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"The Death and Resurrection of Major John Andre" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2021 9:25 p.m. PST

"John Andre's body hung in silence for thirty minutes before being taken down. It was placed carefully in a simple open coffin crudely painted black. The guard detail then withdrew and the "country people" of the villages around Tappan respectfully filed past his corpse. It was estimated upwards of 2,000 viewed his execution, a remarkable number given the speed with which he had been tried and condemned.[1] Many noted his face had quickly mortified; his handsome features already black, his neck swollen and distorted. He was buried without ceremony or marker in an unusually shallow grave just over three feet deep.[2] It was so shallow that decades later at his exhumation his skull was reported to have been embalmed by the fibrous roots of a peach tree planted "by some kind woman's hand to mark the grave."[3] It was an ignominious fate for one the British army's best-loved and most talented officers.

Five days later the men who had captured Andre, John Paulding, David Williams, and Isaac Van Wart were commended by Washington himself as "having prevented in all probability our suffering one of the severest strokes that could have been meditated against us." He went on to recommend that "the public will do well to make them a handsome gratuity."[4] Both Congress and New York State readily complied. Each was awarded a farm, a sizable lifetime pension, and—unusually for common soldiers—a repoussé silver medal inscribed "Fidelity" and "Amor Patriĉ Vincit." The men were lauded throughout the thirteen colonies as "Peasant Patriots."…"

From Journal of American Revolution


42flanker27 Oct 2021 12:33 a.m. PST

I suppose it is telling that since I began reading around the history of the AWI, I never got the impression that André's reputation was in any need of salvage.

historygamer27 Oct 2021 9:49 a.m. PST

Sounds like a Halloween thing 😆

42flanker27 Oct 2021 9:52 a.m. PST

I think they already did that, in 1821.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP27 Oct 2021 2:28 p.m. PST



Bill N28 Oct 2021 7:49 a.m. PST

My take on this is somewhat different. The militia wasn't operating in Westchester just to provide early warnings of British movements out of New York. They were also there in order to prevent unauthorized commerce between British controlled New York and the areas behind American lines. Since money flowing back and forth would be part of that commerce, searching strangers for concealed money would be proper.

Andre wasn't just some stranger travelling through Westchester though. He was someone travelling on a pass issued by a senior Continental officer (itself the source of embarrassment) which should have allowed Andre to get to White Plains without the treatment he received from Paulding, Williams, and Van Wart. For men like Tallmadge, Paulding, Williams, and Van Wart were not simply the heroes who exposed Arnold's treason. They were also men who deliberately flouted Continental protocol. Of course Tallmadge couldn't come out and say that, so instead Tallmadge attacked Paulding, Williams, and Van Wart's motivation.

Did Paulding, Williams, and Van Wart subject Andre to special scrutiny in the hopes of uncovering funds? Maybe. Maybe not. There is no definitive proof either way. If they had, they probably weren't the only militia who were shaking down travelers in Westchester. They definitely were not the only ones who served the cause of American independence in the hope of profit.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2021 2:14 p.m. PST



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