off to take him there. For a part of the way they were accompanied by Paulding,
Williams and Van Wart,1 who seem to have been hanging around headquarters.
The route was by Coman's Hill, Bedford Village and Cross River, to Lower
Salem, arriving at the house of 'Squire John Gilbert at about eight in the
morning. The house stood on the west side of the road leading north from Lower
Salem, between the present dwellings of Mrs. Abby Hoyt and John I. Bouton.
It no longer exists—the illustration being taken from a water-color sketch2 in
the collection of Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet.
The account of Andre's arrival, given by Lieutenant (afterwards General)
Joshua King, of Sheldon's, is so graphic that I insert it in full:
He looked somewhat like a reduced gentleman. His smallclothes were nankeen,
with handsome white-top riding boots — in fact his undress military clothes. His coat
[was] purple, with gold lace, worn somewhat threadbare, with a small-brimmed tarnished
beaver on his head. He wore his hair in a queue, with long black beard,8 and his clothes
somewhat dirty. In this garb I took charge of him. After breakfast my barber came in
to dress 4 me, after which I requested him to go through the same operation, which he did.
When the ribbon was taken from his hair, I observed it full of powder ; this circumstance,
with others that occurred, induced me to believe that I had no ordinary person in charge.
He requested permission to take the bed while his shirt and smallclothes might be
washed. I told him that was needless, for a shirt was at his service, which he accepted.
We were close pent-up in a bedroom, with a vidette at the door and window. There was
a spacious yard before the door, which he desired he might be permitted to walk in with
me. I accordingly disposed of my guard in such a manner as to prevent an escape.
While walking together, he observed he must make a confidant of somebody, and he
knew not a more proper person than myself, as I had appeared to befriend a stranger in
distress. After settling the point between us, he told me who he was, and gave me a
short account of himself from the time he was taken at St. Johns in 1775.
(This looks like an attempt on Arnold's part to discover ¦whether Sheldon had a spy in New York. His
endeavor to find out the same thing about Lafayette is historic.)
About August 27 William Heron, a member of the Connecticut Legislature from Redding, and 'well-known to
the oificers of the Connecticut Line, requested General Parsons to assist him in procuring a flag of truce
for the purpose of going to New York, that he might collect money due him there. Parsons accordingly
gave him a note to Arnold, who, instead of granting the flag immediately detained Heron until the 30th,
and then brought from his private room a letter which he said was from a friend of his own, that he had
examined it, and at the same time pointing out to Heron that it had been sealed with a wafer which he had
broken and afterwards sealed with wax, desired him to be careful to deliver it with his own hand
if he went to New York.
Heron did go, but Arnold's extraordinary precautions led him to inspect the seal, and, finding the wafer had
not been broken as Arnold said, his suspicions were excited, and instead of delivering the letter as
promised, he brought it back with him, and on September 10 gave it to Parsons. As it seemed to relate
merely to trade, Parsons, preferring to state the facts privately to Washington instead of making a formal
communication, rode over to camp (Tappan) for the purpose—but found Washington was just leaving for
Hartford. So, as Parsons expresses it, "it was left to the ripening of the horrid event to detect this
unsuspecting instrument." (Parsons' letter is printed in Sargent.)
It is an interesting speculation as to how much history would have been changed, had the letter been delivered
in New York, or had Parsons succeeded in bringing the matter to Washington's attention. It was the
letter signed "Gustavus," and dated August 30.—Charles S. Ham,, Hall Ancestry, N. Y., 1896.
2 By the late Dr. Andrew Anderson, the father of American wood-engraving. It is probably the only original
view existing. The late John Jay bought the house in 1856, hoping that public interest might be
sufficiently awakened to preserve it; but his effort failed, and the site is now a cultivated field. It is
marked 17 on the map.
8 As no gentleman of that period wore a beard, King probably means a beard of several days' growth. Andr6
could not have shaved for four days. < Shave.
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