You are here

Artillery Orders found on John Andre, West Point, 1780

Artillery Orders found on Major John André, 1780
New York State Archives, NYSA_A4681-99_Artillery_Order
 
Document Description
Artillery Orders found on British Major John Andre at the time of his capture during the American Revolution, West Point, September 5, 1780.
 
Transcription
West Point Sept 5, 1780
Artillery Orders
The following Disposition of the Corp is to take place in case of an Alarm.
Capt. Dannills with his Camp J at Fort Putnam and to Detach an Officer with 12 men to Wyllyo's Redoubt, a Non Commissioned Officer with 3 Men to Wobbs Redoubt, and the like number to Redoubt No. 4.
Captain Thomas & Company to repair to Fort Arnold.
Captain Simmons and Company to remain at the North and South Redoubts at the East Side of the River, until further order.
Lieut. Barber with 20 men of Capt Johnson's Company will repair to Constitution Island, the remaining of hte Company with Lieut. Mason will repair to Fort Arnold.
Capt. Lieut. George & Lieut Blaker with 20 Men of Capt. Treadwill's Company will repair to Redoubt No. 1&2, the remainder of the Company will be sent to Fort Arnold.
Lieut. Jone's Company wiht Lieut Fick to repair to the South Battery.
The Chain Battery Sherbaums Redoubt and the Brass Field pairs will be manned from Fort Arnold as ? may require.
The Commissary adn Conductor of Military Stores will in turn wait upon the Commanding Officer of Artillery for Orders.
The Artificers in the garrison if agreeable to Former Orders will repair to Fort Arnold, and there receive further orders from the Command. Officers of Artillery
J Bauman Major Comm. Artillery
 
 
Questions
Who wrote this document?
Why would they need this plan?
What would happen if the enemy had a copy of this plan?
 

Historical Context
In 1780, near the present-day Tappan Zee Bridge, a major spy drama unfolded, changing the course of the American Revolution. Major General Benedict Arnold secretly attempted to help the British capture the fort at West Point. He had grown resentful of the American Army for not rewarding him for his many military victories. On the night of September 21, Arnold gave British Major John André documents detailing the fortifications and troop strengths at West Point. As André headed towards the British lines with the documents tucked in his boot, he was captured near Tarrytown on September 23. If he had reached the British command in New York City with the information Arnold had given them, the British would likely have taken the fort at West Point. West Point was crucial to controlling the Hudson River, so a British capture could have changed the outcome of the entire war.
Thirty-year-old André was hanged as a spy on October 2, 1780. Benedict Arnold escaped to New York City, eventually commanding British troops for the remainder of the American Revolution. He died in London in 1801.
 
 
Essential Question
How did Benedict Arnold become a traitor?
 
 
Check for Understanding
What advantage would this information give to the enemy?