“He Was More Unfortunate Than Criminal; An Accomplished Man and A Gallant Officer.” George Washington

On October 1, 1780, British Major John Andre was tried for treason and war crimes in the Old Dutch Reformed Church at Tappan, New York. The following day Major Andre was hanged by the throat until dead on the front lawn of the church. What was Major Andre’s crime that he was treated so differently than most captured Redcoats? Andre conspired with American Benedict Arnold to turn over the American base at West Point, New York. Arnold escaped to England, and the “unfortunate” Major Andre was sentenced to death in America. The Old Dutch Reformed Church in Tappan – still standing and still holding services more than 235 years after the Andre incident – was one of the buildings that played into the Andre affair. Elsewhere in Tappan is the “Old ’76 House,” a steak house that now inhabits the building in which Andre was kept prisoner. General Washington stayed in Tappan in 1780 at the De Windt House, still open to the public as one of those places where “Washington slept here” is the byword. Andre was hanged and buried in Tappan, and in 1821 his body was removed and reinterred at Westminster Abbey in England.

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