The New Student's Reference Work/Andre, John, Major
Andre (än-drā), John, Major, a British officer in the Revolutionary War, hanged as a spy at Tappan, N. Y., October 2, 1780. He was born in London in 1751 and came to America at the age of age of 23. He became aide-de-camp to General Grey and afterward to Sir Henry Clinton, who promoted him to the rank of major and made him adjutant-general of the British army in North America. He soon entered into correspondence with General Benedict Arnold, with the object of betraying the American cause to Clinton. In August, 1780, Arnold took command of West Point, on the Hudson River, then the strongest and most important post in the United States. He proposed to begin his treason by giving up this fortress to the British. He asked for a personal interview with André, who went up the Hudson and landed one dark night from the war sloop Vulture, about six miles below Stony Point. Here he met Arnold, who gave him a passport under the name of John Anderson, which allowed him to pass the American lines, and also six papers in his own handwriting directing the attack on West Point. These papers André concealed in his stockings, and then started in disguise to ride to New York, for the sloop had been forced to return down the Hudson. At Tarrytown he was stopped by three armed men, to whom he declared himself a British officer, supposing them to be Tories. They belonged to the American side, however, and immediately searched him and found his secret papers. He offered bribes, but they were refused, and he was taken to Tappan, the headquarters of the American army, where he was condemned to be hanged as a spy. Every effort was made to save him, but the rules of war demanded his death. He was hanged in the full uniform of a British officer, calling upon the crowd to witness that he died like a brave man. His talents and the sunshine of his disposition caused him to be mourned by both British and Americans.