September 21, 1776 — Today, Nathan Hale of the 19th Regiment of the Continental Army General volunteers for he dangerous mission at the request of George Washington, who needed a volunteer to gather intelligence behind enemy lines before the coming Battle of Harlem Heights.
One of the first known American spies of the Revolutionary War, the Yale University-educated soldier disguised himself as a Dutch schoolmaster. He then slipped behind British lines on Long Island and gathered information about British troop movements.
However, the British invaded the island of Manhattan and took control of the city on September 15, 1776. When the city was set on fire on September 20, 1776, British soldiers captured Hale while he sailing Long Island Sound trying to get back into American-controlled territory.
British General William Howe ordered his execution. Hale was hanged by the British on the morning of September 22, 1776. He was just 21 years old.
Words of Wisdom for September 21, 2016
“How beautiful is death, when earn’d by virtue!
Who would not be that youth? What pity is it
That we can die but once to serve our country.”
— The last words of American spy Nathan Hale, after being led to the gallows upon being caught by the British, September 22, 1776