Emeline Pigott, 1836-1916
Emeline Pigott was born and raise in Harlowe Township of Carteret Country NC. When she was 25, she moved with her parents to a farm at Crab Point on the North Carolina coast, just across the creek from where the soldiers of the 26th North Carolina were stationed to defend the coast. The sensitive and compassionate woman took it upon herself to help the troops in many ways. She tended to the sick and wounded soldiers, even bringing some home to nurse. Working throughout three counties, Pigott collected mail along with food, clothing, medicine, and other needed items, and left the goods in designated hollow trees and logs for the Confederates to collect.
Pigott also was brave enough to gather intelligence for the Confederates. By entertaining Union soldiers she gleaned some information, and while she was distracting the enemy, her brother-in-law Rufus Bell dispensed food from her pantry to hungry Rebel soldiers. Local fishermen also gathered information about Union boats’ cargoes and destinations as they sold the Yankees fish. They then reported to Pigott, who carried the valuable information hidden in big pockets under her hoop skirt. With mail and other items combined, Pigott sometimes carried as much as 30 pounds of hidden goods. The 26th North Carolina left for Virginia and Pigott tended to the wounded in New Bern NC. In 1862 she left on the last train out with wounded before the Yankees occupied the town. She fled to Kingston and then to Concord with wounded before returning home.
With the Northerners occupying the area, Pigott came under suspicion in early 1864. One day, while she and Bell were on their rounds, they were arrested ans sent to jail. While officials were looking for someone to search the lady, Pigott ate some incriminating information and shredded some mail, but many items were found beneath her skirt, and she was imprisoned in a New Bern residence. Though she faced the death penalty, she was inexplicably released until the end of the war.