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Emeline Pigott, Confederate Spy

An image of Piggot from the State ArchivesOn December 15, 1836, Confederate spy Emeline Jamison Pigott was born in Carteret County. Living on a farm on Calico Creek, near what is now Morehead City, she witnessed many of the hardships the Civil War brought on, when Confederate, and later, Union soldiers were encamped nearby.

Involved in the Confederate cause early in the war, Pigott became active in nursing as well as gathering supplies for the Confederacy after the death of Private Montford Stokes MacRae at Gettysburg. Piggott had fallen in love with MacRae several years earlier. She organized fishermen to get information that she passed along to her contacts. She also distracted Union soldiers, enabling her brother to carry food to Confederates nearby; and served as a courier, carrying food, medicine and mail to designated locations for pickup in specially-made pockets under her hoop skirt.

Arrested on suspicion of spying, Pigott was imprisoned and taken to court repeatedly, but was never brought to trial. While in prison, an attempt was made on her life but, even after her release, she continued to aid the Confederacy, remaining true to the cause until her death in 1919.

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