spanning the | kill."1 The rider was intently scanning a small map, though his
animal was galloping.2 On this, either Van Wart or Williams said, " Here
comes a gentleman-like looking man, who appears well-dressed, and whom you had
better step out and stop, if you don't know him."8 Paulding did so, presenting
his musket at the rider's breast.4 " I asked him which way he was going."
"My lads," he replied, " I hope you belong to our party."8 "What party?"
"The lower."6 "We do—my dress shows that," artfully said Paulding, who
wore the uniform coat, green, faced with red, of a German J'ager. This dress
naturally helped to deceive Andre.7 As a matter of fact, Paulding had but a few
days before escaped from a British prison—the North Dutch church, Fulton
Street—in New York, and by the friendly keeper of a livery stable had been
furnished with the coat, to help him pass the King's Bridge outposts.8 The
horseman, now addressing the group collectively, said: "I am a British officer,
have been up the country on particular business, and would not wish to be
detained a minute"—and to prove his claim to be an officer, took out his gold
watch.9 " Upon this, I told him to dismount,10 and we told him we were
Americans."11 At this the stranger started, changed color, and " fetched a deep
sigh."11 " God bless my soul," he exclaimed, " a body must do anything to get
along uow-a-days,"11 and produced Arnold's pass. Paulding, who alone of the
three could read or write, read it. " You had best let me go, or you will bring
yourselves into trouble, for your stopping me will detain General Arnold's
business: I am going to Dobbs' Ferry, to meet a person there and get information
for him," said the rider, whom Van Wart afterwards accurately described as " a
light, trim-built man of a bold military countenance, and with dark eyes." The
party hesitated—Arnold's pass was undoubtedly genuine, and his authority
1 Van Wart.
3 Williams. Van Wart says be was riding slowly, whicli seems more likely. Both may be right, for he may
have checked the animal just as he crossed the bridge. As he was halted he thrust the map (which
Arnold or Smith had given aim) into his off boot-leg.
4 Van Wart says all three presented their guns.
6 Andrews fatal question has been the wonder of all historians. With the pass in his pocket which had brought
him safely through so many dangers, he made his crowning blunder.
The suddenness of the surprise seemed to deprive him of his wonted presence of mind.—Jones.
Instead of producing Arnold's pass, which would have extricated him from our parties, and could have done
him no harm with his own, he asked the men if they were of the "upper" or "lower" party.—Hamilton.
With a want of self-possession so difficult to be accounted for in a mind equally brave and intelligent that it
would almost seem Providential, instead of producing the pass from Arnold, he asked the man (Williams)
where he belonged.—Marshall.
I General Van Cortland says Andre! exclaimed: "Thank God ! I am once more among friends." The buttons
of this coat were long preserved at the Van Cortland manor house at Croton.
8 Xhe " fierce spirit of liberty" which the British acknowledged actuated the people of New England, was
found also in the devastated Neutral Ground. Twice a prisoner, yet in arms again as soon as he escaped,
is a typical record of a young militiaman.
• He carried two, one of silver.
II Van Wart.
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