Transcript of The Culper Ring
The Culper Ring What was the Culper Ring? The "Culper Ring" was George Washington's network of spies that contributed to the victory of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Who were some people that contributed to the Culper spy movement? There were many people who were a part of the Culper Ring (most of whom George Washington had no identity of) but some of the most important spies were Benjamin Tallmadge, Abraham Woodhull, Robert Townsend, Austin Roe, Anna Strong, and Caleb Brewster. What were some tactics that the Culper Ring used in order to keep their organization secret? The Culper Ring developed many brilliant ways to keep their organization secret. Spies were often given pseudonyms (fake names). Robert Townsend, an agent who posed as a Loyalist coffee-shop owner and a journalist, invented a numerical substitution rather than calling them by their names. Also, many messages were written in "hidden ink" to hide any important information. Why did George Washington form the Culper Ring? George Washington created the Culper Ring prior to Nathan Hale's death when redcoats captured Nathan for hiding a message in his shoe. Because of that incident, Washington needed a new way of distributing messages. Thus, he created the Culper Spy Ring. First, Austin Roe rode from Setauket, to Long Island, then on to New York City. There, he placed an order from Benjamin Tallmadge who's code name was John Bolton. In the message were code words from George Washington in which Tallmadge responded in code. The messages were hidden in goods that Roe took back to Setauket. He hid the messages on a farm belonging to Abraham Woodhull. Anna Strong, who owned a farm near Woodhull's farm, hung a black petticoat on her clothesline that signaled Caleb Brewster to retrieve the documents. She indicated the location of where Brewster should dock his boat and meet up with the others by hanging up a certain number of handkerchiefs Brewster would then deliver the message to Tallmadge, and Tallmadge would deliver the message George Washington. How the Culper Ring Delivered Messages Invisible Ink (Sympathetic Stain) The invisible ink method was a sure way of keeping messages hidden. Many messages written in invisible ink were often written in between the lines of an ordinary letter, the kind that you would give to a friend or relative. There were two methods to making invisible ink. Spies could either use organic (natural) or sympathetic (chemical) substances to relay their message. Spies often used lemon juice as a natural way to write their secret messages. Later in the war, chemists developed a new, more advanced method of writing the secret messages using iodine. The method to be used to decode the message was identified at the corner of the paper by the letter "f" for fire (heat methods) or "a" for acid (chemical methods). 1. Mix 4 teaspoons of water with two tablespoons of cornstarch. Stir the mixture until smooth.Full transcript
2. Heat and stir the mixture over a hotplate for several minutes.
3. Dip a toothpick or other small item into the substance and write a message on paper. Wait until the paper is dry.
4. Dip a sponge into a solution of 1 teaspoon of iodine and 10 teaspoons of water. Carefully wipe the paper with the sponge, and the message should appear purple. How to Make Your Own Hidden Spy Message Townsend's Numerical Code Robert Townsend developed a numerical substitution that he used to identify important symbols in his secret messages. Here are a few examples:
15=advice 60=better 73=camp
156=deliver 178=enemy 745=England
309=infantry 345=knowledge 728=Long Island
356=letter 27=New York 680=war Did you know that...
-Spies often put their families in danger of being captured
-None of George Washington's Spies were ever compromised
-A warning message from Culper spies prevented General Henry Clinton from attacking Rhode Island in 1780
-All of the messages were delivered through British-occupied territory making the journey extra difficult Interesting Facts about the Culper Ring Sources Used: www.mountvernon.org/educational-resources/encyclopedia/culper-spy-ring
www.youtube.com/watch?v=QP6sI3O8v20 Benjamin Tallmadge Nathan Hale's Hanging