Nancy Hart

Nancy Hart (HM147B)

Location: Summersville, WV 26651 Nicholas County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 16.866', W 80° 51.06'

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Legendary Spy

The story of Nancy Hart is a blur of fact and legend. Born in Virginia in 1843, she settled with her family first in southwestern Virginia and then in Roane County by the mid-1950s. There, she grew to young adulthood and learned to ride and shoot as well as a man. When the Civil War began, her sympathies lay with the South, and she allegedly served as a guide and spy for the local Confederate guerrilla group, Capt. Perry Conley's Moccasin Rangers. Conley was killed early in 1862 in a Federal ambush.

Hart moved to Nicholas County and spied for Confederate authorities as she peddled eggs and vegetables in Union camps, where she noted troop dispositions. Here in Summersville, she observed two companies of Lt. Col. William C. Starr's 9th West Virginia Infantry. Starr soon caught on to Hart's activities and had her arrested and confined here. She is said to have escaped, however, by tricking a young guard into letting her examine his pistol, shooting him dead, and then mounting Starr's favorite horse and galloping away.

Hart allegedly returned to Summerville a week later on July 25, 1862, guiding Maj. Robert A. Bailey, 22nd Virginia Infantry, and 200 cavalrymen. The Confederates stormed the town at dawn, capturing Starr (who was exchanged the next month), three other officers, and an undetermined number of soldiers. Bailey's men burned three houses and two wagons and took away eight mules and a dozen horses. After the raid, Hart became less active.

Nancy Hart married Confederate veteran Joshua Douglas in 1864 and later lived in Webster County She died in 1902.
HM NumberHM147B
Series This marker is part of the West Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByWest Virginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 at 3:50pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 513031 N 4237014
Decimal Degrees38.28110000, -80.85100000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 16.866', W 80° 51.06'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 16' 51.96" N, 80° 51' 3.60" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 723 Main St, Summersville WV 26651, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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