Oyster Bay in Nassau County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Culper Spy Ring
Revolutionary War Heritage Trail
General George Washington created a domestic network of spies, appointing Major Benjamin Tallmadge of Setauket as the head of the Long Island based Culper Spy Ring. Tallmadge appealed to Robert Townsend, a Manhattan merchant, to join him as a spy by collecting vital information about British movements in New York City.
The Townsends’ large Oyster Bay home, now known as Raynham Hall Museum, was being used as a British headquarters. Using the code name Samuel Culper, Jr., Townsend wrote coded messages to Washington, Tallmadge and the other members of the Culper Spy Ring to convey the information he gathered.
George Washington wrote the following about Culper Jr.: “His accounts are intelligent, clear and satisfactory . . . I rely upon his intelligence.” Through their brave, risky and well executed efforts, they were able to quickly gather and relay secret information which enabled George Washington to make informed decisions.
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Next to a map of the Culper Spy Ring depicting Manhattan, Queens County on Long Island, Long Island Sound, coastal Connecticut and Westchester
1. New York City: Robert Townsend, alias Culper, Jr., gathered information about British troop movements.
2. Oyster Bay: The Townsends’ home was headquarters for the Queen’s Rangers.
3. Setauket: Austin Roe visited Townsend to gather intelligence and forwarded it to Abraham Woodhull.
4. Connecticut: Caleb Brewer picked up coded messages from Woodhull, and ferried them across the Sound to Major Benjamin Tallmadge.
5. Westchester County: Tallmadge delivered these messages from the Culper Spy Ring to General Washington.
Erected by New York State.
Location. 40° 52.337′ N, 73° 31.913′ W. Marker is in Oyster Bay, New York, in Nassau County. Marker is on W Main Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 20 W Main Street, Oyster Bay NY 11771, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Raynham Hall Museum (here, next to this marker); The great chain hoax . . . . (here, next to this marker); Raynham Hall (a few steps from this marker); Matinecock Lodge (within shouting distance of this marker); Fortified Hill (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); End of An Era Theodore Roosevelt (about 500 feet away); Oyster Bay Honor Roll (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oyster Bay.
More about this marker. Three pictures appear on the marker: A picture of Robert Townsend drawn by his nephew Dr. Peter S. Townsend in 1813 (from the Collection of Friends of Raynham Hall, Inc.); a picture of The Townsend Homestead drawn by Benjamin Lossing, c. 1800; and a portrait of Major Benjamin Tallmadge by John Trumbull c. 1783.
Also see . . .
1. Raynham Hall Museum website. (Submitted on May 29, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
2. The Culper Gang. Spy Letters of the American Revolution. (Submitted on May 29, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • War, US Revolutionary •
More. Search the internet for The Culper Spy Ring.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 29, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,245 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 29, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 5, 6. submitted on November 8, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.