Daniel Bissell (December 30, 1754 – August 21, 1824) was a soldier and spy for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He was the son of Daniel and Elizabeth Bissell and was born in East Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut in 1754. On April 1, 1776, signed on for the duration as a corporal in the 5th Connecticut Regiment. He became a sergeant on September 1, 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 August 14, 1781, to September 29, 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.
During the Quasi War with France, Bissell served in the US Army. He was commissioned a First Lieutenant in the 16th Infantry Regiment on March 3, 1799 and was discharged on June 15, 1800.
Bissell died in 1824 in Richmond, New York, where he is buried in Allens Hill Cemetery. His tombstone is inscribed, “In memory of Daniel Bissell, Who died August 21st, 1824, Aged 70 Years, He had the confidence of Washington and served under him.”
Sergeant Bissell is not the same person as Brigadier General Daniel Bissell who served in the War of 1812.