vigor. She told Lossing then (and in 1845 repeated the story to J. Watson Webb,
with trifling variations) that Colonel Samuel B. Webb's younger brother John,
usually called Lieutenant Jack,1 came to the Van Cortland house,2 at North Peeks-
kill, where she was living, about the seventh of September. He brought a valise
containing considerable specie and his new uniform, and left it with her, caution-
ing her not to give it to any one without a written order from himself or his
brother. Riding on, he dined at Peekskill, presumably at a tavern, for Joshua
Hett Smith was present. In the latter's hearing he mentioned the call he
had just made, and the fact was not lost upon his auditor, for on the twenty-
second Smith rode to Van Cortland's, where he asked for the valise, saying
Jack Webb had sent him. Mr. Beekman was about to send a servant for
it, when his wife, overhearing the conversation, appeared on the scene and
demanded the stipulated written order. Smith readily answered that Webb had
not had time to write it; whereupon she refused to give up the valise, and despite
Smith's angry remonstrance, he was forced to leave without it. Had his effort
succeeded, Andre's escape in the uniform would have been certain. Fortunately
for Smith, Mrs. Beekman does not seem to have told the story at the time, for
she was not summoned as a witness at his trial. Her story seems to establish
Colonel Lamb's opinion that Smith was a Tory.
Thus Cornelia Beekman is justly entitled to the credit of indirectly, at
least, causing Andre's capture.8
To return to the latter—Leaving his hat and scarlet uniform coat in the
room we have illustrated, he reluctantly put on a coat belonging to Smith,4
apparently of a shade between crimson and claret, and a civilian's round beaver
hat, also Smith's. Over all he put the long, light-blue cloth cloak, with a cape,
which he had worn when leaving the Vulture. Thus attired, he started with
Smith and the negro5 for King's Ferry, just before sunset on Friday. His mount
was a Government horse, brown, branded U. S. A. on the near shoulder (Smith
claims to have furnished the saddle and bridle). From Smith's to King's Ferry
is three miles, by a winding, hilly and picturesque road, which crosses two small
creeks (Miner's Falls and Florus Falls), passes behind Stony Point and ends at a
little cove just north of it. West of the cove, the cut made in constructing the
West Shore Railroad destroyed its last hundred yards, and few traces of it
remain. Its course, however, was pointed out to me by the venerable John Ten
Eyck, son of him who was the ferryman from 1784 to 1844. The dock of 1780,
1 I do not know why, for his actual rank was Captain, in Sheldon's dragoons.
2 Called the Mansion house, to distinguish it from the Manor house at Croton.
3 In Harper's Monthly for April, 1876, it is stated that Washington afterwards thanked her. If so, he could not
have known of the event at the time of Smith's trial, as it would infallibly have hanged Smith.
* This advice—to change his dress—perplexing to unravel as it is, Andrei, with all his sagacity and-good sense,
was prevailed upon to pursue, for what reason nobody ever knew.—-Jones, I, page 372.
<• As Sargent remarks, it is very possible this humble retainer, had he been given a "half-joe " (about $S specie),
and warned to keep silent; might readily have contrived a way to put Andre1 safe aboard the Vulture
again. But nobody gave his possible aid a thought.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.