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Allegany County
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Sallie Pollock, 1847-1890

Sallie Pollock Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


Sallie Pollock, 1847-1890

The following information is excerpted from the sources identified in the Notes which appears at the bottom of this page. Both provide more extensive background on the exploits and life of Sallie Pollock.

Sallie Pollock was born in Cumberland, Maryland and raised on the family farm along the west bend of the Potomac River. On June 8, 1861 the City of Cumberland was occupied by Union troops. It was about that time, at the age of 14, that Sallie began her activities as a Confederate spy during the Civil War. This consisted primarily of carrying letters and information past the Union pickets and patrols along the roads and across the Potomac River to the Confederate lines.

Sallie was quite successful until her arrest on April 12, 1864 by a Federal agent who had posed undercover as a Confederate sympathizer. In Sallie's possession were letters addressed to General Robert E. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Dated March 24, 1864, these letters detailed the upcoming military campaign plans of General Ulysses S. Grant. Sallie had been provided this correspondence by Confederate spies and it was her job to relay the information to the Confederate lines near Cumberland. Also included were several personal letters, several romantic in nature, that she was to also deliver to the Confederates.

Upon her arrest Sallie had asked to be treated "as a lady." Sallie was tried in April 1864. Though she did not testify in her own defense, Sallie did plead not guilty. Supporters described her as a "bright sunshiny child." Sallie was found guilty and sentenced to be imprisoned at the Pennsylvania State Penitentiary in Pittsburgh until the war was over.

After serving only seven weeks for a crime that in some cases would have resulted in death, Sallie Pollock was released from prison by order of Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton. One of the conditions of her release was that she not carry any more messages to the Confederates. Sallie went on to have two husbands and numerous children.


Photograph from the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization

Information from the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization website, and Confederate Heroines, by Thomas Power Lowry

See also Looking Back 1864: Teenage rebellion, Civil War style, by James Rada.

See the Hagerstown Herald and Torchlight story of her sentencing at May 1864- Cumberland Confederate sympathizer

Collection Location:
Allegany County

Allegany County (Md.)--Biography; Allegany County (Md.)--Women.

Allegany County, (Md.)

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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