"Ginnie" Moon (Confederate spy)

Is your surname Moon?

Research the Moon family

"Ginnie" Moon (Confederate spy)'s Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Virginia Bethel Moon

Death: 1925 (80-81)
Place of Burial: Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Robert S. Moon and Cynthia Anne Moon (Sullivan)
Sister of Robert Anderson Moon; Mary Beeler (Moon); William Sullivan Moon; Charlotte "Lottie" Clark (Moon) (Confederate spy) and James Apperson Moon

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About "Ginnie" Moon (Confederate spy)


Virginia "Ginnie" Bethel Moon (1844–1925) was born in Ohio in 1844. She moved to Memphis, Tennessee with her mother in 1862 where she began a short but notable career as an espionage agent working with Memphis entrepreneur-turned-soldier Nathan Bedford Forrest and other Confederates. When the Union forces occupied the city, she was arrested for spying but escaped. She continued her work further south and was eventually imprisoned in New Orleans.

Ginnie Moon helped the South's war morale by getting herself engaged to sixteen boys at one time. She justified the risk by means of simple logic: "If they'd died in battle, they'd have died happy, wouldn't they? And if they lived, I didn't give a damn."

Ginnie returned to Memphis after the war and became a philanthropist, particularly helping with the yellow fever epidemics of the 1870s.

She died in New York City in 1925.


Confederate spy and, later, Memphis philanthropist, Virginia Bethel Moon was a student at an Ohio girls' school when the Civil War began. After initial resistance, school officials finally acquiesced to her demands and allowed her to leave school and join her mother in Memphis. Previously, Moon had supported the abolitionist cause, but after the war commenced, she became more sympathetic to the Confederacy.

In the early days of the war, her sister, Lottie Moon, had carried dispatches and papers from Memphis to Cincinnati disguised as an Irish washerwoman, and Ginny Moon also began to carry Confederate documents behind the Union lines and traveled to Canada on a mission for the Confederate army. She then disguised herself as an Englishwoman and entered the city of Washington where, according to legend, she rode in a carriage with Abraham Lincoln.

Moon frequently funneled important information about Union troop movements to General Nathan Bedford Forrest; she was said to have swallowed an important message to Forrest to prevent it from falling into Union hands. She crossed Union lines with supplies and medicines for Confederate troops and once disguised herself as a Union mourner accompanying a loved one's coffin, which was in fact filled with medicine. She was imprisoned in New Orleans shortly before the end of the war.

After the surrender, Moon returned to Memphis and engaged in local philanthropic projects. When her African American cook died, Moon took in the woman's child and raised him as her own son, one of the many orphans she raised. Moon became a familiar sight on Memphis streets, and many thought she carried a revolver hidden in her ever-present umbrella. An early supporter of women's rights, Moon claimed to have voted in a Memphis election before woman suffrage. Moon died in 1925 in New York City


view all

"Ginnie" Moon (Confederate spy)'s Timeline

Age 81
Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee