Tag Archives: Major John Andre

Addendum on André: Cookies (and Tea) with Major André

(2014-09-20 005)NOTE: Although I had mentioned this event in my last blog entry on Major André, I thought that I would post this addendum.

One more thing on Major John André. His life was celebrated in two, hour-long programs at the Historical Society on September 20th: Cookies with Andre; and Wine with André. Local actor David Neilsen played André.

I went to the Cookies with André, which was really for children, but there were far more adults than children. (Five children to twenty adults.) English tea-time is around 3:30-4 pm, and the program started at 4 so it was perfect. The HS volunteers had baked some cookies and made some iced and hot tea, so we got our drinks and snacks and settled into our chairs.

André, from what I know of him, was a ladies’ man, and he was hung when he was 30. Neilsen got into character and did a fine job of playing André. Neilsen (as André) discussed his intense dislike of Benedict (2014-09-20 007)Arnold; André  and Arnold only met once, but once was enough. Apparently few people who worked with Arnold actually liked him. André was sure that General Henry Clinton, the British commander whom he served as adjunct general and who had promoted André to major, would accept an exchange, him for Arnold. (Arnold had escaped to New York City, which was then occupied by the British.) André was a popular officer, but George Washington’s terms of exchange were not accepted, so André was led to the gallows. It was never mentioned that André’s execution was in retaliation for how the British had treated Nathan Hale.

Afterwards, Neilsen solicited feedback from the children in attendance. He plans to take the play to the schools around the area to educate students about local history.

I heard later that the Wine with André event had also sold out and that it was also well-received.


1 Comment

Filed under History, Museums, Tarrytown

September 23, 1780: the Capture of Major John André

Capture of Andre By John Paulding David Williams and Isaac Van Wart at Tarrytown NY Currier & Ives c1876 (Small)It was in September that Major John André, the British soldier, was captured.

He had come up the Hudson from New York City to meet with Major General Benedict Arnold, who was in command of West Point. Arnold, frustrated that he was under-appreciated and passed over for promotion, decided to betray the colonials and join the British. The plans to West Point were supposed to seal the deal, only André was caught, put on trial, and hung. And he was captured in Tarrytown not far from where Warner Library and the monument to his three Revolutionary war captors stand. (The stream flowing through Patriot’s Park between Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow is named André Brook.)

André was told three things: first, do not travel by the main roads; second, stay in uniform; and third, do not to miss the boat from the British frigate that had sailed up the Hudson to deliver him near West Point to meet Arnold. André did not follow any of the advice, and then was surprised to find himself arrested as a spy. Though he had requested a gentleman’s death (firing squad), he was hung. The rules of war were quite clear. Had André been arrested in uniform and been convicted as a spy, he would have been shot.

André's self-portrait (from Wikipedia)

André’s self-portrait (from Wikipedia)

It has been said that André’s execution was a payback for the British execution of Nathan Hale, whom the British executed for being a spy on September 22, 1776 in New York City nearly four years to the day of André’s death.

To celebrate the anniversary, the Historical Society had two events: Cookies with André and Wine with André. A local actor played John André at both events. The cookies event was for children, but the audience was mostly adults (five children out of 25), which included myself. Everyone enjoyed the performance, including the children. It is hoped that, with some fine-tuning, that the act can be taken to schools to educate the young on American history.

I also heard that the wine event was well-attended.

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown

Why I Love New York

(2013-07-09 097)

This marker is the supposed place where Major John Andre was captured during the American Revolution by militiamen John Paulding, David Williams and Isaac Van Wart. It stands at the entrance to Patriots Park, which is shared between Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. The local monument nearby also celebrates the capture of the British spy–in a grand way.

Andre’s capture was a major coup for the colonials. Had Andre gotten through the American lines the plans to the fortifications at West Point, which Andre was given from Benedict Arnold, would have fallen into British hands. In effect, the British would have been able to seize West Point and gain total control of the Hudson River, thereby opening a major route for their forces from Canada and effectively severing New England from the rest of the colonies. This incident also forced Benedict Arnold to flee to the British before he was arrested for treason.

This whole area was involved in the American Revolution, one of the more interesting parts of American history.

Leave a comment

Filed under History, New York (State), Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown