| America First|
|by Lawton B. Evans|
|Collection of one hundred action-packed stories, covering the range of American history, from the first visit of Leif the Lucky to the exploits of Sergeant York in World War I. In relating the long, thrilling story of the trials and triumphs of the pioneers and patriots, the author aims to gratify the love of children for the dramatic and picturesque, to satisfy them with stories that are true, and to make them familiar with the great characters in the history of their own country. Ages 8-12 |
THE EXECUTION OF MAJOR ANDRE
MAJOR ANDRE was a British officer, who bargained with Benedict Arnold for the surrender of West Point. The agreement was
made at a meeting between Arnold and Andre, and would have resulted in serious calamity to the American
forces, if Andre had not been captured on his way to New York, and the tell-tale papers discovered hidden in
Andre was declared a spy. The fact that he was a brave young officer, whom every one admired, could not save
him from the fate of all spies, caught within the enemy's lines. He was tried by court-martial, and condemned
to be hanged. Andre had hoped that the Court would order him to be shot, as befitted his rank, but this was
not to be!
When the time arrived for his execution, he received the news without emotion. All present were
 deeply affected, but Andre kept a cheerful countenance, and talked in his usual manner with those around him.
His servant came into the room, and Andre noticed tears in his eyes. Seeing this, he exclaimed, "You must not
give way thus. Leave me till you can show yourself more manly."
His breakfast was sent him from the table of General Washington. Every day during his confinement this had
been done. He ate as usual; then shaved and dressed. Placing his hat on the table, he said to the officers, "I
am ready at any moment, gentlemen, to wait on you."
The fatal hour came at last! A large body of troops was paraded, and an important gathering of citizens
assembled. Many generals and field officers were present. Washington did not attend. The scene was solemn, and
gloom pervaded all ranks. Major Andre walked from the stone house, where he had been confined, between two
soldiers, showing the greatest dignity and composure.
He smiled as he approached the scaffold, and nodded to several acquaintances as he passed them. When he saw
that he was to be hanged, and not shot, he was visibly moved, and said, "I am reconciled to my death, and
shall bear it as a brave man should, but I had hoped to be shot as a soldier rather than hanged as a felon."
 As soon as things were in readiness, he stepped quickly into the wagon, drawn under the gallows, and took two
white handkerchiefs from his pocket. He then grasped the rope that hung from the gallows, and slipped the
noose around his own neck. He gave one handkerchief to the provost-marshal to bind his arms behind him, and,
with the other, he bandaged his own eyes.
"It will be but a momentary pang," he said to those around him. "I pray you to bear me witness that I meet my
fate like a brave man."
The wagon was then drawn from under him, and, in a few moments, he had ceased struggling and was dead. He was
dressed in his royal regimentals and boots, and was buried at the foot of the gallows. Thus died, in the bloom
of his life, the gallant Major Andre, pride of the Royal Army!
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