How America’s First Female Detective Helped Foil An Assassination Plot
If reading The Bourne Identity and watching Burn Notice has taught me anything, it’s that spies need to blend in. Kate Warne was a master at this:
The novelty of a female detective in those days meant Warne was able to go undercover with ease (including pretending to be a fortune-teller as a means to gather intel), and gain the trust of other women (like the wife of a man suspected of embezzling $50,000 from the Adams Express Company in Montgomery, Alabama).
She saved Abraham Lincoln’s life through some clever misdirection. Warne traveled to Baltimore to infiltrate a group of Confederate sympathizers. After learning of the assassination plot, Warne made arrangements:
Lincoln donned an overcoat and hat, abandoning his signature “stovepipe.” His role was that of Kate Warne’s “invalid brother.” Warne purchased tickets for herself and her “brother,” and saw to it that the rear sections of a sleeping car were secure. Kate charmed the conductor into keeping the back door of the sleeping car open, so that her “sick brother” could enter in privacy.