Spy Letters of the American Revolution

Captured Letters

April/May 1775
Rachel Revere to Paul Revere

June 27, 1779 
George Washington to Benjamin Tallmadge

May 29, 1781 
George Washington to Dr. Baker

Many of the letters collected by Sir Henry Clinton's espionage network were captured from the Rebel Army.  During the time of the Revolutionary War, couriers on horseback transported letters and documents. Both the British and American armies would routinely intercept riders with saddlebags of mail, demanding to know the loyalties of the dispatch riders and searching the contents of the mail bags. In addition, colonials who supported the Rebel cause also stopped any suspicious mail riders and captured many British letters.

The Library of Congress holds the papers of George Washington, which contain many examples of captured British documents.  In order to combat the Rebel Army's interception of their military plans, Sir Henry Clinton and the other British Army generals used many forms of secret writing to communicate their strategies. Examples of captured letters in this exhibit are Rachel Revere's letter to her husband, George Washington's letter to Benjamin Tallmadge, and George Washington's letter to his dentist.

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See the Letters:

April/May 1775
June 27, 1779
May 29, 1781

See the Stories:

Take the Money and Run
The Culper Gang
George's Teeth

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