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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
December 24, 1862


Official Records of the War of the Rebellion
Series 2, Volume 5, pp. 121-22

Office Provost-Marshal-General,
Wheeling, December 24, 1862.

Col. W. Hoffman, Commissary-General of Prisoners.

Sir: I have the honor specially to report the receipt of a prisoner of war sent here by Brigadier-General Crook in the shape of a female wearing male apparel charged as a spy for the rebels, arrested in the streets of Charleston, Va. Her statements are contradictory, at one time asserting she was in the rebel army, at another time affirming she served with the Twenty-third Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, U. S. Army. She is a coarse-looking creature, scarcely answering the description of la fille du regiment. I have placed her in the Ohio County jail for the present, ordered clothes for her suitable to her sex, and await your order regarding her.

Very respectfully,

Jos. Darr, Jr.,
Major and Provost-Marshal-General.

[Indorsement.]

Respectfully referred to Colonel Doster, provost-marshal, to know if he can provide for the within-named woman in the Old Capitol Prison if she is ordered to this city. Please return this letter.

W. Hoffman,
Colonel Third Infantry, Commissary-General of Prisoners.

[Inclosure.]

A Female Soldier in Custody—An Eventful Career.

Among the prisoners brought up yesterday on the steamer Bostona, No. 2, was the somewhat famous female soldier, Harry Fitzallen, of whom our readers have doubtless heard something through the Cincinnati papers. Harry, who was dressed in a tightly-fitting cavalry uniform, was taken to jail yesterday soon after his arrival, when the provost-marshal, Major Darr, with a view of ascertaining if possible the truth in relation to the charge that has been made against Harry of being a rebel spy, held an interview with her. During the conversation she said her name was Marian McKenzie. She was born in Glasgow, Scotland. Her mother died when she was an infant and her father removed with her to this country when she was only four years old. Her father dying a short time after reaching New York Marian was left alone upon the world and managed to make her living in various ways, as she expressed it. She educated herself and studied for the stage but finding the profession of an actress not exactly suited to her taste she traveled about from place to place engaging in divers employments. Shortly after the breaking out of the war she enlisted in a Kentucky regiment at Newport and served two months. Upon her sex being discovered she had to quit. She enlisted several times after this in as many different regiments and was several times arrested. The last time she was arrested in Charleston, Kanawha County, in men’s apparel by the provost-marshal. She says that she has brothers and sisters residing in Canada. Upon being asked what part of Canada her relations inhabited she declined to answer, saying: “This sensation will have publicity enough if it has not already and I do not wish the innocent to suffer for the guilty.” When told that she would be detained until her statements could be corroborated she said: “Very well, I cannot help it. The only way in which I have violated the law is in assuming men’s apparel. The injury that I have done is principally to myself.” She speaks fluently and uses the best of language, and is evidently an educated woman, well skilled in the iniquities of the world. She visited this city about three years ago under the name of Miss Fitzallen and in the character of a prostitute. She says she went into the army for the love of excitement and from no motive in connection with the war, one way or another. She is about twenty-five years of age, very short and very thick. She has heretofore acknowledged that she has been engaged in the rebel service but now denies the soft impeachment. As there are several suspicious circumstances connected with the case Harry will be furnished with appropriate clothing and detained until all doubts are removed.


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: December 1862

West Virginia Archives and History