Intelligence Report of Andrew Elliot
A meeting with the French generals was appointed by General Washington at Hartford, which took place near three weeks ago. When Washington set off, General Arnold had the sole command. He in consequence of his correspondence and intentions appointed a meeting with Colonel Robinson and Major Andre, now Adjutant General; it was to take place first on this side the River a little above Tarry Town, or on the water near the Vulture sloop of war that generally lays at Spitendevil, but as there was no trusting the secret with any body, unfortunately the Vulture had sent her boats up the river the very night of the intended meeting. Colonel Robinson and Andre got to the place appointed and waited many hours; they got safe back.
Arnold . . . immediately proposed by letter a meeting at Haverstraw near Mr. William Smiths home. Colonel Robinson and Major Andre went on board the Vulture; she proceeded by way of a cruise up the river; on the night appointed Mr. Joseph Smith, brother to William Smith, came to the Vulture with a flag of truce from General Arnold, and a pass for Mr. John Anderson to go up the river to meet him (John Anderson was the name Andre had corresponded under for some time past); Colonel Robinson unfortunately was not tmentioned in the pass, so staid on board the Vulture.
John Anderson left the Vulture about one o'clock on Thursday morning, met General Arnold on the shore within three miles of Smiths house, the conversation passed, but it was thought necessary that John Anderson should bring down plans of the forts, the grounds that commanded them, the approaches, etc. These done in General Arnolds own hand were lodged at Smiths house; there they went. General Arnold says he thought it would be dangerous for John Anderson to return by water, as they had spyboats always
plying on the river when our armed vessels were advanced from their usual station (but if Anderson had been taken by them he would have been brought directly to Arnold, and as papers were necessary to be sent, they could have easily been sunk). Whether it was a desire of doing too much or fate, it was therefore determined that Andre, still as John Anderson, should pass the river
and go by land to Kingsbridge, with a pass from General Arnold, Mr. Smith who all this time Arnold declares knew nothing of his plan) to conduct him i and pass him over the new bridge on Goton River and there leave him, all which was happily effected, and Smith returned.
Andre, before he set out by land, had at the express desire of General Arnold changed his cloaths, left his uniform at Smiths, was there furnished with other cloaths, and a horse and saddle from Arnold. The day after Andre: parted with Smith, he was met by a party of militia near Tarry Town, stops, suspected, taken, searched, the papers found under his stockings; he [was] sent up the country, and the papers dispatched to Washington who was expected back from Hartford at Robinsons home Sunday the z4th September.
Friday Andre was taken, Washington was delayed. We know not how or when he got Andres papers, but on Monday the 25th two of Washingtons aid de camps came to Arnold at Robinsons house at breakfast time, and told the general that Washington would dine there. Arnold had then heard nothing of Andre, but just as the aid de camps set down to breakfast Arnold went out of the room to give some orders. He was met by an officer with a letter from
the commander of the militia who had taken Andre, telling him the event and of his having sent the papers to Washington as they were of so dangerous a nature (this officer must have been Arnolds friend as he must know his hand).
Arnold desired the messenger to stay for an answer, ran out and ordered an horse saddled, and sent a servant down the hill to order his barge's crew to man the boat (they were just returned from buying a suit of new sails). He then went to Mrs. Arnold (formerly Miss Peggy Shippen of Philadelphia). The two aid de camps had just left her to get peaches. He told her he must fly to save his life without having time to explain (she was ignorant of all). He jumped on his horse and, as he turned the stable, met four Light Horse men who told him His Excellency was just coming up the road. Arnold told them to put up their horses, and then galloped down almost a precipice (the short road), threw his saddle with his pistols into the boat, and desired the men to pull away as he was obliged to go to Stoney Point and was anxious to return to meet his Excellency.
Just as he set off an armed boat from West Point came to the landing (supposed to be ordered by Washington to carry off Arnold). General Arnold called to them to go up to the house to get refreshment and tell his Excellency when he arrived that he would be back before dinner. He was not three hundred yards from the wharf when he saw the armed vessel put off after him, but having new sails got soon from them. When he was as far as Stoney Point he told his men particular business from His Excellency to the Captain of the Vulture obliged him to go on board. He promised them two gallons of rum and they rowed on, but never were men so surprised when they found the~ general was to stay, and that they were prisoners.
Col. Robinson was on board the Vulture waiting for Andre, ignorant of his fate. Arnolds arrival unfolded all. Arnold sent back his boatswain with
letter to Washington assuring him his wife and aid de camps and all his family were ignorant of his proceedings and intentions, that he would soon make his reasons public (which will be dune this week; the printers here have been preverated saying any thing till Arnold wrote his own sentiments). He also declared that Andre at his desire came in a flag from the Vulture with his pass, under the name he had desired him to assume, that at his desire he had at Smiths house changed his uniform for other cloaths, and set off with his pass, his guide and horse and saddle for Kingsbridge, that as he was then Commanding Officer he had a right to do all this, and Andre every reason in the world to de" pend on such protection and to act as he did as it was by his orders.
Robinson and Arnold arrived to the amazement of all here on Tuesday the twenty sixth. The General was thrown into the greatest distress from the failure of so well concerted a plan, so near ending the rebellion, as it would | have given us all the forts, half the army, and cut off all communication with the Southern and Eastern Provinces as also the French. Andres situation gives | the General great distress. He immediately wrote Washington, enclosed another letter from Arnold to the same purpose as above, and demanded his Adjutant General.