Nathan Hale was a soldier for the Continental Army during the American Revolution.
During the summer of 1776, General George Washington knew the British would invade New York City because capturing the harbors would provide a drop off area for supplies. But he didn't know where the invasion would take place, so he needed a spy to go behind enemy lines and report on troop movements. Nathan Hale was the only one who volunteered.
Just a few days after he entered enemy territory, New York City was captured by the British. A British soldier in a tavern recognized Hale despite his disguise and turned him in. He was captured and found guilty of being a spy, which was punishable by death.
On September 22, 1776, Hale was put to death by hanging. There is no official record of his last speech, and it isn't even clear if he said these exact words, but he said something along the lines of:
"I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country"
The different accounts of his death describe him using different words, but they all have that same idea.
Nathan Hale is considered one of the great heroes of the American Revolution.
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