Washington's spies: General George Washington's intelligence network during the American War for Independence contributed largely to his success.Double agents. Invisible ink invisible ink
Ink that is colorless and invisible until treated by a chemical, heat, or special light. Also called sympathetic ink. . Clandestine meetings. False identities. Secret signals. Sounds like something right out of a James Bond novel. But long before James Bond made his appearance in spy fiction For the video game, see .
The genre of spy fiction—sometimes called political thriller or spy thriller or sometimes shortened simply to spy-fi—arose before World War I at about the same time that the first modern intelligence agencies were formed. , General George Washington was busy maintaining a highly effective espionage unit during the American War for Independence.
The following missive from Washing ton to a confidant in 1777 illustrates the importance Washington placed on intelligence operations The variety of intelligence and counterintelligence tasks that are carried out by various intelligence organizations and activities within the intelligence process. Intelligence operations include planning and direction, collection, processing and exploitation, analysis and production, :
The necessity of procuring good Intelligence is apparent & need not be further urged--All that remains for me to add is, that you keep the whole matter as secret as possible. For upon Secrecy, Success depends in Most Enterprizes of the kind, and for want of it, they are generally defeated, however well planned & promising a favourable issue.
No brief article can attempt to cover all of the brave and dedicated patriots who contributed to General Washington's large and successful information network. Nathan Hale (character) Nathan Hale - An asterisk ("*", see also splat, ASCII). Notionally, from "I regret that I have only one asterisk for my country!" ("life to give" -> "ass to risk" -> "asterisk"), a misquote of the famous remark uttered by Nathan Hale just before he was hanged. (a member of Washington's first intelligence unit, Knowlton's Rangers) and Benjamin Franklin (who gathered and disseminated information--and misinformation--in France) are famous people whose intelligence efforts for the cause of American liberty are well known. But there were others who deserve mention as well. One of these was John Honeyman John Honeyman (1729 - August 18, 1822) was an American spy for George Washington. He was primarily responsible for gathering the intelligence crucial to Washington's victory in the Battle of Trenton. . Others included members of what was known as the Culper Gang and James Armistead James Armistead (occasionally referred to as James Lafayette Armistead, c. December 10, 1748 – August 9, 1830) was an African American slave to William Armistead in Virginia during the American Revolution. Lafayette.
In late 1776, General Washington desperately needed a victory--soldier morale was sagging, and public sentiment was flagging. He set his sights on Trenton, but to assure success, he needed to know the lay of the British camp The British Camp is an Iron Age hill fort located at the top of Herefordshire Beacon in the Malvern Hills. The site is thought to date back before the Common Era and has been extended subsequently by medieval ringworks. . He turned to a strong patriot, John Honeyman. He sent Honeyman forth from his home in Philadelphia to Griggstown, New Jersey--17 miles from Trenton--where Honeyman was to pose as a butcher and a loyalist to the king. A good actor, Honeyman was soon regularly supplying beef to the Hessian troops stationed at Trenton, and gained their trust. The demand for beef was constant as the Christmas holidays approached, and Honeyman became familiar with the Hessian camp and the roads around the town.
To avoid suspicion and possible exposure, Washington resorted to a cloak-and-dagger scheme to get Honeyman's report. Since Honeyman had built a reputation as a determined loyalist on the side of the British, Washington put his scouts on alert and told them to capture Honeyman if they saw him--but he wanted him alive, not dead. The scouts had no idea of Honeyman's true mission when they picked him up in a field where he was looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. beef cows, and Honeyman was worried they might shoot him on the spot, despite Washington's orders. But they brought him in, and Washington said he wanted some time alone with the prisoner. After Honeyman had given a full report on the relaxed, festive mood of the Hessian troops and the lay of the camp and surrounding roads, Washington had him thrown into a locked guardhouse--but somehow a nearby fire distracted the guards, and a door happened to be left open. Honeyman "escaped" across the Delaware River Delaware River
River in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York, U.S. Formed by the junction of its eastern and western branches in southern New York, it flows about 405 mi (650 km) to empty into the Atlantic Ocean at Delaware Bay. Navigable to Trenton, N.J. in a convenient rowboat, despite a hail of musket-fire that somehow missed him by yards.
Arriving back at Trenton, Honeyman told of his capture and courageous escape and regaled the Hessians with tales of a puny pu·ny
adj. pu·ni·er, pu·ni·est
1. Of inferior size, strength, or significance; weak: a puny physique; puny excuses.
2. Chiefly Southern U.S. Sickly; ill. , inferior American force. All too willing to believe Honeyman, the Hessians continued their Christmas merrymaking mer·ry·mak·ing
1. Participation in festive activities.
a. A festivity; a revelry.
b. Festive activities.
mer (and eating beef) well into the night, while Honeyman disappeared into the countryside (presumably pre·sum·a·ble
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster. to find more beef). The following morning, the still-groggy Hessians were dismayed to find Washington's army on their side of the Delaware River, not puny at all, and quite capable of taking the town. Thanks to the information supplied by Honeyman, Washington's success at Trenton was almost assured, and the American patriots won their first major victory.
Honeyman continued spying for Washington, playing his role so well that patriots not in on the secret caught and jailed him as a Tory. It was only after Washington's emissary EMISSARY. One who is sent from one power or government into another nation for the purpose of spreading false rumors and to cause alarm. He differs from a spy. (q.v.) , Colonel Jacob Hyer, stepped in and arranged bail that Honeyman escaped from being hanged for High Treason.
The Culper Gang
Though Honeyman worked alone, Washington also used "spy rings," groups of agents working together. The most famous of these was the Culper Gang, to which Washington himself belonged. Other members of the gang included Major Benjamin Tallmadge Benjamin Tallmadge (1754-1835) was a member of the United States House of Representatives. Biography
Tallmadge may have been born in Setauket, New York, or Brookhaven, New York a town on Long Island. . , who was Washington's chief of intelligence, Abraham Woodhull, * Robert Townsend, Caleb Brewster, and Austin Roe. Each member of the gang had a code name or number. For example, Tallmadge's code name was John Bolton, and Austin Roe went by Agent 724. Only Tallmadge knew the true identities of all the members--General Washington did not.
The Culper Gang was formed early in the war and aided Washington in keeping tabs on the British. One of the Culper Gang's most lauded contributions to the war effort was in helping to foil the British's attempt to crush the newly arrived French fleet near Newport, Rhode Island Newport is a city in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about 30 miles (48 km) south of Providence. It is the home of Naval Station Newport, housing the United States Naval War College, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and a major United States Navy training center. , in late August 1781. Washington, worried that the British would attack the fleet, needed to know what the British were planning.
At the time, Washington was camped in New Jersey, near Chatham, and the British fleet was located off the coast of Manhattan. To get the needed information, Washington, employing a typical practice, sent a letter via a series of mounted dragoons located 15 miles apart. They brought the message 65 miles to Agent Bolton (Tallmadge). Agent Bolton relayed the message to Agent 725 (Caleb Brewster) in Fairfield, Connecticut Fairfield is a town located in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. It is situated along the Gold Coast of Connecticut. Fairfield is a town of many neighborhoods, two of which -- Southport and Greenfield Hill -- are notably affluent. . Agent 725, who owned a whaleboat, rowed south across Long Island Sound to a town named Setauket, on Long Island. From there, the message was passed to Agent 724 (Austin Roe), who raced his horse 55 miles (nearly half the length of Long Island) into Manhattan and contacted the agent code-named Samuel Culper, Jr. (Robert Townsend).
Townsend was a well-known merchant, as well as a part-time journalist for Rivington's Gazette, a popular Tory newspaper (run by James Rivington, also a patriot spy). Not suspecting his true loyalties, shippers, tavern keepers, and Tory acquaintances unwittingly let drop nuggets Nuggets can refer to several branches of interest:
Before he sent his reply back along the ring route, he added the following instructions to Agent 724 (Roe), urging him to move with great haste:
Sir. The enclosed requires your immediate departure this day by all means let not an hour pass; for this day must not be lost. You have news of the greatest consequence perhaps that ever happened to your country.
Ten days later, Washington had the urgent information. Learning that 8,000 British troops were about to sail for Newport to annihilate an·ni·hi·late
v. an·ni·hi·lat·ed, an·ni·hi·lat·ing, an·ni·hi·lates
a. To destroy completely: The naval force was annihilated during the attack. the French fleet, Washington drew up a fictitious battle plan calling for 12,000 troops to attack New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , despite the fact that he did not even have that many men. The fictitious plan was then given to a trusted patriot who, posing as a Tory farmer, gave it to British officials, saying he had found the plan along the road.
Improbable as it seems, the British fell for the guise and pulled their fleet back to New York, leaving the French fleet unmolested. Soon after, both George Washington and the French fleet slipped away and headed for Virginia, where they defeated Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. The courage and efforts of the young Culper Gang (all, except Washington, were in their late 20s) can be credited with helping to end the war with Britain.
James Armistead Lafayette
While General Marquis de Lafayette awaited the arrival of the French fleet and Washington's troops at Yorktown, he needed to keep an eye on to watch.
See also: Eye what Cornwallis was up to. He wanted, he said, a spy who was prudent, intelligent, trustworthy, and a good actor. A local slave, James, heard about Lafayette's need for a spy and asked his master, William Armistead, if he could apply for the job. Receiving Armistead's permission, James presented himself to Lafayette, with Armistead's recommendation. Lafayette sent him to Cornwallis' camp posing as a laborer looking for work.
Since finding food was always a challenge for both the British and the Continental armies and James was an experienced and competent forager, Cornwallis' officers gave him a job. It was the perfect job for a spy, as he had plenty of freedom of movement and could interact with local people as well as the British themselves. It also gave him a good chance to return to Lafayette with garnered information.
Eventually, Cornwallis himself became acquainted with James and came to both like and trust him--and soon enlisted James to James To Kun Sun (Traditional Chinese: 涂謹申, born 11 March, 1963) is member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong since 1991 except between 1997 and 1998. To is also a member of the Yau Tsim Mong District Council. spy for the British against Lafayette! In just a few months, James had made the jump from farm laborer to full-fledged double-agent.
Lafayette, using James, fed the British information, or more properly, misinformation mis·in·form
tr.v. mis·in·formed, mis·in·form·ing, mis·in·forms
To provide with incorrect information.
mis . For example, he once gave James a fictitious order for a large number of patriot replacements. The force called for in the order never existed--but Cornwallis didn't know that. James handed over the note, all crumpled crum·ple
v. crum·pled, crum·pling, crum·ples
1. To crush together or press into wrinkles; rumple.
2. To cause to collapse.
1. and dirty, claiming he had found it in the muddy road during his latest spy mission. Cornwallis was taken in by the plan, and didn't learn he had been tricked until after he lost the Battle of Yorktown The Battle of Yorktown can refer to:
Moving back and forth freely between the British and American camps, James was instrumental in providing the intelligence Lafayette and Washington needed to plan their victory over Cornwallis. Five years after the war ended, with a recommendation from Lafayette himself, James became a freeman. He took as middle and surname Armistead and Lafayette, in honor of his former master and former commander. The recommendation from Lafayette read in part:
This is to certify that the bearer by the name of James has done essential services to me while I had the honour to command in this state. His intelligences from the enemy's camp were industriously collected and faithfully delivered. He perfectly acquitted himself with some important commissions I gave him and appears to me entitled to every reward his situation can admit of.
Spies such as Honeyman, the members of the Culper Gang, and Armistead were usually hanged if caught. The men who risked their lives by serving their country in this capacity, just a few of whom are profiled here, deserve to be remembered for their sacrifices, their daring, and their commitment to liberty.
* Mr. Woodhull's first name is also given as Aaron or Samuel in various sources.
Spy Tech in the 18th Century
by Jodie Gilmore
In the course of gathering and disseminating information, 18th-century spies used a variety of methods. These included secret codes, invisible ink, the mask letter, and the quill letter. The latter required the letter to be inserted into the hollow quills of large feathers. (Other favorite hiding spots were inside buttons and small hollow silver bullets that could easily be swallowed if the spy were captured.)
Invisible ink was a favorite of both sides. Silas Deane Silas Deane (December 24 1737 – September 23 1789), was a delegate to the American Continental Congress and later the United States' first foreign diplomat.
He was born in Groton, Connecticut, the son of a blacksmith, graduated from Yale in 1758 and in 1761 was , an agent of the American Committee of Secret Correspondence in Paris, used a kind of invisible ink that would appear when exposed to heat. This type of ink was made from cobalt chloride, glycerin glycerin /glyc·er·in/ (-in) a clear, colorless, syrupy liquid used as a laxative, an osmotic diuretic to reduce intraocular pressure, a demulcent in cough preparations, and a humectant and solvent for drugs. Cf. glycerol. , and water. James Jay Sir James Jay (1732-1815) was an American physician, brother of John Jay. He was born in New York City, studied medicine, and became a practicing physician. He was instrumental in obtaining the endowments for King's (now Columbia) College, New York. (brother of John Jay) created another type of invisible ink, called a "sympathetic stain." This invisible ink was more secure than the heat-developed ink, for it required one chemical for writing and a second chemical for developing. The Culper Gang used this type of ink.
Benjamin Tallmadge devised a code for the Culper Gang by taking several hundred words from a dictionary and several dozen names of people and places, then assigned each a number from 1 to 763. Based on this code, a single number represented a word, such as 38 = attack, 192 = fort, and 727 = New York. The code number for General Washington in this code was 711.
The mask letter required a fair amount of creative writing skills. The letter was written so that, if read by itself, it appeared innocuous. But if a "mask"--a sheet of paper with a cutout cut·out
1. Something cut out or intended to be cut out from something else.
2. Electricity A device that interrupts, bypasses, or disconnects a circuit or circuit element.
3. of an hourglass hourglass, glass instrument for measuring time, usually consisting of two bulbs united by a narrow neck. One bulb is filled with fine sand that runs through the neck into the other bulb in an hour's time. or other shape--was laid over the letter (thereby obscuring some of the words and showing others), the true message was apparent.
Another variant was to write a letter that seemed innocuous, but used invisible ink also. Washington instructed some of his agents to "write a letter in the Tory stile with some mixture of family matters and between the lines Between the lines can refer to:
Cryptography was also a popular means of concealing messages. Dictionary codes were devised by John Jay and Arthur Lee Arthur Lee has been the name of several notable men:
(1) The core algorithm used to encrypt data. A cipher transforms regular data (plaintext) into a coded set of data (ciphertext) that is not reversible without a key. , developed in 1775 by Charles Dumas Charles Everett Dumas (February 12, 1937 – January 5, 2004) was an American high jumper, the 1956 Olympic champion, and the first person to clear 7 ft.
Dumas, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, made his memorable jump on June 29, 1956, in the US Olympic trials in Los Angeles, , substituted numbers for letters in the order in which they appeared in a specific paragraph of French prose containing 682 symbols. Because each letter could be replaced with more than one number, Dumas' method was more secure than the standard alphanumeric substitution system, in which the letters "A" through "Z" are replaced with 1 through 26.
Sometimes simply hiding the message wasn't enough. Washington made frequent use of misinformation, such as when he pretended that he was going to attack New York instead of Yorktown, and when he let Armistead fool Cornwallis into thinking he had additional forces on the way. Other deceptions employed by Washington included intercepting British mail pouches for the purpose of placing forged documents in them and then allowing the pouches to go on their way. Sometimes he would have army procurement officers make large false purchases of supplies in an attempt to convince British forces that he was amassing a huge force. He even had fake military facilities built.
In any military endeavor, it pays to know what your enemy is doing and to keep him from knowing what you're doing. General George Washington understood this very well, and used every means at his disposal to accomplish both tasks.
Women Spies for American Independence
by Jodie Gilmore
Men did not take all the risks. The historical record includes several examples of women serving the new nation as members of the intelligence/counter-intelligence network.
Anna Smith Strong, a member of the Culper Gang, was a neighbor of fellow gang member Abraham Woodhull. Her code name was Nancy, and she used her laundry line to pass on messages. For example, she would place her black petticoat in a specific place on the line when a message was ready to be rowed across the sound. The number of handkerchiefs on the line indicated which cove the whaleboat would be hiding in.
Another notable woman, Lydia Darragh, lived in Philadelphia, where the British forced her to make available one of her upstairs rooms for conferences. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Darragh family legend (the story is largely uncorroborated), Lydia eavesdropped on the British plans. She transcribed the plans on tiny slips of paper, and sewed the paper into buttons. Finally, she would sew the buttons onto the coat belonging to her 14-year-old son, John. John would then be sent to visit his brother Charles, who was a lieutenant in the Continental Army, camped outside the city. Charles would pass the information on to his superiors.
Further south, Emily Geiger played a single, but important, part in the outcome of the southern campaign. When British Lord Francis Rawdon abandoned Fort Ninety-Six in the summer of 1781, General Nathanael Greene Nathanael Greene (August 7, 1742 – June 19, 1786) was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. When the war began, Greene was a militia private, the lowest rank possible; he emerged from the war with a reputation as George Washington's most needed to let General Thomas Sumter know. Greene wanted Sumter to join forces with him and force Rawdon to retreat even further. But the woods were alive with angry Tories, and none of Greene's men were willing to attempt to deliver the message. Emily, a girl of 18, stepped forward to volunteer, and after memorizing Greene's message (in case she lost the letter), set off for Sumter's camp. On the second day, she was captured by Tories. Fortunately for Emily, the Tories were chivalrous chiv·al·rous
1. Having the qualities of gallantry and honor attributed to an ideal knight.
2. Of or relating to chivalry.
3. Characterized by consideration and courtesy, especially toward women. . Reluctant to search her personally, they locked Emily in a room while they located a "matron" to search her. Left alone for a few hours, Emily ate Greene's letter, one small piece at a time.
Not finding anything suspicious during the search, the Tories released Emily, and a couple days later she completed her mission. With the addition of Sumter's forces, Greene's army was soon strong enough to assume the offensive. Punished from the assault, Rawdon retreated to Orangeburgh, South Carolina South Carolina, state of the SE United States. It is bordered by North Carolina (N), the Atlantic Ocean (SE), and Georgia (SW). Facts and Figures
Area, 31,055 sq mi (80,432 sq km). Pop. (2000) 4,012,012, a 15. , while Greene camped in the hills above the Santee River, to wait out the heat of the summer and restore his men's health Men's Health Definition
Men's health is concerned with identifying, preventing, and treating conditions that are most common or specific to men. and energy. In the fall, Greene's forces continued the offensive and soon had the British hemmed in at Charleston.