Captain Nathan Hale of the 19th Regiment of the Continental Army was one of the first known American spies of the Revolutionary War. In September 1776, he was captured while gathering intelligence behind enemy lines before the Battle of Harlem Heights. When it was discovered that he was carrying incriminating documents, British General William Howe had him executed. Legend holds that when 21-year-old Hale was asked if he had any last words, he replied with the now-famous words, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

(via Battlefields.org

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