Bridget's adventures as a Union spy in the Civil War.

I knew any pursuit would expect me to go North to the Army of the Potomac. Instead I slipped away to the east and the Army of the James. My identity confirmed by telegraph, I returned to the Capitol. Allan debriefed me and immediately handed me another assignment.

"Bridget, high society here is riddled with Southern sympathizers. I want you to pose again as a Southern Belle. Just keep your eyes and ears open and note who expresses Secessionist opinions. Most of them are just talkers, but we're concerned about an underground organization called 'The Knights of the Golden Circle'. We suspect they are aiding Southern agents and still plotting the assassination of the President and other key officials. I also suspect it was through their actions that you were identified in Richmond."

I returned to the drudgery of fancy balls and dinner parties. I flirted. I listened. I danced and I drank champagne. I did as Allan instructed and took mental notes on who seemed to be merely shooting their mouths off and those who had determination in their faces.

One man I wasn't sure of. He seemed openly a Southerner in his remarks but I didn't catch actual hatred or willingness to act in his comments. Knowing we were short-handed to watch everyone I elected to report him as a sympathizer only. How I could have changed history if I had looked deeper. His name was John Wilkes Booth.

However in my own defense I was intent on bigger game. I had heard whispers of who might be actual agents of the Rebel Government. In particular my suspicions centered on a woman named Belle Boyd. She moved as I had in Richmond, listening far more than talking. I sensed a quick and decisive mind behind the facade of being a vacuous woman.

I was reasonably sure I wasn't fooling her either. Behind smiles and faces hidden by more than hand fans, we dueled with each other in drawing rooms, libraries and dining rooms. Finally one night I walked, unannounced and uninvited, into a meeting she was attending with several upper members of the Knights.

"Good evening. gentlemen," I nodded at the men and turned my attention to Belle. "Good evening Mistress Boyd."

"Good evening, Mistress Hamilton," she replied. Then demonstrating she was well aware of who I actually was, she added "Or should I be formal and address you as Agent O'Brien?"

"Actually, 'Bridget' will do nicely. Now then." I surveyed the room. Hands were slipping into jacket pockets and bodies were tensing, except for Belle, who remained cool and watchful. "It is my duty to inform you that all of you are under arrest."

One of the men laughed harshly and pulled a pepper-box pistol from his coat pocket. "You're a fool. This house is surrounded by men loyal to the Cause and you walk in here alone?"

Windows crashed open. The men spun to face a squad of leveled rifles. The door burst open and Allan himself entered, along with several Army officers. "Actually," Allan pointed out dryly, "She brought an entire troop of cavalry."

The men were hustled out. Allan faced Belle and removed his hat. "Mistress Boyd, I assure you no harm will come to you. You will be held until you can be returned to Richmond, by which time I expect the information you have gathered will be quite stale and useless."

She curtsied in reply. "Thank you, Mister Pinkerton." She turned her attention to me and smiled. "And thank you, Bridget, for your opposition. I trust you will not be offended when I tell you that without you, I would never have been caught,"

"Allow me to return the compliment, Belle. If you had been in Richmond I would have taken the first opportunity to skip town."

The Knights went to a military run prison camp.

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