Below, you will see events that have already been mentioned in TURN plotted on a historically accurate timeline.  Some of the dates might surprise you!  This timeline will be constantly updated to reflect the major historical events depicted in the show as each episode airs.  Suggestions for items to add to the timeline are welcome, as long as they are events that have already been discussed in the show!

TURN Historical Timeline, version 4.1. All events referenced in Season 4 are in green. Click to enlarge.


It’s not unusual for movies and TV shows to heavily adapt a real-life timeline of events to fit their own goals and time constraints. Historical timelines are often compressed or shuffled around in order to create a more dramatic pace suitable for a modern audience. Therefore, it’s reasonable to expect that a show like TURN will contain some “chronological flexibility.” (Read more about TURN’s quasi-historical TV timeline here.)

Below is a text list of the events seen on the above timeline infographic, along with links (when available) to sites where you can read more about each particular event.

Timeline Events:

Dec. 1753           Marriage of Richard & Mary (Townsend) Hewlett in Hempstead, NY

Nov. 1760           Marriage of Selah Strong & Anna (Smith) Strong

Nov. 1775            Lord Dunmore, royal governor of Virginia, issues a proclamation decreeing slaves & servants of Virginian rebels will be granted freedom if they take up arms for the King.

May 1776             Creation of British company of Black Pioneers, under the command of Capt. George Martin

June 1776            Thomas Hickey, a member of Washington’s personal guard, is executed for “mutiny, sedition, and treachery.”

Aug. 1776            Formation of the Queen’s American Rangers, headed by Robert Rogers

.                               Battle of Long Island: Benjamin Tallmadge’s brother William (not Samuel) captured and imprisoned on British ship Jersey, dying before the end of the year.

Sept. 1776           Nathan Hale hanged as a spy by the British in New York City

Nov. 1776            Fall of Continental Army Forts Washington and Lee

Dec. 1776            Capture of General Charles Lee

.                              Creation of 2nd (Continental) Light Dragoons, by act of Congress

.                              Washington crosses the Delaware/Battle of Trenton

Feb. 1777            Washington formally hires Nathaniel Sackett to manage intelligence gathering efforts

Aug. 1777            Battle of Setauket

Sep. 1777            British occupation of Philadelphia under General Howe begins

Oct. 1777             British General Burgoyne surrenders after defeat at Saratoga, NY. American General Benedict Arnold severely injures his leg as a result of a battle would obtained at Saratoga.

.                              John Graves Simcoe takes command of the Queen’s Rangers

Dec. 1777            Capture of Selah Strong (charged with treasonable correspondence with His Majesty’s enemies)

May 1778            The Meschianza, a huge, lavish party organized by John Andre in honor of Gen. William Howe, takes place in Philadelphia.

June 1778          Battle of Monmouth

.                             Ann Bates begins obtaining intelligence for the British, infiltrating Continental Army camps by posing as a peddler

Aug. 1778            Formation of Culper Spy Ring

Oct. 1778            Execution of John Herring for stealing

Feb. 1779            John Graves Simcoe writes his famous Valentine’s Day poem — not to Anna Strong, but to Miss Sarah Townsend of Oyster Bay, NY

Apr. 1779            Major John Andre appointed by Sir Henry Clinton as head of British Intelligence

.                             Marriage of Benedict Arnold (age 38) and Peggy Shippen (age 18)

July 1779           Battle of Stony Point, NY

Sept. 1779          John Andre, carrying secret information out-of-uniform, is captured and charged with espionage. Upon hearing the news, Benedict Arnold flees West Point and escapes into British custody aboard the HMS Vulture.

Oct. 1779            John Andre is hanged as a spy by the Continental Army in Tappan, NY.

.                             Capture of John Graves Simcoe by New Jersey militia

Mar. 1780         Peggy and Benedict Arnold’s first child, Edward Shippen Arnold, is born

Oct. 1780           Creation of [Benedict] Arnold’s American Legion, a loyalist militia regiment

Nov. 1780         Benjamin Tallmadge leads his dragoons across Long Island Sound and, over the course of 24 hours, captures Fort St. George in Mastic, NY and burns the British Army’s massive stockpile of hay in Coram, NY — all without a single American casualty

Dec. 1780          John Champe’s elaborate scheme to kidnap Arnold is foiled by Arnold’s sudden decision to leave NYC for Chesapeake Bay

Jan. 1781           Benedict Arnold raids Richmond, VA

.                              Mutinies of the Pennsylvania & New Jersey lines in the Continental Army

May 1781           Washington and Rochambeau meet in Wethersfield, CT to plan the Yorktown Campaign

Nov. 1784           Marriage of Abraham Woodhull & Mary (Smith) Woodhull

Oct. 1788           Death of Judge Richard Woodhull in Setauket, age 76

Late 1780s         King George III first exhibits signs of mental instability

1803                     John Hawkins patents a letter-copying device he calls a “polygraph.” Thomas Jefferson acquires one in 1804 which can be still be seen today at Monticello.

1805                     Nathaniel Sackett dies, age 68 (after living a rather full and active life)

1923                     The modern-day polygraph, or “lie detector,” is invented



Things you will never see on this timeline because they never happened at ANY point in time:

The following list contains purely fictional people and events that have been invented for dramatic purposes in TURN. This list, of course, could be much longer, but for now I’ve limited it to the items people have asked about most frequently.

  • Engagement of Abraham Woodhull and Anna Smith
  • Abraham Woodhull attending King’s College
  • Any skirmish between Benjamin Tallmadge’s (2nd Continental) Dragoons and Robert Rogers’ (Queens) Rangers
  • Any historical information related to the following fictional people:
    .                – Thomas Woodhull (Abraham’s older brother)
    .                – Thomas Woodhull (Abraham’s infant son)
    .                – Abigail or Cicero (former slaves of the Strongs)
    .                – “Edmund” Hewlett (whose character is clearly modeled after Richard Hewlett)
  • Random, brutal executions at the hand of John Graves Simcoe (e.g. at the Battle of Setauket)



8 thoughts on “Timeline

    […] Timeline […]

    […] Timeline […]

    Heather Petersen said:
    June 27, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Mary Smith and Anna Smith, any relation?

    Debbie said:
    June 9, 2015 at 10:06 am

    I noticed one point in history missing from your timetable. Didn’t Benedict Arnold marry Peggy Shippen? Wasn’t the love affair between Maj. Andre and Peggy Shippen also something that never happened in life?

      spycurious responded:
      June 9, 2015 at 10:46 am

      You are quite correct! However, in a rather half-hearted attempt to avoid major historical “spoilers,” I only update the Timeline with historical events depicted/referenced in episodes of TURN that have already aired (although TURN deviates so sharply from the historical record I’m no longer convinced that actual history counts as a “spoiler” anymore). Technically, as of the end of Season 2, we haven’t seen any marriages yet! I will be updating the Timeline with events shown in the June 8 finale (e.g. the Battle of Monmouth) in the next day or two.

        Debbie said:
        June 9, 2015 at 5:48 pm

        Ah! You have a point about ‘spoilers’. Didn’t think of that but didn’t think history would be considered a ‘spoiler’. I am rather curious how they are going to spin the love affair of Peggy Shippen. It’s quite interesting they have her in an unwanted ‘relationship’ with Arnold considering the facts. It was this question that led me to your website.
        Keep up the good work! It’s nice to compare facts with fiction.

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