July 25, 1862: Rebel Spy Nancy Hart Leads Raid at Summersville

Nancy Hart after her capture in 1862

According to tradition, Rebel spy Nancy Hart led a Confederate raid on the Union position at Summersville in Nicholas County on July 25, 1862. Hart was only in her late teens at the time.

Early in the Civil War, she’d worked closely with the Confederate Moccasin Rangers as a scout and spy. Captured in Braxton County in the fall of 1861, she convinced Northern troops of her innocence. After being released, she returned to the Confederate lines with inside information on Union troop movements.

In the summer of 1862, she was again captured by Northern forces and held as a prisoner in Summersville. However, she persuaded a young guard into letting her examine his pistol. She then shot him to death and escaped. She returned a week later with 200 Confederate troops to capture Summersville.

After the war ended, her husband, Joshua Douglas, returned from Confederate service. The couple settled first in Greenbrier County and later in Webster County. Nancy Hart Douglas died in 1902 at about age 60 and was buried at Mannings Knob, in Greenbrier County near the Webster County line.