UNSUNG HEROES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION (PT I): WASHINGTON'S SPIES

Sep 04, 12:00 AM
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Few people leaving the Banana Republic Store at 66th and 3rd st Manhattan, NY, stop to notice the plaque on the outside wall that mentions the spot less than 100 yards away where courageous young Nathan Hale spoke his famous last words “I regret that have but one life to give for my country’- before being hung from a tree by his British captors.

And many probably have no idea how and why those words stirred General Washington’s heart so profoundly when he heard them.

And Lady Gaga probably had no idea that her Rivington Street Rebels derived their name from Washington’s greatest spy- James Rivington- or the Beastie Boys, for that matter, when they chose a picture of Manhattan’s Rivington Street for the cover of their album ,Paul’s Boutique.

Or the people leaving the Burger King at the intersection of Gregory Ave. and River Dr. in Passaic NJ who drop trash near the forlorn historical marker located on a small concrete pad right there near a utility pole in the parking lot…the sign that just begins to note the incredible accomplishments of a one-time British Lord, William Alexander –better known , and loved, by his Continental Troops as Lord Sterling. Although it says much more, these few words say it all: “American Patriot, Friend of George Washington”.

The American Revolution stretched for eight years, from 1775 to 1783, during which time Commander in Chief George Washington had to depend on his network of spies and most trusted soldiers to stay one step ahead of the noose.

The AMC series TURN, based on Alexander Rose's book "Washington's Spies", gives a highly fictionalized account of the actions of Washington's greatest spy ring- The Culper Ring. This is the real story of the courageous men and women who risked and sometimes suffered hanging, beginning with Nathan Hale. While Part I focusses mainly on the Culper Spy Ring,,

Part Two will provide many rarely told stories about the unsung heroes who risked everything for the cause of liberty, including the slave spy James Armistead Lafayette, Margaret Corbin, Molly Pitcher, Francis Marion , aka The Swamp Fox, and many others. Next Week: TSUNAMI!

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Sources:

Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger. George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution (New York: Penguin, 2013), 105-108.

DHT Shipley $ Michael Burns, Coffee, Tea, & Conspiracy, www.breedshill.org

Beverly Tyler: A Case for Anna Smith Strong: Three Village Historical Society.org

Alexander Rose. Washington's Spies. (New York: Bantam Dell, 2006)

Music: Mattia Cupelli: The Call; Sam Garner, Patriotic Theme

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