It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


TURN: Washington's Spies

page: 1

log in


posted on May, 3 2016 @ 12:21 AM
Technically, this should be in the tv forum, but I'm just that kind of rule breaker.

I've spent some time trying to glean some info about the Culper spy ring and basically come up with zilch, other than the fact that it happened. For whatever reasons, those involved kept their mouths shut after the war. I will be buying the book this show is based upon in the near future but I don't have it now and obviously haven't read it.

So, what really DID happen? Is the television show in any way accurate? I keep looking up people in the show, like Livingston from tonight's episode, he was real and did what he did but how much of this show is just guessing about what happened? I may know a few, or more, things about the Civil War but the Revolutionary one I'm kind of a novice.

Hence, why this thread exists.

Was Simcoe really that much of a ass? Seems he's a hero, of sorts, up north in Canada for things he did after the war but in the show he's a complete dick. Hewlitt and Andre are conflicted with love, so the show says, but is that really the case? How did Arnold get Shipton to stay with him when it seems she didn't even like him? Unless my memory is faulty she did marry him(it's been a year or so since I looked this stuff up so forgive me if I'm wrong).

I never knew any of this, which is not a surprise, but it feeds my curiosity with each episode. The tech, invisible ink, the boards with the words cut out for secret messages, is quite interesting

That a simple cabbage farmer nearly single handed was a major factor in winning this war is rather amazing and the fact that he, nor anyone else, ever talked about it makes it more fascinating.

Even if the show is not up to historical standards, it's still really well done. I know much of this is real but those damned gaps in what really happened are bugging me.

Totally digging how they brought Livingston into the show as he was Townsend's real partner and did own a press. Propaganda at it's finest, eh? Even before the word propaganda was introduced(I think but I'm too lazy to look it up). He ended up penniless. I guess he was totally on the British side until whatever happened to him to change his mind.

posted on May, 3 2016 @ 05:35 AM
a reply to: TheSpanishArcher

Sorry, I'm just on my way to work so this will be short. There are a LOT of inaccuracies in the show. I snagged you this link that describes some of it.

Turn inaccuracies

posted on May, 3 2016 @ 12:04 PM
a reply to: Excallibacca

Thanks, that's a cool link. I gotta, someday, take a look into this war as I really don't know much about it at all. At least this show is giving me something to work off of.

posted on May, 3 2016 @ 05:36 PM
Simcoe is freakin awesome bro!

posted on May, 4 2016 @ 03:36 PM
a reply to: TheSpanishArcher

Check out HBO's mini-series John Adams and the other show Sons of Liberty. Good for base knowledge.

posted on May, 4 2016 @ 10:50 PM
I am enjoying Turn, but Alexander Hamilton is missing and they take cheap shots at General Charles Lee. Charles Lee was the soldier best qualified to be the Commander of the Free American Army.

Lee believed in a guerrilla war strategy, called then "Petite Guerre", which would have prevented war debt and the precedent of a standing army. The guerrilla army would be all volunteer, elect its officers, and fight a war of attrition against the Red Coats. Eventually coastal artillery would have sunk an unacceptable number of British Warships or the English would have run out of money.

The war debt was most of the reason for the Federal Governmnt. The Fed promised to pay all of the colonies' war debts.

posted on May, 5 2016 @ 02:20 AM
Ex, I'll try and find those online as I don't have Netflix or whatever.

Semi, thanks, I do get that Hamilton is missing as that would make the money thing interesting to us down the rabbit hole but neither is, basically, anyone else. The whole cast are not those who started the war, just those who fought it. Or spied on it, in this case.

Charles Lee, though, you could perhaps enlighten me about what he was all about?

posted on May, 5 2016 @ 12:16 PM
a reply to: TheSpanishArcher

People have really mixed feelings about General Lee. Some think he could have done much better than Washington. Others, in hindsight, look down on him for retreating at the Battle of Monmouth and bad-mouthing Washington.

posted on May, 5 2016 @ 10:23 PM
a reply to: TheSpanishArcher

Murray Rothbard introduces Charles Lee here

If the choice of commander-in-chief of the Continental Army had been made on the basis of ability, genius, military experience, erudition, ardor for the cause of liberty, or for a combination of these qualities, this crucial appointment would have gone not to Washington but to one Charles Lee. But political considerations ruled, and Lee, a native of Britain, had no political base. Mere merit was submerged, though some delegates did favor Lee for the job.
George Washington and Charles Lee: No greater contrast could be found in their confrontation, and no more fateful choice of appointment could have been made, a decision which would bear heavily on the future course of the history of the United States. Washington, a halfeducated, blunt, practical man, a highly conservative landed oligarch of Virginia, orthodox in his military and political views, a loser in his few previous battles, longed to become the head of a regular state army on the conventional European model. Lee, a brilliant, articulate, learned, dédassé, English intellectual, an ardent, witty, pungent individualist, personally and politically dedicated to liberty and deeply influenced by libertarian thought, an authentic military genius, had seen a great deal of fighting on the European model and saw its deficiencies for the American scene. It was almost inevitable that two such deeply contrasting figures (Lee was chosen by Congress as third in command of the army, after Washington and Ward) would come to an irreparable clash. That clash came to pass, and since the seemingly inescapable verdict of history was to give the victory to Washington, Lee sank into disgrace and oblivion from which historians are only now beginning to rescue him.* page 34

I must apologize for my lack of complete knowledge of the literature about Lee. I have just started reading the only readily available book sympathetic to him.

IN NOVEMBER 1774, A PAMPHLET ADDRESSED TO THE PEOPLE of America was published in Philadelphia and reprinted in other major cities in the colonies and in London. It forcefully articulated American rights and liberties and allayed the fears of many colonists of British military power. The pamphlet contended that the crisis that had unfolded between Britain and America since the end of the French and Indian War in 1763 was not simply a dispute between a mother country and her colonies. Instead, it was part of the ongoing universal struggle for human freedom. To further their cause, Americans needed to stand together, prepared to declare and fight for their independence. The pamphlet’s author assured his readers that by emancipating themselves from Britain’s imperial shackles, Americans would inspire people who suffer under tyrannical governments to “demolish those badges of slavery” that stifle the natural human aspiration to be free. The author of this radical and strikingly optimistic pamphlet was not Thomas Paine— nor was it John Adams, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, or Benjamin Franklin. It was Charles Lee, a former British army officer turned revolutionary, a man who became one of the earliest supporters of American independence and who served as George Washington’s second-in-command and military confidant during the early years of the Revolution. Lee fought on and off the battlefield for expanded democracy, freedom of conscience, individual liberties, human rights, and for the formal education of women. While many revolutionaries shared Lee’s commitment to independence, few shared his radical outlook. Fewer still shared his confidence that the American Revolution should be waged— and could be won— primarily by militia (or irregulars) rather than with a centralized regular army.

Papas, Phillip (2014-04-11). Renegade Revolutionary: The Life of General Charles Lee (Kindle Locations 71-83). NYU Press. Kindle Edition.

The author Phillip Papas implies that Lee was some variety of manic depressive. Lee enjoyed arts and literature, and had socialized with historical stars of the Enlightenment, in addition to Benjamin Franklin.

He frequented the city’s coffeehouses, taverns, inns, and salons and engaged in political debates and discussions with intellectuals and politicians such as Catherine Macaulay, Irish statesman and MP Edmund Burke, and Dr. Samuel Johnson.

Papas, Phillip (2014-04-11). Renegade Revolutionary: The Life of General Charles Lee (Kindle Locations 1284-1285). NYU Press. Kindle Edition.

On the other hand, the American Indians named him "boiling water" from his experience with them in the French and Indian War. Lee was reputed to be inpolitically honest. Perhaps Lee was testing the system. At any rate his statements, criticism, and actions towards his military superiors got him labeled as a loose cannon. Lee missed out on being a British General because of his acute observations and complaints about his commanders during his years in the French and Indian War in North America.

In Europe, at the end of the Seven Years War Lee led a mission against the Spanish supply base at Vila Velha. The base was supporting the Franco-Spanish invasion of Portugal. Lee successfully took the base and the Franco-Spanish offensive collapsed, ending the invasion of Portugal in sync with the end of the Seven Years War through out Europe. Lee's operation was a commando type light infantry hit and run mission, the type of mission that Lee would have used against the British in the Revolutionary War.

By all accounts I've read so far, Lee did retreat from the British Army. I suspect using a Statist force was against his morality. Perhaps Lee was trying to acquire that force for his own plans, or else Lee thought that any European style battle was a counter productive precedent against small government and liberty.

Hamilton was involved in the spy work, both as Washington's aide de camp and as an intelligence officer.

edit on 5-5-2016 by Semicollegiate because: (no reason given)

edit on 5-5-2016 by Semicollegiate because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 24 2016 @ 03:09 AM
Sorry, a few episodes behind.

Ok, this has become all about the women, with all their special charms. It's funny in warfare how the women are vastly underrated.

I haven't had the time to analyze Lee but I haven't forgotten this thread.

Give a man a view of a nice pair of tits, and he's a fool. The way it's portrayed here seems accurate but I'm unsure of the influence of women back then. I don't think men trusted them as much as portrayed.

posted on Jun, 3 2016 @ 03:02 AM
I like the show, but I'm getting a bit fed up how America always portrays what was at the time a bunch of traitors as the heroes and the legitimate authority as the evil, sadistic, maniacal, bad guys

I get how we brits could be seen as bad guys, but the rest is a bit too much.

Yes, Simcoe is an ass, who won't be dying to please the audience.

posted on Jun, 15 2016 @ 07:38 PM
About General Lee's "Retreat" at the Battle of Monmouth

Lee's command moved forward to observe the British Army's march back from Philadelphia to New York and exploit any loose ends or outlying troops. As it turned out the British were slow to get started in historically hot ( over 100 degrees F ) July weather. The entire British Army in North America was just beginning to leave its bivouac. Lee's command was out gunned in cannons, out equipped in bayonets, and out numbered in cavalry.

Lee attempted to see if surprise would allow a first blow, but the British were ready to go. So Lee withdrew, contesting the ground by a fighting retreat that allowed Washington, back in the rear, enough time to set up artillery on a defensive position a few miles away. Lee was the last soldier to leave the field and the pursuing British were subsequently stopped dead at the defensive position.

Lee was not an oligarch, Washington was an oligarch. Lee was removed from command at the first opportunity.

new topics

top topics


log in