Confederate Secret Service

Confederate Secret Service

Confederate Secret Service

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Confederate Secret Service is an umbrella term for a number of official and semi-official secret service operations conducted by the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War.


During the Civil War a number of secret operations sprang up, some at the direction of the government, some with its tacit approval, and some that were under only the most tenuous control, or even under no control whatsoever. Many of these operations involved acts that were considered, by the Union, to go beyond the normal conduct of "civilized" warfare. From the Confederacy's point of view, these were desperate measures necessary to compensate for the fact that, in terms of conventional warfare, they were out-manned, out-supplied, and out-gunned. By 1864, the Confederate government was attempting to gain control over the various operations that had sprung up since the beginning of the War, but often with little success. In April 1865, most of the official papers of the Secret Service were burned by Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin just before the Confederate government evacuated Richmond, so the full story of Confederate secret operations may never be known.

In 1864, secret legislation was put before the Confederate Congress to create an official Special and Secret Bureau of the War Department. The legislation was not enacted until March 1865 and was never implemented, so no one really knows what an official "Confederate Secret Service"...
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