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‘Belle Boyd’ to be at Civil War History Day in August


A presentation about one of the Civil War’s most daring women will be given during Civil War History Day, set for Aug 10 at the LaGrange County Courthouse.

Belle Boyd was referred to by some as the “Cleopatra of the Secession” and by the French as “La Belle Rebelle.” She relished her role as spy like a lighthearted game of charades and lived a life worthy of a romantic novel.

Other female spies dressed inconspicuously as poor peddlers or drab housewives, while most boldly joined the Army ranks disguised as men. Overwhelmingly feminine, Belle Boyd performed her duties with reckless abandon and made good use of her finishing school knowledge of womanly appeal. She wore billowing gowns of rich reds and greens and feathers in her hat with a dramatic air.

Miss Belle had no problems gaining the attention of men in uniform from both sides of the war. While greeting them boldly with a flirtatious smile, she easily gained the critical information she needed either while conversing with them or fleecing their pockets.

Both sides soon learned not to let her good looks and feminine appeal fool them, for Belle possessed the cunning and boldness of any man. Before the age of 21, she had been arrested six times, imprisoned three, and reported nearly 30 times. Later, she was exiled twice while managing to escape execution.

This presentation will be performed by local thespian Janet Mishler. She is a graduate of Prairie Heights High School, where she obtained her love of theater. While residing in Kentucky, she was a member of the Green River Players, where she contributed as an actor, playwright, and director. Returning to Indiana, Mishler performed her Belle Boyd dialog for the Ft. Wayne Lincoln Museum. She is now retired and residing in Kendallville, where she volunteers her time and talents as a costume director for Concordia Lutheran High School in Ft. Wayne and both the Prairie Heights High and Middle schools.

The event will include Civil War reenactors, demonstrations, Civil War book authors and more.