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The On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies

Spies & Intelligence

One of the tasks ideally suited for Loyalists was that of the secret service. Loyalists came from all social, ethnic and economic classes of society, and were therefore able to mingle and interact easily in the countryside, under the guise of being Rebels themselves.

In addition to acting as spies, several prominent Loyalists ran intelligence networks. Cortland Skinner, the commander of the New Jersey Volunteers, directed an elaborate spy web in New Jersey from his headquarters on Staten Island.

Beverly Robinson, colonel of the Loyal American Regiment, used members of his own corps as well as others to gather information in Westchester County, New York.

The greatest Loyalist intelligence gatherer, though, was Lieutenant Colonel Oliver DeLancey, Jr., the Adjutant General of the British Army in America after the death of Major John Andre´.

Many Loyalist civilians assisted these spies on their missions, as well as helping couriers moving secretly from one area to another, Loyalists hiding from the Rebel authorities, or escaped prisoners of war. By their efforts, hundreds of men of all descriptions safely passed through the countryside.

The documents below illustrate some of the hazards and successes of the secret service.

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   Bullet  Court Martial of Daniel Strang, 1777

   Bullet  Court Martial of Philip Wickware and Robert Dunbar, 1777

   Bullet  Rebel Deserter Intelligence, 1778   

   Bullet  Skinner to Clinton, February 19, 1779

   Bullet  Skinner to Clinton, February 26, 1779

   Bullet  Skinner to Clinton, April, 1779

   Bullet  Rebel Intelligence from an Unknown Source, 1779

   Bullet  Chew to Andre´, 1779

   Bullet  Report by Beverly Robinson, November 15, 1779

   Bullet  Report by Beverly Robinson, November 29, 1779

   Bullet  Permission from Knyphausen to Cross North River, 1780

   Bullet  AZ to Tryon, 1780

   Bullet  A List of Friends of the British, n.d.

   Bullet  Andrew Furstner's Report of Activities, 1781

   Bullet  Marquard to Beckwith, 1781

   Bullet  Balfour to Saunders, in Secret Code, 1781

   Bullet  Haldimand to Clinton, Dr. Smith and Clinton's Domestics, 1781

   Bullet  Ogden to DeLancey, Intelligence from his Brother, 1781

   Bullet  DeLancey to Ward, 1781

   Bullet  Sherwood to Stevens, Scouting Mission, 1782

   Bullet  Memorial and Supporting Documents for Pierre DePeyster, 1782


         Sketch of Services   

         Intelligence Report   

         Witness (Sherriff) on behalf of   

         DeLancey to Clinton Recommending Protection   

   Bullet  Beheading of the Negro Spy, Harry, 1782

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The On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies
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