Slave Spies Helped Win Civil War

By Diane Haddad

Interesting article on CNN today about African-American slaves who helped the Union effort in the Civil War by spying on their Southern owners.

After Confederate president Jefferson Davis’ slave William Jackson escaped in 1861, he provided the Union with valuable information he’d overheard about supply routes and strategy. Harriet Tubman, Robert Smalls and countless others also delivered secret intelligence. Union soldiers called their reports “black dispatches.”

Ken Dagler, author of a book titled Black Dispatches (who’s also “written extensively on the issue for the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence”) tells CNN that slaves’ reliance on oral tradition gave them practice memorizing details.

For the life of me, I couldn’t find Dagler’s book online to link to. But I did find this article on the CIA Web site by a P.K. Rose of the CIA Directorate of Operations, and a Library of Congress listing for a book Black Dispatches also by P.K. Rose.

Waaaaaaait a minute. Dagler works for the CIA … so does P.K. Rose … are you catching my drift?