Major Andre's Journal

Major Andre's Journal

by John Andre


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John André (1750 - 1780) was a British Army officer hanged as a spy by the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War for assisting Benedict Arnold's attempted surrender of the fort at West Point, New York to the British.

According to Tallmadge's account of the events, he and André conversed during the latter's captivity and transport. André wanted to know how he would be treated by Washington. Tallmadge, who had been a classmate of Nathan Hale while both were at Yale, described the capture of Hale. When André asked whether Tallmadge thought the situations similar, he replied "Yes, precisely similar, and similar shall be your fate"-a reference to Hale's hanging as a spy by the British.

In 1779, André became Adjutant General of the British Army in America with the rank of major. In April of that year, he took charge of British secret intelligence. By the next year (1780), he had begun to plot with American General Benedict Arnold.

The story of Andre is one of those episodes of history which are most widely known and longest remembered. There is a pleasant tinge of romance about the man himself, for he was young, handsome, and possessed of many accomplishments, clever, agreeable, popular and the hero of a love-affair which has crept into a corner of English literature with enough sentiment and controversy attached to it to interest curiosity, and perhaps to touch the heart of succeeding generations. About this youthful and gallant figure gather suddenly the inexorable conditions which shut him in as relentlessly as the hand of Fate leads Orestes or Hippolytus or (Edipus to the doom which has awaited them since the beginning of years. The favorite of his commanders, a trusted staffofficer, advancing easily along the road of promotion, beloved among his fellows, popular in Society, he passes suddenly out of the sunshine of a young prosperity into the darkness of a desperate enterprise, becomes the paymaster of treason, a disguised fugitive, a prisoner, a convicted spy, and dies at last by the hangman's hands. The contrast between his life filled with a soldier's work and relieved by idle hours of music and flowers, of pageants and verse-making, and his miserable end, is hardly sharper than that which separates the grim gallows by the Hudson from the monument to his memory in Westminster Abbey. Romance, desperate adventure, and dark tragedy are all there in the story of Andre.

Andre was portrayed by Michael Wilding as an eloquent and dignified idealist in the 1955 Hollywood film The Scarlet Coat. He is portrayed by JJ Feild in the TV series Turn: Washington's Spies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781495219177
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 07/03/2016
Pages: 76
Sales rank: 777,664
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.16(d)

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