Secrets of John André

The tale of Major John André, the British officer who was hanged as a spy in 1780 during the American Revolutionary War, has long been shrouded in mystery. Most of his letters, papers and belongings were destroyed or scattered at the time of his death.

Recent research into this interesting man’s past has revealed some fascinating new insights into his life and military career, including several facts not previously made public.

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Here are five secrets you may not have known about Major John André.


Born on 2 May 1750 or 1751 at Bexhill, East Sussex, England. His father was Colonel Jean André and his mother was Margaret Stone. He was one of four sons and two daughters. During the American Revolutionary War, John André was a British-army major and the head of its secret service.

Early Life

Born in 1750, John André came from an aristocratic family in Scotland. He joined the military when he was 15 years old, and his intelligence led him to become a major at 25 years old.

During the American Revolutionary War, he was head of the British Secret Service in America. His intelligence eventually led to him being hanged for espionage on 2 October 1780 in Tappan, New York.

The American Revolution

In 1777, the British army was committed to quelling the rebellion in America. In this conflict, a new kind of warfare took place and espionage became an important aspect of it. One major player in this game was John André. He was taken prisoner by the Americans after they caught him spying on their side and he was hanged for being a spy.

Betrayal and Capture

The betrayal and capture of John André is one of the most infamous incidents in American history. André was born in 1750, the son of an English civil servant and his wife.

He joined the army in 1771, aged 21, and was soon sent to America to join General Howe’s forces fighting against the rebellious Americans. He was commissioned as an ensign on 10 March 1773, and promoted to lieutenant on 1 January 1775.


John André was born in Lorraine on May 2, 1750 or 1751.

His father was the director of the Ducal Treasury and his mother, who died when he was young, was from an aristocratic family. Andre graduated from the École Militaire in Paris and became a cadet in the French army.


John André, a major in the British Army and head of its Secret Service was hanged as a spy because he tried to trade information with the Americans to save his own life.

It is also said that he may have been involved in Benedict Arnold’s plot to surrender West Point, which would have been detrimental to the American forces.