Miss Olivia Floyd was another unlikely Confederate spy. She was an heir to the mansion of Rose Hill and was living there during the War. Her brother was a Confederate soldier who was killed in 1863. Additionally, one account states that she had broken her back as a child and was crippled for the rest of her life.
She was already a smuggler of messages headed south and would conceal them in a wooden boat model made by her brother. In the winter of 1864, a group of Confederate soldiers raided St. Alban’s, Vermont and escaped to Canada with their horses, money, and lives. They were then arrested by Canadian authorities and Union officials sought their extradition for trial on charges of being spies. Their lives depended on proving that they were commissioned officers of the Confederate Army acting on official orders. A message started south requesting the commissions of the men. It passed from Southern sympathizers, from Canada to Maryland, and eventually to Miss Floyd.
Miss Floyd had successfully concealed the important note in a pair of brass andirons in her parlor which were missed by Union soldiers. One had even propped his foot up on the very same andiron by the fire. After they had left, she put the note in her hair and carried it to the signal station at Popes Creek where it had been sent to Richmond. The result was the soldiers on trial in Canada received copies of their commissions in time to save them.
Another interesting note about Olivia Floyd is that she claims to have seen the spirit of The Blue Dog (remember last week’s blog?). She died December 8, 1905 and is buried at St. Ignatius Church at Chapel Point.
In loving remembrance
ANNIE OLIVIA FLOYD
Daughter of the Late
DAVID L. & SARAH SEMMES FLOYD
July 2, 1826
Dec 8, 1905