Publisher: Library of Congress Manuscript Division
Antonia Ford Willard
Antonia Ford was a Confederate spy during the American Civil War (1861–1865), credited with providing the military information gathered from her Fairfax Court House home during the First Battle of Manassas (1861) and in the two years following. In October 1861, Confederate cavalry general J. E. B. Stuart issued an order declaring her an honorary aide-de-camp. The document was used against Ford in 1863, however, when she was accused of spying for John Singleton Mosby, whose partisan rangers famously captured the Union general Edwin H. Stoughton in his headquarters. Mosby later denied that Ford ever spied for him. After several months in prison, Ford was released and married one of her captors, Union major Joseph C. Willard. Ford stopped spying, Willard resigned from the army, and they returned to managing the Willard Hotel in Washington D.C., and had three children.