Birth: May 2, 1750 London Death: Oct. 2, 1780 Tappan New York, USA
Revolutionary War British Army Officer. Born in London, England to Huguenot parents, he was educated in Geneva, Switzerland, and returned to London in 1767. He was a charismatic and charming man, noted for his manners, and was fluent in French, English, German and Italian. He could draw well, and painted, wrote poetry, and played a flute. After a failed courtship, he joined the British Army, in 1770. He was commissioned a Lieutenant on March 4, 1771, studying in Germany for two years. In 1774, he was assigned to the Royal Fusileers in Canada. During the siege of St. Johns, Canada, by American forces, he was taken prisoner when the city fell on November 2, 1775. As a prisoner of war, he was taken to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he made many friends among the German locals. At the end of 1776, he was returned to British control during a prisoner exchange, and he presented to British General Howe a compiled set of military drawings of forts that he had travelled through while a prisoner of the Americans. This led General Howe to promote him to Captain. When General Henry Clinton succeeded General Howe as British Commander, Andre was appointed as Clinton's Chief of Intelligence in November 1778. On May 10, 1779, he received word of Benedict Arnold's offer to surrender the fort of West Point, key to the New York Hudson Valley, in return for 10,000 pounds and a commission in the British Army. On September 21, 1779, John Andre met with General Arnold, and obtained maps and other documents about the American forces, to carry to General Clinton. He was then caught by three American freelance soldiers just a few miles from British-held New York City. Imprisoned in Tappan, New York, he is court-martialed and found guilty of spying on September 29, 1780, and was hung on October 2, 1780, despite his request to be executed by firing squad. His body lay in American soil until 1818, when it was exchanged for the remains of Continental Major General Richard Montgomery, whose forces had captured Major Andre in Canada, and who was killed in the American assault on Quebec in December 1775.