QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2004-03 > 1078956931
Subject: [Q-R] Excerpt Of History
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 2004 17:15:44 EST
"During the Revolutionary War years of 1775-1781, patriotic women did their
ingenious best to thwart the Brits. In places such as New York, where the
Redcoats occupied U.S. territory for long periods, women played a key role in
Because Long Island linked New York and Connecticut, it became the
epicenter for complex spying operations. One of the most organized had Anna Strong as
a strategic member.
By happy chance, this matrons property of Strong's Neck was close to water
channels. Her job, to read lantern signal lights each night. And to signal
back by day, using the innocent appearing device of garments hanging from the
washline. Strong communicated where messages awaited, and in which inlet they
were hidden. A black petticoat plus a number of white handkerchiefs on Anna's
line might mean, "There's a message in the inlet five." ( Or it could
also mean the flu season had hit )
Going about their everyday activities, taking eats and supplies to
relatives, and hanging out laundry to dry, Anna and other operatives carried out
assignments. For once, being underestimated was a blessing. Females could run
documents in and out of New York City much more easily than men could.
Homey as these spy doings might seem, it was dangerous work. One of Anna's
cohorts, known only as spy 355, was captured by the Redcoats in 1779. For her,
and other prisoners on the British vessel "Jersey," imprisonment was a one
way trip, a sacrifice still largely unacknowledged."