restricted access Chapter 19. Arnold's Treason: Faction and Army Policy in Congress (August to December 1780)
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GW_201-250.indd 219 5/2/12 7:45 AM CHAPTER 19 Arnold's Treason; Faction and Army Policy in Congress (August to December 1780) Treason and escape ofArnold. -Execution ofMajor Andre. -Proceedings ofCongress respecting the army.-Major Tallmadge destroys the British stores at Coram.- The army retires into winter quarters.- Irruption ofMajor Carleton into New York.- European transactions. WHILE THE public was anticipating great events from the combined arms ,7so of France and the United States, treason lay concealed in the American camp. The great military services of General Arnold had secured to him a high place in the opinion of the army, and of his country. Not having recovered from his wounds, and having large accounts to settle, which required leisure, he was, on the evacuation of Philadelphia, appointed to the command in that place. Unfortunately, he did not possess that strength ofprinciple , and correctness of judgment, which would have enabled him to resist the seductions to which his rank and reputation exposed him, in the metropolis of the Union. His expenses having swelled his debts to an amount which it was impossible to discharge, he entered into speculations which were unfortunate, and took shares in privateers 1 which were unsuccessful. He relied on his claims against the United States, for the means of extricating himselffrom embarrassments in which his indiscretion had involved him; but they were greatly reduced by the commissioners, to whom they were referred; and, on his appeal to Congress, a committee reported that the commissioners had allowed more than he was entitled to receive. 1. In this sense, ships equipped by private men for plundering commercial ships of enemy nations; those underwriting the fitting ofsuch a ship would receive a portion ofthe plundered goods. 219 GW_201-250.indd 220 5/2/12 7:45 AM ~ COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE REVOLUTION a> General of the British army.4 A correspondence was carried on between that officer and Arnold, under a mercantile disguise, in the feigned names of Gustavus and Anderson; and at length, to facilitate their communications , the Vulture sloop ofwar moved up the North river, and took a station convenient for the purpose.5 The time when General Washington met the Count de Rochambeau Sept. ,7so at Hartford, was selected for the final adjustment of the plan, and Major Andre came up the river and went on board the Vulture. Both parties repaired in the night to a house, without the American lines, which had been selected for the interview-Andre being brought under a passport for John Anderson, in a boat despatched from the shore. While the conference was yet unfinished, daylight appeared, and Arnold proposed that Andre should remain concealed till the succeeding night. When, in the following night his return to the Vulture was proposed, the boatmen refused to carry him, because she had shifted her station in consequence ofa gun which had been moved to the shore without the knowledge ofArnold, and brought to bear upon her. Being thus reduced to the necessity ofendeavoring to reach New York by land, he put on a plain suit of clothes, and received a pass from General Arnold, authorizing him, under the name ofJohn Anderson, to proceed on the public service to the White Plains, or lower if he thought proper. With this permit he had passed all the guards and posts on the road, and was proceeding to New York, when one oftheir militia men employed between the lines of the two armies, springing from his covert, seized the reins of his bridle and stopped his horse. Andre, instead of producing his pass, asked the man where he belonged? He replied, "to below;" a term implying that he was from New York. ''And so," said Andre, "am 1." He then declared himselfto be a British officer, on urgent business, and begged that he might not be detained. The appearance of the other militia men 4· John Andre (1751-80), Major in rhe British army; after being taken prisoner in St.John's, Canada, in 1775 and released, he became aide-de-camp to General Grey and then to General Clinton, who named him Adjutant-General (chief administrative officer of rhe army in America). 5· A sloop of war was a sailing ship next below in size to a frigate, carrying eighteen to thirry-rwo guns; at the time of the Revolution, the Hudson River was alternately referred to as the North River. 221 GW_201-250.indd 222 5/2/12 7...


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Subject Headings

  • Washington, George, -- 1732-1799.
  • Presidents -- United States -- Biography.
  • Generals -- United States -- Biography.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1775-1783.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1783-1809.
  • United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Campaigns.
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