Disguised as a Dutch schoolmaster, Nathan Hale set out on his mission on September 12. For a week he gathered information on the position of British troops, but was captured while returning to the American side. Because of incriminating papers Hale possessed, the British knew he was a spy. It is said that his cousin, a British sympathizer under Howe's command, betrayed him. Howe ordered young Hale to be hanged the following day. That's when Hale, who gave his life for his country, said those famous words.