Sue Mundy, 1864 -1865
According to George Prentice, a powerful and angry editor of a Louisville KY newspaper, the second in command of a Confederate guerrilla group that stopped a stage and raided a bank in Harrodsburg in October 1864, was woman. Prentice introduced his readers to Miss Sue Mundy, who in Prentice’s words “dressed in male attire, generally sporting a full Confederate uniform. She is possessed of a comely form, is a bold rider and a dashing leader.”
At the time, President Abraham Lincoln had imposed a state of martial law in the border state of Kentucky, and Union commander General Burbridge had been sent to squelch the partisan warfare that was rampant. In the process he made many enemies by using military power to round up those who, like Prentice, were pro-Union, but anti-Lincoln, and their incarceration affected the outcome of Kentucky’s November elections.
Among the enemies Burbridge had made was Prentice, and all the newspaper’s attention given to Mundy was meant to embarrass and belittle the Union commander. Over the next weeks Prentice publicized and sensationalized the exploits of Mandy, by crediting this “she-devil” with robbing several ladies, murdering a soldier near Jeffersontown, and participating in a raid on Springfield KY. This slight woman according to the accounts, was wreaking havoc in Kentucky, and the Union army could not stop her. Curiously, when Prentice was out of town, Mandy was never mentioned in his paper, yet as soon as he returned, her exploits began again.
On March 12, 1865, however, 21-year old Marcellus Jerome Clarke, a slight smooth-faced, long-haired male rebel guerrilla, was captured and charged with most of the crimes that Mandy had reportedly committed. Three days later, after a quick trial, Clarke was convicted and hanged. No more reports of Mandy’s escapades appeared in Prentice’s paper after that, but by then Burbridge had been removed from command anyway.