Spies of The Confederacy

Title:                      Spies of The Confederacy

Author:                 John Bakeless

Bakeless, John (1970, 1997). Spies of The Confederacy. Mineola, NY : Dover Publications

LCCN:    97023084

E608 .B13 1997


Date Updated:  October 25, 2016

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

Bakeless, the author of a book on espionage in the American Revolution[2], devoted more than ten years to this opus. He was assiduous in uncovering and presenting information on Civil War intelligence that, he states, was not known to exist before his research. Confining his work to spies, i.e., those primarily concerned with collecting military information, he is fully aw are of the difficulty of evaluating such sources because, as he put it, agents are inclined to exaggerate. Despite this caution and his commendable effort, his results must be questioned. Even with the plethora of new information he claims to have uncovered, the fact is that the principal means of confirming many postwar claims is missing: Confederate secret intelligence records were destroyed in 1865 during the evacuation of Richmond.

Bakeless also attributes without qualification some important developments to intelligence despite his claim that he does not do so if he cannot find confirmation. The purist will object to the inclusion of combat intelligence personnel in a book with “Spies” in the title. The space given to their efforts might better have been devoted to other intelligence activities, such as those of Confederate agents abroad, which are not addressed.

This is a review by the Defense Intelligence School.[3]

Colonel Bakeless offers his thesis that, in the first years of the Civil War, the Confederacy had a much better spy network than did the North—a network reaching into the War Department and into the highest political circles in Washington. Because of the extensive documentation available, Colonel Bakeless has chosen to treat only Confederate intelligence activities in this book.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[4]

Blackstock makes no comments on this book. The listing (1970) is either incorrect, or the newer Dover edition changed it slightly from “Spies for The Confederacy,” to Spies of The Confederacy.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 69-70

[2] Bakeless, John (1959). Turncoats, Traitors And Heroes. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott [59005406]

[3] Defense Intelligence School (1981). Bibliography of Intelligence Literature (7th ed Rev.). Washington, DD: Defense Intelligence School, p. 5

[4] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p. 163


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One Response to Spies of The Confederacy

  1. Pingback: Espionage and Counterespionage, Chapter 14 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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