Daniel Bissell


Daniel Bissell (30 December 1754 – 5 August 1824) was a soldier and spy for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He was born to Daniel and Elizabeth Bissell in East Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut in 1754 and enlisted on 7 July 1775, as a fifer in the 8th Connecticut Regiment, and on 1 April 1776, signed on for the duration as a corporal in the 5th Connecticut Regiment. He became a sergeant on 1 September 1777, and ended the war with the 2nd Connecticut Regiment.

Under the direct orders of General George Washington, Bissell posed as a deserter in the city of New York from 14 August 1781, to 29 September 1782. He realized that to get the information Washington needed, he would have to join the British Army: for 13 months, he served in the British Infantry Corps led by Benedict Arnold.

Bissell memorized everything he was able to find out and then made his way back to friendly lines where he was placed under arrest until Washington verified his story. Sergeant Bissell was able to furnish valuable information including detailed maps he drew of the enemy's positions. He was to become the last recipient of the Badge of Military Merit in June 1783, one of only three awarded by Washington himself.

The award was lost in a house fire in 1813, and Bissell died in Richmond, New York, in 1824. He is buried at Allens Hill Cemetery in Richmond, New York. His tombstone is inscribed, "Daniel Bissell, Died August 5, 1824, Aged 70 Years, He had the confidence of Washington and served under him."