The life of John André : the redcoat who turned Benedict Arnold

by Ronald, D. A. B.,

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Whitehall Public Library Biography Collection BIOG 92 Andre, John
Location  Whitehall Public Library
Collection  Biography Collection
Call Number  BIOG 92 Andre, John
A new biography of John André, head of British secret services in the Revolutionary War, who was captured in 1780 and hanged as a spy.

John André was head of the British Army's Secret Service in North America as the Revolutionary War entered its most bitter and, ultimately, decisive phase. In 1780, he masterminded the defection of a high-ranking American officer--General Benedict Arnold. Arnold--his name for ever synonymous with treason in American folklore--had recently been appointed commander of West Point and agreed, through André, to turn over to the British this strategically vital fort on the upper reaches of the Hudson River. Control of the fort would interrupt lines of communication between New England and the southern colonies, seriously impeding military operations against the British. The plan was also to simultaneously kidnap General George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. By these two masterstrokes, the British believed they could end rebel resistance.

The secret negotiations between Arnold and André were protracted and fraught with danger. Arnold's new wife, Peggy became the go-between in the negotiations. Arnold insisted that, to complete negotiations, he and André must meet face to face. At the dead of night on September 21st 1780 the two rendezvoused in no-man's-land. Sir Henry Clinton, commander of British forces in North America and André's immediate superior, agreed to this meeting but with three strict conditions: that André not go within the American lines; that he remain in uniform; and that he carry away from the meeting no incriminating papers. Thus, if caught, André could not be treated as a spy.

Yet, when André was captured forty-eight hours later, he was within American lines, had changed into civilian clothes and was carrying maps of West Point hidden in his boots. The Americans had no option other than to treat him as a spy, especially when he himself admitted this. He was convicted by military tribunal and hanged--his death lamented both in America and England.

While biographers agree on the facts of this tragic episode, they disagree on André's motives and why he chose to sacrifice himself. This new biography of André puts forward a new answer to this mystery--not only why he acted as he did, but how he wished others to see his actions.
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Ronald (Youth, Heroism and War Propaganda: Britain and the Young Maritime Hero, 1745A--1820) offers a detailed look at the British officer best known for having persuaded Benedict Arnold to betray the American Revolution. The account begins in the 1740s, with the story of John Andre's father, Anthony, before delving into Andre's childhood and education. Andre joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1771, beginning the military career that took him to America three years later. Once there, he conspired with Philadelphia's Peggy Shippen "to snare a pliable Continental Army officer"-Arnold, that city's military commander, whom Peggy married. After prolonged negotiations, Arnold agreed to defect to the British. Andre ended up captured and hanged as a spy in 1780. Ronald does not hide his admiration for Andre or his detestation of Arnold. He maintains, without citation, that Andre believed Arnold had betrayed him and that Arnold's letter to George Washington threatening retribution should Andre be executed was written "to make sure" that the capital sentence was carried out. Other authors, such as Nathaniel Philbrick, have demonstrated that Arnold's decision to defect was a complex one, and Ronald's decision to make him a one-dimensional villain detracts from what is otherwise a well-researched and through look at his subject's life. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
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Additional Information
Subjects André, John, -- 1751-1780.
Arnold, Benedict, -- 1741-1801.
Arnold, Margaret Shippen, -- 1760-1804.
Spies -- United States -- Biography.
Espionage, British -- United States -- History -- 18th century.
United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Secret service.
New York (State) -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Secret service.
Publisher Philadelphia :Casemate,2019
Language English
Description xxi, 336 pages : illustrations (some color), maps ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 310-322) and index.
ISBN 9781612005218
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