Benjamin Tallmadge, II, Culper Spy Ring

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Benjamin Tallmadge, II, Culper Spy Ring

Also Known As: "Colonel"
Birthdate: (81)
Birthplace: Setauket- East Setauket, Suffolk, New York, United States
Death: March 7, 1835 (81)
Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut, United States
Place of Burial: Litchfield, Litchfield, CT, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. Benjamin Tallmadge and Susannah Tallmage
Husband of Maria Hallett and Mary Tallmadge
Father of William Smith Tallmadge; Henry Floyd Tallmadge; Maria Jones Cushman; Benjamin Tallmadge, III; Frederick Augustus Tallmadge and 3 others
Brother of William Tallmadge; Samuel Tallmadge; John Tallmadge, 249 and Isaac Tallmadge

Occupation: Served in U.S. House of Representatives from 1801-1817 (see Wikipedia)
Managed by: Randy Stebbing
Last Updated:

About Benjamin Tallmadge, II, Culper Spy Ring

A Patriot of the American Revolution for CONNECTICUT with the rank of LIEUTENANT COLONEL. DAR Ancestor # A112617

Wikipedia Biographical Summary:

"...Benjamin Tallmadge (11 February 1754 – 7 March 1835) was a member of the United States House of Representatives. His birth date is alternately listed as February 25, 1754

Tallmadge, the son of a clergyman, was born in Setauket, New York, a hamlet in the Town of Brookhaven on Long Island. Tallmadge graduated from Yale college in 1773, and was a classmate of Nathan Hale.

From 1773-1776 Tallmadge was the superintendent of Wethersfield High School.

American Revolutionary War

Tallmadge was a major in the 2nd Continental Light Dragoons. He was initially commissioned on June 20, 1776. Eventually, he was promoted to the rank of colonel and became the chief intelligence officer for George Washington. He organized the Culper Spy Ring based out of New York City and Long Island during the American Revolutionary War, which is rumored to have revealed the betrayal of Benedict Arnold, though this is disputed. Arnold's captured British contact, Major John André, was placed in Tallmadge's custody until Andre's execution.

On November 21, 1780, Tallmadge and his dragoons rowed across the Long Island Sound from Fairfield, Connecticut to Mt. Sinai, New York. The next day they proceeded to the south shore where they captured and burned down Manor St. George, which the British turned into a fort, and captured the soldiers within. On their march back to Mt. Sinai, Tallmadge stopped in Coram and ordered the burning of 300 tons of hay which the British had been stockpiling for the winter. George Washington, on hearing the news, sent the following letter to Tallmadge:

I have received with much pleasure the report of your successful enterprise upon fort St. George, and was pleased with the destruction of the hay at Coram, which must be severely felt by the enemy at this time. I beg you to accept my thanks for your spirited execution of this business.

The Tallmadge Trail is marked along the route Tallmadge and his dragoons took from Mt. Sinai to Mastic Heights.

After War Years

After the war, Tallmadge married one of the daughters of William Floyd, settled in Connecticut. In 1783 Tallmadge settled in Litchfield, Connecticut. He was appointed the town's postmaster in 1792.

Tallmadge was the first president of the Phoenix Branch Bank. He served first as treasurer and eventually as secretary of the Society of the Cincinnati.

He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from 1801-1817. He was a member of the Federalist Party. This meant that during his entire congressional career he was part of the party that was in the minority. In 1816 he declined to be run for reelection.

Tradition has it that Tallmadge was considered one of the most handsome men of the American Revolution.

Tallmadge died in Litchfield, Connecticut on March 7, 1835. He was interred in East Cemetery.

Tallmadge, Ohio is named after Benjamin Tallmadge..."

SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'Benjamin Tallmadge', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 21 November 2010, 15:47 UTC, <> [accessed 17 March 2011]

Graduate of Yale College 1773

Army officer, chief intelligence officer and organizer of Culper spy ring during the Revolutionary War.

Became US Representative from Connecticut.

Owned slaves.

First president of the the Phoenix Bank.



MAJOR BENJAMIN TALLMADGE Major Benjamin Tallmadge (1754-1835)

Benjamin Tallmadge was born in 1754, and he grew up in or near Setauket, New York. His father was the pastor of a local church, and he was closely related to the families of all the members of the Culper Spy Ring. Like most upper middle class New England men of his time, he was well-educated, and attended Yale, where he became close friends with Nathan Hale. Both Hale and Tallmadge became school teachers upon graduation in 1773. In 1775, Tallmadge joined the local militia. Tallmadge joined the Continental Army in July of 1776, serving with the cavalry. Cavalry was in charge of intelligence gathering, and Tallmadge was active in the Battles around New York in 1776. During one of the retreats, his brother William was captured and imprisoned. Tallmadge advanced rapidly, becoming a captain in the mounted light dragoons under Elisha Sheldon, working mainly in New York, to the North of Manhattan. Tallmadge's duties with Sheldon's troop mainly consisted of reconnaissance, although he did see action at Brandywine. By 1778, Tallmadge was "engaged" in correspondence "with some persons in New York" as he wrote in his memoirs. This was probably the Culper Ring, although Alexander Rose recorded some of Tallmadge's earliest attempts at playing spymaster. Tallmadge's superior, General Charles Scott, served as Washington's Chief of Intelligence, and Tallmadge was permitted some experimental leeway to try a new method involving a chain of agents with the creation of the Culper Spy Ring. Tallmadge returned to his hometown, visiting his closest friends and family members to enlist their help with his plan. The Culper Spy Ring initially was not reporting news fast enough to be particularly useful, but since the network system was working, and consistently reporting, Washington felt it had great promise. Supposedly General Scott did not appreciate Tallmadge's spies' reports going directly to Washington and felt his young officer was a bit insubordinate. Tallmadge, however, managed to become one of Washington's favorite young officers during this period, and Scott soon found himself resigning to make way for Tallmadge and the future of American Intelligence. From 1778 until the end of the war, Tallmadge worked with the Culper Spy Ring, serving as their main handler. Early in Tallmadge's espionage career, he was posted close to enemy lines and when his post was raided, he lost papers relating to the secret service, compromising the situation of a possible future spy named George Higday. After that event, Tallmadge was exceptionally careful. Even Washington did not know the identities of Tallmadge's spies. Following Arnold's treason, Tallmadge wrote to reassure Townsend that no one knew his name or identity. Tallmadge wrote a cryptic note in his memoirs regarding Arnold's treason--that only he and four other officers in the American Army knew the full story of the events that unfolded. When American Intelligence was obviously intercepting the Arnold-Andre correspondence in August and September of 1780, Tallmadge would have known about it. Tallmadge seems to have had some advance warning of at Arnold's treason, since he wrote to warn Governor Trumbull to expect an attack, and he was immediately suspicious enough of both Arnold and Andre to challenge the decisions of his commanding officer. Tallmadge and Hamilton shared exclusive guard duty of Major Andre, suggesting some need for secrecy. His denunciation of Andre's captors in Congress in 1817 also suggests Tallmadge knew or planned something else. While the Culpers were a very successful effort from 1779 to 1780, after 1780 their intelligence was lacking at best. Tallmadge engaged several other agents, although none of these efforts had the success of the Culper Spy Ring at it's prime.Tallmadge's constant correspondence with Washington after Yorktown is a testament both to the uncertainty of the British surrender and to the close bonds between Washington and Tallmadge. Tallmadge was present for Washington's farewell. Immediately following the war, Tallmadge married Mary, the daughter of Congressman and Declaration Signer William Floyd of Mastic, Long Island. Tallmadge moved to Connecticut, settling in Litchfield in 1783. He served as a leader in the Society of the Cincinnati, and as Litchfield's postmaster in 1792. In 1801, he was elected to Congress, where he remained until 1817, always aligned with the minority Federalist Party. Before departing Congress, he denounced one of the captors of Major Andre who sought to augment his pension.

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Benjamin Tallmadge, II, Culper Spy Ring's Timeline

February 25, 1754
Setauket- East Setauket, Suffolk, New York, United States
Age 30
Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut
Age 32
Connecticut, United States
Age 35
August 29, 1792
Age 38
Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut, United States
August 29, 1792
Age 38
Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut
August 29, 1792
Age 38
Litchfield, Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States
April 3, 1797
Age 43
Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut, United States
September 13, 1800
Age 46
Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut