Overview of Chapter Ten
Dr. George Smyth

Impish and devious, Dr. George Smyth, began the War of Independence as surgeon in a rebel hospital in Albany, New York. Unknown to Patriots he was sending secret dispatches to British military leaders in Canada and he soon brought his brother, wife and sons into his spy business. Among his schemes were a plan to kidnap American General Philip Schuyler and the burning of boat of the famous privateer, John Paul Jones. After the war and his career as a fifth columnist ended, his abridged name was lent to the town of Smiths Falls on the Rideau River in what is now eastern Ontario.


Dr. George Smyth of Fort Edward, New York left Ireland in 1770 to pursue a medical career in the colonies. By all accounts, he was a superb doctor whose skills were in great demand by the time the Revolutionary War broke out in the second half of the decade.

Before long, Smyth was applying his intellect to more than tending injured Loyalists: he became a British frontier spy providing their northern army in Quebec with much-needed intelligence on movements of American regulars and rebels New York colony. He was captured, imprisoned and escaped to become the second in command of the British Army’s Northern Department’s Spy Corps.