Nathan Hale (1755-1776)
"I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
Contributing his spirit and blood for the country's liberty, Nathan Hale was one of the most famous and renowned heroes of the American Revolution. He set a perfect example of the American liberty and patriotic spirit throughout the nation. Born in Coventry, Connecticut, Nathan Hale was a well organized and athletic person, and earned himself popularity and respect amongst his peers and friends with his friendly personality. After graduating from Yale College (the present day Yale University), Hale took the profession of a teacher at the age of 18. On the eve of the Revolution in 1775, Nathan Hale's patriotism and spirit earned him a position in the Continental Army as a lieutenant. After only a year, Hale was promoted to the rank of Captain in the Rangers fighting group, which was renowned for their bravery and courage in dangerous missions.
In September 1776, General George Washington initiated a plan to send a spy behind the British lines in New York. Acknowledging this plan, Nathan Hale immediately volunteered to his superior Major Thomas Knowlton for the task. Disguised as a Dutch schoolmaster, Hale had successfully penetrated the enemy lines in New York to recover vital military information for the Continental army. Despite a successful mission, Hale never managed to get back home. Just as Hale was preparing to retreat back into friendly territory on September 21, 1776, he was arrested by British soldiers . His arrest was suspected to be linked with the betrayal of his loyalist cousin.
Following his capture Nathan Hale was interrogated by the British Commander in Chief General Howe. From unproved sources, Howe was said to have tried to lure and bribe Hale into joining the British side as a Kings American Dragoons. Hale solidly refused. Hale was later tried as a spy, and was hanged the next day after his arrest. Before his execution, Hale gave his last speech, ending with the now famous quote,"I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Hale died at the young age of 21. Nathan Hale's courageous deeds earned him the respect and envy of many Americans. Even in the present day, there are many monuments and tales around the country that are made in remembrance of Hale's great patriotic deeds for his country.
Mann, Martha. "Nathan Hale."
The World Book Encyclopedia, 1991 ed.