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During the Civil War, Union Army officers Capt. Lewis Dumont and his brother, Lt. Henry Dumont, are assigned to infiltrate the Confederate telegraph office in Richmond, Virginia and send phony messages to divert the Rebel forces during a key Union attack. Dressed as a Confederate, Lewis takes on the identity of Capt. Thorne, a deceased Texas officer, while Henry is planted in a Rebel prison near Richmond. As Thorne, Lewis is wounded in a skirmish with a Yankee unit, but rescues another injured Confederate, Howard Varney, and helps him back to his nearby house. Out of gratitude, Howard's sister Edith, whose father is a Rebel general, insists that Lewis remain at their plantation until his own wounds have healed. While recuperating, Lewis ingratiates himself at the Richmond telegraph office. Then, he asks Jonas Polk, a Varney slave, to make contact with his brother, without revealing to the old man his identity. At the same time, Mr. Arlesford, a rejected suitor of Edith's, notices Henry's name on the prisoner list and connects him to rumors he has heard about a pair of Yankee spies named Dumont. Suspicious, Arlesford plants a Rebel spy in the prison, and the spy witnesses Jonas' exchange with Henry. As Jonas is leaving the prison, he is interrogated by Arlesford, who finds a coded message in his belongings, and is sentenced to hang. After the execution, Arlesford informs Edith that he suspects Lewis of being Henry's brother. Edith, who has fallen in love with Lewis, protests his innocence and demands that, as proof, Henry be brought to her house. However, just before Henry's arrival, Lewis, sensing trouble, confesses his unconditional love to Edith. When Henry and Lewis are forced to confront each other at the Varney's home, they deduce Arlesford's scheme, and Henry shoots himself to protect their cover. That night, as Lewis telegraphs his phony orders to Confederate headquarters, he is watched by Edith and a still suspicious Arlesford. Before Lewis completes the message, Arlesford interrupts him and calls in the guard. Accused by General Randolph, Lewis is saved by Edith, who produces a notice of a special commission that she had secured for Lewis through her father. Although torn between love and duty, Lewis finally decides not to send his message and escapes to the Varneys to say goodbye to his brother. Caught once again, Lewis is spared from Arlesford's execution, as well as Edith's disdain, when Randolph learns that no message had been sent. As he leaves as Randolph's prisoner, Lewis pledges to return to Edith one day.