Thursday, December 29, 2005

West Point Garrison Captured Without a Shot, Traitor Arnold to Blame

1 August, 1780
New York, New York - The Colonial Fortress overlooking the Hudson River at West Point, New York, was captured by the British Army last week, apparently without having to fire a single shot.
Soldiers formerly garrisoned at Fortress West Point, who escaped the fort during the occupation by the Redcoats, report that the forces commanded by Sir Henry Clinton were escorted through the front gate by embattled Colonial Army Major General Benedict Arnold.
The day began, according to the brave escapees, with Arnold ordering all the garrison's weapons being locked in storage for an inspection and inventory. Shortly thereafter, he received a visitor, one John Andre, who had been a frequent visitor to General Arnold since the Spring. Hours later, Arnold ordered the fortress's gates thrown open and all the men garrisoned therein to assemble in the large fore-court.
Moments later, Sir Henry rode through the gates accompanied by several thousand Redcoats who immediately began placing Arnold's men in leg irons. Arnold and Andre, however, were treated as long-lost relatives, granted parole, and appeared an hour later in the uniform of the British Army, Andre wearing the rank of Major and Arnold that of a Brigadier.
The escaped soldiers speculate that Andre had been carrying communications between the traitorous Arnold and Sir Henry. They first recall Andre's visits to Arnold begin shortly after the Tories insisted that General Washington abandon checkpoints designed to monitor messengers moving between Colonial- and British-held portions of the upper Hudson Valley.
At the time, General Washington insisted that the checkpoints were necessary to prevent collaboration between British Sympathizers and the British Armies garrisoned in Canada.
Prominent Tories, however, demanded removal of the checkpoints as the monitoring of their communications was considered a breach of their privacy.
One Mr. J. Kennedy, Esquire, of the Massachusetts Colony, was particularly insistent in demanding, "That Scoundrel Washington must stop this unwarranted monitoring of our communications with our contacts in Canada." The Tory, privateer, and sometimes smuggler went on to criticize the Washington checkpoints as "a grave breech, regardless of the benefit that may be derived by the British Army by their removal."
In reality, Major John Andre was captured attempting to deliver communications between Benedict Arnold and Sir Henry Clinton as they negotiated the surrender of the vital fortress at West Point that controlled river traffic on the Hudson River. Andre was convicted in a court martial and hanged. Arnold escaped and died in ignominy in England.
But what if we weren't monitoring traffic with enemy agents outside the country? I think we'd have lost West Point, lost control of the Hudson, and probably lost the Revolutionary War.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just recently came across your blog and found this a startling post and interesting from the point of view of the last paragraph: "But what if we weren't monitoring traffic with enemy agents outside the country? I think we'd have lost West Point, lost control of the Hudson, and probably lost the Revolutionary War". This is a logical assumption, but wrong I do believe.

My ancestors were colonials in support of the British; Loyalists, if you were one or Tories if you were a Patriot. Your "probably lost the Revolutionary War" would have certainly changed my family history!! No loss of land in NY, no leaving and going to what would be Canada, and no need for various members of each generation to have to come back home!! But it would not have happened the way you suggest.

I am very proud of my ancestors and their willingness to fight for their loyalties; nevertheless, this was a nation ordained and "our side" was doomed to fail despite any possible fortuitous events that might have brought them a fort here or a battle there. The British/Loyalists won the majority of the battles. They lost the IMPORTANT ones by virtue of what I am sure was not the hand of fate but The Hand Of God!! This is the July 4th week-end and I am filled with emotion as I write, God Bless America! He certainly did throughout the years of the Revolutionary War and has continued to do so ever since. Lets hope it continues as these are days fraught with perils and dangers unheard of in the 18th century.

4:20 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home