Washington's REports

Robinson's House in the Highlands,
September 26, 1780

SIR: I have the honor to inform Congress that I arrived here yesterday about 12 o'clock on my return from Hartford. Some hours previous to my arrival Major General Arnold went from his quarters which were at this place; and as it was supposed over the river to the garrison at West point, whither I proceeded myself in order to visit the post. I found General Arnold had not been there during the day, and on my return to his quarters, he was still absent. In the mean time a packet had arrived from Lt. Colonel Jamison announcing the capture of a John Anderson who was endeavoring to go to New-York, ~ with the several interesting and important papers mentioned below, all in the hand writing of General Arnold. This was all accompanied with a letter from the prisoner avowing himself ~ to be Major John Andre Adjt: General of the British army, d rating the manner of his capture, and endeavoring to she that he did not come under the description of a spy. From then several circumstances, and information that the General seemed to be thrown into some degree of agitation on receiving a letter a little time before he went from his quarters, I was able to conclude immediately that he had heard of Major Andre captivity, and that he would if possible escape to the enemy and accordingly took such measures as appeared the most probable to apprehend him. But he had embarked in a barge, and proceeded down the river under a flag to the vulture ship of war, which lay at some miles below Stony and Verpland. points. He wrote me after he got on board a letter, of which to inclosed is a copy. Major Andre is not arrived yet, but I hope he is secure and that he will be here to-day. I have been and am taking proper precautions, which I trust will prove effectual, to prevent the important consequences which this conduct on the part of General Arnold was intended to produce. I do not know the party that took Major Andre; but it is said, it consisted only of a few militia, who acted in such a manner upon the occasion as does them the highest honor and proves them to be men of great virtue. They were offered, I alh informed, a large sum of money for his release, and as many goods as they would demand, but without any effect. Their conduct gives them a just claim to the thanks of their country, and I also hope they will be otherwise rewarded. As soon as I know their names I shall take pleasure in transmitting them to Congress. I have taken such measures with respect to the Gentlemen of General Arnold’s family as prudence dictated; but from every thing that has hitherto come to my knowledge, I have the greatest reason to believe they are perfectly innocent. I early secured, Joshua Smith, the person mentioned in the close of General Arnold’s letter, and find him to have had a considerable share in this business. I have the honor etc.