On February 6, 1778, France formally allied with the American colonies when they signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance that brought much-needed military aid including troops, naval support, and supplies.

The Continental Congress convened for an official session in Lancaster’s County Courthouse, marking the one and only day the city held the title of the capital of the United States.

Hale volunteered to gather intelligence on British troop movements and strategies but was captured, swiftly subjected to a trial by British authorities, found guilty of spying, and condemned to death as an illegal combatant.