grief, and then, putting one hand on the wagon body, made a determined spring
Stepping on his coffin he deliberately surveyed the scene, surrounded by
the five hundred and fifty infantry on guard,2 a great number of additional soldiers
and civilian spectators, including, unfortunately, women and children.
Colonel Scammell, as Adjutant, read the order for execution, in a loud
voice, then the commanding officer3—Glover—said: " Major Andre, if you have
anything to say you can speak, for you have but a short time to live." Standing
with hands on hips, the prisoner bowed to him and replied in clear, unfaltering
. I have nothing more to say, gentlemen, than this: I pray you to bear witness that I
meet my fate like a brave man.
All I request of you, gentlemen, is that you will bear witness—
The Continental Journal, Boston :
I have said all I had to say, before ; all I request of you—
The hangman, a Tory named Strickland, who was under arrest, and had
been promised liberty for performing the odious office, had disguised himself by
smearing his face with stuff like shoe-blacking, producing a hideous effect. Some
of the stuff probably adhered to his hands, for on approaching Andre he was
repulsed with the sharp command: "Take off your black hands." Removing his
gold-laced cocked-hat, and handing it5 and his watch6 to his servant, who stood by
the wagon, he next took off his white neck-cloth, and put it in his coat-pocket,7
unbuttoned his shirt-collar and turned it down. Taking the noose from Strick-
land's hands he put it over his head and drew it close around the throat; then,
taking a handkerchief from his pocket, he bandaged his eyes, and stood awaiting
death. The hangman fastened the rope to the cross-beam,8 when the com-
manding officer suddenly ordered Andre's hands to be tied. Andre immediately
1 Among the extraordinary circumstances that attended him in the midst of his enemies, he died universally
2 Colonel Israel Shreve, Second New Jersey, commanded the detachment.—Shreve.
3 Baldwin — but Thacher says it was Scammell.
* He appeared as little daunted as John Rogers is said to have been when about to be burnt at the stake.—
Poor Andr£ was executed yesterday; nor did it happen without a tear on my part. He was a rare character.
From the time of his capture to his last moments, his conduct was such as did honor to the human race.
I mean by these words to express all that can be said favorable of man. The compassion of every man of
feeling and sentiment was excited for him, beyond your conception.—Lieutenant Colonel Richard K.
Meade to Colonel Theodoric Bland, Jr., October 3.
(Meade was one of Washington's Aids, and grandfather of Commodore R. W. Meade, U. S. N.)
Joel Barlow, who was then chaplain of General Poor's brigade of the Massachusetts line, was a spectator, and
says : " A politer gentleman, or a greater character of his age, perhaps is not alive. He suffered with
calmness and cheerfulness."
6 L. M. Sargent.
« J. R. Simms.
7 These trivial details serve to illustrate how eye-witnesses' accounts differ. One says the hat and " stock " were
laid on the coffin. 8 This fact, page 76.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.