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Nathanael Greene


HALE, NATHAN (1756-1776), American hero of the War of Independence, was born at Coventry, Conn., and educated at Yale, then becoming a school teacher. He joined a Connecticut regiment after the breaking out of the war, and served in the siege of Boston, being commissioned a captain at the opening of 1776. When Heath’s brigade departed for New York he went with them, and the tradition is that he was one of a small and daring band who captured an English provision sloop from under the very guns of a man-of-war.

But on the 21st of September, having volunteered to enter the British lines to obtain information concerning the enemy, he was captured in his disguise of a Dutch school-teacher and on the 22nd was hanged. The penalty was in accordance with military law, but young Hale’s act was a brave one, and he has always been glorified as a martyr. Tradition attributes to him the saying that he only regretted that he had but one life to lose for his country; and it is said that his request for a Bible and the services of a minister was refused by his captors. There is a fine statue of Hale by Macmonnies in New York.


Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 12

See H. P. Johnston, Nathan Hale (1901).