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Before the British occupied New York, Sons of Liberty broke into his print shop and left it in ruins. Townsend proved his loyalty to the British not only by writing for the Gazette but also by becoming a partner with Rivington in a coffee shop. One of the officers he got to know was Major John Andre, Rivington flattered Andre and published his poems. Andre never realized that both Rivington and Townsend were spying for Washington.

Washington, like any good spymaster, wanted morsels of information from more than one source.


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Washington knew that Sackett was an experienced spy hunter. These bits of information included where British troops were stationed, what forts were being built, how many warships were entering and leaving New York Harbor, and how much food the troops had. Washington got the pieces in a roundabout way. If a Redcoat sentry stopped him, he would say he was picking up supplies for his tavern. One of his suppliers was Townsend. From Townsend, Roe would get an intelligence report. Abraham Woodhull, he would put it in a box buried on Woodhull s farm.

Modern spies call such a hidden location a dead drop. After Woodhull found the report, he would take The British had jailed her husband for "surreptitious correspondence with the enemy. If she hung a black petticoat on her clothesline, it meant that another member of the ring, Caleb Brewster, a blacksmith and boatman, had arrived in his boat. The number of white handkerchiefs on the line indicated which of six coves Brewster and his boat were hiding in.

George Washington, Spymaster

At night, after retrieving the intelligence report, Brewster would sail past British guard boats and cross Long Island Sound to Fairfield, Connecticut. There Brewster kept crews and boats for the cross-sound relay. From Fairfield, a courier on a fast horse would take the report to Tallmadge, who would then hand it to the first of a series of riders stationed 15 miles apart on the route to wherever Washington's headquarters happened to be. British intelligence officers knew about the Long Island spy traffic.

A British report said: "There is one Brewster who has the direction of three Whale Boats that constantly come over from the Connecticut Shore once a Week for the purpose of obtaining Intelligence. The man sent by British intelligence to track down Brewster was Nehemiah Marks, a Connecticut man who did for the British what Brewster did for the Americans. Someone, possibly an American officer spying for the British, told Marks enough details about the operation for Marks to be able to seize Brewster, Austin Roe, and two other Patriots working with Roe.

But Marks recommended that the British wait before pouncing on the Americans until he could get even more information. Then Marks would land with a boatload of British agents, go to the place on the coastal road where the first rider picked up the messages from Brewster, and ambush him. It is an old story to people in the spy game. Many times, then as now, an agent gives his spymaster an idea, and then the spymaster turns it down without saying why. Washington also got information from agents One such New York agent was a tailor named Hercules Mulligan.

The "fashionable clothier" picked up intelligence tidbits from British officers getting their uniforms fitted in his shop. Washington never revealed Mulligan's achievements, but some historians say the tailor exposed two plots to kill Washington.


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Mulligan is believed to have been in contact with an elusive agent named Haym Salomon, a Polish immigrant who spoke German. Unaware that Salomon was a Son of Liberty, the British hired him to translate for officers handling Hessian troops. He passed information to Washingtonin a way still unknownand convinced many Hessians to go over to the American side. Salomon was twice arrested and sentenced to death, but he somehow escaped. Later, in Philadelphia, he used his business talent to raise money for the Revolution. As intelligence gathering increased and improved, Tallmadge decided that his agents, along with Washington himself, needed secret identities.

George Washington Creates Cunning Plan to Evade British - American Revolution

He took the number and the name John Bolton and passed out other numbers: for Woodhull Culper Sr. You can see the complete code on pages Some storytellers say there was also a woman, known as Agent But in Tallmadge's codebook "" means only "lady. According to the stories, only Agent was captured.

As a spymaster, Washington had to be especially watchful for what he called "double spies. One such double agent was Elijah Hunter, a captain in the American Army. When Hunter showed up at army headquarters, Washington felt that Hunter seemed to be "a sensible man capable of rendering important services," but he knew that it was "necessary to be very circumspect with double spies.

Washington was suspicious about the letter, wondering if Hunter had been given it by the British and if it was "intended to fall into our Hands. And Washington, playing his role in the agent's double-dealing, supplied Hunter with such real tidbits as the actual strength of his army and the location of his supply dumps. Washington even suggested that Hunter tell his British case officer that he got the information because American officers "are very incautious in speaking of the strength of their regiments.

Even the professionals can get confused. No wonder that a modern spymaster called espionage a "wilderness of mirrors He substituted digits for words that would be used in messages. There was a number for each month, such as for "January. He kept one and gave the others to Woodhull, Townsend, and General Washington see pages For words that did not have a number code, Tallmadge gave his agents a In a cipher, each letter in a message is replaced by another letter or a number.

When, for example, Abraham Woodhull sent a message to George Washington, this is what the message looked like: Dqpeu Beyocpu agreeable to Every Woodhull didn't bother to encipher put into code words such as "Sir" and "from" that would not give away the meaning of the secret message. For "Setauket" and "August" he had code numbers and 29 from his codebook.

Washington would translate that first line as "Setauket August 15th Because he has no code word for that name, he uses the letter-substitution cipher that Tallmadge had given him: Jonas Hawkins agreeable to appointment met Culper Jr. Every letter is opened at the entrance of New York and every man is searched, that for the future every letter must be written with the ink received. Notice that even the deciphered message doesn't use Robert Townsend's real name; he is always Culper Jr. The "ink" that Woodhull mentions is a new kind of invisible ink that Washington's agents began using when they didn't want a letter to look like a spy letter.

As Washington shrewdly noted, the invisible ink would not only make "communications less exposed Washington knew firsthand the risks of having a letter written in regular ink fall into British hands. It happened to him at least twice. Both the British and the Americans frequently used horseback riders to carry messages, and both sides tried to capture the riders and get the messages. The rider who lost one of Washington's important messages was Tall-madge himself. It happened when Tallmadge and some of his men were attacked by British troops near the Connecticut-New York border.

Tallmadge escaped unharmed but lost a saddlebag full of secret papers.

George Washington, Spymaster by Allen, Thomas B

Luckily, Tallmadge's code did not fall into British hands. But among the papers was a letter from Washington in which he carelessly gave the name and address of an agent, George Higday, saying that he was a man who would probably "convey intelligence to me. That move probably saved him from hanging. Another rider, name unknown, lost the other Washington letter, in which the general had written Washington wore this denture.

Washington had suffered from dental problems for many years and eventually had all of his teeth pulled. He wore a denture, made from one of his own teeth, a cow's tooth, and hippopotamus ivory; metal springs held the denture in his mouth. In the letter he asked for "one of your scrapers as my teeth stand in need of cleaning. The idea of invisible ink had been around for a long time. Write using lemon juice as ink, for instance, and the writing will be invisible.

Heat the paper, and the writing will appear, looking as if it were written in brown ink. British agents used two types of ink. One could be made visible by holding the paper over the flame of a candle; the other could be read by applying a common chemical. Mayor John Andre, the chief British intelligence officer in New York, told his agents to put an F in the corner of letters containing invisible ink needing fire to read and A for those needing acid.

Washington wanted an ink that was more complicated, an ink that could not be read merely by heating the paper or by coating it with an ordinary chemical. And he got what he wanted, from an unexpected source: Sir James Jay, a British doctor who lived in London and dabbled in chemistry. James Jay, who had been knighted by King George James also did some spying in England. How did he get drawn into the American espionage effort? That is one of many Revolutionary War spy questions that does not yet have an answer. James Jay s invisible ink did not become visible by heating.

As he described it, his ink "would elude the generally known means of detection, and yet could be rendered visible by a suitable counterpart. An agent used one chemical to write an invisible message. To between a normal second chemical on the paper; that find out who wrote the letter, see Note 1 on page The two-bottle system, supplied by Jay, gave Washington the secure form of writing that he wanted. Washington, a spymaster with a sharp eye for details, gave exact instructions on how an agent should use invisible ink: "[H]e should occasionally Hidden within what looked like an ordinary letter was the secret message that was only revealed when the reader applied the mask.

The writer might send the letter by one rider going by one route while another rider carried the mask on another route. Such letters had an extra advantage: The writer could include false information in case Americans intercepted the letter. Read it for yourself in Note 2 on page Howe believed that "friends of [the British] Government" along the Hudson would make Burgoyne's task easy.

But along the Hudson there were also many enemies of the British. A Peekskill man, for example, although paid to be a courier for Burgoyne, handed the general's message to the Americans. Other British couriers who rode south were never heard from again. General Clinton, concerned about what General Howe was planning and doing, made use of a mask to write a secret message in a letter to General Burgoyne. Before writing the letter, Clinton had placed an hourglassshaped mask on a piece of paper and then had formed the secret message within that shape.

The unmasked letter had enough false information in it to fool any American who happened to see it. But when Burgoyne viewed the letter with the mask, he read Clintons view of the real situation: Howe has made a bad move; I don't have enough men to do anything about it. Later, as Clintons troops were heading up the Hudson Valley, Clinton used another device to pass the news of his whereabouts to Burgoyne. Clinton wrote a message on a piece of silk that he put in a silver ball about the size of a musket ball. Clinton also sometimes cut a message into long, narrow strips and coiled them into the hollow quill of a large feather.

Clinton gave the silver ball to Daniel Taylor, a young officer, promising that Taylor would be promoted if he got the message to Burgoyne. If he were captured, he was to swallow the ball. Because it was made of silver, it could not harm him. If caught, a messenger could swallow the whole thing. Taylor had not gone far before several soldiers jo red uniforms stopped him. Believing he was in friendly hands, he said he had a message from "General Clinton. A doctor gave him a strong drug called an emetic, which made him vomit up the ball. Taylor grabbed it and swallowed it again. When General Clinton threatened to kill him and cut his stomach open, Taylor agreed to take another dose of medicine and once again vomited up the ball.

The message inside said " But now the Americans knew what was afoot, and they were ready. To find out what they are, read Note 3 for this chapter on page Burgoyne ordered his men to dig in while awaiting General Clintons troops, supposedly coming from New York. When no help had come by October 7, Burgoyne launched a desperate attack. General Gates's troops held their ground.

Benedict Arnold, one of Gates's generals, argued for a counterattack that would smash the British force. Gates, outraged that Arnold would challenge his order, took away his command. But the rash Arnold saw a chance to strike a crucial blow.

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He galloped through the crossfire of both armies, inspiring his men. A bullet struck his leg, but he rode on, leading the final assault that shattered the British fortifications. If he had died of his wounds that day, Arnold would be remembered as one of the great heroes of the Revolutionary War. Meanwhile, Daniel Taylor had been tried, sentenced to death for espionage, and hanged. When word of the victory at Saratoga reached Taylor's captors, an officer read General Sir Henry Clinton's silk-andsilver secret letter as part of the celebration.

Unknown at the time was the role American agent Alexander Bryan played in the great victory at Saratoga. Bryan was an innkeeper with secret ties to the local Committee of Safety. One agent, Alexander Bryan, had helped to win that battle. And another agent had helped to win France's aid. That agent was Benjamin Franklin. He served secretly as a Patriot agent in France, in the midst of French and British spies.

No one else in America had the kind of experience that Franklin brought to the Patriot cause. Well But mostly Franklin worked in France for America. After nearly 17 years in London, he returned home to Philadelphia on May 5, , in the wake of the scandal over the Hutchinson letters. The next day, he was elected to the Continental Congress.

His appointment to the Committee of Secret Correspondence led him into a new career in intelligence. He became a partner of spymaster George Washington by serving as a covert operations manager. He helped on the battlefield by starting a propaganda campaign aimed at Hessians "and other foreigners" hired to fight for the British.

Leaflets offering free land to deserters were translated into German and scattered in areas where the Hessians fought. Franklin disguised the leaflets as tobacco packets so the Hessians would be more likely to pick them up. More than 5, Hessians deserted during the war, thanks in part to Franklins propaganda. George Washington, true to the intelligence rule of keeping bits of espionage in separate boxes, was aware of Franklins operations but usually did not deal directly with him.

This "compartmenting," as modern intelligence officers call it, can sometimes produce problems. In mid someone in Bermuda, a British colony off the coast of North Carolina, reported that the royal arsenal at St. George s Island, Bermuda, was full of gunpowder and had no guards around it. Franklin and Robert Morris, a member of Congress and a money-raiser for the Revolution, arranged for a ship to land some men in Bermuda, grab a ton of gunpowder, and sail to Philadelphia. At the same British warships nearly captured the Rhode Island vessel, which returned empty.

Only later did Washington learn that Franklin and Morris had not told him about their operation. Washington must have been angry about the mix-up. But he did not show his anger. Perhaps it was because he really needed the gunpowder or perhaps because he had to stay on friendly terms with Morris, the financial genius of the war. Washington often asked for secret funds from Morris. Once, for instance, Washington requested "hard money," meaning gold or silver, "to pay a certain set of People who are of particular use to us.

In December , shortly after Franklin became a member of the Committee of Secret Correspondence, His first stop was the home of his friend Francis Daymon, who was teaching Ben Franklin to speak French. The traveler told Daymon that he needed to meet with Franklin on a matter of great importance. So when Daymon told him about the stranger, Franklin wondered if he were a British spy. Franklin checked with Washington's counterintelligence expert John Jay, but Jay did not know anything about Bonvouloir. Then Franklin wondered if Bonvouloir might be a French agent, sent to America to get intelligence on the colonists' struggle against England.

Since both Franklin and Washington believed that an alliance with France could assure victory in the war, Franklin decided to meet with Bonvouloir. The Declaration of Independence was still seven months away. American soldiers were dying in an undeclared war with England. And there was no source of supplies or money in sight. France was the best possible source for both. Franklins cautious meetings with Bonvouloir led to an addition to George Washington's espionage organization: an overseas intelligence service.

Besides running covert operations, including dirty tricks known as sabotage, Franklin's work would include gathering intelligence, sending out counterintelligence agents to hunt for moles and British spies, and using propaganda against England. For covert operations, Franklin became convinced America needed to have representatives in France.

Deane took with him a supply of Sir James Jay's invisible ink. He pretended to be a merchant named Timothy Jones. But he had no training in intelligence, and he didn't fool the British Secret Service, which had a large network in Paris. Franklin gave Deane a letter of introduction to Edward Bancroft, the son of a Connecticut tavern owner who had done some spying for Franklin when he lived in London. Deane didn't really need the letter because Bancroft had been one of his pupils when Deane was a teacher in Hartford, Connecticut.

But it was important that it looked like a letter of introduction in case it fell into the wrong hands. Deane at first addressed his reports directly to the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Then Deane s reports in invisible ink were passed to John Jay, who had the developing chemical that made the writing visible.

Soon after Deane arrived in Paris, he was targeted by a flashy, quick-witted British agent. The agent had lived in New York, and his real name was Jacobus van Zandt. Back in New York he seems to In Paris, he introduced himself as "George Lupton. The British agent reported he found nothing of value. Luckily for Deane, van Zandt was soon caught up in a romantic adventure and vanished from Paris, never to spy on Deane again. Deane, despite his lack of training, managed to set up the most spectacular sabotage operation of the Revolutionary War.

A young man who called himself James Aitken probably not his real name appeared in Paris out of nowhere and introduced himself to Deane. He said he was an Englishman who had spent time in America and found himself on the side of the Patriots. He told Deane that he had a plan to set fire to England's most important dockyard, at Portsmouth, headquarters of the Royal Navy.

Aitken, a house painter also known as "John the Painter," figured that if he could destroy all the rope On December 7, , he set the dockyard on fire, wiping out 20 tons of hemp used to make rope, 6 tons of ordinary rope, and about 6, feet of large-size rope. He later burned down two warehouses and several houses in Bristol. The Royal Navy kept on sailing, but the fires panicked England. Captured in March after a desperate manhunt, Aitken denied his crimes, but later admitted setting the fires to a British agent posing as a friendly American.

He was quickly placed on trial, sentenced to death, and hanged from a foot mast, which, according to a report on the hanging, "was erected at the Main Gate so that he could see the destruction as he passed from this world to the next. Meanwhile, Bonvouloir appeared in Paris and, following Franklin s instructions, contacted Deane.

He told Deane to meet secretly with one of the best Among his writings were plays that would later become famous operas. Beaumarchais had been a spy in Spain, where he had performed some secret missions for the king. When Deane met Bancroft in Paris, he decided to tell Bancroft that he was there to talk to Beaumarchais. The Frenchman had set up a fake firm with a Spanish name Roderigue Hortalez and Company to buy and ship guns and other war supplies to America.

Today, the CIA calls such a shield firm a "proprietary company. He then found ships to carry the supplies to America. By September he had shipped supplies that would be worth about half a billion dollars today. France did not want to openly support America and risk being attacked by Britain. Supplying arms to America meant that Redcoats would be shot by French bullets from French gunsbut French soldiers would not have to pull the trigger. French officials made sure that French markings on the cannon were removed in case the British captured them in battle.

But the British, thanks to Bancroft, knew what was going on. Bancroft also gathered intelligence for Paul Wentworth, a British Secret Service agent who had persuaded Bancroft to spy for the British long before Deane arrived in Paris. Although he once had been for "the independency of the Colonies," Bancroft decided that he would tell British intelligence "all the information in my power. He was also promised a pension of a year. Bancroft had also been hired by Franklin, who had arrived in Paris to head a three-man commission that would represent the new United States of America in France s royal court.

The other two men on the diplomatic commission were Deane and Arthur Lee, who, as a lawyer in London, had spied, at great risk, for the Patriots.


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  5. Richards" and sign as "Mr. Edward Edward," with the spy message written between the lines in Franklin was a social star in Paris. Each Tuesday night after , Bancroft was to place the letters in a bottle with a string attached and put the bottle in a hole near a certain tree in the Jardin des Tuileries, a beautiful Paris park.

    Spies call this a timed dead drop. An agent from the British Embassy "under diplomatic cover" in modern spy talk plucked the bottle out of the hole Hundreds of secret commission documents went into and out of the hole. Franklin and Deane sometimes sent Bancroft on missions to London, not knowing that this gave the double agent a chance to report in person to the head of the British Secret Service. His controllers in England even "arrested" himbut of course he always somehow managed to escape.

    Arthur Lee became suspicious, but while he was pointing a finger at Bancroft, Franklin learned from his agents in London that Lee's own private secretary was a British spy! To Franklin, Lee was "jealous, suspicious, malignant, and quarrelsome. First Deane and then Lee was sent back to America. Negotiations with the French continued and Bancroft kept on spying. A French counterspy had gotten his hands on a British spy's list of ships carrying war supplies from French ports.

    Franklin did not seem to be shocked. He may have wanted the British to know at least some secrets so that England, fearing that France was close to aiding America, would decide to end the war. When word of the victory at Saratoga reached France toward the end of , Franklin immediately spread the news. The French reacted "as if it had been a victory of their own troops over their own enemies," the commissioners reported.

    Both Franklin and the French officials knew that many of the American soldiers who won the battle had fired French bullets from French guns. But officially the French aid was not happening. France still did not want an open alliance with the United States. Desperate to stop such an alliance, Wentworth begged Franklin to talk to British officials and end the waron British terms.

    Franklin probably knew that Wentworth was a British agent and that he was being watched by French counteragents. He told Wentworth not to reveal their conversation, hoping that he would report it to the British. So the meeting played into wise old Franklin s hands. He wanted to hasten an alliance with France. And he Franklin got what he wanted. The day after the meeting, a French official made the first move toward a French-American alliance. The treaty was signed on February 6, The signing was a secret, but George III was reading a copy 42 hours later. Franklin had done his yob.

    Now France could officially help America. And America could use all the help it could get.

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    General Washington was facing the loss of Philadelphia, and at the same time the British in New York City seemed to be planning something. To continue the war with any hope of victory, Washington would have to rely more on his spies than on his soldiers. Thousands of Redcoats were acting as if they were leaving. Where were they going? Nathaniel Sackett who you will recall was hand-picked by Washington to run a spy network in New York found exactly the right agent to get the answer. The British would trust her because she was "the wife of a man gone over to the enemy.

    Sackett told her to go into the city, complain about the loss of Mean-while, she was to pick up all the information she could and then make her way back to Sackett, who was in Westchester County, just outside New York. We do not know the agent's name, and we do not know if she got a hearing before Howe.

    But, from a report Sackett later wrote, we know the most important facts she learned: The British were building many flat-bottomed boats and were planning to invade Philadelphia and "subdue that city. Outnumbered nearly two to one, Washington's army had 7, menabout 1, of them without shoes. Philadelphia, where the Continental Congress had created a new nation by drafting and signing the Declaration of Independence in July , was doomed. Congressmen fled to York, Pennsylvania. On September 26,, the British, under Howe, marched into Philadelphia. Washington made camp at Whitemarsh, about 12 Thanks to the advance work of Sackett and his woman agent, Washington already had a spy network set up in Philadelphia.

    Some agents he ran personally; some worked under Major John Clark, a brilliant Continental Army officer "on spy service. Piecing our bits together, we get a picture of the Philadelphia spy story. One of the key pieces of the story is Washington s use of deception.

    He seemed to enjoy fooling Soon after taking command of the Continental Army in July , for example, he learned that his soldiers had only 36 barrels of gunpowderabout nine shots for each man. He sent agents into British-occupied Boston with the story that his army had 1, barrels. And, to raise morale, he had the same reports planted among his own men. Several times during the war Washington arranged for fake documents to fall into the hands of known British spies. He set up the deception so that British scouts stopped his horseback couriers and grabbed the fake documents, thinking they were real.

    Or he had British riders stopped and their saddlebags examined. The contents of the saddlebags were then returnedalong with documents that had been created by Washington's men but that looked like real British documents. Spies are often good counterfeiters. One of the most complicated deceptions Washington ever put together came after Howe occupied Philadelphia. Washington knew that his men in Whitemarsh would be overwhelmed if the British But Washington also knew that Gates's victory over the British at Saratoga, less than a month after the British occupied Philadelphia, worried Howe and Clinton now in charge of British troops in New York , for they had no idea where Gates would strike next.

    Washington wanted Howe to think that Gates's army was heading for Philadelphia, which meant Howe had to keep his Redcoats in that city. In fact, Gates was not sure what to do and did not go to either city. As part of the deception, Washington ordered three generals with troops near New York to act as if they were preparing to invade the city. They were also told to make sure that their "secret" moves became known to "persons who you are sure will divulge" those secrets.

    Those persons were New York Tories who were being fed false information "disinformation" in spy talk by American counterintelligence agents. For the Philadelphia part of the deception, Washington brought in Major Clark and told him to have one of his agents appear to become a traitor. Among his agents Clark found one who agreed to go to Howe and offer to "risque my all in procuring him intelligence. He brought Howe a stack of documentssome written by Washington just for the deception.

    Among them was a paper showing that Gates was sending 8, men to help Washington capture Philadelphia. Major Clark, British colonists to join a Loyalist regiment. Colonel Allen is not an ancestor of the author. The British allowed these people to pass in and out of Philadelphia because they were helping to feed the city. Other agents moved in and out under the cover of smugglers. They were allowed to pass because they could supply British officers with scarce goods.

    The comings and goings of all these "privileged" Philadelphians violated Washington's strict order against allowing such travel, but of course, his counterintelligence officers ignored the order so the "proper persons" could get their reports to Clark. Legend says that some agents did not take their information directly to the American encampment at Whitemarsh but instead passed it on to a woman known as "Old Mom" Rinker. She was said to have a unique way of getting the information to the next stop on the spy underground. She bleached her flax on a rock atop a cliff in the Wissahickon Valley in Germantown, which is now part of Philadelphia.

    Nearby was her family's inn, Buck's Tavern, where Washington once set up overnight headquarters. She often sat by her rock, knitting. A Patriot guerrilla force called the Green Boys The Green Boys kept an eye on Old Mom, and when she "accidentally" dropped a ball of yarn over the cliff, they watched where it landed. After quietly retrieving it, they unrolled the yarn, removed the agent messages hidden inside, and took them to Washington's headquarters.

    In November Howe began planning a battle that would defeat Washington so thoroughly that he would be forced to surrender, and the Revolutionary War would end in a major British victory. In Washington's words, a strong attack by Howe "might prove the ruin of our cause. Lydia Darragh and her family were living on Second Street in Philadelphia when British troops entered the city in September The mother of four, she worked as a nurse, a midwife, and even as Her husband, William, was a teacher. A strong, wise woman 48 years old, she had come to America from Dublin, Ireland. She was a Quaker, as members of the Society of Friends were called.

    As such, she was believed to be against the war. She had seen a neighboring family put out of their house when General Howe decided to set up his headquarters there. So she was not surprised when Major John Andre, an officer on Howe's staff, ordered the Darragh family out of their home. It was needed, he said, for British officers. She protested, saying she still had two children it home. According to Mom" cliff; fellow spies ball of the over a pluck one story, at Howe's headquarters she ball, which has important messages from spies in Philadelphia.

    He helped her talk Howe into Lydia Darragh s career as a secret agent is not easy to track. Most information about her work comes down to us from her daughter, Ann. Meet members of the elusive Culper Ring, uncover a "mole" in the Sons of Liberty, and see how invisible ink and even a clothesline are used to send secret messages. You can even use Washington's own secret codebook, published here for the first time. Experience at close quarters the successes and failures of the Americans as they strive to outwit the British.

    Meet the chief of covert operations, one Benjamin Franklin, and several other surprising players in America's secret war. Author Thomas B. Allen has sifted through dozens of historical documents and coded letters to uncover the facts about a time shrouded in secrets. Archival art, coupled with lively pen-and-ink sketches by children's illustrator Cheryl Harness, detail all the action and adventure of this momentous tale.

    Like the highly acclaimed hardback, this little paperback is sure to have a big impact on the imagination of readers everywhere. Allen is the author of 30 books on subjects ranging from military history to sharks. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, where is a founding member of the Writer's Center. Visit Thomas B. Allen on the web at www.

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