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Story of John Champe
Part Four
Published By
The Historical Society of Hudson County, NJ

By DANIEL VAN WINKLE

Edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

Taken verbatim from "Memoirs of the War of '76,"
by Major Henry Lee.

The treason of Benedict Arnold – the capture of Andre – with intelligence received by Washington, through his confidential agents in New York, communicating that many of his officers, and especially a Major-General named to him, were connected with Arnold – could not fail to seize the attention of a commander less diligent and zealous than Washington. It engrossed his mind entirely, exciting reflections the most anxious as well as unpleasant. The moment he reached the army, then under the command of Major-General Greene, encamped in the vicinity of Tappan, he sent for Major Lee, posted with the Light Troops some distance in front. The officer repaired to the front with celerity, and found the General in his marquee alone, busily engaged in writing. As soon as Lee entered, he was requested to take a seat, and a bundle of papers, lying on the table, was given him for perusal. In these much information was detailed, tending to prove that Arnold was not alone in the base conspiracy just detected, but that the poison had spread; and that a Major-General, whose name was not concealed, was certainly as guilty as Arnold himself. This officer had enjoyed with- out interruption the confidence of the Commander-in-Chief throughout the war; nor did there exist a single reason in support of the accusation. It altogether rested upon the intelligence derived from the papers before him. Major Lee, personally acquainted with the accused, could not refrain from suggesting the probability, that the whole was a contrivance of Sir Henry Clinton, in order to destroy that confidence between the commander and his officers, on which the success of military operations depend. This suggestion Washington replied was plausable and deserved due considera- tion. It had early occurred to his own mind and had not been slightly regarded ; but his reflections settled in a conclusion not to he shaken, as the same suggestion applied to no officer more forcibly than a few days ago it would have done to General Arnold, known now to be a traitor. Announcing this result of his meditations with the tone and countenance of a mind deeply agitated and resolved upon its course, Lee continuing silent, the General proceeded, "I have sent for you in the expectation that you have in your corps individuals capable and willing to undertake an indispensable, delicate and hazardous project. Whoever comes forward upon this occasion will lay me under great obligations personally, and in behalf of the United States I will reward him amply. No time is to lie lost; he must proceed if possible this night. My object is to probe to the bottom the afflicting intelligence contained in the papers you have just read; to seize Arnold, and by getting him to save Andre. They are all connected. While my emissary is engaged in preparing means for the seizure of Arnold, the guilt of others can be traced and the timely delivery of Arnold to me will possibly put it into my power to restore the amiable and unfortunate Andre to his friends. My instructions are ready, in which you will find my express orders that Arnold is not to be hurt, but that he be permitted to escape if to be prevented only by killing him, as his public punishment is the sole object in view. This you cannot too forcibly impress upon whomsoever may engage in the enterprise; and this fail not to do. With my instructions are two letters to be delivered as ordered and here are some guineas for expenses."

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Part One

Hudson County Facts by Anthony Olszewski
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Political corruption is a tradition here.
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