Washingtons Spies: The Story of Americas First Spy Ring

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You might also try disabling any ad blockers. During the Revolutionary War, it housed a tavern where British occupiers were entertained. The spy ring consisted primarily of Setauket residents, including its leader Benjamin Tallmadge and key agent Abraham Woodhull. The Culper ring was highly successful and alerted Washington to such plots as a surprise attack on the newly allied French forces, a scheme to counterfeit Continental currency, and the secret defection of a general in the Continental Army afterwards known to be Benedict Arnold.

America's First Spy Ring - Culper

Washington later spent a night in Setauket during his tour of Long Island. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More. Audioboom uses Javascript Please enable it in your browser's preferences. Woodhull signed his dispatches Samuel Culper Sr. Not much imagination being used in the naming of the operatives.

He would pass information to a courier who would leave the dispatch on Woodhulls property. Woodhull would then pass the information to him for delivery to Tallmadge. Invaluable information was passed to Washington that certainly had an impact on the future of the war. Washington was always impatient for information arriving quicker, but Townsend and Woodhull were always well aware of the precarious nature of their situation and always errored on the side of caution. Sometimes the information is sketchy because these men and women after the war just went on with their lives.


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Too often, this text gives detailed family histories, explaining familial connections between key players in the book. The book also time hops back and forth, often arranged by subject matter, not chronologically- which is irritating and can be confusing if you do not already know some of the history.

I picked this up because I am in love with Turn: Washington's Spies, the AMC show that you may have guessed is based on this book, and for which author Alexander Rose is also a credited writer. I was pleased to see that the humane final impression of Washington's intelligence officer, Benjamin Tallmadge, re: Andre was faithfully portrayed in the show which, in its fictionalized but compelling relationships, is in large part about how the American Revolution was a civil war between neighbors who happened to have opposing loyalties to US Independence and to Britain, but who were for the most part decent people capable of acting honorably toward one another, even if they had to follow orders.

I also, personally, enjoyed learning more about Robert Rogers -- who wasn't just???

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I was swept away by the intimacy and so affected by the accounts of the personal lives coupled with the scenes set by Rose of the entirety of the war that reading his book is something that will always stand out in my mind. Tallmadge managed the ring personally, because he'd grown up with members Woodhull and Brewster , and knew how best to deal with them; the British system suffered by being more impersonal, although it was more durable, since Tallmadge was indispensable.

It was also really satisfying to hear how life turned out for the members of the Culper ring, since I've grown emotionally attached to them. The key thing I discovered reading this book was that General George Washington was a natural spy master. The spy ring operated during the American War of Independence and provided Washington with information on British Troop movements. Alexander Rose tells he found all the letters from the spy member to and from General Washington in the Library of Congress.

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He could not abide to see villains profiting while good and faithful men languished unheeded, untrumpeted, and unknown. The fourth and final season 10 episodes each is ending next spring :' which is sad considering the amount of information in this book and could go into the show.

In the words of Benjamin Tallmadge at the beginning of the war to his friend Nathan Hale, "I consider our country a land flowing as it were with milk and honey, holding open her arms, and demanding assistance from all who insist her in her sore distress Our holy religion, the honor of God, a glorious country, and a happy constitution is what we have to defend. Even if you don't end up reading this, at least watch the first two seasons of Turn on Netflix. A competent history of espionage during the American Revolutionary War.

Not to be confused with the romanticized fiction of the television series TURN, purportedly based on it. In , following a series of victories in August and September, the British commanded New York City and Long Island and were chasing the defeated colonial army toward Philadelphia. Washington This book unearths facts about those people who put themselves at great risk, starting with the martyred Nathan Hale, to provide Washington and Clinton information about the whereabouts, strengths and weaknesses and intentions of the British and Americans in New York City and Long Island.

British General Clinton in New York City to Burgoyne, August, , not knowing the latter had already surrendered near Saratoga, NY Unfortunately, for reasons known best to themselves, AMC turned the real story of bravery, ingenuity and self-sacrifice into a soap opera where passion competes with patriotism.

Despite defeating Washingtons ragtag Continentals almost every time they could bring him to battle, they gradually lost their grip on both the land and the hearts of America. I have a particular interest in military and intelligence history, but I write also on technology and, occasionally, firearms a mix of military and technology, I guess. Though there is top-secret material on almost every country in the world, the United States is at the top of the list. As well as containing many fascinating revelations, this is a major contribution to the secret history of the twentieth century.

Among the topics and revelations explored are: The KGB's covert operations in the United States and throughout the West, some of which remain dangerous today. The KGB's attempts to steal technological secrets from major U. KGB covert operations against former President Ronald Reagan, which began five years before he became president. One would expect nothing from Gordon Spending than a splendid, spare account of Joan's life -- and she delivers in this slender but satisfying account, a new entry in the Penguin Lives series.

This biography rehearses the well-known highlights in Joan's short life: the voices she heard who charged her with the mission to save France; her participation in the Battle of Orleans and the coronation of King Charles VII; her trial by an ecclesiastical court, where she was charged with witchcraft, heresy and idolatry. Tallmadge was appointed the postmaster of Litchfield, Connecticut in He later enjoyed a career in politics, serving in Congress as a member of the Federalist Party from to Tallmadge died on March 7, , in Litchfield, Connecticut.

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Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose

Jamie Bell as Abraham Woodhull in "Turn. He was recruited by longtime friend Benjamin Tallmadge to help the Revolutionary forces against the British by gathering intelligence. Woodhull had good reason to visit New York, a hotbed of British military activities, as his sister and her husband ran a boarding house there. To protect his identity, he took on a code name: Samuel Culper Sr. Woodhull was also identified as "" in the group's code dictionary.

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Woodhull also used other forms of spycraft, including invisible ink and numeric codes, to disguise the content of his messages to Tallmadge. These missives handed off to another of another friend from Setauket, Caleb Brewster, to deliver to Tallmadge. After almost being arrested by the British for spying in , Woodhull then recruited a Manhattan merchant, Robert Townsend, to help the cause.

After , Woodhull seemed to shift focus from spying to family life. He married Mary Smith in and they had three children together. Woodhull went on to have several important posts after the war, including serving as the first judge of Suffolk County from to , according to Rose's book. Two of his children married into the Brewster family. Woodhull, long after the death of his first wife in , married Lydia Terry in He died two years later on January 23, An adventurer and a risk-taker, Caleb Brewster was the only one in the spy ring not to use a pseudonym.

He may have signed his name to his letters, but he was still known to the other members as "" in their code system. Brewster was born in and was a close friend of Samuel Tallmadge, Benjamin's younger brother. Brewster took to the sea at the age of 19 to work on whaling boats. Returning home in , he soon became involved in the fight for independence.

Brewster first served in a local militia before joining the Continental Army. In the spy ring, Brewster became an important conduit for information from Abraham Woodhull and Benjamin Tallmadge. He would put his strong boating skills to good use, traveling across a part of Long Island Sound known as the Devil's Belt to get Woodhull's reports. In addition to his work with the ring, Brewster was a skilled soldier. He fought under Tallmadge at the Battle of Fort St. George in After the war, Brewster settled down in Connecticut with his wife Anne.

The couple owned a farm in the Black Rock area, and he worked as a blacksmith for a time. In the s, Brewster returned to the sea, taking command of a government ship, known as a revenue cutter, whose mission it was to stop smuggling.