In August of 1776 General George Washington realized his intelligence efforts had woefully underestimated the strength of the British forces hell bent on the conquest of New York in order to divide and conquer the rebellious colonies. By December, the British had assumed total control of New York and had beaten back Washington and his forces into Virginia.
The British found many loyalist New Yorkers eager to inform on Washington and his troops to gain the favor of the crown. Meanwhile Washington’s own spy network was crumbling with the arrest and execution of Captain Nathan Hale. Eventually Washington found Major Benjamin Tallmadge, who went to school with Nathan Hale, to lead the intelligence collection efforts in New York City.
Tallmadge recruited childhood friend Abraham Woodhull and over dinner convinced General Washington to trust him as the leader of a new spy ring in New York. Together the officers came up with the name “Culper” for the spy ring, devised from Culpeper County Virginia near Washington’s childhood home and where he worked as a surveyor in his youth. Woodhull began intelligence operations in the area adopting the alias “Samuel Culper Sr.” Later recruiting Robert Townsend to go by the alias “Samuel Culper Jr.” They recruited at least 4 others including an unknown/highly debated female “agent 355.” Secrecy was so strict not even Washington knew the names of many of the operatives making it difficult for historians to uncover some of the Culper mysteries.
The Culper ring became America’s first spy ring and collected intelligence on the British forces helping the revolutionaries beat back the British and win independence. The Culper ring pioneered and established much of modern spy-craft including dead drops, secret codes, invisible ink, and much more.
We chose the name Culper Precision to honor this heritage and inform our process when it comes to thinking outside the box and outside the norm in development of our products and services.