Agent 355

Female Spy in the American Revolution A group of spies known as the Culper Spy Ring operated from 1778 to 1780 in an intricate network from British-occupied New York City to Setauket, Long Island, north to Connecticut, and then west to George Washington’s headquarters at Newburgh, New York. Agent 355 was the code name of a female spy in the Culper Ring. Her real identity is unknown. The spy network was particularly effective in gathering valuable information from careless conversations between the British and their sympathizers. In 1778, Benjamin Tallmadge, a young American officer who was General George Washington’s new intelligence chief, organized an ingenious top-secret network of spies. Washington ordered that not even he himself should know who they…

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Anna Smith Strong

Member of the Culper Spy Ring Image: Map Showing the Routes Taken by the Culper Spy Ring – Long Island, New York The British occupied New York City in August 1776, and the city would remain a British stronghold for the duration of the Revolutionary War. The Culper Ring, also known as the Setauket Spy Ring, was a group of operatives whose purpose was General George Washington aware of the movements of the British in New York City and Long Island. Some credit Nathan Hale’s capture and execution with having launched the Culper Spy Ring. Nathan Hale, a young Patriot, volunteered for an intelligence-gathering mission to the city, but the British captured Hale carrying drawings of their fortifications in his…

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Ann Bates

Spy for the British during the Revolutionary War Ann Bates, a schoolteacher in Philadelphia, was married to Joseph Bates, a British soldier and artillery repairman in General Henry Clinton’s army. In 1778, her husband joined the British troops who evacuated Philadelphia and marched to New York City. Claiming to be a patriot, Bates passed through the American lines and followed the army to New York. Bates felt it was her duty to seek out information on illegal colonial activity and report back to her husband’s superiors. From her husband she learned to identify the weaponry and report on important military information such as the numbers of cannons, men and supplies. In New York, Major John Andre was appointed an aide…

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Lydia Darragh

Heroine of the Battle of Whitemarsh Lydia Darragh was a Quaker woman who crossed enemy lines during the British occupation of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her mission was to pass information to General George Washington and the Continental Army, warning them of an impending British attack. Lydia Barrington was born in 1729 in Dublin, Ireland. On November 2, 1753, she married the family tutor, William Darragh, the son of a clergyman. After a few years of marriage, they immigrated to the American colonies. Members of the Quaker faith, the couple settled in Philadelphia where there was a large Quaker community. William worked as a tutor, and Lydia was a midwife. She gave birth to and raised five children: Charles, Ann, John, William,…

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Margaret Kemble Gage

Wife of British General Thomas Gage Image: Margaret Kemble Gage By John Singleton Copley Margaret began to sit for Copley within three days of his arrival in New York City in 1771. She is depicted wearing an iridescent caftan over a lace trimmed chemise with a jeweled brooch and an embroidered belt. Pearls and a turban-like swath of drapery adorn her hair. Her sleeves are held up with ropes of pearls and her hair is wrapped in a length of green silk fashioned as a turban. Her languid and informal pose, shockingly different from the upright posture of Copley’s Boston sitters, underscores the sensuality of the image. Margaret Kemble was born into a well-known family in East Brunswick, New Jersey,…

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Women Spies of the Revolution

Females Gathered Intelligence for the Patriot Cause During the Revolutionary War, both the British and American armies recruited women as cooks and maids. With their almost unrestricted access, these women could eavesdrop on conversations in soldiers’ campsites and provide the critical intelligence they gathered to military and civilian leaders. Some reported directly to General George Washington, who came to highly value the information he received from these “agents in place.” Spying on the Enemy As their husbands, sons, brothers, fathers and uncles took up arms, these women served as the eyes and ears for military leaders, providing invaluable intelligence information throughout the war. Allied with either the British loyalist or American patriot cause, spy networks sprang up throughout the colonies.