A Spy for the Union: The Life and Execution of Timothy Webster

By Corey Recko

Biography & memoir, General non-fiction | Paperback, eBook


“Just about everyone will find something to like in this tale of Civil War espionage that mixes in portions of heroism, intrigue, cowardice and betrayal.” - Civil War News Timothy Webster, best known for his work as a spy for the Union during the Civil War, began his career as a New York City policeman. In the mid-1850s he left the police department and took a job for Allan Pinkerton with his newly formed detective agency. As an operative for Pinkerton’s agency, Webster excelled. His cases included tracking a world famous forger, investigating grave robberies in a Chicago cemetery, and seeking to uncover a plot to destroy the Rock Island Bridge. It was also as a Pinkerton detective that Webster made his greatest contribution to his country when he was part of a small group of operatives that uncovered a plot to assassinate then President-elect Abraham Lincoln in 1861. Webster went on to serve the United States as a spy in the Civil War. He traveled to the Confederate Capital multiple times and made many connections high up in the Confederate military and government. For a time he was the Union’s top spy, but his career came to an abrupt end when, in 1862, he was betrayed by fellow spies and became the first spy executed in the Civil War.


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“Just about everyone will find something to like in this tale of Civil War espionage that mixes in portions of heroism, intrigue, cowardice and betrayal.” - Civil War News Timothy Webster, best known for his work as a spy for the Union during the Civil War, began his career as a New York City policeman. In the mid-1850s he left the police department and took a job for Allan Pinkerton with his newly formed detective agency. As an operative for Pinkerton’s agency, Webster excelled. His cases included tracking a world famous forger, investigating grave robberies in a Chicago cemetery, and seeking to uncover a plot to destroy the Rock Island Bridge. It was also as a Pinkerton detective that Webster made his greatest contribution to his country when he was part of a small group of operatives...


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Corey Recko's first book, Murder on the White Sands: The Disappearance of Albert and Henry Fountain, won the Wild West History Association's award for the “Best Book on Wild West History” for 2007. New Mexico Magazine said of the book, “The story moves along like detective fiction . . . .” Of his second book, A Spy for the Union: The Life and Execution of Timothy Webster, the Civil War News review of the book concluded, “Just about everyone will find something to like in this tale of Civil War espionage that mixes in portions of heroism, intrigue, cowardice and betrayal.” Along with books, Recko has written articles on a variety of historical topics for magazines and historical journals and has become a sought after speaker (including an appearance on C-SPAN). Death of a Kootch Show Girl, a murder mystery about a death at a small-town carnival in 1953, is Corey Recko's first novel.


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Corey Recko's first book, Murder on the White Sands: The Disappearance of Albert and Henry Fountain, won the Wild West History Association's award for the “Best Book on Wild West History” for 2007. New Mexico Magazine said of the book, “The story moves along like detective fiction . . . .” Of his second book, A Spy for the Union: The Life and Execution of Timothy Webster, the Civil War News review...


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