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A Month before His Capture and Execution for Aiding Benedict Arnold's Treason, British Spymaster John Andr writes: "Good fortune still follows me."
New York City 1780 - Autograph Letter Signed, to his mother [Mary Louisa Andr]. "Head Quarters," New York, N.Y., September 1, 1780. 5 pp., 7 1/4 x 8 3/4 in. John Andr proudly writes to his mother in England of his recent promotion to Adjutant-General of the British Army in North America, serving under Commander-in-Chief Sir Henry Clinton. Andr handled Clinton's official correspondence and managed his network of spies in New York and New Jersey, which brought him into contact with disgruntled Continental Army General Benedict Arnold and ushered him towards the dreadful fate that awaited him later that month. This is one of his last letters to his family. "Good fortune follows me, the Commander in chief has raised me to the first Office in the Army, if that of most confidence and least proffit is to be stiled so. I am Adjutant General . My satisfaction at my Appointment is renew'd at my acquainting you with it, as I am persuaded I am giving equal pleasure to what I have experienc'd myself . I do not derive great power from my situation but what openings it gives me to provide for, or oblige (in a good cause) I shall avail myself of at your nod." Complete Transcript Head Quarters New York The 1st. Septem: 1780Dear Madam Good fortune still follows me, the Commander in Chief has raised me to the first office in the Army, if that of most confidence and least proffit is to be stiled so. I am Adjutant General. The Rank of Lieutenant Colonel which usually attends this post is not given me on account of the difficulties made at [2] giving me rank of Major, but I may nourish hope of obtaining it hereafter. I am full of gratitude towards the General for so much Kindness and impress'd with the greatest zeal to deserve it, but can hardly look back at the steep progress I have made without being giddy. The having exercised the duties I am called to, for near a twelvemonth gives me a greater [3] confidence in myself than I should else have and the thought that in acquiring this much Experience I have not been guilty of great Omission, &a. makes me trust in my ability to fill the place with Reputation. - My satisfaction at my Appointment is renew'd at my acquainting you with it, as I am persuaded I am giving equal pleasure to what I have experienc'd myself. [4] I am in very good health tho the great quantity of Business which assails me sometimes affects my spirits Exercise however infallibly restores me. I do not derive great power from my situation but what openings it gives me to provide for, or oblige (in a good cause) I shall avail myself [inserted: of] at your nod. The loss of the Mercury packet taken by the Rebels has I suppose deprived me of accounts from you but I hope for some by the first opportunity. I am with great Respect and attachment Dr Madam Your dutifull [son] J Andr[address leaf:] Mrs. Andr / Southampton / N York[in another hand:] I New York 1780Historical BackgroundJohn Andr (1750-1780) was born in London to Huguenot parents, Antoine Andr and Mary Louisa Giradot. He entered the British Army at the age of twenty, in 1770, as part of the 23rd Regiment of Foot. After special training in Germany, Andr arrived in America in 1774. He quickly proved himself to be an officer of exceptional ability. In 1777 Andr served as an aide to Major General Charles Grey, and accompanied him on his campaign to the Head of Elk, which led to the occupation of Philadelphia. He also was present at the Battles of Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. On Grey's recommendation, Andr was appointed Deputy Adjutant-General to the British commander-in-chief, Sir Henry Clinton, with the rank of major; a year later he would be promoted to Adjutant-General. Andr was also charged with the mission of overseeing Secret Service operations in New York.Andr's fate was forever tied to Continental Army General Benedict Arnold, who had first bruited his treasonous overtures to Sir Henry Clinton in May or June 1779, when he found himse. (See website for full description)
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