Major André met Arnold secretly but got trapped behind American lines. Arnold gave him civilian clothes and a pass through the lines. The Major, however, fell in among a picket post near Tarrytown and they discovered the layout of West Point in André’s boot. Seized as a spy, a court martial was convened and the Major found guilty. A friend of Nathan Hale told him that his situation was identical to Hale’s and his end would be the same. Arnold had escaped to British lines but, despite desperate intervention by the British commanding general to save André, he was unwilling to exchange for the hated Arnold. André presented an impassioned argument in his own behalf, but to no avail. He did suffer the same fate as Nathan Hale.
Self portrait of John André drawn on the eve of his execution October 2, 1780
The Bible gives accounts of spies and espionage, but by the ancient usages of war, a man caught out of uniform behind enemy lines and, in this case, with incriminating evidence, could expect no mercy. Perhaps Major André wished he had more than one life to give for his country? He is buried in the Hero’s Corner at Westminster Abbey. Arnold died unmourned and obscure after a long life of failure and social ostracism.