Nathan Hale

 

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Hale, NATHAN, patriot; born in Coventry, Connecticut, June 6, 1755; graduated at Yale College in 1773; and taught school till the fight in Lexington prompted him to join Colonel Charles Webb's regiment. He took part in the siege of Boston; was promoted to captain in January, 1776; and was sent to New York. In response to a call from George Washington he volunteered to enter the British lines and procure needed information. At the house of Robert Murray, on the Incleberg (now Murray Hill, in the city of New York), where Washington had his headquarters for a brief time while retreating towards Harlem Heights, Hale received instructions on duty from the commander-in-chief. He entered the British camp on Long Island as a plain young farmer, and made sketches and notes unsuspected. A Tory kinsman knew and betrayed him. He was taken to Howe's headquarters at the Beekman mansion, and confined in the greenhouse all night. He frankly avowed his name, rank, and character as a spy (which his papers revealed), and, without even the form of a trial, was handed over to the provost-marshal (Cunningham) the next morning (September 22, 1776) to be hanged. That infamous officer denied Hale the services of a clergyman and the use of a Bible; but the more humane officer who superintended the execution furnished him with materials to write letters to his mother, his betrothed, and sisters. These the brutal Cunningham destroyed before the face of his victim, while tears and sobs marked the sympathy of the spectators. With unfaltering voice, Hale said, at the last moment, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Statues of the patriot have been erected in the capitol in Hartford and in City Hall Park, New York City.

Execution of Nathan Hale

Execution of Nathan Hale

 

 

 

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