Sally Townsend, George Washington’s Teenage Spy


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About the Book

Sally Townsend of Oyster Bay was a petite, vivacious, intelligent and remarkably beautiful young lady with beguiling eyes. A 1779 Valentine poem from an admiring British officer reads: “Thou know’st what powerful magick lies Within the round of Sarah’s eyes.”
She was the sister of Robert Townsend, a principal member of the “Culper Ring,” General Washington’s most effective spy network. During the British occupation (1776–1783), Loyalist and Hessian troops were quartered in and around Oyster Bay, two Redcoat officers in the Townsend home.
Sally assisted her brother in gathering intelligence while coyly flirting with the enemy. The romantic interest of Jäger officer Ernst Wintzingerode, she dallied with Major John André and was courted by Lt. Col. John Graves Simcoe of the Queen’s Rangers. She paid a heavy price for her role in thwarting the Benedict Arnold treason plot.
The book explores the possible identity of the mysterious “Agent 355” mentioned in a cryptic Culper Ring message.

About the Author(s)

Paul R. Misencik is a former airline captain and retired division chief of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). He is a member of the First Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line, a living history foundation. He lives in Reston, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Paul R. Misencik
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: 19 photos & illustrations, 11 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9987-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2255-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Prologue 5
1. The Townsends of Oyster Bay 9
2. The Coming War 15
3. The War Begins 22
4. The Capture of Long Island and New York 33
5. The British Come to Oyster Bay 40
6. Living with the Enemy 52
7. The Times That Try Men’s Souls 57
8. The Jägers Come to Oyster Bay 62
9. Spring and Summer of 1777 68
10. Oppressive Occupiers 72
11. Simcoe and the Queen’s Rangers 82
12. The Beginning of the Culper Ring 91
13. The Destruction of the Apple Orchard 102
14. Etched Windows and a Valentine 107
15. Major John André Visits Oyster Bay 112
16. Simcoe—Dashing But Ruthless 115
17. Simcoe Is Captured by the Americans 123
18. The Winter of 1779–1780 128
19. A Hint of Treason 130
20. The Message Is Sent to Tallmadge 141
21. The Capture of André 153
22. Cries for Vengeance 167
23. A Sad Farewell 170
24. Thoughts Regarding Agent 355 173
Afterword 184
John André (1750–1780)    184
Benedict Arnold (1741–1801)    186
Caleb Brewster (1747–1827)    188
Austin Roe (1749–1830)    189
Benjamin Tallmadge (1754–1835)    189
John Graves Simcoe (1752–1806)    191
Anna Smith Strong (1740–1812)    193
Robert Townsend (1753–1838)    194
Abraham Woodhull (1750–1826)    195
Epilogue 197
Chapter Notes 203
Bibliography 215
Index 219

Book Reviews & Awards

“informative and engaging from beginning to end…impressively well researched…deftly written….very highly recommended”—Midwest Book Review.