John André in the American Revolution
John André (1750-1780) was the aide de camp of Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander-in-chief. André purchased a commission as second lieutenant in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in 1771. In 1774 he joined a regiment in Quebec, where he pursued his first love of poetry and painting. In September and October 1775, American troops laid siege to his fort at St. Johns. He was captured, brought back to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and treated roughly. His days as a prisoner turned him against the American rebels. The Americans finally exchanged him in 1776, and he met up with British troops in New York City. Sir William Howe was especially interested in the information André had learned behind the American lines. André then purchased a position as captain and become General Charles Grey's aide. He became known for behaving ruthlessly and aggressively on the battlefield. In 1778 André joined the staff of Henry Clinton, General Howe's replacement. Clinton made him head of intelligence in April 1779. André successfully kept track of intelligence from American disserters and British prisoners who had escaped or were exchanged.
André's most famous success was the treachery of Benedict Arnold. As a result, Clinton promoted André rapidly, from deputy to adjutant general in October 1779. Yet Benedict Arnold was also André's downfall. Three American militiamen captured André, who was dressed in civilian clothes with a treasonous letter between Clinton and Arnold in his boot. André was tried with a court martial. Found guilty, he begged George Washington to shoot him as a gentlemen instead of hanging him as a spy. Nevertheless, he was hanged as a spy in Tappan, New York on October 2, 1780.