A Spy for a Spy: Nathan Hale and John Andre
Most of us are familiar with the story of Nathan Hale and the brave words with which he went to his death, “My only regret is that I have but one life to give for my country.” But what was really going on that September in 1776, and did it eventually lead to the execution of British Major John Andrè in 1780? I set out to get the answer. Here’s the story, in the words of people who were witness to the events.
September, 1776: New York City
The Battle of New York was waging. General George Washington and his forces had just been driven out of Brooklyn by General William Howe. After a harrowing nighttime retreat across the East River to Manhattan, Washington’s forces moved North of the city. Howe’s army occupied Brooklyn Heights, overlooking the East River. Washington needed information. What was Howe’s plan? Where would he attack New York City?
Washington turned to his commanders and asked for a volunteer to infiltrate the enemy camp. The volunteer came from Captain Thomas Knowlton’s Rangers of Connecticut. His name was Nathan Hale.
Hale was born June 6, 1755 in Coventry, Connecticut. A graduate of Yale College he was tall, athletic and intelligent. A powerful athlete, he held the Yale record for the broad jump for years after his death. “Hale could, it is said, lay one hand on the top of a six-foot fence and easily vault over it”1
During his time at Yale he became friends with Benjamin Tallmadge (more on this fateful friendship later) and after graduation went on to teach. When war broke out with England he joined the fight and in 1776 was serving as an officer in Knowlton’s Rangers when he accepted the mission to spy on the opposition.
Karen took the time to show us all the important places relevant to Hamilton over the course of 3 hours. The tour only had 5 participants so there was all sorts of time for questions and answers throughout the tour. Her knowledge of the subject matter was complete and she had a nice way of making it come together in a very interesting way. She was also careful to let us know when certain things she was talking about were not necessarily fact but gave us enough information to engage our own thoughts toward the situation. We will definitely take another one of her tours in the future. We highly recommend Patriot Tour to anyone visiting, or living in the area.
My husband & I are TURN fans so thoroughly enjoyed the Revolutionary NY Tour.
Despite the cold and rain, there was so much information and so many great stories
that we were not discouraged. Next time we're in town, we will definitely be taking
another tour. Tickets would make an excellent gift.
This was an awesome tour! Karen was great and extremely knowledgeable. The only regret I hve is not booking the private tour, because I would have loved to get more in depth stories and conversations, but that's just me being selfish! Such a great time!
I booked this tour after finding it on TripAdvisor. Touring the historical portions of lower manhattan was a real treat. Karen is a very knowledgeable tour guide. She made the experience fun and I learned so much on this visit. My friend and I will definitely book her Alexander Hamilton tour on our next visit. If you are looking for an intimate small tour that is full of interesting stories as well as facts this is it!!
I met my mum in New York and couldn't wait to repeat the Revolutionary tour. It rained hard for the whole tour, but we didn't notice. I learned even more and was reminded of things I had forgotten. Karen is the most interesting person to spend two and a half precious hours with.