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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.