The story of Major John Andre is one of the most dramatic and tragic in America’s War of Independence. An adjutant on the Staff of Britain’s General William Howe in Philadelphia, Major Andre was an unsuccessful suitor for the hand of Peggy Shippen, daughter of a prominent Philadelphia Loyalist. He kept in touch with the Shippen’s after Peggy married Benedict Arnold, one of the most successful American Generals, who had become embittered after enemies on his own side falsely accused him of embezzlement. Under Peggy’s influence, Arnold decided to switch sides and hand West Point Fort over to the British – with Andre acting as his contact man. Andre was arrested carrying papers incriminating Arnold, who was forced to flee to a British ship, narrowly evading George Washington’s attempt to arrest him. Andre was tried as a spy, condemned and hanged. (His body was later buried with full honours in London’s Westminster Cathedral). Arnold and Peggy lived in London for the rest of their lives – his name is execrated in America as the epitome of treason. The author of this 1808 ‘authentic narrative’ of the story, Joshua Hett Smith, an American lawyer was present when Andre was arrested and charged as his accomplice, but acquitted. His book, therefore, is an invaluable eye-witness account of one of the most dramatic events in US history and will enthral anyone with an interest in the War of Independence.
AN AUTHENTIC NARRATIVE OF THE CAUSES WHICH LED TO THE DEATH OF MAJOR ANDRE. Adjutant-General of his Majesty’s Forces in North America
Insider’s contemporary account of the arrest of Major John Andre, the British officer hanged as a spy in the American War of Independence as while plotting with Benedict Arnold in trying to betray the fort of West Point. The author was tried as Andre’s accomplice, but acquitted.