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A major component of the armies of the American Revolution were the spy networks. These spy networks provided valuable information about the enemy. The commanders used this information to improvise and create strategies and tactics to win battles or gain an advantage against their opponents. By examining the letters of these spies is the best way to understand the secret side of the War for Independence.

The Spy Letters of the American Revolution is digital exhibit that provides a complete look at the intelligence operations of both the British and American Armies during the war.

This exhibits highlights eleven letters from the Sir Henry Clinton Collection located at the Clements Library. It also provides a historical background of each letter to help the reader to understand this type of warfare.

The exhibit, divided into six parts, makes it easier to understand the topic. These six parts are:

  • Letters
    This page shows the letters used in the exhibit. By clicking on the images, you can view a larger version for easier reading. It also explains the letters and provides links to the spies who wrote them and the stories behind them.
  • Stories
    This section explains the background of the letters in their historical context.
  • Methods
    This section explains the methods used by the spies to get their information through enemy lines to the appropriate commander.
  • People
    In this section you can learn about the people involved and why each participated in such a dangerous undertaking.
  • Routes
    This section contains a map that gives a visual representation of the letters' travels.
  • Timeline
    This section is a chronological background of each letters origin.

This site also has a teachers' lounge, which contains information for teachers who wish to use this site in the classroom.

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