exquisite discomfort. Smith served him dinner1 in the same upper room, and he
accepted—as he had to—his offer to escort him to the British lines, near White
Plains. (It was really Arnold's plan. See Andre's statement later.) In
changing his uniform coat and hat for such as Smith lent him, he made another
mistake, as he had previously made one in accepting from Arnold the various
papers—now preserved at Albany—containing details of the post and garrison
at West Point.2 Thus, in less than one day, Clinton's three specific cautions
had all been disregarded. The transaction of the papers is incomprehensible, as
they were in no way necessary to his mission. As Sargent suggests, their salient
points could easily have been memorized,
or embodied in a brief form, intelligible
only to himself. To receive and carry
them was surprising rashness.3 Sargent
may be right in thinking he exacted them
of Arnold as a proof of sincerity, or that
the latter offered them as such. The
latter seems more likely, as he had them
ready. During the day Smith must have
crossed the river on the errand which
was so nearly successful, and would have
changed the whole subsequent history if it
had been. The incident has never received
the historical prominence it deserves. In
1844 Mrs. Gerard G. Beekman (Cornelia
Van Cortland, daughter of General Pierre)
was living at Tarrytown, and, although The andr6 Tabia
nearly ninety years old, in full mental
I Just here I may remark on what seems to me a singular omission on the part of all authorities—viz., the action
of the Vulture herself during the cannonade. Does anyone suppose the commander of a vessel mounting
fourteen guns would remain quiescent while a four-pounder was firing on her? Yet no one seems to have
thought the " fire " which Smith saw was what it must undoubtedly have been—the flashes of fire and the
dense cloud of smoke through which they spurted in rapid succession, giving the vessel the appearance of
being actually in flames as her seven guns—the battery on one side—were rapidly replying to Livingston's
one small cannon. No doubt part of the crew were making every effort to get her under sail and out of
range, but the finding at different places on the Point of cannon balls larger than Livingston's piece could
use shows conclusively, I think, that at least part of her battery was actively engaged with the daring foe.
It is much to be regretted that no report from Lieutenant Sutherland of the action is accessible.
An unpublished diary of General Henry Dearborn (then Major of the Hirst New Hampshire) records:
" Orangetown (the present Tappan), 22 September, 1780. At daybreak two cannon and a howitzer began
to play briskly on a ship of war that lay in the river. The wind and tide being unfavorable for the ship,
she was not able to get out of reach for more than an hour." Could this have been the Vulture! Tappan
is about nine miles below Teller's Point. A tradition in the family of Lieutenant-Colonel Ebenezer
Stevens, of Lamb's regiment, is that he had himself taken out cannon and fired on the vessel, following
her down the river—on the west bank.—Magazine Am'n History, August, 1880.
Possibly the two items refer to the same case. Stevens may have taken his guns some distance up-stream, and
thus for a while the vessel would be under fire from both banks.
1 The table on which breakfast and dinner were served is now owned by Mr. C. W. Gordon, Haverhill, Mass. It
is circular, of mahogany, claw-footed and with a tilting top.
» See Andre's statement, Chapter V, on this point. 2 The following are, pages I(J—18.
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