One of my favorite period TV series, Turn: Washington’s Spies, is starting season three this week, so Philadelphia seemed like a good topic for today’s Tuesday Travels. The series focuses on George Washington’s use of various spy rings to gain intelligence about the movements of the British army. Most of season one focused on New York and Long Island and the Culper spy ring, one of the most successful of the war effort. But in season two, some of the action moved to Philadelphia.
I spent a week in Philadelphia some years ago, just as I was beginning to write romance fiction, and I fell in love with the historic area of the city. I learned how Washington’s spy master, Major Benjamin Tallmadge, arrived in Philly ahead of the British invasion to set spy rings in place, in the event the city was captured, as it was in Sept. 1777. This incident became the basis for my first attempt at writing a historical romance. Like most first novels, it will never see the light of day, but I still love this period.
Philadelphia was the capital of the fledgling United States, so it was a tempting target for the British. The Continental Congress met at the State House, later dubbed Independence Hall. During the occupation, the British used upper floors of the State House as a prison for captured Continentals. The British soldiers were quartered in private homes, one of the practices mentioned in the list of complaints in the Declaration of Independence.
If you ever have a chance to visit Philadelphia, don’t miss seeing the Liberty Bell.
Has anyone else been watching Turn? If so, what do you think of the show?