Culper Ring during the American Revolution. He operated in New York City with the aliases “Samuel Culper, Jr. Up the organization by robert townsend pdf free download was the third son of eight children of Samuel and Sarah Townsend from Oyster Bay, New York.
His father was a Whig-slanted politician who owned a store in Oyster Bay. Little is known about his early life. According to Alexander Rose, Townsend’s early years were dedicated to making a fortune and not to demonstrating his patriotism. Rose suggests that Townsend fared well financially during the war by operating a store even as he was spying for Washington. A number of factors led Townsend to the Culper Spy Ring, including the influence of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, British harassment of his family, and his relationship with Woodhull. Townsend was torn between his moderate-Quaker upbringing and this fervent Quaker revival, but he ultimately turned his back on pacifism as a result of Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense.
Paine had also been brought up in the Quaker tradition, and he advocated in Common Sense the early Quaker views of struggling against corruption and narcissism. Another factor that led Townsend into joining the fight against British rule was the treatment of his family by British soldiers in Oyster Bay. A number of British officers thought that anti-British sentiment had been ingrained into the colonists’ spirit, and they believed that “it should be thrash’d out of them New England has poyson’d the whole. A final factor was Townsend’s relationship with Abraham Woodhull.
The two knew and trusted each other well enough by June 1779 that Townsend accepted when Woodhull asked him to join a new spy ring for Washington. Culper Junior, to remain in the City, to collect all the useful information he can-to do this he should mix as much as possible among the officers and refugees, visit the coffee houses, and all public places. He is to pay particular attention to the movements by land and water in and about the city especially. The number of men destined for the defense of the City and environs, endeavoring to designate the particular corps, and where each is posted.
To be particular in describing the place where the works cross the island in the rear of the City-and how many redoubts are upon the line from the river to river, how many Cannon in each, and of what weight and whether the redoubts are closed or open next the city. Whether there are any works upon the Island of New York between those near the City and the works at Fort Knyphausen or Washington, and if any, whereabouts and of what kind. To be very particular to find out whether any works are thrown up on Harlem River, near Harlem Town, and whether Horn’s Hook is fortified. If so, how many men are kept at each place, and what number and what sized cannon are in those works. To enquire whether they have dug pits within and in front of the lines and works in general, three or four feet deep, in which sharp pointed stakes are pointed. These are intended to receive and wound men who attempt a surprise at night. The state of the provisions, forage and fuel to be attended to, as also the health and spirits of the Army, Navy and City.
These are the principal matters to be observed within the Island and about the City of New York. Many more may occur to a person of C. Junr’s penetration which he will note and communicate. There can be scarcely any need of recommending the greatest caution and secrecy in a business so critical and dangerous. The following seem to be the best general rules: To entrust none but the persons fixed upon to transmit the business. To deliver the dispatches to none upon our side but those who shall be pitched upon for the purpose of receiving them and to transmit them and any intelligence that may be obtained to no one but the Commander-in-Chief. Wasting little time to begin spy activities, Townsend sent his first dispatch on June 29, 1779 — nine days after Woodhull informed Washington that he had a contact in New York.