Sept 13, 2021 - 7:30 P.M.
Speaker: Charles Dewey, Author, Historical Interpreter Fort Lee Historic Park
Topic: “Alexander Clough: Forgotten Patriot Spymaster”
Television series and popular books such as TURN: Washington’s Spies and Alexander Rose’s Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring recreate and immortalize the exploits of intelligence officers and spymasters such as Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge, Lt. Caleb Brewster, and Maj. John André. In the late summer of 1778, Washington’s intelligence services did provide him with reports of British activity in New York City. However, the most reliable source was not Tallmadge but another talented, yet mysterious major named Alexander Clough.
Clough’s life before the Revolutionary War is unknown. He never married or had children. No portraits of Clough exist; however, a Philadelphia woman named Sally Wister described him in her journal as “pretty.” Clough’s obituary printed in James Rivington’s Royal Gazette indicates that he was a “native of Ireland, formerly an adjutant in the Norwich militia, then a non-commissioned officer in the horse guards.” In addition to his prior service in the British cavalry, Clough was a skilled swordsman. Captain Alexander Graydon of the Continental Army recalled in his memoirs:
I met with Major Clow (or Clough) of Colonel Baylor’s dragoons who had been a pupil of Angelo and others of the best masters in Europe. He soon convinced me that I had still much room for improvement; though he was pleased to assure me that I was by far the best fencer he had met with in America and far superior to Benson, a fencing master in New York.
October 4, 2021
Speaker: Eric Nelsen, Historian, Author
Topic: “A Civil War Story of the Men and Their Families from Alpine who Served the Union – Part II"
November 1, 2021
Speaker: Doc Bayne, Historian, Educator
Topic: "History of Iona Island”