Nathan Hale has been declared as America’s first spy. Before his execution on September 22, 1776 he said:
“I regret that I have but one life to live for my country.”
Hale was captured by the British after setting out on a mission to gather information on the position of British troops. Disguised as a Dutch schoolmaster, he was captured while returning to the American side because of the incriminating papers he possessed. It is said that his cousin, a British sympathizer under Howe’s command, betrayed him. Howe ordered Hale’s death by hanging the following day of his capture.