Robert Tomes.

Battles of America by sea and land. With biographies of naval and military commanders (Volume 01) online

. (page 99 of 126)
Online LibraryRobert TomesBattles of America by sea and land. With biographies of naval and military commanders (Volume 01) → online text (page 99 of 126)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

three times. His first wife was the mother of Miss Maria
Edgeworth ; his second spouse was Miss Sneyd, Andre s
"dear Honora;" and his third was Elizabeth Sneyd, whom



ower of only twenty-six, and the father of
the celebrated Miss Edge worth.* Andre
continued to cherish a sentimental affec
tion for his lost beauty ; and his corre
spondence with Anna Seward/j" of L itch-
field, and of Johnsonian celebrity, who
was a bosom friend of Miss Sneyd, was
filled with tender allusions to " Honor;),"

he married "just seven months and twenty-five days after
the death of Honora." He died in 1817, at the age of sev
enty-two years.

* MARIA EDGEWORTH, the celebrated Irish novelist,
whose works have had great influence in promoting the
cause of education and of social morality, was born in Ox
fordshire, England, in 1766 She commenced her career as
an authoress about 1800, and in her early literary efforts she
was greatly assisted by the advice of her father. The fa
mous "Essay on Irish Bulls," the joint production of her
self and her father, was published in 1801. Her "Castle
llackrent" abounds in admirable sketches of Irish life and
manners. Her " Belinda," a novel of real life and ordinary
characters, is also descriptive of some of the striking traits
of the Irish character. In 1804, she published Iter "Popu
lar Tales ;" and two years afterward, " Leonora," a novel in
two volumes. In 1809, she issued "Tales of Fashionable
Life," of a more powerful and varied cast than any of her
previous productions. Three other volumes of " Fashion
able Tales" appeared in 1812, and fully sustained the high
reputation which she had now attained. In 1814, her nova]
of " Patronage" was published. For many years, indeed,
literary composition formed the chief business of her life.
Originality and fertility of invention, and a power of depict
ing Irish manners unequalled among modern authors, are
her chief characteristics as a novelist. She died in 1849, in
the eighty-fourth year of her age.

t ANNA SEWAKD, daughter of the Ilev. Thomas Seward,
himself a poet, and the author of an edition of Beaumont
and Fletcher, was born at Eyam, in Derbyshire, England,
in 1747. She evinced a poetical taste in early life. In 1782,
she published her poetical romance of " Louisa ;" and she
subsequently printed a collection of sonnets, and a "Life
of Dr. Darwin," in which she asserted her claim to the first
fifty lines of that author s "Botanic Garden." She died
in 1809.

as were his occasional verses, in which a
ready faculty at turning a rhyme led him
to indulge.

Receiving a commission of lieutenant
in the British army, his first service was
in Canada, where he was taken prisoner,
on the fall of St. Johns, in 1775, and
"stripped of everything," as he wrote to
a friend, " except the picture of Honora,
which I concealed in my mouth."

Being exchanged in the course of the
war, Andre rejoined the army, and by
merit alone (for he had no powerful pa
tronage at home to advance his interests)
he rapidly rose in rank, became a captain,
and was appointed by Major-General Sir
Charles Grey (father of Lord Grey, the
distinguished statesman) his aid-de-camp.
Andre was a man of versatile talent; he
was by turns soldier, poet, musician, and
painter, and his qualifications were set off
with the advantage of a handsome person
and amiable manners. After General Grey
returned to Europe, Sir Henry Clinton
received Andre as his aid-de-camp, and
was so impressed with his abilities, that,
upon the resignation of Lord Rawdon, he
appointed him adjutant-general. After
some reluctance on the part of the British
prime minister, who objected to Andre s
youth, he was finally promoted to the
rank of major, and confirmed in his office
as adjutant, at the early age of twenty-





Treasonable Correspondence renewed. General Arnold at West Point. Major Andre chosen. Failure. A Bare Es
cape. Washington out of the Way. An Artful Ruse. Washington en Route to Hartford. A Startling Remark.
Communication with the British Sloop Vulture. "John Anderson." A Change of Mind. A Flag of Truce fired

upon. A Remonstrance and a Ruse. Joshua Hett Smith. The White House. A Postponement. Difficulties.

Reluctant Boatmen. Boarding the Vulture. Interview between Arnold and Andre. Impatience. Unfinished Busi
ness. A Startling Reflection.


SIR HENRY CLINTON, although he
studiously kept up his communica
tions, through Major Andre, with his un
declared correspondent, whom he had no
doubt was General Arnold, was not impa
tient to complete his bargain until the
traitor had something more valuable to
offer than himself. It was not, therefore,
until Arnold was in command of West
Point, that Clinton cared to bring to a
final issue the base negotiation which had
now been going on for nearly eighteen

West Point, with its important position,
its armament, garrison, and stores, was an
object worth purchasing ; and the British
commander was at last prepared to make
his bargain with the military Judas, who
was eager to clutch the " pieces of silver."
Arnold, in his letters, had expressed an
earnest desire to have apersonal interview
with some one " of his own mensuration,"
as he said, evidently with the purpose of
securing the payment of his price. Sir
Henry had thought of some one else ; but
General Arnold having insisted on Major
Andre being sent, that young officer con
sented to go. The great difficulty now
was, to effect an interview without exci

ting suspicion. Arnold s fertility of craft
was equal to the occasion.

The first attempt, nevertheless, failed.
Andre, accompanied by Colonel Beverly
Robinson, now as a confederate, had come
to Dobbs s ferry, in order to meet Arnold,
as he had appointed ; but the traitor him
self, after coining down the river in his
barge, and passing the night at Smith s
house, near King s ferry, was, upon at
tempting next morning to reach the ren
dezvous (being unprovided with a flag),
fired upon by the British gun-boats. His
barge was so closely pursued, that Arnold
barely escaped losing his life or being cap
tured ; and, after another unsuccessful ef
fort to obtain an interview, he returned
to the Robinson house, and Andre and
his companion to New York. To explain
his passage down the Hudson, which be
came generally known, Arnold took care
to write to Washington, stating that his
object had been to establish signals and
give directions about the guard-boats.

As Washington was about proceeding
to Hartford, to hold a conference with
Count de Rochambeau and the French
officers in regard to a proposed campaign,
and would cross King s ferry on his route,




Arnold was careful to put off any inter
view until the commander-in-chief was
out of the way. Sir Henry Clinton, how
ever, disappointed at the failure of the sev
eral previous attempts, sent the sloop-of-
war Vulture, with Colonel Robinson on
board, to anchor up the river near Tel
ler s Point, and thus be at hand to facili
tate a meeting. Robinson immediately
wrote a letter, artfully addressed to Gen
eral Putnam, as if thinking that he was
in command at the Highlands, and asked
for a personal conference on private busi
ness. This letter was enclosed in anoth
er addressed to Arnold, in which the same
favor was solicited from him in case Put
nam should be absent. This artful ruse of
the two addresses, and the careful word
ing of the letters, removed any chance of
suspicion in case they should fall into the
hands of others than Arnold.

These letters were delivered
on the very day that Washington
had set out on his journey to Hartford,
and Arnold had read and held them in
his pocket at the time he was convey
ing the commander-in-chief in his bar<>-e


across the river to Verplanck s Point.
The Vulture was lying in full view ; and
while Washington was looking at the ves
sel, and speaking in a low tone of voice,
Arnold was observed to manifest some
uneasiness, although its cause was not sus
pected. As Count de Guichen s squadron
was expected daily from the West Indies,
it naturally became the topic of conversa
tion. Lafayette, merely alluding to the
free communication between New York
and West Point, and frequent opportuni
ties of intelligence, startled Arnold with

Sept, 18.

the remark, " General, since you have a
correspondence with the enemy, you must
ascertain as soon as possible what has be
come of Guichen." The traitor, evident
ly for a moment thrown off his guard, ab
ruptly demanded what he meant, but soon
recovered his self-control and dropped the

While Arnold was accompanying the
general-in-chief to Peekskill, he showed
him the letters written by Colonel Rob
inson ; and, not suspecting their real pur
pose, Washington recommended Arnold
not to hold the proposed conference, as
Robinson s object, which was supposed to
have reference to his property, was one
that belonged properly to the civil and
not to the military jurisdiction.

Little did the commander-in-chief sus
pect that the brave officer now escorting
him, w r ho had served his country with so
much zeal and gallantry, and who at that
interview handed him a written opinion
concerning the propriety of an attack on
New York, based upon statements which
he had received from his chief, of the con
dition and prospects of the American ar
my, was about to betray that army and
his country, and to make use of that very
statement as one of the instruments of
his treason. The very paper containing
this statement, which Washington had
sent to Arnold (as to others of his general
officers), was one of those afterward taken
from Andre s boot >}-

Arnold now had an opportunity, of
which he gladly availed himself, of an
open communication with the Vulture.
A personal conference with Colonel Rob-

* Sparks. f Lossing.




inson, however, after Washington s de
cided objection, was no longer thought
of; but there was no difficulty in com
municating with him by letter. Arnold
accordingly sent openly to the Vulture,
by an officer in a flag-boat, a sealed pack
et which contained three letters, in the
outer one of which he stated, in general
terms, that he had consulted with the
commander-in-chief, who disapproved of
Robinson s proposition. The second ex
plicitly stated that on the night of the
20th of September he would send a per
son to Dobbs s ferry, or on board the Vul
ture (which was requested to be kept
where she then was), who would be fur
nished with a boat and a flag of truce,
and whose secrecy and honor might be
depended upon. In a postscript he thus
artfully gave the appearance of public
business as his object, and information of
the time when Washington intended to
return : " I expect General Washington
to lodge here on Saturday night next,
and I will lay before him any matter you
may wish to communicate."* There was
also enclosed a third letter, which was a
copy of one previously sent to "John An
derson" appointing a place and time of
meeting Major Andre at Dobbs s ferry.

On the morning after Sir Henry Clin
ton received these letters, which were im
mediately despatched to him, Andre set

oil and went to Dobbs s ferry,

Sept, 20,

receiving as his last instructions

from the British commander, not to go
into the American line, not to disguise
himself, and not on any account to receive pa
per?. ] I was in fact supposed that Arnold

* Sparks.

himself, although speaking of a third par
ty, intended to go on board the Vulture,
and there settle the terms of his bargain
in person.

Andre, arriving at a late hour at Dobbs s
ferry, where it was originally his inten
tion to have requested the commander to
drop down with his vessel, changed his
mind, and took a boat, in which he sailed
up the river and boarded the Vulture at
seven o clock in the evening. Here lie
remained all night, anxiously expecting
every moment the arrival of Arnold ; but,
as the latter did not come, he beo;an to

7 O

fear that the whole project would fail.
Thinking that Arnold, possibly unaware
of his having got on board the Vulture,
might be expecting him at Dobbs s ferry,
Andre took an occasion which accident
ally offered of giving him information of
his whereabouts. A flag of truce havin-

o o

been shown at Teller s Point, apparently
inviting a communication with the ship
for some purpose or other, a flag-boat was
sent off; but as it approached the land, it
was fired upon. The captain now sent a
second boat with a flag, to remonstrate ;
and Andre (in order that Arnold might

\ O

infer that he was on board the Vulture)
penned the letter of remonstrance, though
it was dictated and signed by Captain

Colonel Livingston, in command of the
American post at Verplanck s Point, re
ceived the letter, and handed it
to General Arnold, who had ar
rived there just as the Vulture s boat was
returning. The latter recognised Andre s
handwriting at once, and, making the in
ference intended by the writer, prepared

Sept, 21




to send to the Vulture on the coming

Arnold had succeeded in securing the
services of a Mr. Joshua Hett Smith, a
gentleman of reputable standing, and one
who, by various patriotic acts, had given
proof of his attachment to the republican
cause. His residence, the " White house,"
as it was called, was situated on the west
side of the Hudson, in Haverstraw bay,
about two miles below Stony Point, and
was conveniently placed for Arnold s pro
posed interview with Andre.

Smith had consented to board the Vul
ture in the night, and bring on shore the
person whom he would find there, and
moreover to allow his house (for which
purpose he had removed his family to
Fishkill) to be used as the place of ren
dezvous. Provided by Arnold with an or
der upon Major Kierse, the quartermaster
at Stony Point, for a boat, the usual pass
for a flag of truce, and letters for the Vul
ture, Smith was to have executed his com
mission on the night of the 20th of Sep
tember. Various difficulties, however,
were in the way. The boat could not be
readily obtained ; and a tenant of Smith,
one Samuel Colquhoun, who had been
urged to go with him, refused on account
of his dread of the guard-boats. The affair
was accordingly postponed.

The nextmorning, Arnold pro
ceeded down the Hudson to Ver-
planck s Point, where, as we have seen,
he had read the remonstrance of Captain
Sutherland of the Vulture.and recognised


the handwriting of Andre. He now de
termined to secure the accomplishment
of his purpose by his own personal efforts.

Crossing over to Stony Point, and finding
no boat there, he sent an officer in his
barge to obtain one at " Continental vil
lage." Leaving orders with Major Kierse
to have it brought down to Haverstraw
creek, Arnold in the meanwhile proceed
ed to Smith s house.

The American guard-boats had been
ordered not to interfere with Smith, as he
was employed by the general to obtain
important intelligence, and the watch
word " Congress" was agreed upon to se
cure the recognition of his boat. The only
difficulty now was to obtain the services
of a boatman. Samuel Colquhoun still
refused to go, as did likewise his brother.
Smith s appeals were all in vain; and even
Arnold could not succeed in overcoming
their scruples until he threatened, if they
persisted in their obstinacy, and refused
to give their assistance when required for
the c/ood of the count) //, to arrest them as dis
affected persons ! They now no longer re
sisted, and were further encouraged in
their obedience to Arnold s peremptory
orders by the promise of fifty pounds of
flour to each.*

"It was half-past eleven o clock in the
night," says Sparks, of whose careful col
lation of the incidents we have freely
availed ourselves, " when Smith and his
two boatmen arrived at the landing, near
the mouth of Haverstraw creek, to which
place Major Kierse had sent the boat.
They muffled the oars by General Ar
nold s directions. The night was tran
quil and serene, the stars shone brightly,
the water was unruffled except by the
gentle current, which was hardly percep-

* It was never jrivcu.



Andre was so completely wrapped in
i blue overcoat, that his uniform could
not be seen ; and Smith always declared
that he had no idea at that time that he
was any one else than " Mr. John Ander
son," a plain citizen, who was acting in
behalf of Robinson. Smith and Andre
now descended into the boat alongside,
where the boatmen had remained, and
were rowed in silence to the shore. Here
they landed, about midnight, at the base
of a mountain called Long Clove, six miles
below Stony Point.

Arnold had come down on horseback
from Smith s house, accompanied by a
servant, and stood hidden in a thicket
near the landing, awaiting the arrival of
the boat. As soon as Smith had stepped
ashore, he groped his way up the bank
in search of Arnold, and, having discov
ered him, came back to guide Andre to
the place, where, being requested to do
so, he left them.

The boatmen, wearied and unsuspicious,
soon fell asleep ; but Smith, anxiously in
quisitive, and disappointed that he was
not allowed to be present at the inter
view, passed the tedious midnight hour
in wakeful impatience. His powers of
endurance finally gave out; so he made
his way through the bushes to the busy
plotters, and, reminding them that the
night was nearly past, declared that the
boat could not be kept much longer. Ar
nold, finding that his work was not yet
done, told Smith that he need remain no
longer. The latter accordingly aroused
the boatmen, and proceeded up the river
with the boat; while Arnold, accompanied
by Andre who mounted the servant s

tible in that wide part of the river, and
the boat glided along silently, without
being discovered or meeting with any
hinderance, till they were hailed by a
hoarse seaman s voice from the Vulture,
inquiring who they were, and whither
bound. Smith answered that they were
from King s ferry, and on their way to
Dobbs s ferry.

"The boat was immediately ordered
alongside ; and a torrent of uncourtly
epithets, peculiar to the sailor s vocabula
ry, was poured out upon them for presu
ming to approach one of his majesty s
ships under the cover of darkness."

Smith in the meantime clambered up
the sloop s side, and a boy came up from
below, where the noise had been heard,
with orders that he should be shown into
the cabin. Smith, upon entering, imme
diately recognised Colonel Beverly Rob
inson, whom he had known before, and
gave him Arnold s letter.

Smith was under the impression that
Robinson was the person whom he was
to bring ashore ; and accordingly, when
Major Andre, under the name of Mr. John
AndcrsoiijWds presented, Colonel Robinson
gave as his reason for not going himself
that he was in ill health, but stated that
his friend would answer the same purpose.
Andre, it would seem, had insisted upon
going, in accordance with the request of
Arnold, although Robinson strenuously

7 . o /

objected to his trusting himself to a man
who was so unprincipled as to betray his
country. So_ eager, however, was Andre
to accomplish his purpose, that he seemed
to be entirely unconscious of all danger
attending its accomplishment.




}, orse rode to Smith s house, three or
four miles distant. It was not until, in
the course of their ride through Haver-
straw village, on being challenged in the
dark by a sentinel, that Andre was con

scious of his being within the American
lines. For a moment, the peril of his po
sition startled him; but. nerving himself,
he rode on by the side of his desperate


A Sudden Cannonade. Alarm of the Conspirators. Anxious Watching. Small Gun. Momentous Effect. Negotia
tions continued between Arnold and Andre. Settlement of the Price of Treason. Completion of the Bargain. All
ready. Departure of Andre. No Boat. Journey by Land. His Adventures. The Challenge. An Inquisitive
Captain. Fear of the Cow-Boys. Two in a Bed. Return of Cheerfulness. A Good Housewife. Change of Route.
A Sudden Surprise. Fallen among Enemies. The Search. " My God, a Spy!" The Captors. "Not Ten Thou
sand Guineas!" Despair of Andr6. Blunder of Jameson. Arnold on his Guard.


IT was just at daybreak when
Arnold and Andre pulled up their
horses at Smith s house ; and they had
hardly dismounted, when a severe can
nonade broke upon the stillness of the
early morning. Engaged in a dark and
dangerous business, the two conspirators
were intensely alive to the least alarm ;
and, on discovering that the firing was
against the sloop-of-war Vulture, their
anxieties became fearfully excited. An
dre, from the window of the house, which
commanded a view of the river, watched
each new development of the scene with
breathless interest. He continued to look
on in silence, and with an evident expres
sion of anxiety, which did not leave him
until he saw that the ship, by moving far
ther down the river, was beyond the reach
of cannon-shot.

Colonel Livingston, the commander at
Verplanck s Point, had discovered on the
previous day that the Vulture was so close

to Teller s Point that she might be reached
by cannon-shot from the shore, and had
accordingly sent down a four-pounder to
the river-bank for that purpose. He had
asked General Arnold for heavier guns,
but was put off by some frivolous excuse,
and was obliged to do his best with what
he had. Colonel Lamb had sent Livings
ton some ammunition for the occasion,
but could not forbear saying, as he grudg
ingly supplied it, " Firing at a ship with
a four-pounder is, in my opinion, a waste
of powder." Livingston s small gun, how
ever, had a momentous effect; and the
Vulture, as we have seen, was forced to
weigh her anchor and move down the

The firing having ceased, Andre recov
ered his usual gay spirits ; and, after par
taking of breakfast, he and Arnold were
again left alone by Smith, in order to com
plete their project of treason. It is sup
posed that Arnold first insisted upon set-



tling the price; when it was agreed that
he should receive ten thousand pounds in
money, and the rank of brigadier-general
in the British army. Andre was now sup
plied with accurate plans of West Point,
and exact reports of its strength in guns
and men. Through the sound judgment
and forethought of Washington, and the
skill of French engineers, this post had
been very strongly fortified, and present
ed a most formidable barrier to British
incursions northward from New York. A
strong garrison was placed in each of the
forts, under the command of General Rob
ert Howe. Immense stores and muni
tions of war had also been collected there.
In the vaults of one of the forts, besides
the ammunition for its own defence, the
stock of powder for the whole army was

After the trial and conviction of Ar
nold for his misdeeds at Philadelphia, his
pride would not allow him to enter the
British army as a deserter, and he there
fore resolved to rejoin that of Washing
ton ; pretend a forgetfulness of what he
deemed the injustice of Congress ; obtain,
if possible, the command of the most im
portant post held by the Americans, and
then betray it, with its arms, and, garri
sons, and stores, into the hands of the en
emy. In this manner, he would gratify
his thirst for revenge, and obtain a large
personal reward for his treason. His suc
cess in securing the desired appointment
we have already related ; and now, in the
absence of the ever-vigilant chief upon
his conference with Count de Rochambeau
at Hartford, the arch-traitor proposed to
carry his perfidious scheme into immedi-

Sept, 25,

ate execution. He promised so to dispose
the garrison as to weaken the post as
much as possible b}^ the dispersion of the
troops, and gave Andre a paper in which
the proposed disposition was accurately
described. Washington had intended to
leave West Point for Hartford on the 17th
of September, but he was detained, and
did not set out until the 20th. As he
was expected to return from the latter
place and be at Arnold s headquarters on
the 25th, Andre also conceived the bold

Online LibraryRobert TomesBattles of America by sea and land. With biographies of naval and military commanders (Volume 01) → online text (page 99 of 126)