pushed the handkerchief from his eyes, took a second one1 from a pocket, and
handed it to Strickland, first replacing the one over his eyes. The hangman
having bound his arms behind him with the handkerchief, for an instant the
slight figure, attired in coat of bright scarlet faced with green, waistcoat and
breeches of buff, and top-boots, stood bareheaded, sharply outlined against the
clear sky and the forest covering the distant hills.2 The multitude was perfectly
silent, overcome with emotion.8 Then Colonel Scammell signalled the wagoner,
by dropping the point of his sword — the horses were led forward, and the
pinioned figure swung violently4 at the end of the rope ——
There was happily hardly any struggle—it seemed in truth, as he had
anticipated, " only a momentary pang."6 For possibly half an hour the body
oscillated, during which time the assembled multitude remained quiet. " The
chambers of death were never stiller,"6 said one spectator, in unconsciously
felicitous phrase. Then the rope was cut by the commanding officer himself,
while two soldiers on either side bore up the body, that it might not fall. Laid
on the ground beside the open grave, the uniform was taken off and handed to
Laune, who, with the other servant, stood by. The guard was finally withdrawn,
the multitude allowed to come forward7 and gaze on the unconscious clay of the
" darling of the British Army"—he who barely a fortnight earlier had left New
York on the mission which was to, and so nearly did, insure the ruin of the
patriot cause. " Thus died," says Thacher, | in the bloom of life, the accom-
plished Major Andre, the pride of the royal army, and the valued friend of Sir
By degrees the crowd lessened, and when but a few remained,8 the body
was wrapped in a shroud9 and decently buried, near the gallows. Washington
thus reported the event to Congress :
8 This fact, mentioned only by Captain Van Dyk, probably accounts for Shreve's statement that the execution
was from a_ ladder. The height of the gallows probably obliged Strickland to use a short ladder to reach
the cross-piece from the wagon.
1 Dr. Hall, who stood close to the wagon, says it was a piece of blue ribbon. Thus, again, do eye-witnesses
differ about details.
2 His personal accomplishments, appearance and behaviour, gained him the good wishes and opinion of every
person who saw him.- He was perhaps the most accomplished officer of the age—he met his fate in
a manner which did honor to the character of a soldier.—Scammell to Colonel Nathaniel Peabody,
* The three captors were among the spectators. In after years Van Wart often shed tears when describing the
I walked with him to the place of execution, and parted from him under the gallows, entirely overwhelmed
with grief that so gallant an officer and so accomplished a gentleman should come to such an ignominious
When I saw him swinging under the gibbet, it seemed for a time as if I could not support it. All the
spectators seemed to be overwhelmed by the affecting spectacle, and many were suffused with tears.
There did not appear to be one hardened or indifferent spectator in all the multitude.— Thacher.
* Baldwin describes it as " a most tremendous swing," due to the height of the gallows.
1 The tears of thousands fell on the spot where he lay.—Thacher. s a French soldier, » Simms, page 77.
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