while the officer in command, Captain Ebenezer Foote,1 of the Commissary
Department, was notified. Arnold's pass was again produced, but the morning
was yet too dark2 for open-air reading, and the Captain went into Strang's—
his headquarters—and read it by lamp-light. The scene outside at the
moment is readily imaginable to one who has visited the spot, and is
worthy the brush of a historical painter. The atmosphere was foggy, threatening rain. Nearby objects were indistinct and distant ones invisible
through the gloom. In the foreground the watchful guard, the sentry in front
of the tavern, the two white men, one muffled in a light-blue cloak covered
with moisture, sitting his horse like a soldier, the other in civilian's dress, and
intently awaiting the opening of the tavern door and the re-appearance of
the officer. In the middle foreground, a small frame building, and inside, seen
through the small-paned window, a grave-faced young officer intently scanning the
paper—since grown historic and carefully preserved at Albany—which allows
" Mr. John Anderson " to " pass the guards to the White Plains and below if he
Nothing wrong about it, thinks the Connecticut Captain, less suspicious
than Boyd, so he returns it, and, like Boyd, misses his chance of historic distinction.3 Andre's spirits must have risen again with this second escape, and the
i Ebenezer Poote, son of Daniel and descendant of Nathaniel, who settled in Watertown, Mass., in 1633, was
born in Colchester, Conn., April 12, 1756, and died December 28, 1829, in Delhi, N. Y. At nineteen we
find him in the ranks of the Minute Men at Bunker Hill, and afterwards as a sergeant of the Second
Connecticut. He was taken prisoner at the surrender of Port Washington. With several companions he
escaped from the Bridewell in New York, at night, in the month of December following, gained what were
then the open fields, and reached the Hudson at the village of Greenwich, eluding all the British sentinels.
On the bank they found no means of escape but an unseaworthy boat, and here the party divided, and his
companions, going further, were most or all recaptured. He determined to trust himself to a single plank,
rather than run risk of capture. Accordingly he proceeded to swim the Hudson by means of the plank,
and after being several hours in the icy water, and safely passing an anchored British man-of-war, he was
floated ashore below Hoboken. At first unable to stand after his terrible experience, he eventually reached
a house where he was succored. Reaching the American lines we find him in the army at the capture of
Trenton, and during the terrible winter at Valley Forge. This, however, added to his previous experience,
broke down his constitution, and soon afterwards he secured a transfer to the Commissary Department,
where he remained until the end of the war, rising to the rank of Major. After 1783 he began mercantile
life in Newburgh, and then went into politics, eventually becoming member of the Legislature, and
holding many minor offices until appointed First (Presiding) Judge of Delaware County, an office he held
for many years, and to universal satisfaction.
His military ability was inherited by his son, General Frederick Foote, who died prematurely as a result of
hardships endured on the frontier during the war of 1812, and by his grandson, Captain and Brevet-Major
(really acting Colonel) William Rensselaer Foote, of the Sixth U. S. Infantry, who was killed at the
battle of Gaines' Mills, in 1862.
2 Sunrise was at six. This shows how early the party must have left Miller's—apparently without breakfast.
s Foote told Smith—who did all the talking—that the only American forces below were Sheldon's dragoons,
who were chiefly at Robbins' Mills (now Kensico) and would give him an escort to White Plains if he
wanted it. A few days later this note was written:
" Continental Village,
"28 of Sept. 1780.
" Captain Foote,
" Sir.—Your letter to the General was delivered me on the road. You will on receipt of this permit
the officer with the flag to return, delivering him the enclosed letter. This I know to be his Excellenc
intention, and he yesterday sent orders which seem not to have reached you.
I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
Aid De Camp.
Captain Foote has endorsed this :
" Ordering the return of the flag sent out from New York on account of Arnold's desertion."
I am unable to decide what flag of truce this refers to.
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