chairman of The Lincoln Forum and Chief Justice (ret) of Rhode Island ; and H. Donald Winkler, author of Stealing Secrets and Lincoln and Booth: More Light on the Conspiracy; for a rounded view of the conspiracies and realities of the horrific events of April 14th, 1865.
• Civil War Sisterhood of Spies Tuesday, July 26 at The Willard InterContinental
Discover the secret work of key Civil War operatives of the fair sex. Meet three of the most successful female Civil War spies: Wild Rose Greenhow, a charming high society widow who sweet-talked ranking Union officers, government officials and lowly clerks alike, encoded their intelligence, and smuggled messages South–with the help of her own spy ring; Antonia Ford, a confederate spy who married one of the Willard Hotel’s 19th century proprietors; and Richmond-based Union spy Elizabeth Van Lew. Ann Blackman author of Wild Rose will describe Greenhow’s exploits in the nation’s capitol, Amanda Ohlke, director of adult education at the International Spy Museum will trace Van Lew’s colorful espionage career, and historical impersonator Emily Lapisardi will portray lively Confederate spy Antonia Ford.
As America marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War in 2011, the Willard InterContinental highlights its significant history of the period with Willard Hotel and the Civil War. This yearlong event highlights various aspects of the Willard’s history during this period through exhibitions, lectures, tours, concerts, discussion panels and related events. For a full calendar of events visit;
The Willard InterContinental:
An American institution, the Willard has hosted nearly every U.S. president since 1853. It was at the Willard that Julia Ward Howe wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic, where President Ulysses S. Grant popularized the term “Lobbyist,” and where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King finished his renowned “I Have a Dream” speech. The Willard is also noted for its 100% wind power, recycling and charitable initiatives including Anacostia River clean-up, the hotel’s “Adoption” of a Pershing Park, and support of a school prom for disabled youth. The classic Willard InterContinental combines heritage and luxury with contemporary comfort and the latest technology. Located at 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 2004. Tel. 202-628-9100, 1-800-827-1747, or Web site: Twitter: ; Facebook:
The International Spy Museum:
Located at 800 F Street, NW in Washington, DC’s historic Penn Quarter. Open daily except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Hours are subject to change; for the most up-to-date information visit or phone the 24-Hour SPY-Line: 202.393.7798 (202.EYE.SPY.U). Guests should plan to spend two hours visiting the Museum; all visits are self-paced. Infiltrate The Spy Ring® at and enjoy exclusive membership benefits.
Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site:
Since the Ford’s Theatre reopening in 1968, more than 100 years after the April 14, 1865 assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, it has been one of the most visited sites in the nation’s capital. Operated through a partnership with the NPS and FTS, Ford’s Theatre has enthralled visitors because of its unique place in United States history, and its mission to celebrate the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and explore the American experience through theatre and education. The NPS and FTS work together to present the Theatre’s nearly one million annual visitors with a high quality historical and cultural experience.