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George Washington Recruits a Spy (1777)

This original letter, written on February 4, 1777 by George Washington, commissions Nathaniel Sackett to spy for his country. Washington agreed to pay him $50 per month plus $500 to set up his spy network. This document resides in the collection at the International Spy Museum.

1777 Washington Spy Letter (International Spy Museum)

Letter Transcription

To Mr. Nathaniel Sackett


The advantage of obtaining the earliest and best Intelligence of the designs of the enemy, the good character given of you by Colonel Duer added to your capacity for an undertaking of this kind have induced me to entrust the management of this business to your care till further orders on this head.

For your care and trouble in this business I agree on behalf of the public to allow you Fifty Dollars pr. Kalendar Month and herewith give you a warrant on the Paymaster Genl. For the sum of Five hundd. Dollars to pay those whom you may find necessary to imploy in the transaction of this business, an acct. of the disbursements of which you are to render to me.

Given under my hand at Morris town this 4th day of Feb., 1777

George Washington