John Y. Beall – A Confederate Spy (Who Got Hanged)

Oops! I guess I put the spoiler in the title. Oh, well. Hopefully, it makes you more curious. After-all, unless you’ve really researched Confederate spies, hangings, secret agents, or sabotage along the Great Lakes/Canadian border, you probably haven’t heard of John Yates Beall.

How did I discover this historical character? The McGuires. If you’ve been following Gazette665 for a while or check our photos on social media, you’ll know that I’ve been researching the McGuire Family of Winchester, Virginia, for about three years now. One of the McGuire boys (Edward) was involved in some secret agent or spy stuff with John Beall. In fact, Edward was so secretive that I’m still looking for clear information about his activities. That will have to be another story at another time.

Today, we’re talking about John Yates Beall, a Confederate spy. Why was he a spy? What did he do? How did he get caught? Let’s find out: Continue reading

Allan Pinkerton: Commanding The Union Intelligence Service

What was the forerunner to the U.S. Secret Service? When did folks start to really worry about protecting a U.S. President? Would you be really surprised if I told you it was during the Civil War?

Today, we’ll talk about a Union spy and detective who saved Lincoln’s life at least once, miscalculated troop numbers for George McClellan, went into enemy territory looking for clues, and ultimately laid the foundation for the U.S. Secret Service.

Meet Major E.J. Allen. No, his real name was Allan Pinkerton. Continue reading