Summary

Benjamin Tallmadge established a small group of trustworthy men and women from his hometown of Setauket, NY known as the Culper Spy Ring.

Conflict Period:
Revolutionary War 1
Branch:
Army 1
Birth:
11 Feb 1754 2
Setauket or Brookhaven, New York 2
Death:
07 Mar 1835 2
Litchfield, Connecticut 2
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Benjamin Tallmadge 1
Also known as:
John Bolton 3
Birth:
11 Feb 1754 2
Setauket or Brookhaven, New York 2
Death:
07 Mar 1835 2
Litchfield, Connecticut 2
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Revolutionary War 1

Branch:
Army 1
Regiment:
Second Regiment, Light Dragoons 1
State:
Continental Troops 1

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Sources

  1. Revolutionary War Service Records [See image]
  2. Contributed by TheHamm
  3. Contributed by blake
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Stories

Tallmadge was a major in the 2nd Continental Light Dragoons. He was initially commissioned on June 20, 1776. Eventually, as the chief intelligence officer for George Washington, he was promoted to the rank of colonel. He organized the Culper Spy Ring based out of New York City and Long Island during the American Revolutionary War, using the code name John Bolton. There is actually very little evidence to prove that Tallmadge had heard from a spy in New York City about the Arnold-André plot. However, it would have been easy for Tallmadge to suspect that Arnold was up to no good, since Arnold had arranged to meet Anderson (Major John Andre's alias at the time) and Anderson was carrying military secrets back to New York City. The only thing Tallmadge could do was to persuade Jameson to recall lieutenant Allen who was already on his way to deliver the prisoner André into Arnold's custody. However, Tallmadge was unable to dissuade Jameson from informing Arnold of Major André's arrest. Tallmadge's suspicion of Arnold's treachery may not have been strong enough as Jameson later reported in a letter to Washington that neither Tallmadge nor other officers he consulted raised any objections to sending lieutenant Allen with a message to Arnold saying André was now in Jameson's custody.

After Benedict Arnold's British contact, John André, was caught, he was taken to North Castle, where the commander, Colonel Jameson, ordered his Lieutenant, Allen, to take a note and the incriminating documents found with André to their commander, Benedict Arnold, at West Point. Tallmadge, suspecting André to be a spy, and Benedict Arnold to be his accomplice, tried to have Jameson reverse his orders. He was unsuccessful, but did convince Jameson to send a rider and take Andre to Salem, eight miles east of the Hudson River and to send the documents to George Washington. Lt. Allen was still to report to Benedict Arnold with Jameson's note outlining the events. Later, Jameson was chastised by Washington for warning Arnold and allowing his escape. André was placed in Tallmadge's custody until André's execution.

 

On November 21, 1780, Tallmadge and his dragoons rowed across the Long Island Sound from Fairfield, Connecticut to Mt. Sinai, New York. The next day they proceeded to the south shore where they captured and burned down Manor St. George which the British turned into a fort, and captured the soldiers within. On their march back to Mt. Sinai, Tallmadge stopped in Coram and ordered the burning of 300 tons of hay which the British had been stockpiling for the winter. George Washington, on hearing the news, sent the following letter to Tallmadge:

I have received with much pleasure the report of your successful enterprise upon fort St. George, and was pleased with the destruction of the hay at Coram, which must be severely felt by the enemy at this time. I beg you to accept my thanks for your spirited execution of this business.

The Tallmadge Trail is marked along the route Tallmadge and his dragoons took from Mt. Sinai to Mastic Heights.

Tallmadge served at Washington's headquarters from March 1781 until the Continental Army was disbanded in November 1783. He was breveted to the rank of lieutenant colonel on September 30, 1783.

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