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

By DANIEL VAN WINKLE

Edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

Meanwhile, Washington had arrived at Arnold's headquarters and was informed that Mrs. Arnold was not well and that General Arnold had gone to West Point to receive him. Taking a hasty meal and leaving word that he and his escort would return for dinner, he crossed to the Point. He noticed on crossing, the absence of the customary military salute from the fort and the lack of any preparations for his reception. Colonel Lamb, the officer in charge. expressed surprise at seeing him and apologized at the want of military ceremony, stating he had not been informed of his intended visit, and that Arnold had been absent for two clays. Although greatly puzzled. Washington seems to have had no suspicion of anything untoward, for he remained through the morning inspecting the fortifications. In the meantime the messenger, who had been despatched to Hartford with the papers found upon Andre. arrived at the Robinson House. The letters were received and read by Colonel Hamilton, Washington's aide-de-campe and confidential officer. Realizing their great significance, he kept silent as to their contents, awaiting the return of Washington, to whom he revealed their contents privately. Whatever may have been his agitation, Washington communicated quietly what he had learned to Generals Knox and Lafayette, with the simple remark, "Whom can we trust now?" He at once despatched Colonel Hamilyon with Arnold should he attempt passing that point. but unfortunately Arnold was even then safe on board The Vulture.

Washington now recalled the disquieting rumors that bad occasioned him so great anxiety. The knowledge or Arnold's perfidy instructions to the commander at Verplanks Point, to intercept came as a severe shock to him. That one in whose patriotism and loyalty he had placed implicit confidence, notwithstanding his well-known indiscretions and dissipations, and whose appointment to the command of the very post he had now designed to surrender to the enemy, he himself had advocated, was not only humiliating, but somewhat unsettled his confidence in the correctness of his own judgment. Again those suspicions of the disloyalty and dissatisfaction of his officers, aroused by the circulation of the varied rumors which had occasioned him so great discomfort and which he had dismissed as unworthy of belief, were recalled. The action of Arnold having become generally known, the air was again rife with disconcerting rumors concerning the disloyalty of his officers, even specially charging one, in whom he had the utmost trust, of disaffection, Washington determined, if possible, to ascertain the truth or falsity of such rumors by special investigation, the result and consequences of which is related in the following extract taken from "Lee's Memoirs of the War of '76."

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Part One

Hudson County Facts by Anthony Olszewski
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