Download This Sample
This sample is exclusively for KidsKonnect members!
To download this worksheet, click the button below to signup for free (it only takes a minute) and you'll be brought right back to this page to start the download!
Sign Me Up
Nathan Hale (June 6, 1755 – September 22, 1776) was an American soldier who served as a spy for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. In 1776, he was sent to New York on a covert mission. However, the British discovered his identity and captured him. He was hanged the day after his arrest. It is said that before his hanging, he uttered this hauntingly patriotic line — “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country”.
Here are more interesting facts about Nathan Hale:
- Nathan was a middle child, the sixth in a brood of twelve. He is the second son of Richard and Elizabeth Hale, both devout Puritans. The couple instilled the virtues upheld by the Puritans in their children — piety, the importance of education and hard work.
- Nathan Hale was the great grandson of Reverend John Hale, a prominent figure during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. He was also the uncle of Edward Everett, orator, statesman and the other speaker at Gettysburg.
- Nathan went to Yale at the age of 14 with his brother Enoch. His family had hoped he’d become a minister after he graduate. However, he did not share the same ambition and opted to become a schoolteacher instead.
- The Hale brothers were part of the Linonia Society of Yale, a fraternity which debated topics in mathematics, astronomy, literature and relevant topics in those days like slavery and women’s rights.
- It was during his years in Yale that he met and befriended Benjamin Tallmadge. Tallmadge was his classmate and a fellow Linonian. This man greatly influenced his view and decision about military combat later on.
- Nathan Hale didn’t really have a clean school record while studying in Yale. Having had a good education before entering the institution, he found his lessons boring and had a penchant for trouble. He even received a letter from his father telling him to do away with his vices and focus on his schoolwork.
- Both he and Benjamin Tallmadge endeared themselves to women while In Yale when they debated in favor of women’s rights.
- Hale graduated from Yale in 1773 at the age of 18. He graduated first in his class. He went on to teach first in East Haddam and then, later on, in New London. As a teacher, he did not just teach regular classes but held classes for young women as well. He believed that both sexes should have equal rights when it comes to education, a view that was considered radical that time.
- When the American Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, Hale joined a militia in Connecticut. He rose up in ranks and became a first lieutenant in five months.
- But despite his rank, Hale did not take active participation in military combat even when his unit participated in the Boston Siege. Historians believe that it was either because he was unsure if he wanted to fight or not or he was hindered by his teaching position in New London which did not expire a few months after the siege. He did use his speaking talents in behalf of the military, however, and acted as a spokesperson for military action during community meetings.
- It was his Yale friend, Benjamin Tallmadge, who convinced him to take a more active role in army combat when he wrote to Nathan Hale after the Siege of Boston. “Was I in your condition, I think the more extensive service would be my choice. Our holy Religion, the honor of our God, a glorious country and a happy constitution is what we have to defend,” Tallmadge wrote in his letter.
- Inspired, Nathan accepted a commission as first lieutenant in the 7th Connecticut Regiment several days after he received his Tallmadge’s letter. The said regiment was under the command of Colonel Charles Webb of Stamford.
- Spring 1776 – the forces under General Washington moved to Manhattan Island to prevent the British from taking over New York City. With British invasion on the island looming over them, the general desperately wanted to know where the British will strike first. To find out, he needed a man willing to go behind the enemy lines . . . a spy.
- After the British emerged victorious in the Battle of Long Island and indeed captured New York City, Nathan Hale offered his services as a spy and report on the enemy troop’s movements on September 8, 1776. At that time, spying was frowned upon. Spies were considered illegal soldiers and if caught, faced immediate death. From the start, Nathan knew the risks but he still volunteered. As a matter of fact, he was the only one to do so.
- Hale was shipped off to New York City under the guise of a Dutch schoolteacher.
- On September 21, 1776, the Great New York Fire of 1776 happened which burned down a quarter of Lower Manhattan. The fire resulted to the rounding up of over 200 American partisans, including Nathan Hale, by the British. Accordingly, American saboteurs started the fire to keep New York from falling into the hands of their enemy. General Washington and the Congress denied this. Allegations fell on British soldiers instead who were said to have started the fire by acting without orders.
- Some accounts say that Major Robert Rogers, a member of the Queen’s Rangers, was able to recognize Nathan Hale despite his disguise. He then went on to carry a conversation with Hale luring him into believing he was a Patriot himself. Eventually, Rogers and his fellow Rangers captured Hale near Flushing Bay, Queens. But other accounts state that it was Samuel Hale, a cousin and a Loyalist, who turned Nathan Hale in to British hands.
- After incriminating evidences like maps and written information about the British troop’s movements were found in his person, Nathan Hale was tried for espionage and sentenced to die the next day. He was hanged morning of September 22, 1776. He was only 21.
- Nathan Hale’s last words are one of the most memorable lines of the American Revolution. However, while several accounts really did state he said something patriotic and impressive, there are no records of the actual impassioned speech/declaration he made before his death. The nationalistic line greatly attributed to him came from a second source, a certain American officer by the name of William Hull. Hull wasn’t a first-account witness of Hale’s death. The story was told to him by the British officer who was present when the American soldier was hanged — John Montresor.
- Nathan Hale’s body was left hanging for a few days and was buried in an unmarked grave after being taken down. His family never found his body. They just put up an empty grave monument in his honor. It stands today in Nathan Hale Cemetery in Connecticut.
- There are no existing pictures or portraits of Nathan Hale. His statues were based on idealized images of him, as what several people who knew him described him to be. A fellow soldier described Nathan as golden-haired with darker eyebrows, had blue eyes and was taller than the average [in those times].
- Nathan Hale wasn’t a very good spy. When he volunteered, he only met up with General Washington twice to go over his cover story and other details of his covert mission. The meetings were not general knowledge but they were not top secret either. The general did not go through great measures to keep things about Nathan Hale’s spy work under wraps. Hale’s death motivated Washington to not repeat the same mistakes he made. He pursued intelligence gathering again and this time, he set up the most successful spy ring in the American Revolutionary War — the Culper Spies. The spy ring blew the whistle on Benedict Arnold.
- Nathan Hale was declared the state hero of Connecticut in 1985.
Nathan Hale Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Nathan Hale Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about Nathan Hale who was an American soldier who served as a spy for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. In 1776, he was sent to New York on a covert mission.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- The American Revolutionary War Timeline
- Nathan Hale’s Family Tree
- Importance of Education
- Nathan Hale and Benjamin Tallmadge
- Issues Important to Nathan Hale
- Tallmadge’s Letter to Hale
- Nathan Hale, Spy, Part 1
- Nathan Hale, Spy, Part 2
- Patriotic Lines
- Nathan Hale Poetry
Link/cite this page
If you reference any of the content on this page on your own website, please use the code below to cite this page as the original source.
Link will appear as Nathan Hale Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 17, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.