In the summer of 1861, the young daughter of a prominent Fairfax County, Virginia merchant resolved to serve the Confederacy by spying on Union troops. For two years, Antonia Ford was successful moving information to J.E.B. Stuart and John Mosby. Then she was captured and sent to Old Capitol Prison in DC. Twice. By the end of her second incarceration in 1864, 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.
The Civil War is full of colorful and unexpected tales of espionage, most of which placed women in a starring role... and many of which occurred around the Capital Region. Here, you can see Antonia Ford's home and historic sites around her hometown of Fairfax and explore the lives of other women spies at nearby sites such as: