SUBMITTED BY: JC Knowles (written by Cheri Todd Molter)
(Click photo above to enlarge) Emeline Jamison Pigott was the daughter of Levi Whitehurst and Eliza Dennis Pigott of Carteret County, North Carolina. She was born on December 15, 1836, and her father died when she was about seven years old. In 1850, Emeline lived with her mother, Eliza, and her three sisters: Charlotte, Harriette, and Henrietta (1850 Bogue Sound, Carteret County, N.C., U.S. Census). After the Civil War started, Emeline nursed the sick and wounded Confederate soldiers who were brought in from the North Carolina coastal battles.
Early in the war, there was an encampment of Confederate soldiers stationed by her family’s home near Calico Creek, and Emeline fell in love with Montford Stokes McRae, a soldier from Montgomery County, North Carolina. McRae was twenty-four years old when he enlisted to serve in Company K of the 26th Infantry (North Carolina). He was wounded in his left thigh and taken prisoner by Union forces on July 1, 1863 at Gettysburg. On Aug 2, 1863, McRae died in Gettysburg as a result of that injury.
After her Rebel sweetheart died, Emeline never married, and she devoted her life to the Confederate cause. She took up secret service work and became North Carolina’s most famous spy, smuggler, and blockade runner. For almost two years, she transported secret dispatches in the large pockets she fashioned under her full skirts, carrying them between Union-occupied New Bern and the seaports. She was nearly captured several times, and when she was caught and arrested in New Bern, it was reported that Emeline chewed and swallowed an important message while being searched. Emeline was imprisoned and charged with blockade running, but she was eventually released without a trial and sent home.