Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 75,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

André, John (1751-1780) to Joseph Chew

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05533.01 Author/Creator: André, John (1751-1780) Place Written: s.l. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 18 June 1780 Pagination: 2 p. : address ; 22.3 x 37 cm.

Summary of Content: Reports that Benedict Arnold, "the Rebel General," is to take command in Connecticut and that he is expected to leave from West Point to go to New Haven daily. Asks Chew to send spies to watch his travels. On verso is a note dated 19 June by Chew stating that he has sent two men in the direction given by Major Andre and details what they will be paid for the service.

Background Information: John André was the aide-de-camp of Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander-in-chief. He was involved in Benedict Arnold's treason plot to surrender West Point to the British and was captured ...by the American forces and hanged as a spy in Tappan, New York, on October 2, 1780. Many on both sides felt that Arnold should have been the one to die for treason and that André just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but Washington had no choice but to punish him as a spy.
See More

Full Transcript: H.Qrs. the 18th June 1780
Dear Sir
We hear Arnold the Rebel General is Supposed on his Way to take the Command in Connecticut and that he is expected from ...West Point to New Haven daily[.] If you can send [a] person to watch whether he travels that Road or goes to New Haven it will give an Item of Schemes in that Quarter
[2] I am
Your most ob
& most humble
J André Dy Adj G
Mr Chew

[address leaf]
Mr Chew

19th. June Reced this Letter ½ after 2 o Clock at half after 4 Sent of Lewis & Anthony Purdie to Execute the Direction given by Majr Andre & advanced Each of them one Guinea
they are to have Each four Guineas more on Performing this Service Effectually
[on an attached Autograph Affidavit Signed, written slightly later:]
This Letter was delievered as a Blank Sheet of Paper put over one or two News Papers - which by Wetting with a Proper Composition made it Legible. the Writer was a Colo in his Majestys Service during the War that Ended in 1763 - was of as Much Consequence and as highly Respected as any man in the Colony in Lived in at the Breaking out of the Rebellion Since which he has been thoroughly Persecuted
J Chew
he is well know[n] to many Officers who Served in that war and Particularly to Colo B. Robinson
[written in a different hand in pencil:]
Executed Oct 2nd 1780
See More

People: André, John, 1751-1780
Chew, Joseph, fl. 1780
Arnold, Benedict, 1741-1801

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Revolutionary WarMilitary HistoryRevolutionary War GeneralSpyingWest Point (US Military Academy)Continental Army

Sub Era: The War for Independence

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources