Have you ever wondered what it could be like to be a “Bond Girl”? Well, two women knew what it was like to BE Bond—centuries before the British sex-pot spy was ever created!
During the American Revolution, a spy operation called the Culper Spy Ring functioned from 1778 to 1780 from NYC (which, at the time, was occupied completely by the British) all the way through Connecticut and west to none other than General George Washington’s headquarters at Newburgh, NY.
The key spies operating the Culper Ring were Benjamin Tallmadge (Washington’s Intelligence Chief), Abraham Woodhull, Robert Townsend, John Jay, Caleb Brewster, and two women: Anna Strong and one known only as “Agent 355”.
Anna Strong would receive and distribute encoded messages to fellow members of the Culper Ring by hanging a black petticoat on her wash line when a message was ready. She would also include different colors of handkerchiefs to signal where and when the messages would be delivered. Go, Anna!
There is much speculation, however, to the identity of Agent 355 but there is no denying her involvement or importance in the Culper Ring.
Agent 355, it is believed, was a member of higher society being born into a wealthy, British-supporting family. She lived in New York City and had easy access to members of British society as well as British officers.
Whenever she could, Agent 355 listened in on conversations between the officers—in that time, men held the belief that women were to have the same political views as their husbands (or, if unmarried, fathers) so they took no special precaution to censure their conversations. Because of this and her “beguiling charm”, Agent 355 was able to pass on sensitive information through the Culper Ring to General Washington. She is even credited with assisting in the outing of Benedict Arnold as a traitor!
Agent 355–a woman on a mission!