About one mile north of this is a village named in honour of
our distinguished countryman. Next comes Tarrytown, with its one
thousand inhabitants, twenty-eight miles from New. York. A
quarter of a mile north of this village is the spot where Major
Andre was captured. We have above given the closing scene of his
captivity; from the same source we obtain the following sketch of
the first On the 23d of September, 1780, three militia-men,
Williams, Vanwart, and Paulding, were going to see some relations
about twenty miles below. They seated themselves in some
shrubbery beside the road, and commenced to play at cards.
Suddenly their attention was arrested by the clattering of a
horse's hoofs over the wooden planks of a bridge, which crossed a
creek near by. Leaving their cards they approached the road,
where they saw a gentleman riding towards them, seated on a large
brown horse, which was afterward observed to be marked near the
shoulder with the initials U. S. A. The rider was a light,
trimbuilt man, about five feet seven inches in height, with a
bold military countenance and dark eyes, and was dressed in a
round hat, blue surtout crimson coat, with pantaloons and vest of
nankeen. As he neared them the three cocked their muskets and
aimed at the rider, who immediately checked his horse, and the
following conversation ensued: Andre. " Gentlemen, I hope
you are of our party."
Paulding. "What party!"
Andre. "The lower party."
Paulding. " We are."
Andre. "I am a British officer: I have been up the country on particular business, and would not wish to be detained a single moment."
He thereon pulled out a gold watch as an evidence that he was a gentleman. Paulding remarked, "We are Americans."
Andre. "God bless my soul! A man must do any thing to get along. I am a continental officer, going down to Dobb's Ferry to get information from below."
He then drew out his pass from Arnold, in which he was designated by the name of Anderson. The suspicions of the patriots were however aroused, and they ordered him to dismount. Andre told them that they would bring themselves into trouble. " We care not for that," was the reply. They took him down ten or fifteen rods beside a run of water, and Williams searched his clothes. He found but eighty dollars in continental money. At length he ordered him to take off his boots. At this he changed colour. Williams drew off the left boot first, and Paulding seizing it, exclaimed, "My God, here it is!" In it were found three half sheets of written paper, enveloped in a blank half sheet marked, "Contents, West Point." Paulding again exclaimed, " My God, he's a spy!" On pulling off the other boot, a similar package was found.
Andre then attempted to purchase his release, gradually augmenting his offers to his horse equipage, ten thousand guineas, and as many dry goods as they wished, which they cut short the negotiation by informing him that "it did not signify for him to make offers for he should not go." So treachery was foiled.
No monument marks the spot where this scene occurred, though it is well known to the inhabitants. The tree under which the spy was captured was struck by lightning on the day when the news of the traitor Arnold's death was received at Tarrytown. There is a Dutch Reformed Church at this village, one hundred and sixty-two years old, and a graveyard much older. Immediately north of Tarrytown is the Sleepy Hollow, made for ever famous by Irving's legend. His hero, the Yankee pedagogue, Ichabod Crane, led the choir in the old church above mentioned ; and back of it was the dreadful ravine where he encountered the Headless Horseman.