|Date of birth:||February 25, 1754|
Setauket, New York,
United States of America
|Alias(es):||Culper code number:|
Captain (until 1777)
Major (1777 – present)
|Battles/wars:||American Revolutionary War|
• Ambush of Continental Army Connecticut Dragoons
• Ambush at Continental Army Connecticut safe house
• Battle of Setauket
• Battle of Monmouth
• Massacre at Lyme
• Siege of Yorktown
Samuel Tallmadge (d. 1776)
Sarah Livingston (d. 1778)
|Played by:||Seth Numrich|
|Seasons:||1, 2, 3, 4|
|First appearance:||Turn: Origins|
|Last appearance:||"Washington's Spies"|
|Appears in:||1 series, 4 seasons, 38 episodes, 2 comics|
Major Benjamin Tallmadge (born February 25, 1754) is an officer for the Continental Army and the 2nd Continental Light Dragoons that went on to become a spy for them during the American Revolutionary War. Joining together with childhood friends Caleb Brewster and Abraham Woodhull, the three formed what would later become the Culper Ring.
The organization received the aid and assistance of various others, including Abe's former lover, Anna Strong. The organization would report to Commander-in-Chief, George Washington. Tallmadge was a Captain until the official founding of the Culper Ring in 1777 and was promoted to Major soon after.
Not long after, Major Tallmadge led Continental forces during the Battle of Setauket to rescue his father, Caleb's uncle and several others. However, during the battle, Captain John Graves Simcoe, who Ben and Caleb had previously interrogated, killed Caleb's uncle. The battle ended soon after, with Ben managing to retrieve his father after Major Edmund Hewlett decided to release him and the others.
After the Battle of Setauket, General Washington ordered Major Tallmadge to deliver a full report on New York Harbor.
In his youth, Ben made close friends with Caleb Brewster and Abraham Woodhull. The three would look out for each other and do many things together, including escorting Abe to secretly gain a kiss from Anna Strong.
Benjamin graduated from Yale in 1773 and while there, became friends with schoolmate Nathan Hale.
American Revolutionary WarEdit
Beginning of the Culper RingEdit
Eventually, Ben enlisted in the Continental Army and by the autumn of 1776, he had achieved the rank of Captain. Early in the war, Ben discussed with Caleb the importance of a spy ring, to help defeat British forces.
In the autumn of 1776, due to intelligence given to them by General Charles Lee, British forces set a trap for Ben's regiment of dragoons. The trap was set by Robert Rogers and the Queen's Rangers, who killed all of Ben's men. Ben managed to survive the attack and killed a Queen's Ranger, taking his bonnet and coat as a disguise to escape. During this attempt, Rogers noticed that something was wrong and spotted Ben. Rogers and the Queen's Rangers attempted to shoot Ben, with Rogers wounding him with a shot.
Ben managed to escape and was treated for his wound, later meeting with General Charles Scott and informing him that Rogers and the Queen's Rangers were waiting for his regiment. Ben noted that they are enemies spies all over the place and advised Scott that the Continental Army required the same, requesting permission to hire a spy. Scott, however, denied the request.
Ben later set a ruse for Abraham Woodhull, in order to recruit him as a spy. Abe didn't agree, but he also didn't decline the offer. Abe later had Anna Strong has a black petticoat from her laundry line to signal Ben to that he had information. Ben sent Caleb as a courier, which surprised Abe, who had met with him earlier for a black market deal.
Abe warned Caleb of a British plan to raid a Continental safe house in Connecticut, which led to Ben and Caleb surprising the British troops and killing all of them, save for Captain John Graves Simcoe, an officer that Abe wanted killed in return for his assistance to Ben and Caleb. Caleb knocked Simcoe out, later expressing his regret at not killing him to Ben, who assured him that they would after getting intelligence from him.
Ben and Caleb interrogated Simcoe, with Caleb using physical force to retrieve intelligence from their prisoner.
Battle of SetuaketEdit
In 1777, General Washington ordered Ben to take a detachment of dragoon and militia forces north to rendezvous with General Arnold as a counter-feint against the British, while Continental forces shored up their southerly defenses on the Delaware.
However, after receiving word that his father and Caleb's uncle had been held prisoner in Setauket, Ben decided to instead lead his men to rescue their family.
Two months after the Battle of Setauket, in Morristown, Ben went to General Washington and informed him of “The Thoughts of a Freeman,” an anonymous anti-Washington letter that called for Washington’s removal and was reportedly written by General Charles Lee. Ignoring Ben’s concerns, Washington ordered Ben to engage Abe in New York and deliver a full report on New York Harbor before they moved camp or to recommend a new head of intelligence.
Ben then went to Caleb and ordered him to make contact with Abe. Caleb rejected the idea of following the command. He then expressed his regret at not killing Simcoe, which led to the death of his uncle and reminded Ben that it wasn’t safe to make contact with Abe until he signaled them.
Later, Major William Bradford read “The Thoughts of a Freeman” aloud to some of his fellow soldiers. Ben accused him of treason, starting a brawl. When Bradford’s fellow officers overwhelmed Ben, Caleb jumped in to help fight them off. Ben thanked Caleb, and admitted Caleb was right about the danger of signaling Abe.
Ben later attended an dinner among officers that included General Washington, General Lee and Major Bradford.
In 1773, Ben graduated from Yale. During his time there, he became friends with schoolmate Nathan Hale. Hale would go on to become a Captain in the Continental Army and was later hanged on September 22, 1776.
Ben is saved by Sarah in the episode Hearts and Minds after being shot by Lt. Gamble. While under her care, the two become intimate with one another, both being creatures dealing with deep loneliness. Only afterwards, Ben tells her he is in fact an officer in the Continental Army. This upsets Sarah, whose husband was killed by Rebels acting under orders from General Washington. While arguing, the two are interrupted by Gamble, who comes to Sarah's door in search for Ben. Although he lied to her, and is her enemy, Sarah does not give Ben up and replies that she hasn't seen anyone. After the men leave, Sarah tells Ben she never wants to see him again.
In the episode Judgement, Sarah is brought into the Rebel camp with other Tory partisans who have stormed a Continental patrol. Ben is shocked to see her. He wants to help, but Sarah refuses to sign her name to a document saying she is a Rebel spy; she will not die for a cause she does not believe in. Later, she is sexually assaulted by another Continental Officer, Lt. Randall, and while fighting back, he shoots her in the chest.
Ben is wildly upset when he discovers her dead. When he notices scratches on Lt. Randall's face, he attackes him in a fit of rage.
General George Washington first met Ben in 1776 after intelligence gathered by Ben, Lieutenant Caleb Brewster, Abraham Woodhull and Anna Strong made its way to General Washington, leading to a victory at the Battle of Trenton.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- "Ben is hard, but he's willing to admit when he's wrong in order to move forward."
- ―Benjamin Tallmadge, as described by Seth Numrich.
- "A childhood friend of Abe’s, Ben is a Continental Dragoon in Washington’s army. A fearless soldier and man of action, Ben is a natural born leader and the rock that keeps Abe and his friends together. Freshly appointed to a new intelligence detail, he’s the direct line from General Washington to the nascent spy ring he oversees. He is a Yale-educated cavalryman who is a passionate believer in the Patriot cause -- but even Ben’s unshakable resolve will be tested by the spy game."
- ―Official description
- "Ben is a Continental Dragoon in Washington’s army and serves as a liaison between General Washington and the agents in the Culper Ring, his childhood friends. A Yale-educated cavalryman and passionate believer in the patriot cause, Ben’s unshakable resolve was tested last season as the stakes escalated and he found his loyalty torn between his friends and his Commander-in-Chief. After disobeying a direct order from Washington, Ben led a daring rescue raid on Setauket, saving his father and other patriots from being hung by Captain Simcoe. Now Ben must return to Washington to face the consequences of defying him."
- ―Official description
- "A Yale-educated cavalryman, Ben is George Washington's head of intelligence. A true-blue patriot, Ben recruited his childhood friend Abe into the Culper Ring and oversees it from the Continental Army's camp. In Season Two, Ben kept faith with Abe, even when Abe's imprisonment made it seem like the Culper Ring was dead. Ben's loyalty was rewarded when Abe's intelligence exposed a plot to kill Washington by traitors in the patriot camp, and Ben was able to save his Commander-in-Chief. This season, Ben is tested in new ways, as he comes to realize his fellow patriots aren't all good, and his enemies aren't all evil. In particular, his friend and hero Benedict Arnold threatens to unravel everything Ben has fought for when he defects to the British side."
- ―Official description