Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

who is Nathan Hale, i went to his homestead(like 5 hour drive), and i still dint get what he did?

idk all they sayed was he was the first spy to die in coventry

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
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    A great American patriot from Connecticut hanged by the British during the American War of Independence.

    From Wikipedia:

    Nathan Hale (June 6, 1755 – September 22, 1776) was a captain in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Widely considered America's first and best spy,[1] he volunteered for an intelligence-gathering mission, but was caught by the British. He is best remembered for his speech before being hanged following the Battle of Long Island, in which he purportedly said, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country".[2]

    Hale has long been considered an American hero and, in 1985, he was officially designated the State Hero of Connecticut.[3]During the Battle of Long Island in August and September 1776, which led to the British capture of New York City, via a flanking move from Staten Island across Long Island, Hale volunteered to go behind enemy lines to report on British troop movements.

    Sometime in September, he landed on the north shore of Long Island at what is now called Halesite, New York, on Huntington Bay.

    He disgused himself as a Dutch schoolteacher, carrying his Yale diploma to prove his credentials.

    During his mission, New York City (then the area at the southern tip of Manhattan around Wall Street) fell to British forces and Washington was forced to retreat to the island's northern tip in Harlem Heights (what is now Morningside Heights).[4] On September 21, a quarter of the lower portion of Manhattan burned in the Great New York Fire of 1776. The fire was later widely thought to have been started by American saboteurs to keep the city from falling into British hands,[5] though Washington and Congress had already rejected this idea. It has also been speculated that the fire was the work of British soldiers acting without orders, intending to punish and/or intimidate any remaining Patriots in the city -- with unintended consequences, however. In the fire's aftermath, more than 200 American partisans were rounded up by the British.

    An account of Nathan Hale's capture was written by Consider Tiffany, a Connecticut shopkeeper and Loyalist, and obtained by the Library of Congress. In Tiffany's account, Major Robert Rogers of the Queen's Rangers met Hale in a tavern and saw through his disguise. After luring Hale into betraying himself by pretending to be a patriot himself, Rogers and his Rangers apprehended Hale near Flushing Bay, in Queens, New York.[6]. Another story was that a Loyalist cousin of Hale's was the one who revealed his true identity.

    British General William Howe had his headquarters in the Beekman House in a rural part of Manhattan, on a rise between 50th and 51st Streets between First and Second Avenues[7] Hale reportedly was questioned by Howe and physical evidence was found on him. Rogers provided information about the case. According to tradition, Hale spent the night in a greenhouse at the mansion.

    According to the standards of the time, spies were hanged as illegal combatants. On 22 September 1776, Hale was marched along Post Road to the Park of Artillery, which was next to a public house called the Dove Tavern (at modern day 66th Street and Third Avenue), and hanged.[8] He was 21 years old. The executioner was the former slave and loyalist Bill Richmond, who later became famous as an African American boxer in Europe.[9]

    [edit] The speech

    By all accounts, Hale comported himself eloquently before the hanging. Over the years, there has been some speculation as to whether he specifically uttered the famous line:

    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

    The story of Hale's famous speech began with John Montresor, a British soldier who witnessed the hanging. Soon after the execution, Montresor spoke with American officer William Hull about Hale's death. Later, it was Hull who widely publicized Hale's use of the phrase. Because Hull was not an eyewitness to Hale's speech, some historians have questioned the reliability of the account.[8]

    If Hale did give the famous speech, it is most likely he was actually repeating a passage from Joseph Addison's play, Cato, an ideological inspiration to many Whigs:

    How beautiful is death, when earn'd by virtue!

    Who would not be that youth? What pity is it

    That we can die but once to serve our country.

    No official records were kept of Hale's speech. However, Frederick MacKensie, a British officer, wrote this diary entry for the day:

    He behaved with great composure and resolution, saying he thought it the duty of every good Officer, to obey any orders given him by his Commander-in-Chief; and desired the Spectators to be at all times prepared to meet death in whatever shape it might appear.

    It is almost certain that Nathan Hale's last speech contained more than one sentence. Several early accounts mention different things he said. These are not necessarily contradictory; rather, together they give us an idea of what the speech must have been like. The following quotes are all taken from George Dudley Seymour's "Documentary Life of Nathan Hale", published in 1941 by the author.

    From the diary of Enoch Hale, Nathan's brother, after he went to question people who had been present, October 26, 1776: "When at the Gallows he spoke & told them that he was a Capt in the Cont Army by name Nathan Hale."

    From the Essex Journal, February 13, 1777: "However, at the gallows, he made a sensible and spirited speech; among other things, told them they were shedding the blood of the innocent, and that if he had ten thousand lives, he would lay them all down, if called to it, in defence of his injured, bleeding Country."

    This is just part of the article. The rest can be found at:

    Sandi (who was raised in Connecticut)

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