Rose O’Neale Greenhow (1814?-1864) was a lady of society living in Washington, D.C. during and before the American Civil War who developed a network of Confederate agents which secured and passed information to General Beauregard and others. A native of Maryland, she counted politicians such as James Buchanan, John C. Calhoun, William H. Seward, and Jefferson Davis among her friends and was related to James and Dolley Madison, Stephen Douglas, and Roger Taney.
Mrs. Greenhow and her spy ring were credited by Jefferson Davis with ensuring the southern victory at the First Battle of Manassas. Arrested by Allan Pinkerton, she was imprisoned in her home and the Old Capitol Prison for nine months before being released to the South in June 1862. Her requests for a public trial were never granted because of fears that she would reveal her high-ranking sources in Lincoln's government. She drowned off the coast of North Carolina while attempting to run the blockade on her return from an unofficial Confederate diplomatic mission to Europe and was buried with full military honours by the Confederacy.
Emily Lapisardi has appeared as Rose Greenhow at numerous events including the National Road Festival 1997, the California Sesquicentennial Civil War Weekend, Waynesburg College Elderhostel, the Covered Bridge Festival, Fort Mill Ridge Foundation (Romney, WV), the Confederate Ball (Weirton, WV), Montgomery County MD Historical Society (Rose’s birthplace), Philippi, WV, Evangola State Park, NY, the Pittsburgh Soldiers’ Fair, the Battle of Secessionville (Charleston, SC), Historic Liberia House (Manassas, VA), Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum (MD), and for the Order of Confederate Rose in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana, the OCR’s 2003 National Convention in Asheville, NC, and as dinner speaker for the Surratt Society’s 2006 conference. Her Civil War Sesquicentennial bookings included: Petersburg National Battlefield (NPS), the Manassas 150th commemoration (featured speaker at General Beauregard’s headquarters), the Clarksburg, WV, Civil War weekend, the Chevy Chase Historical Society, the Butler County Civil War Roundtable, Rimersburg Civil War Weekend, and the Greater Pittsburgh Civil War Roundtable.
In the summer of 2005, she participated in events for the promotion of Wild Rose: Civil War Spy with its author, Ann Blackman, including programs at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D. C, the Arts Club of Washington, and The Wilderness Bed and Breakfast in Catonsville, MD. She has also exchanged barbs with Joanne Shelby-Klein as Mary Todd Lincoln in “Sparring Socialites.” In July 2006, Miss Lapisardi performed as Rose Greenhow at Manassas National Battlefield to commemorate the 145th anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas.
An audiobook featuring Emily reading Rose Greenhow’s memoir, My Imprisonment and the First Year of Abolition Rule at Washington, was produced in cooperation with the O’Neal Genealogy Association.
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