Gallery of Letters
The exhibit is based on spy letters from the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Gallery of Letters provides a brief description of each letter and links to more information about the stories of the spies in the letter or the secret methods used to make the letter.
April/May 1775: Rachel Revere Letter to Paul Revere. Thomas Gage Papers.
Rachel Revere gave this letter and some money to a friend to deliver to her husband Paul Revere after his “Midnight Ride.” Rachel didn’t know that her friend was a British spy! He delivered the letter to the British and may have pocketed the money.
Go To: See the Letter and Transcription | Story–Take the Money and Run | Method–Captured Letter
May 6, 1775: Benjamin Thompson Letter to [?]. Thomas Gage Papers.
This letter was written in invisible ink by Benjamin Thompson, one of the first scientists in Colonial America. He was a spy for the British Army.
Go To: See the Letter and Transcription | Story–The Mad Scientist | Method–Invisible Ink
July 17, 1777: William Howe Letter to John Burgoyne. Henry Clinton Papers.
William Howe sent John Burgoyne this letter in the quill of a pen.
Go To: See the Letter and Transcription | Story–William Howe Goes His Own Way | Method–Quill Letter
August 10, 1777: Henry Clinton Letter to John Burgoyne. Henry Clinton Papers.
Henry Clinton‘s letter to John Burgoyne was meant to be read through a mask or grille. This is the letter with the mask laid over it, revealing the real message that Clinton wanted to convey to Burgoyne. The full text of the letter and an image of the mask are available by selecting the following Letter link.
Go To: See the Letter and Transcription | Story–John Burgoyne Surrenders | Method–Mask Letter
May 10, 1779: John André Letter to Joseph Stansbury. Henry Clinton Papers.
John André sent this letter to Benedict Arnold through his agent Joseph Stansbury. The letter instructed Arnold in the types of information to gather for the British and the ways to relay this information secretly.
Go To: See the Letter and Transcription | Story–Terms of Betrayal
June 27, 1779: George Washington Letter to Benjamin Tallmadge. Henry Clinton Papers.
British troops captured this letter from Benjamin Tallmadge as he was carrying it from George Washington to the Culper Gang. The letter illustrates the spy network which worked in New York City and Long Island alerting Washington of British troop movements.
Go To: See the Letter and Transcription | Story–The Culper Gang | Method–Captured Letters
July 12, 1780: Benedict Arnold Letter to John André. Henry Clinton Papers.
In this letter Benedict Arnold provided the British with key information about American and French troop movements he learned from George Washington. Arnold also promised the British more crucial information once he became commander of West Point.
Go To: See the Letter and Transcription | Story–Military Secrets | Method–Secret Code
July 15, 1780: Benedict Arnold Letter to John André. Henry Clinton Papers.
Benedict Arnold offered to sell West Point for 20,000 pounds in this letter.
Go To: See the Letter and Transcription | Story–Selling West Point | Method–Secret Code
September 29, 1780: John André Letter to Henry Clinton. Henry Clinton Papers.
John André wrote this letter to Henry Clinton the day before he was executed.
Go To: See the Letter and Transcription | Story–The Death of John André
May 29, 1781: George Washington Letter to Dr. Baker. Henry Clinton Papers.
This letter was captured by British troops and may have helped them to learn of George Washington‘s whereabouts.
Go To: See the Letter and Transcription | Story–George Washington’s Teeth | Method–Captured Letters
August 15, 1781: Baron Ottendorf Letter and Deposition to an unidentified recipient. Henry Clinton Papers.
This letter is the report of a daring female spy. Miss Jenny infiltrated the American forces and reported back to the British leaders.
Undated/Unsigned Manuscript regarding Ann Bates. Henry Clinton Papers.
This letter refers to a female spy who frequently worked for the British. Ann Bates pretended she was a peddler and sold her gadgets to the American army while she spied.