The woman shuffled down the streets of Richmond, VA, her torn shirt dragging in the dirt. A ragged bonnet barely covered her scraggly, uncombed hair. She started her work for the Union by offering food and help to the Union prisoners held at the Confederate prison in Richmond. Elizabeth set up an elaborate spy network. She realized that just as the soldiers had thought she was harmless as a woman and were willing to talk in front of her, they would act the same way around slaves or servants. Messages were coded or written in invisible ink. One method Elizabeth used was to loan books to the Union prisoners. Elizabeth became a master of spycraft and taught her assistants well. In addition to working as a spy, Elizabeth also helped smuggle Union prisoners out of the South.