Washington's Order to Execute Arnold

Head Quarters, Orangetown, Sunday, October l, 1780 ~

Parole Hellespont. Countersigns M., Q. Watchword Look about.

The Board of General officers appointed to examine into the Case of Major Andre have reported.

Ist. "That he came on shore from the Vulture sloop of War in the night of the zlst. of September last on an interview with General Arnold in a private and secret manner."

2dly. "That he changed his dress within our Lines and under a feigned name and in a disguised habit passed our works at Stoney and Vere-Planks Points the Evening of the 22d. of September last and was taken the morning of the z3d. of September last at Tarrytown in a disguised habit being then on his way to New York; and when taken he had in his possession several Papers which contain'd intelligence for the Enemy."

The Board having maturely considered these Facts do also report to his Excellency General Washington:

"That Major Andre Adjutant General to the British Army ought to be considered as a spy from the Enemy and that agree. able to the Law and usage of nations it is their opinion he ought to suffer Death."

The Commander in Chief directs the execution of the above Sentence in the usual way this aLternoon at five o'clock precisely.

At a division General Court martial the I 1th. of September last Lieutenant Colonel Commandant Sherman President, Major Albert Chapman was tried upon the following Charges:

1st "For Embezzling public property and endeavouring to induce the Quarter master of the regiment to assist him in embezzling powder for his own private use."

2d. "For making up two enormous bills against Colonel Nelson, an inhabitant of Morristown for taking up a strayed horse the property of said Nelson and that without any expence to himself."

3d "For giving a Certificate to a soldier in the 7th. regiment that he was inlisted for three years only, when he had repeatedly muster'd him for during the war and sworn to the Muster Rolls."

The Court on considering the first and third Charges against Major Chapman are of opinion the charge of Embezzling public property is not supported therefore do acquit him of it; but find him guilty of the other part of the first and third charge being a breach of Article ~th. Section 18th. of the Articles of War and do sentence him to be reprimanded in Division orders.

The General is sorry to be under the disagreeable necessity of differing in opinion with the Court; but he thinks the sentence entirely inadequate to charges of so serious a nature as those of which they find Major Chapman guilty. He is released from Arrest.

There was a mistake in entering the evening order of the 25 th. ultimo: instead of the Pennsylvania division, the first Pennsylvania brigade only should have been mentioned as the second brigade did not receive marching orders 'till several hours after.


The Execution of Major Andre is postponed 'till tomorrow.


Major Andre is to be executed tomorrow at twelve o'clock precisely a liattalion of Eighty files from each wing to attend the execution

Paramus, October 7, 1780

STR: I had the honor on the Ist: Inst to receive Your Excellency's dispatches of the z4th Ulto. addressed to Major General Greene, and since, Your very obliging Letter of the 28th, for which I beg leave to return You my acknowledgments. I have written to Sir Henry Clinton in consequence of the former and requested him to make the desired communications. When these are received, they shall be transmitted.

I have the honor to inclose Congress a Copy of the proceedings of a Board of General Officers (No I) in the case of Major Andre, Adjutant General to the British Army. This Officer was executed in pursuance of the opinion of the Board, on Monday the 2d. Inst at 12 OClock, at our late Camp at Tappan. He acted with great candor, from the time he avowed himself after his capture, untill he was executed. Congress will perceive by a Copy of a Letter I received from him of the Ist Inst, that' it was his desire to be shot, but the practice and usage of war, circumstanced as he was, were against the indulgence. At the bottom of the 6th page of the proceedings, an explanatory note is added, to prevent any suspicions being entertained injurious to Colonel Sheldon, who otherwise, from the Letter addressed to him, might be supposed to have been privy to the measures between General Arnold and Major Andre. If it should be the pleasure of Congress to publish the case, and which I would take the liberty to suggest may not be improper, it will be necessary for the explanatory note to be annexed. Besides the proceedings, I transmit in the Inclosure No 2, Copies of Sundry Letters respecting the matter, which are all that passed on the subject, not included in the proceedings. I would not suffer Mr. Elliot and Mr. Smith to land, who came up to Dobbs's ferry agreeable to Sir Henry Clinton's Letter of the 30th of Septem. ber. Genl. Robertson was permitted to come on shore and was met by Major Genl Greene, and mentioned substantially what is contained in his Lettet of the 2d Instant. It might not perhaps be improper to publish the Letters or part of them in this Inclosure, as an Appendix to the proceedings of the Board of General Officers.

I had the honor to mention in my Letter of the 24th of August, that an interview was in contemplation between General Lincoln and General Phillips, to take place at Elizabeth Town, and that I should direct Mr Skinner, the Commissary to attend and endeavour to effectuate an exchange of prisoners of the principles and to the extent mentioned by Congress in their Act of the 7th. The Inclosure No 3 contains my Instructions to Mr Skinner, No 4 and 5 his Report and Major General Lincoln's of the result of the meeting, which happened on the 20th Ulto at the place appointed, and to which I beg leave to refer Congress. As it is now become certain that we cannot operate against New York this Campaign, and it was the expectation of this event's happening that prevented the release of our private prisoners; it appears to rne that the exchange of those in that place, should be immediately attempted, especially as the liberation of a great many of our Officers is made to depend upon it and is otherwise wholly rejected. From these considerations I have ventured to close with the terms of Mr Lorings Letter to Mr Skinner of the 22d of Sepr, respecting the exchange of Our Officers and privates at New York and Long Island, and have written to Sir Henry Clinton accordingly. I hope Congress will approve the measure. As to the exchange proposed between the Convention and the Southern prisoners, Congress will be pleased to decide on it themselves. They have the fullest knowledge of the present, and what will be the future situation of our Affairs, and can best judge of the conduct which the public good and humanity require to be pursued in the matter. For a variety of reasons I am, and profess myself wholly incompetent to determine in the case.

I have now the pleasure to communicate the names of the Three persons who captured Major Andre, and who refused to release him notwithstancling the most earnest importunities and assurances of a liberal reward on his part. Their conduct merits our warmest esteem and I beg leave to add that I think, the public will do well to make them a handsome gratuity. They have prevented in all probability our suffering one of the severest strokes that could have been meditated against us. Their names are John Paulding, David Williams and Isaac Van Wart.

For the present I have detached the Jersey, New York and New Hampshire Brigades with Stark's to the Highland posts. They marched this morning from Orange Town and will relieve the Pennsylvania line, which was thrown in at the mot ment General Arnold went to the Enemy. Major Genl Greene has marched with these four Brigades and will command at West point and its dependencies, 'till a further dispostion. The main body of the Army, the forage about Orange town and the lower Country being exhausted, also moved this morning and is now arrived here. We have had a cold, wet, and tedious march on account of the feeble state of our Cattle, and have not a drop of rum to give the Troops. My intention is to proceed with them to the Country in the neighbourhood of Passaick Lalls. I have the honor etc.

P. S. I have added a Note at the foot of Sir Henry Clintons Letter of the 30th of Septr and one at the foot of Major Andres Letter to me of the lSt of October, which are in the Inclosure No. 2, which, if the Letters are published I request may be published also.