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TALLMADGE, Benjamin

TALLMADGE, Benjamin
Image courtesy of Library of Congress
1754–1835

Biography

TALLMADGE, Benjamin, (father of Frederick Augustus Tallmadge), a Representative from Connecticut; born in Brookhaven, Long Island, N.Y., February 25, 1754; moved to Litchfield, Conn., in 1783; was graduated from Yale College in 1773; superintendent of Wethersfield High School 1773-1776; commissioned lieutenant in the Continental Line June 20, 1776; promoted to captain of dragoons December 15, 1776, major April 7, 1777, and colonel September 5, 1779; was appointed postmaster at Litchfield, Conn., in 1792; first president of the Phoenix Branch Bank; treasurer and later president of the Society of the Cincinnati; elected as a Federalist to the Seventh and to the seven succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1801-March 3, 1817); declined to be a candidate for renomination; engaged in mercantile pursuits and was an importer; also interested in banking; died in Litchfield, Conn., March 7, 1835; interment in the East Cemetery.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Litchfield Historical Society

Litchfield, CT
Papers: 1778-1864, 2.08 linear feet. The Benjamin Tallmadge Collection documents the personal life and professional career of Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge through his correspondence as well as his legal, financial, and personal papers. The collection contains Tallmadge's duplicate original letters to George Washington concerning military operations and Tallmadge's operations of the secret service during the Revolutionary War. Also included are two original letters from Washington to Tallmadge concerning military administration. The letters also record Tallmadge's business activities after the war, especially in his correspondence with his son-in-law, John Paine Cushman. In addition, legal documents, accounts, and bills and receipts illuminate Tallmadge's business ventures, especially his purchases and sales of land in Vt., N.Y, Mass., and Ohio, with references to the Ohio Company and Western Reserve. Moreover, his letters to Cushman reveal their opinions on national politics and government, especially during Cushman's own service in Congress. Meanwhile, his letters to his daughter, Maria (Tallmadge) Cushman, document the religious revival movement in New England, in which Tallmadge took great interest. The collection also contains correspondence and business papers of Tallmadge's son, Frederick Augustus Tallmadge, which primarily concern Frederick Tallmadge's publication of his father's memoirs. Persons represented include Julius Deming (1755-1838), Charles-René-Dominique Sochet Destouches (1727-1794), Timothy Dwight (1752-1817), Asahe, Hooker (1762-1813), and Tapping Reeve (1744-1823).
Papers: In the Alice Wolcott Collection, ca. 1740-1893, approximately 300 items. Correspondents include Benjamin Tallmadge.

American Philosophical Society Library

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: In the Nathanael Greene Papers, 1777-1780, 4 linear feet. Persons represented include Benjamin Tallmadge.

Boston Public Library

Boston, MA
Papers: 4 letters.

Brooklyn Historical Society

Brooklyn, NY
Papers: October 15, 1782. 1 letter. Finding aid in repository.

Connecticut Historical Society

Hartford, CT
Papers: 1817, 2 pages. A letter from Benjamin Tallmadge to an unidentified recipient written on November 29, 1817. In the letter, Benjamin Tallmadge requests the recipient to obtain signatures on a petition to Congress to increase remuneration to Revolutionary officers and return it to Ebenezer Huntington in Washington.
Papers: In the John Cotton Smith Personal, Legal and Political Papers; 1788-1845, 5 linear feet. Correspondents include Benjamin Tallmadge.
Papers: In the Jeremiah Wadsworth Business and Commissary Records, 1759-1847, 24 linear feet. Other authors include Benjamin Tallmadge.
Papers: In the Oliver Wolcott Papers, 1614-1880, 59 boxes. Correspondents include Benjamin Tallmadge.

Cornell University
Carl A. Kroch Library

Ithaca, NY
Papers: In Washington Irving's Life of George Washington, Volume X, Miscellany, 1764-1805, 81 items. Persons represented include Benjamin Tallmadge.

Connecticut State Library

Hartford, CT
Papers: 1781-1814. 7 items. Includes letters written as a Congressman regarding political matters. Index in repository.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Microfilm: 1774-1840, 1 microfilm reel. The microfilm is from a scrapbook still in private hands.
Papers: 1781-1782, 2 letters. A letter from Benjamin Tallmadge to Peter Colt written on August 18, 1781. In the letter, Benjamin Tallmadge writes concerning naval affairs during the Revolution and mentions John Paul Jones. Another letter from Benjamin Tallmadge to Jeremiah Wadsworth was written on March 24, 1782. In this letter, Benjamin Tallmadge writes about British military activities on Long Island, N.Y.
Papers: In the Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau Papers, 1777-1794, approximately 1,800 items. Correspondents include Benjamin Tallmadge.

Litchfield Historical Society

Litchfield, CT
Papers: In the Deming, Perkins, and Quincy families papers, 1762-1950, 30 linear feet. Persons represented include Benjamin Tallmadge.

Massachusetts Historical Society

Boston, MA
Papers: In the Huntington-Wolcott Papers, ca. 1698-1911 3 boxes, 2 volumes, and 2 folders. Correspondents include Benjamin Tallmadge.
Papers: In the Tallmadge Family Papers, 1756-1927, 1 box. The collection contains a few papers of Benjamin Tallmadge including letters to his daughter and a copy of his autobiography containing an extensive discussion of his Revolutionary War military career.

The Morgan Library
Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts

New York, NY
Papers: 1779, 1 item. A letter from Benjamin Tallmadge to General Nathanael Greene written on August 26, 1779. In the letter, Benjamin Tallmadge writes concerning troop movements on Long Island.
Papers: 1809, 1 item. A letter from Benjamin Tallmadge to Samuel M. Hopkins written on September 28, 1809. In the letter, Benjamin Tallmadge writes concerning the estate of Oliver Phelps.
Papers: 1820, 1 item. A letter from Benjamin Tallmadge to Samuel M. Hopkins written on July 19, 1820. In the letter, Benjamin Tallmadge writes concerning a place for his son who wishes to become a farmer.

New Jersey Historical Society

Newark, NJ
Papers: In the Revolutionary War Military Records, 1776-1783, 8 volumes. Other authors include Benjamin Tallmadge.

New-York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: Business papers (1783-1836) in Tallmadge family papers. 3 boxes.

New York Public Library
Research Library

New York, NY
Papers: N.d., 193 pages. Personal reminiscences of Major Benjamin Tallmadge of scenes in the Revolutionary War, in which he took a prominent part.

New York State Archives

Albany, NY
Papers: In the Fraunces Tavern Museum. Manuscript Collection, ca. 1704-1974, approximately 500 items. Persons represented include Benjamin Tallmadge.

Princeton University
Department of Rare Books and Special Collections

Princeton, NJ
Papers: 1756-1846, 0.6 cubic foot. The papers of Benjamin Tallmadge relate mostly to the Revolutionary War, including correspondence with George Washington during his involvement in the secret service, a photostat of his code used then, letters to David Humphreys, Timothy Pickering, and William B. Sprague, and letters and newspaper extracts dealing with the Major Andre affair. Also present are family letters, a deed signed by William Floyd (a signer of the Declaration of Independence), documents signed by Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Tallmadge's will, a diary of his journey to Marietta in 1795, photographs of family portraits, and miscellaneous material.

Society of the Cincinnati Library

Washington, DC
Papers: In the Society of the Cincinnati Manuscripts Collection, ca. 1760-1900, 6 linear feet. Persons represented include Benjamin Tallmadge.

Stony Brook University Libraries
Special Collections and University Archives

Stony Brook, NY
Papers: 1779, 4 pages. A letter from George Washington to General Benjamin Tallmadge written on September 24, 1779. In the belief that advance knowledge of British troop movements was essential, Washington instructs Benjamin Tallmadge, the Revolutionary Army's spymaster in New York on the management of Robert Townsend, a key agent active in New York City and Setauket, Long Island, and reveals certain espionage techniques used in gathering and transmitting intelligence.
Papers: 1781, 1 leaf. A letter from Benjamin Tallmadge to an unidentified recipient written on July 8, 1781. At the time, Tallmadge was principal director of George Washington's secret service from 1778-1787. This brief note does not appear to have a coded message, however some believe that it does.

Western Reserve Historical Society

Cleveland, OH
Papers: In the May Family Papers, 1752-1875, 6.25 linear feet. Other authors include Benjamin Tallmadge. A register is available in the repository.
Papers: In the Elijah Wadsworth Family Papers, 1792-1868, 1.0 linear foot. Other authors include Benjamin Tallmadge. A register is available in the repository.
Papers: In the Elisha Whittlesey Papers, 1811-1863, 2.4 linear feet. Other authors include Benjamin Tallmadge.

Yale University Library
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

New Haven, CT
Papers: In the General Collection Manuscript Miscellany, ca. 1600-ongoing, amount unknown. Persons represented include Benjamin Tallmadge.
Papers: In the Rochambeau Papers and Rochambeau Family Cartographic Archive, N.d., 49.8 linear feet. Persons represented include Benjamin Tallmadge.

Yale University Library
Manuscripts and Archives

New Haven, CT
Papers: In the Hooker Family Papers, 1623-1929, 7.5 linear feet. Persons represented include Benjamin Tallmadge.
Papers: In the Woolsey Family Papers, 1750-1950, 38 linear feet. Persons represented include Benjamin Tallmadge.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Hall, Charles Swain. Benjamin Tallmadge, Revolutionary Soldier and American Businessman. New York: Columbia University Press, 1943.

Seth, Ronald. In Some of My Favorite Spies, pp. 27-45. Philadelphia: Chilton, 1968.

Tallmadge, Benjamin. Address to the Connecticut Society of Cincinnati on the death of George Washington. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Privately printed, 1885.

------. Memoir of Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge. New York: T. Holman, book and job printer, 1858. Reprint, edited by Henry Phelps Johnston, New York: Gilliss Press, 1904.

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