October 2

This Day in History

General Interest

Oct 2, 1780:

British spy executed in Arnold affair

During the American War for Independence, British Major John AndrÉ is hanged as a spy by U.S. military forces in Tappan, New York.

Ten days before, AndrÉ had been apprehended by three highwaymen sympathetic to the Patriot cause, and they turned him over to U.S. authorities after finding intelligence information hidden in his boot. The intelligence papers revealed that AndrÉ was returning from a secret meeting with U.S. General Benedict Arnold, who, as the commander of West Point, had offered to surrender the strategic Hudson River fort for a bribe of $20,000. With the plot uncovered, Arnold fled to the British warship Vulture and joined the British in their fight against his country. Benedict Arnold had been a hero of the Patriot cause, distinguishing himself in a number of battles, but henceforth his name became synonymous with the word "traitor" in American speech. He died in London in 1801.

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