Washington's Order to Execute Arnold - History

Washington's Order to Execute Arnold - History

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Head Quarters, Orangetown, Sunday, October l, 1780 ~

Parole Hellespont. Countersigns M., Q. Watchword Look about.

The Board of General officers appointed to examine into the Case of Major Andre have reported.

Ist. "That he came on shore from the Vulture sloop of War in the night of the zlst. of September last on an interview with General Arnold in a private and secret manner."

2dly. "That he changed his dress within our Lines and under a feigned name and in a disguised habit passed our works at Stoney and Vere-Planks Points the Evening of the 22d. of September last and was taken the morning of the z3d. of September last at Tarrytown in a disguised habit being then on his way to New York; and when taken he had in his possession several Papers which contain'd intelligence for the Enemy."

The Board having maturely considered these Facts do also report to his Excellency General Washington:

"That Major Andre Adjutant General to the British Army ought to be considered as a spy from the Enemy and that agree. able to the Law and usage of nations it is their opinion he ought to suffer Death."

The Commander in Chief directs the execution of the above Sentence in the usual way this aLternoon at five o'clock precisely.

At a division General Court martial the I 1th. of September last Lieutenant Colonel Commandant Sherman President, Major Albert Chapman was tried upon the following Charges:

1st "For Embezzling public property and endeavouring to induce the Quarter master of the regiment to assist him in embezzling powder for his own private use."

2d. "For making up two enormous bills against Colonel Nelson, an inhabitant of Morristown for taking up a strayed horse the property of said Nelson and that without any expence to himself."

3d "For giving a Certificate to a soldier in the 7th. regiment that he was inlisted for three years only, when he had repeatedly muster'd him for during the war and sworn to the Muster Rolls."

The Court on considering the first and third Charges against Major Chapman are of opinion the charge of Embezzling public property is not supported therefore do acquit him of it; but find him guilty of the other part of the first and third charge being a breach of Article ~th. Section 18th. of the Articles of War and do sentence him to be reprimanded in Division orders.

The General is sorry to be under the disagreeable necessity of differing in opinion with the Court; but he thinks the sentence entirely inadequate to charges of so serious a nature as those of which they find Major Chapman guilty. He is released from Arrest.

There was a mistake in entering the evening order of the 25 th. ultimo: instead of the Pennsylvania division, the first Pennsylvania brigade only should have been mentioned as the second brigade did not receive marching orders 'till several hours after.


The Execution of Major Andre is postponed 'till tomorrow.


Major Andre is to be executed tomorrow at twelve o'clock precisely a liattalion of Eighty files from each wing to attend the execution

Paramus, October 7, 1780

STR: I had the honor on the Ist: Inst to receive Your Excellency's dispatches of the z4th Ulto. addressed to Major General Greene, and since, Your very obliging Letter of the 28th, for which I beg leave to return You my acknowledgments. I have written to Sir Henry Clinton in consequence of the former and requested him to make the desired communications. When these are received, they shall be transmitted.

I have the honor to inclose Congress a Copy of the proceedings of a Board of General Officers (No I) in the case of Major Andre, Adjutant General to the British Army. This Officer was executed in pursuance of the opinion of the Board, on Monday the 2d. Inst at 12 OClock, at our late Camp at Tappan. He acted with great candor, from the time he avowed himself after his capture, untill he was executed. Congress will perceive by a Copy of a Letter I received from him of the Ist Inst, that' it was his desire to be shot, but the practice and usage of war, circumstanced as he was, were against the indulgence. At the bottom of the 6th page of the proceedings, an explanatory note is added, to prevent any suspicions being entertained injurious to Colonel Sheldon, who otherwise, from the Letter addressed to him, might be supposed to have been privy to the measures between General Arnold and Major Andre. If it should be the pleasure of Congress to publish the case, and which I would take the liberty to suggest may not be improper, it will be necessary for the explanatory note to be annexed. Besides the proceedings, I transmit in the Inclosure No 2, Copies of Sundry Letters respecting the matter, which are all that passed on the subject, not included in the proceedings. I would not suffer Mr. Elliot and Mr. Smith to land, who came up to Dobbs's ferry agreeable to Sir Henry Clinton's Letter of the 30th of Septem. ber. Genl. Robertson was permitted to come on shore and was met by Major Genl Greene, and mentioned substantially what is contained in his Lettet of the 2d Instant. It might not perhaps be improper to publish the Letters or part of them in this Inclosure, as an Appendix to the proceedings of the Board of General Officers.

I had the honor to mention in my Letter of the 24th of August, that an interview was in contemplation between General Lincoln and General Phillips, to take place at Elizabeth Town, and that I should direct Mr Skinner, the Commissary to attend and endeavour to effectuate an exchange of prisoners of the principles and to the extent mentioned by Congress in their Act of the 7th. The Inclosure No 3 contains my Instructions to Mr Skinner, No 4 and 5 his Report and Major General Lincoln's of the result of the meeting, which happened on the 20th Ulto at the place appointed, and to which I beg leave to refer Congress. As it is now become certain that we cannot operate against New York this Campaign, and it was the expectation of this event's happening that prevented the release of our private prisoners; it appears to rne that the exchange of those in that place, should be immediately attempted, especially as the liberation of a great many of our Officers is made to depend upon it and is otherwise wholly rejected. From these considerations I have ventured to close with the terms of Mr Lorings Letter to Mr Skinner of the 22d of Sepr, respecting the exchange of Our Officers and privates at New York and Long Island, and have written to Sir Henry Clinton accordingly. I hope Congress will approve the measure. As to the exchange proposed between the Convention and the Southern prisoners, Congress will be pleased to decide on it themselves. They have the fullest knowledge of the present, and what will be the future situation of our Affairs, and can best judge of the conduct which the public good and humanity require to be pursued in the matter. For a variety of reasons I am, and profess myself wholly incompetent to determine in the case.

I have now the pleasure to communicate the names of the Three persons who captured Major Andre, and who refused to release him notwithstancling the most earnest importunities and assurances of a liberal reward on his part. Their conduct merits our warmest esteem and I beg leave to add that I think, the public will do well to make them a handsome gratuity. They have prevented in all probability our suffering one of the severest strokes that could have been meditated against us. Their names are John Paulding, David Williams and Isaac Van Wart.

For the present I have detached the Jersey, New York and New Hampshire Brigades with Stark's to the Highland posts. They marched this morning from Orange Town and will relieve the Pennsylvania line, which was thrown in at the mot ment General Arnold went to the Enemy. Major Genl Greene has marched with these four Brigades and will command at West point and its dependencies, 'till a further dispostion. The main body of the Army, the forage about Orange town and the lower Country being exhausted, also moved this morning and is now arrived here. We have had a cold, wet, and tedious march on account of the feeble state of our Cattle, and have not a drop of rum to give the Troops. My intention is to proceed with them to the Country in the neighbourhood of Passaick Lalls. I have the honor etc.

P. S. I have added a Note at the foot of Sir Henry Clintons Letter of the 30th of Septr and one at the foot of Major Andres Letter to me of the lSt of October, which are in the Inclosure No. 2, which, if the Letters are published I request may be published also.

Military career of George Washington

The military career of George Washington spanned over forty years of service. Washington's service can be broken into three periods, French and Indian War, American Revolutionary War, and the Quasi-War with France, with service in three different armed forces (British provincial militia, the Continental Army, and the United States Army).

Because of Washington's importance in the early history of the United States of America, he was granted a posthumous promotion to General of the Armies of the United States, legislatively defined to be the highest possible rank in the US Army, more than 175 years after his death.

Was George Washington a Christian?

This is a question often asked today, and it arises from the efforts of those who seek to impeach Washington’s character by portraying him as irreligious. Interestingly, Washington’s own contemporaries did not question his Christianity but were thoroughly convinced of his devout faith–a fact made evident in the first-ever compilation of the The Writings of George Washington, published in the 1830s.

That compilation of Washington’s writings was prepared and published by Jared Sparks (1789-1866), a noted writer and historian. Sparks’ herculean historical productions included not only the writings of George Washington (12 volumes) but also Benjamin Franklin (10 volumes) and Constitution signer Gouverneur Morris (3 volumes). Additionally, Sparks compiled the Library of American Biography (25 volumes), The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution (12 volumes), and the Correspondence of the American Revolution (4 volumes). In all, Sparks was responsible for some 100 historical volumes. Additionally, Sparks was America’s first professor of history–other than ecclesiastical history–to teach at the college level in the United States, and he was later chosen president of Harvard.

Jared Sparks’ decision to compile George Washington’s works is described by The Dictionary of American Biography. It details that Sparks began . . .

. . . what was destined to be his greatest life work, the publication of the writings of George Washington. [Supreme Court] Justice Bushrod Washington, [the nephew of George Washington, the executor of the Washington estate, and] the owner of the Washington manuscripts, was won over by an offer to share the profits, through the friendly mediation of Chief Justice [of the Supreme Court, John] Marshall [who from 1804-1807 had written a popular five volume biography of George Washington], who also consented to take an equal share, twenty-five per cent, with the owner. In January 1827, Sparks found himself alone at Mount Vernon with the manuscripts. An examination of them extending over three months showed that years would be required for the undertaking and with the owner’s consent, Sparks carried off the entire collection, eight large boxes, picking up on the way to Boston a box of diplomatic correspondence from the Department of State, and the [General Horatio] Gates manuscripts from the New York Historical Society. Not content with these, he searched or caused to be searched public and private archives for material, questioned survivors of the Revolution, visited and mapped historic sites. In 1830, for instance, he followed [Benedict] Arnold’s [1775] route to Quebec. The first of the twelve volumes of The Writings of George Washington to be published (vol. II) appeared in 1834 and the last (vol. I, containing the biography) in 1837.

In Volume XII of these writings, Jared Sparks delved into the religious character of George Washington, and included numerous letters written by the friends, associates, and family of Washington which testified of his religious character. Based on that extensive evidence, Sparks concluded:

To say that he [George Washington] was not a Christian would be to impeach his sincerity and honesty. Of all men in the world, Washington was certainly the last whom any one would charge with dissimulation or indirectness [hypocrisies and evasiveness] and if he was so scrupulous in avoiding even a shadow of these faults in every known act of his life, [regardless of] however unimportant, is it likely, is it credible, that in a matter of the highest and most serious importance [his religious faith, that] he should practice through a long series of years a deliberate deception upon his friends and the public? It is neither credible nor possible.

One of the letters Sparks used to arrive at his conclusion was from Nelly Custis-Lewis. While Nelly technically was the granddaughter of the Washingtons, in reality she was much more.

When Martha [Custis] married George, she was a widow and brought two young children (John and Martha–also called Patsy) from her first marriage into her marriage with George. The two were carefully raised by George and Martha, later married, and each had children of their own. Unfortunately, tragedy struck, and both John and Patsy died early (by 1781). John left behind his widow and four young children ranging in age from infancy to six years old.

At the time, Washington was still deeply involved in guiding the American Revolution and tried unsuccessfully to convince Martha’s brother to raise the children. The young widow of John was unable to raise all four, so George and Martha adopted the two younger children: Nelly Parke Custis and George Washington Parke Custis, both of whom already were living at Mount Vernon.

Nelly lived with the Washingtons for twenty years, from the time of her birth in 1779 until 1799, the year of her marriage and of George Washington’s untimely death. She called George and Martha her “beloved parents whom I loved with so much devotion, to whose unceasing tenderness I was indebted for every good I possessed.”

Nelly was ten years old when Washington was called to the Presidency, and she grew to maturity during his two terms. During that time, she traveled with Washington and walked amidst the great foreign and domestic names of the day. On Washington’s retirement, she returned with the family to Mount Vernon. Nelly was energetic, spry, and lively, and was the joy of George Washington’s life. She served as a gracious hostess and entertained the frequent guests to Mount Vernon who visited the former President.

On Washington’s birthday in 1799, Nelly married Washington’s private secretary, Lawrence Lewis. They spent several months on an extended honeymoon, visiting friends and family across the country. On their return to Mount Vernon, she was pregnant and late that year gave birth to a daughter. A short few weeks later, on December 14, General Washington was taken seriously ill and died.

Clearly, Nelly was someone who knew the private and public life of her “father” very well. Therefore, Jared Sparks, in searching for information on Washington’s religious habits, dispatched a letter to Nelly, asking if she knew for sure whether George Washington indeed was a Christian. Within a week, she had replied to Sparks, and Sparks included her letter in Volume XII of Washington’s writings in the lengthy section on Washington’s religious habits. Of that specific letter, Jared Sparks explained:

I shall here insert a letter on this subject, written to me by a lady who lived twenty years in Washington’s family and who was his adopted daughter, and the granddaughter of Mrs. Washington. The testimony it affords, and the hints it contains respecting the domestic habits of Washington, are interesting and valuable.”

Woodlawn, 26 February, 1833.


I received your favor of the 20th instant last evening, and hasten to give you the information, which you desire.

Truro [Episcopal] Parish is the one in which Mount Vernon, Pohick Church [the church where George Washington served as a vestryman], and Woodlawn [the home of Nelly and Lawrence Lewis] are situated. Fairfax Parish is now Alexandria. Before the Federal District was ceded to Congress, Alexandria was in Fairfax County. General Washington had a pew in Pohick Church, and one in Christ Church at Alexandria. He was very instrumental in establishing Pohick Church, and I believe subscribed [supported and contributed to] largely. His pew was near the pulpit. I have a perfect recollection of being there, before his election to the presidency, with him and my grandmother. It was a beautiful church, and had a large, respectable, and wealthy congregation, who were regular attendants.

He attended the church at Alexandria when the weather and roads permitted a ride of ten miles [a one-way journey of 2-3 hours by horse or carriage]. In New York and Philadelphia he never omitted attendance at church in the morning, unless detained by indisposition [sickness]. The afternoon was spent in his own room at home the evening with his family, and without company. Sometimes an old and intimate friend called to see us for an hour or two but visiting and visitors were prohibited for that day [Sunday]. No one in church attended to the services with more reverential respect. My grandmother, who was eminently pious, never deviated from her early habits. She always knelt. The General, as was then the custom, stood during the devotional parts of the service. On communion Sundays, he left the church with me, after the blessing, and returned home, and we sent the carriage back for my grandmother.

It was his custom to retire to his library at nine or ten o’clock where he remained an hour before he went to his chamber. He always rose before the sun and remained in his library until called to breakfast. I never witnessed his private devotions. I never inquired about them. I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in Christianity. His life, his writings, prove that he was a Christian. He was not one of those who act or pray, “that they may be seen of men” [Matthew 6:5]. He communed with his God in secret [Matthew 6:6].

My mother [Eleanor Calvert-Lewis] resided two years at Mount Vernon after her marriage [in 1774] with John Parke Custis, the only son of Mrs. Washington. I have heard her say that General Washington always received the sacrament with my grandmother before the revolution. When my aunt, Miss Custis [Martha’s daughter] died suddenly at Mount Vernon, before they could realize the event [before they understood she was dead], he [General Washington] knelt by her and prayed most fervently, most affectingly, for her recovery. Of this I was assured by Judge [Bushrod] Washington’s mother and other witnesses.

He was a silent, thoughtful man. He spoke little generally never of himself. I never heard him relate a single act of his life during the war. I have often seen him perfectly abstracted, his lips moving, but no sound was perceptible. I have sometimes made him laugh most heartily from sympathy with my joyous and extravagant spirits. I was, probably, one of the last persons on earth to whom he would have addressed serious conversation, particularly when he knew that I had the most perfect model of female excellence [Martha Washington] ever with me as my monitress, who acted the part of a tender and devoted parent, loving me as only a mother can love, and never extenuating [tolerating] or approving in me what she disapproved of others. She never omitted her private devotions, or her public duties and she and her husband were so perfectly united and happy that he must have been a Christian. She had no doubts, no fears for him. After forty years of devoted affection and uninterrupted happiness, she resigned him without a murmur into the arms of his Savior and his God, with the assured hope of his eternal felicity [happiness in Heaven]. Is it necessary that any one should certify, “General Washington avowed himself to me a believer in Christianity?” As well may we question his patriotism, his heroic, disinterested devotion to his country. His mottos were, “Deeds, not Words” and, “For God and my Country.”

With sentiments of esteem,

I am, Nelly Custis-Lewis

George Washington’s adopted daughter, having spent twenty years of her life in his presence, declared that one might as well question Washington’s patriotism as question his Christianity. Certainly, no one questions his patriotism so is it not rather ridiculous to question his Christianity? George Washington was a devout Episcopalian and although as an Episcopalian he would not be classified as an outspoken and extrovert “evangelical” Founder as were Founding Fathers like Benjamin Rush, Roger Sherman, and Thomas McKean, nevertheless, being an Episcopalian makes George Washington no less of a Christian. Yet for the current revisionists who have made it their goal to assert that America was founded as a secular nation by secular individuals and that the only hope for America’s longevity rests in her continued secularism, George Washington’s faith must be sacrificed on the altar of their secularist agenda.

For much more on George Washington and the evidences of his strong faith, examine the following sources:

Washington's Order to Execute Arnold - History

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Among the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the fourteenth day of the present month. On the one hand, I was summoned by my Country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and, in my flattering hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum of my declining years: a retreat which was rendered every day more necessary as well as more dear to me, by the addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent interruptions in my health to the gradual waste committed on it by time. On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my Country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens, a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with dispondence, one, who, inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpractised in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies. In this conflict of emotions, all I dare aver, is, that it has been my faithful study to collect my duty from a just appreciation of eve ry circumstance, by which it might be affected. All I dare hope, is, that, if in executing this task I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate sensibility to this transcendent proof, of the confidence of my fellow-citizens and have thence too little consulted my incapacity as well as disinclination for the weighty and untried cares before me my error will be palliated by the motives which misled me, and its consequences be judged by my Country, with some share of the partiality in which they originated.

Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their United Government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most Governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me I trust in thinking, that there are none under the influence of which, the proceedings of a new and free Government can more auspiciously commence.

By the article establishing the Executive Department, it is made the duty of the President "to recommend to your consideration, such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." The circumstances under which I now meet you, will acquit me from entering into that subject, farther than to refer to the Great Constitutional Charter under which you are assembled and which, in defining your powers, designates the objects to which your attention is to be given. It will be more consistent with those circumstances, and far more congenial with the feelings which actuate me, to substitute, in place of a recommendation of particular measures, the tribute that is due to the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism which adorn the characters selected to devise and adopt them. In these honorable qualifications, I behold the surest pledges, that as on one side, no local prejudices, or attachments no seperate views, nor party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests: so, on another, that the foundations of our National policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality and the pre-eminence of a free Government, be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its Citizens, and command the respect of the world.

I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my Country can inspire: since there is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity: Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply , perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.

Besides the ordinary objects submitted to your care, it will remain with your judgment to decide, how far an exercise of the occasional power delegated by the Fifth article of the Constitution is rendered expedient at the present juncture by the nature of objections which have been urged against the System, or by the degree of inquietude which has given birth to them. Instead of undertaking particular recommendations on this subject, in which I could be guided by no lights derived from official opportunities, I shall again give way to my entire confidence in your discernment and pursuit of the public good: For I assure myself that whilst you carefully avoid every alteration which might endanger the benefits of an United and effective Government, or which ought to await the future lessons of experience a reverence for the characteristic rights of freemen, and a regard for the public harmony, will sufficiently influence your deliberations on the question how far the former can be more impregnably fortified, or the latter be safely and advantageously promoted.

To the preceeding observations I have one to add, which will be most properly addressed to the House of Representatives. It concerns myself, and will therefore be as brief as possible. When I was first honoured with a call into the Service of my Country, then on the eve of an arduous struggle for its liberties, the light in which I contemplated my duty required that I should renounce every pecuniary compensation. From this resolution I have in no instance departed. And being still under the impressions which produced it, I must decline as inapplicable to myself, any share in the personal emoluments, which may be indispensably included in a permanent provision for the Executive Department and must accordingly pray that the pecuniary estimates for the Station in which I am placed, may, during my continuance in it, be limited to such actual expenditures as the public good may be thought to require.

Having thus imparted to you my sentiments, as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave but not without resorting once more to the benign parent of the human race, in humble supplication that since he has been pleased to favour the American people, with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparellelled unanimity on a form of Government, for the security of their Union, and the advancement of their happiness so his divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.

Public Announcement

As of May 18, 2021, the Makah Tribal Council has decided to keep the reservation closed until at least October 1, 2021 . This site will be updated as information is released . We appreciate your continued cooperation.

The reservation remains closed near the east boundary on Highway 112. Those who are not permitted for entry will be turned around at our checkpoint.

Tr ails on the reservation (Cape Flattery, Shi Shi Beach) are closed to visitors until further notice .

We are closed to all non tribal fishing and entry by land or sea is not permitted .

The Makah Marina and boat launch are closed to non residents until further notice .

We are not providing marine fuel to non residents until further notice.

Thank you for your understanding .

In response to the confirmed person-to-person spread of COVID-19 in Washington State,

The Makah Tribal Council, after careful consideration, has determined the need to implement appropriate measures to protect the health, safety and welfare of the Makah people and the Neah Bay community. The rapid changes with regard to COVID-19 are a public health concern and the Makah Tribe is carefully monitoring this outbreak and coordinating with Tribal, County and State emergency management agencies as the situation develops.

Hobuck Bea ch Resort and The Cape Resort will be closed to customers until further notice .

The Shi Shi Trail and Cape Flattery Trail will be closed to the general public until further notice, as well as the 3 rd Beach trail commonly used for surfing activities.

The Makah Cultural and Research Center (Museum) will be closed until further notice effective March 16, 2020.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding continued patronage in the future.

You may visit the following websites for updates:

or on facebook at Hobuck Beach Resort

The Makah Tribe has called the spectacular Neah Bay, Washington area home since time immemorial. The name Makah was attributed to the Tribe by the neighboring tribes, meaning “people generous with food” in the Salish language. The meaning still applies today, as we invite you to visit our community to enjoy the natural beauty and learn about our culture and history.

Key Members of the Culper Ring

Benjamin Tallmadge was a dashing young major in Washington’s army, and his director of military intelligence. Originally from Setauket, on Long Island, Tallmadge initiated a series of correspondences with friends in his hometown, who formed the key members of the ring. By sending his civilian agents out on reconnaissance missions, and creating an elaborate method of passing information back to Washington’s camp in secret, Tallmadge was effectively America’s first spymaster.

Farmer Abraham Woodhull made regular trips into Manhattan to deliver goods, and stayed at a boarding house run by his sister Mary Underhill and her husband Amos. The boarding house was a residence for a number of British officers, so Woodhull and the Underhills obtained significant information about troop movements and supply chains.

Robert Townsend was both a journalist and merchant, and owned a coffeehouse that was popular with British soldiers, placing him in a perfect position to gather intelligence. Townsend was one of the last of the Culper members to be identified by modern researchers. In 1929, historian Morton Pennypacker made the connection by matching handwriting on some of Townsend's letters to those sent to Washington by the spy known only as "Culper Junior."

The descendant of one of the original Mayflower passengers, Caleb Brewster worked as a courier for the Culper Ring. A skilled boat captain, he navigated through hard-to-reach coves and channels to pick up information gathered by the other members, and deliver it to Tallmadge. During the war, Brewster also ran smuggling missions from a whaling ship.

Austin Roe worked as a merchant during the Revolution, and served as a courier for the ring. Riding on horseback, he regularly made the 55-mile trip between Setauket and Manhattan. In 2015, a letter was discovered that revealed Roe’s brothers Phillips and Nathaniel were also involved in espionage.

Agent 355 was the only known female member of the original spy network, and historians have been unable to confirm who she was. It is possible that she was Anna Strong, a neighbor of Woodhull’s, who sent signals to Brewster via her laundry line. Strong was the wife of Selah Strong, a judge who had been arrested in 1778 on suspicion of seditious activity. Selah was confined on a British prison ship in New York harbor for “surreptitious correspondence with the enemy.”

It is more likely that Agent 355 was not Anna Strong, but a woman of some social prominence living in New York, possibly even a member of a Loyalist family. Correspondence indicates that she had regular contact with Major John Andre, the chief of British intelligence, and Benedict Arnold, both of whom were stationed in the city.

In addition to these primary members of the ring, there was an extensive network of other civilians relaying messages regularly, including tailor Hercules Mulligan, journalist James Rivington, and a number of relatives of Woodhull and Tallmadge.

Washington recognized Hamilton&aposs intellect and abilities as a young officer

According to Ron Chernow&aposs Washington: A Life, Hamilton first came to General Washington&aposs attention early in the American Revolution, the young artillery captain standing out for his bravery during the disastrous 1776 New York Campaign that left the rebels retreating to New Jersey with their tails between their legs.

In early 1777, after Hamilton again showed his mettle during the tide-turning Battles of Trenton and Princeton, Washington asked Hamilton to join his personal staff as an aide-de-camp. Eager to earn accolades on the battlefield, Hamilton had previously rejected such offers from other commanding officers, though there would be no turning down the leader of the Continental Army.

Thus marked the start of a complex relationship. As Chernow noted, Hamilton admired his boss as a man of tremendous courage and integrity, but considered him a general of only "average" ability and found him to be "snappish" and "difficult." And Washington never mustered the personal affection toward him that he had for other officers young enough to be his son, like the Marquis de Lafayette.

But Washington also saw in him the ambition for continual self-improvement that had fueled his own rise and a disposition for honest dealings. Furthermore, Hamilton&aposs impressive intellect and powers of persuasion made him indispensable as both a military strategist and a proxy voice when carrying out the general&aposs orders elsewhere.

That indispensability led to the greatest source of friction between the two, as Washington refused to cut Hamilton loose to achieve the battlefield glory he craved. Things came to a head in February 1781, when Washington scolded his aide for keeping him waiting for a meeting. Hamilton abruptly quit and vented his frustrations in a letter to his father-in-law, writing, "For three years past, I have felt no friendship for him and have professed none."

Hamilton soon returned to Washington&aposs orbit, his ego soothed by the elder&aposs entreaties to mend relations. Later that year, the general gave in and appointed Hamilton a field commander for the decisive Battle of Yorktown.

A depiction of the first meeting of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton

Photo: Universal History Archive/Getty Images

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Historic Village Tours

Guided tours are offered Wednesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Tickets are required.

The grounds are open dawn to dusk for free self-guided tours.

Thompson-Neely House and Grist Mill Tours
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Bowman’s Hill Tower
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Visitor Center
Open every day, 10 AM to 5 PM

Visitor Center Museum Shop
Open every day, 10 AM to 4:30 PM

Historic Village
Guided tours are offered Wednesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Tickets are required.

The grounds are also open dawn to dusk for free self-guided tours.

Thompson-Neely Farmstead and Grist Mill
Guided tours offered Wednesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Tickets are required.

Bowman’s Hill Tower
Admission available Wednesday through Sunday, weather permitting, from 10 AM to 4 PM. Tickets are required.

Benedict Arnold

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Benedict Arnold, (born January 14, 1741, Norwich, Connecticut [U.S.]—died June 14, 1801, London, England), patriot officer who served the cause of the American Revolution until 1779, when he shifted his allegiance to the British. Thereafter his name became an epithet for traitor in the United States.

Who was Benedict Arnold?

Benedict Arnold was a patriot officer who served the cause of the American Revolution until 1779, when he shifted his allegiance to the British.

How did Benedict Arnold betray the Continental Army to the British?

Benedict Arnold betrayed the Continental Army to the British when he made secret overtures to British headquarters in May 1779 and, a year later, informed the British of a proposed American invasion of Canada.

Why did Benedict Arnold betray the Continental Army to the British?

Benedict Arnold was unhappy with his position in the Continental Army by the time he betrayed the cause of the American Revolution to the British. He had requested to resign multiple times after being refused promotions and, from December 1779 to January 1780, was court-martialed because of multiple charges of misconduct. Later Arnold revealed to the British that he expected to receive the command of American forces at West Point, New York, and agreed to surrender that garrison to them for £20,000.

What happened to Benedict Arnold after he betrayed the Continental Army to the British?

After Benedict Arnold betrayed the Continental Army, his British contact, Major John André, was captured by the Americans and hanged as a spy while Arnold escaped on a British ship. Unable to obtain a regular commission in the British army after the war, Arnold pursued various business ventures like land speculation and privateering before permanently settling in London.

What does it mean to call someone a “Benedict Arnold”?

“Benedict Arnold” is an epithet for “traitor” in the United States calling a person a “Benedict Arnold” implies that they are a traitor.

Upon the outbreak of hostilities at Lexington, Massachusetts (April 1775), Arnold volunteered for service and participated with Ethan Allen in the successful colonial attack on British-held Fort Ticonderoga, New York, the following month. That autumn he was appointed by Gen. George Washington to command an expedition to capture Quebec. He marched with 700 men by way of the Maine wilderness, a remarkable feat of woodsmanship and endurance, and, reinforced by Gen. Richard Montgomery, attacked the well-fortified city. The combined assault (December 31, 1775) failed, Montgomery was killed, and Arnold was severely wounded.

Promoted to the rank of brigadier general, Arnold constructed a flotilla on Lake Champlain and inflicted severe losses on a greatly superior enemy fleet near Valcour Island, New York (October 11, 1776). He returned a hero, but his rash courage and impatient energy had aroused the enmity of several officers. When in February 1777 Congress created five new major generalships, Arnold was passed over in favour of his juniors. Arnold resented this affront, and only Washington’s personal persuasion kept him from resigning.

Two months later he repelled a British attack on Danbury, Connecticut, and was made a major general, but his seniority was not restored and Arnold felt his honour impugned. Again he tried to resign, but in July he accepted a government order to help stem the British advance into upper New York. He won a victory at Fort Stanwix (now Rome) in August 1777 and commanded advance battalions at the Battle of Saratoga that autumn, fighting brilliantly until seriously wounded. For his services he was restored to his proper relative rank.

Crippled from his wounds, Arnold was placed in command of Philadelphia (June 1778), where he socialized with families of loyalist sympathies and lived extravagantly. To raise money, he violated several state and military regulations, arousing the suspicions and, finally, the denunciations of Pennsylvania’s supreme executive council. These charges were then referred to Congress, and Arnold asked for an immediate court-martial to clear himself.

Meanwhile, in April 1779, Arnold married Margaret (Peggy) Shippen, a young woman of loyalist sympathies. Early in May he made secret overtures to British headquarters, and a year later he informed the British of a proposed American invasion of Canada. He later revealed that he expected to obtain the command of West Point, New York, and asked the British for £20,000 for betraying this post. When his British contact, Maj. John André, was captured by the Americans, Arnold escaped on a British ship, leaving André to be hanged as a spy. The sacrifice of André made Arnold odious to loyalists, and his reputation was further tarnished among his former neighbours when he led a raid on New London, Connecticut, in September 1781.

At the end of 1781 Arnold went to England. Unable to obtain a regular commission in the British army, he later pursued various business ventures, including land speculation in Canada. Arnold returned to England in 1791, but he left to spend several years privateering in the West Indies before permanently settling in London.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.


Below, you will see events that have already been mentioned in TURN plotted on a historically accurate timeline. Some of the dates might surprise you! This timeline will be constantly updated to reflect the major historical events depicted in the show as each episode airs. Suggestions for items to add to the timeline are welcome, as long as they are events that have already been discussed in the show!

TURN Historical Timeline, version 4.1. All events referenced in Season 4 are in green. Click to enlarge.

It’s not unusual for movies and TV shows to heavily adapt a real-life timeline of events to fit their own goals and time constraints. Historical timelines are often compressed or shuffled around in order to create a more dramatic pace suitable for a modern audience. Therefore, it’s reasonable to expect that a show like TURN will contain some “chronological flexibility.” (Read more about TURN’s quasi-historical TV timeline here.)

Below is a text list of the events seen on the above timeline infographic, along with links (when available) to sites where you can read more about each particular event.

Timeline Events:

Dec. 1753 Marriage of Richard & Mary (Townsend) Hewlett in Hempstead, NY

Nov. 1775 Lord Dunmore, royal governor of Virginia, issues a proclamation decreeing slaves & servants of Virginian rebels will be granted freedom if they take up arms for the King.

May 1776 Creation of British company of Black Pioneers, under the command of Capt. George Martin

June 1776 Thomas Hickey, a member of Washington’s personal guard, is executed for “mutiny, sedition, and treachery.”

Aug. 1776 Formation of the Queen’s American Rangers, headed by Robert Rogers

. Battle of Long Island: Benjamin Tallmadge’s brother William (not Samuel) captured and imprisoned on British ship Jersey, dying before the end of the year.

Sept. 1776 Nathan Hale hanged as a spy by the British in New York City

Nov. 1776 Fall of Continental Army Forts Washington and Lee

. Washington crosses the Delaware/Battle of Trenton

Sep. 1777 British occupation of Philadelphia under General Howe begins

Oct. 1777 British General Burgoyne surrenders after defeat at Saratoga, NY. American General Benedict Arnold severely injures his leg as a result of a battle would obtained at Saratoga.

Dec. 1777 Capture of Selah Strong (charged with treasonable correspondence with His Majesty’s enemies)

May 1778 The Meschianza, a huge, lavish party organized by John Andre in honor of Gen. William Howe, takes place in Philadelphia.

. Ann Bates begins obtaining intelligence for the British, infiltrating Continental Army camps by posing as a peddler

Aug. 1778 Formation of Culper Spy Ring

Feb. 1779 John Graves Simcoe writes his famous Valentine’s Day poem — not to Anna Strong, but to Miss Sarah Townsend of Oyster Bay, NY

Apr. 1779 Major John Andre appointed by Sir Henry Clinton as head of British Intelligence

. Marriage of Benedict Arnold (age 38) and Peggy Shippen (age 18)

Sept. 1779 John Andre, carrying secret information out-of-uniform, is captured and charged with espionage. Upon hearing the news, Benedict Arnold flees West Point and escapes into British custody aboard the HMS Vulture.

Oct. 1779 John Andre is hanged as a spy by the Continental Army in Tappan, NY.

Mar. 1780 Peggy and Benedict Arnold’s first child, Edward Shippen Arnold, is born

Oct. 1780 Creation of [Benedict] Arnold’s American Legion, a loyalist militia regiment

Nov. 1780 Benjamin Tallmadge leads his dragoons across Long Island Sound and, over the course of 24 hours, captures Fort St. George in Mastic, NY and burns the British Army’s massive stockpile of hay in Coram, NY — all without a single American casualty

Dec. 1780 John Champe’s elaborate scheme to kidnap Arnold is foiled by Arnold’s sudden decision to leave NYC for Chesapeake Bay

. Mutinies of the Pennsylvania & New Jersey lines in the Continental Army

May 1781 Washington and Rochambeau meet in Wethersfield, CT to plan the Yorktown Campaign

Nov. 1784 Marriage of Abraham Woodhull & Mary (Smith) Woodhull

Oct. 1788 Death of Judge Richard Woodhull in Setauket, age 76

Late 1780s King George III first exhibits signs of mental instability

1803 John Hawkins patents a letter-copying device he calls a “polygraph.” Thomas Jefferson acquires one in 1804 which can be still be seen today at Monticello.

1805 Nathaniel Sackett dies, age 68 (after living a rather full and active life)

Things you will never see on this timeline because they never happened at ANY point in time:

The following list contains purely fictional people and events that have been invented for dramatic purposes in TURN. This list, of course, could be much longer, but for now I’ve limited it to the items people have asked about most frequently.

Watch the video: EXECUTE ORDER 66 IN MULTIPLE LANGUAGES (July 2022).


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