John André proudly writes to his mother of his recent promotion to Adjutant-General of the British Army in North America, serving under Commander-in-Chief Sir Henry Clinton. André 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 André’s last letters.
“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.”
Read this poignant letter, written 150 years ago today by the man George Washington called “more unfortunate than criminal”—when approving his hanging.