Book Review over Washington's Spies

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The Truth About Washington’s Spies

Madeline Carlson

America’s first spy ring, better known as the Cupler ring, was Washington’s carefully thought out solution to gain intelligence on the overpowering British troops. The revolution was happening; there was no turning back and no denying that America was going to gain independence from Great Britain. Washington needed a plan, a way to foresee what the British planned to do next. Washington’s only solution was to resort to spying.

Washington desperately needed to gain intelligence of General William Howe’s next plan of attack, however there were few who wanted to risk partaking in such a dishonorable task as spying. Hale was the first, and most well known, of the many spies to scout for Washington, though Hale was most widely known for his famous (and false) last words. Hale was just the first of Washington’s spies and inevitably foretold some of the future flaws of Washington’s plan.

Washington found many flaws in his system of sending scouts. The traditional system of spying was failing and something new was desperately needed. A new system was mentioned by Washington’s appointed military intelligence contact, Benjamin Tallmadge. Tallmadge’s idea of an “underground railroad” approach to spying was just what Washington was looking for. The formation of the Culper ring, Washington’s new ring of spies, was the turning point in the system used to pass along intelligence.

Along with this new approach to spying, a new approach to the system of passing messages was introduced as well. The punishment for accused spies, especially spies with evidence, was unavoidable. Suspected spies were hung without question, spies with evidence were walking death traps. New measures needed to be taken in order to protect the spies. Advances in anything from coded messages and fake identities to invisible ink were now being utilized to insure the spy’s safety.

The Cupler ring unlocks a completely new side of history not...
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