Benjamin Tallmadge


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(1754–1835) spy and U.S. representative. A New Yorker, Tallmadge moved to Connecticut and was a lieutenant in the Connecticut militia at the start of the Revolutionary War. Transferring to an elite regiment, the Second Dragoons, he was promoted to major and fought at Brandywine (1777), Germantown (1777), and Monmouth (1778). In 1778, Gen. George Washington appointed Tallmadge to head intelligence operations for the Continentals; relying on childhood friends, Tallmadge created the Culper Spy Ring, the most successful spy operation of the war. The ring observed British troop numbers and movements, fortifications, and supplies in and around New York City and reported back to Washington. Tallmadge informed Washington's aide, Lt. Col. Alexander Hamilton, that the British were moving a fleet to Newport to await the arrival of the French fleet led by the Marquis de Lafayette;Washington pretended to prepare to attack New York, and the British recalled their fleet, allowing Lafayette's fleet to arrive safely. Tallmadge also suspected Benedict Arnold of treason. Tallmadge continued to fight with the Second Dragoons. After the war, he returned to Connecticut, where he became a prosperous merchant, banker, and land investor. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1801 as a Federalist; he served until 1817. Tallmadge opposed the War of 1812, believing its goals to be vague and the war to be unpopular, and favored the establishment of the Bank of the United States.

From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Warfare and Defence.

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