It is so hard to find out the truth by looking at the past. The process of time obscures the truth and even contemporaneous writers disguise and twist out of malice or flattery. — Plutarch

America First - Lawton Evans

The Execution of Major Andre

Major Andre was a British officer, who bargained with Benedict Arnold for the surrender of West Point. The agreement was made at a meeting between Arnold and Andre, and would have resulted in serious calamity to the American forces, if Andre had not been captured on his way to New York, and the tell-tale papers discovered hidden in his boots.

Andre was declared a spy. The fact that he was a brave young officer, whom every one admired, could not save him from the fate of all spies, caught within the enemy's lines. He was tried by court-martial, and condemned to be hanged. Andre had hoped that the Court would order him to be shot, as befitted his rank, but this was not to be!

When the time arrived for his execution, he received the news without emotion. All present were deeply affected, but Andre kept a cheerful countenance, and talked in his usual manner with those around him. His servant came into the room, and Andre noticed tears in his eyes. Seeing this, he exclaimed, "You must not give way thus. Leave me till you can show yourself more manly."

His breakfast was sent him from the table of General Washington. Every day during his confinement this had been done. He ate as usual; then shaved and dressed. Placing his hat on the table, he said to the officers, "I am ready at any moment, gentlemen, to wait on you."

The fatal hour came at last! A large body of troops was paraded, and an important gathering of citizens assembled. Many generals and field officers were present. Washington did not attend. The scene was solemn, and gloom pervaded all ranks. Major Andre walked from the stone house, where he had been confined, between two soldiers, showing the greatest dignity and composure.

He smiled as he approached the scaffold, and nodded to several acquaintances as he passed them. When he saw that he was to be hanged, and not shot, he was visibly moved, and said, "I am reconciled to my death, and shall bear it as a brave man should, but I had hoped to be shot as a soldier rather than hanged as a felon."

As soon as things were in readiness, he stepped quickly into the wagon, drawn under the gallows, and took two white handkerchiefs from his pocket. He then grasped the rope that hung from the gallows, and slipped the noose around his own neck. He gave one handkerchief to the provost-marshal to bind his arms behind him, and, with the other, he bandaged his own eyes.

"It will be but a momentary pang," he said to those around him. "I pray you to bear me witness that I meet my fate like a brave man."

The wagon was then drawn from under him, and, in a few moments, he had ceased struggling and was dead. He was dressed in his royal regimentals and boots, and was buried at the foot of the gallows. Thus died, in the bloom of his life, the gallant Major Andre, pride of the Royal Army!


Front Matter

Leif, the Lucky
Spaniards Conquer Mexico
Conquest of Peru
The Fountain of Youth
De Soto and the Mississippi
Sir Walter Raleigh
The Lost Colony
Adventures of John Smith
More about John Smith
Pilgrims and Puritans
Miles Standish
Building a Canoe
Roger Williams
Old Silver Leg
William Penn
The Charter Oak
Bloody Marsh
Saving of Hadley
Sir William Phips
Hannah Dustin
Israel Putnam
A Young Surveyor
Young Washington
Indians and Major Putnam
How Detroit was Saved
Blackbeard the Pirate
Daniel Boone
Sunday in the Colonies
The Salem Witches
Traveling by Stage-coach
King George and the Colonies
Patrick Henry
Paul Revere
Green Mountain Boys
Father of his Country
Nathan Hale
Elizabeth Zane
Capturing the Hessians
Lafayette Comes to America
Lydia Darrah
Captain Molly Pitcher
The Swamp Fox
Outwitting a Tory
Supporting the Colors
Nancy Hart
Mad Anthony
Execution of Major Andre
How Schuyler was Saved
An Indian Trick
Winning the Northwest
Benjamin Franklin
Nolichucky Jack
Eli Whitney
Thomas Jefferson
Burning of the Philadelphia
Lewis and Clark
Colter's Race for Life
Pike Explores Arkansas Valley
How Pumpkins Saved a Family
Old Ironsides
Star Spangled Banner
Traveling by Canal
Lafayette Returns
Osceola, Seminole Chief
Journey by Railroad
Old Hickory
Daniel Webster
Henry Clay
Plantation Christmas
John C. Calhoun
Heroes of the Alamo
Freedom for Texas
Electric Telegraph
Gold in California
Crossing Continent
The Pony Express
Boy Who Saved Village
Rescue of Jerry
Abraham Lincoln
Robert E. Lee
Stonewall Jackson
Stealing a Locomotive
Sam Davis
Escape from Prison
Running the Blockade
Heart of the South
Surrender of Lee
Laying the Atlantic Cable
The Telephone
Thomas A. Edison
Clara Barton
Hobson and the Merrimac
Dewey at Manila Bay
Conquering Yellow Fever
Sinking of Lusitania
Private Treptow
Frank Luke, Aviator
Sergeant York