Elizabeth Van Lew: The Mad Woman Who Helped Shape the Civil War.

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Sept. 15 2011 11:59 AM

Crazy Bet, the Scourge of Civil War Richmond

Elizabeth Van Lew may have seemed insane, but she knew exactly what she was doing.

In the second episode of our monthly audio series "Civil War Stories," radio producer Nate DiMeo tells the story of Richmond resident Elizabeth Van Lew, better known as Crazy Bet. Her odd behavior (freeing her family's slaves, visiting Yankee POWs in prison) made tongues wag in the Confederate capital. But Richmond society couldn't begin to guess what was really going on:

Andy Bowers Andy Bowers

Andy Bowers is the executive producer of Slate’s podcasts. Follow him on Twitter.

The Memory Palace: Civil War Stories. Subscribe for free on iTunes.

"Civil War Stories" is a collaboration between Slate and "The Memory Palace," DiMeo's long-running podcast that unearths forgotten historical gems. The series will appear monthly during the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War.

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