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New York During the American Revolution

John Andre and Benedict Arnold

Major John Andre was a spy for the British army.  He conspired with American General, Benedict Arnold for the British takeover of the fortifications at West Point.  Andre concealed specific documents from Arnold including a map of West Point, and a pass from Arnold stating he could travel to White Plains which were to be delivered to the British.  However, soldiers from New York stopped Andre, searched him, and found the documents of the treason.  General Washington ordered for Andre to be executed.

Major John Andre was a poet and an artist.  His self-portraits and poetry reflect his capture and how he wished to be remembered.  On the eve of his execution, he created the portrait of the Hudson River in Haverstraw.

Other primary source documents share the map of the execution in Tappan, New York of John Andre, a musical composition of Andre’s request to General Washington for his life and leniency. 

The Cow Chace by Andre, written in 1780, and was published in London.  The last canto of the poem is similar to John Andre’s fate in New York. 

Benedict Arnold was an American General for the Continental Army.  He won many battles against the British during the Revolution before conspiring treason for the British.  It is said that Arnold was not content the way he was being treated, and wanted more rise to power in George Washington’s army.

The amazing primary source document housed in the Manuscripts and Special Collections unit of the New York State Library is Arnold’s letter to the inhabitants of America stating his reason for deflecting to the British.  The item was written on October 7, 1780 and was also published in the journal of: The political magazine and parliamentary, naval, military, and literary journal.