A Hanging Offense: George Washington and The André Dilemma


Main Basic Benedict Arnold’s 1780 plot to give up the American fortifications and garrison at West Level to the British, one of many Revolution’s most dramatic episodes, almost succeeded. Arnold’s treasonous enterprise failed due to a outstanding convergence of occasions—occasions that many, together with Basic George Washington, may clarify solely as divine intervention. “In no occasion for the reason that graduation of the warfare has the interposition of Windfall appeared extra conspicuous than within the rescue of the submit and garrison of West Level from Arnold’s villainous perfidy,” he stated later. Scrutiny reveals the sequence’s extra mundane logic, whose conflicted final result severely examined Washington.

British commanding Basic Sir Henry Clinton first negotiated phrases with Arnold by means of ciphers and intermediaries, then insisted on a face-to-face assembly between a trusted subordinate and the turncoat. Clinton wished to determine that Arnold’s proposition was not a ruse to arrange Crown forces for an ambush. The Briton he assigned to vet the supposed turncoat Arnold and his proposal was Main John André, barely 30 years outdated, a dashing adjutant basic Sir Henry held in a lot the identical esteem as Washington held the Marquis de Lafayette.

A seasoned intelligence officer, André was completed, properly educated, and by many accounts charismatic. He spoke fluent German and French—his dad and mom had been rich Huguenots, his mom a Parisienne—and was schooled in portray, music, and verse. He wrote poetry. Through the years a composite portrait has advanced of a captivating, gentlemanly warrior.

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