Civil War Secrets: Belle Boyd

Contributor: Kathi Thomas. Lesson ID: 10457

This Southern "Belle" was no dainty debutante; she shot a Union soldier for breaking and entering! Read about, record a video about, and act out the story of Belle Boyd, "The Siren of the Shenandoah."


United States

learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


The role of women as movers and shakers in American history is undeniable.

From the very start of the new nation during the Revolutionary War to our modern day military, women have always felt compelled to take on tasks requiring both brains and bravery, sometimes even brawn. The passion for a cause that fuels remarkable deeds was clearly evidenced by those women who engaged as spies during the American Civil War.

What would you do as a young woman if a drunken soldier by the authority of the government demanded entry into your home, and when denied it, attempted to enter by force?

If you were the young Southern woman, Belle Boyd, you would have shot him then and there, giving little heed to the consequences. That is exactly what occurred when a soldier, reportedly determined to put a Union flag atop the Boyd home in Martinsburg, Virginia, offended the spunky Belle and her mother. Knowing well she could be hung for both treason and murder, she stood her ground.

Read Belle’s own account of the episode and learn some other amazing information about Belle here:

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