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Bill Thayer

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History of West Point
by Edward Boynton

Early grants of the Lands at West Point. — Title acquired by the United States by Purchase. — Commissioners Settle the Boundaries. — Further Purchase by the United States. — Jurisdiction ceded by the State of New York. — Early importance of the Control of the Hudson during the Revolution. — Resolutions of the Continental Congress, May 25, 1775. — Appointment of Committee by the Provincial Congress, and Resolutions of the latter, August 18, 1775.

Entrance to the Upper Highlands. — Martelaer's Rock. — Arrival of the Commissioners with Col. Romans, the Engineer. — Possession taken of the Island. — Correspondence with Col. Beverly Robinson. — Controversy between Romans and the Commissioners. A Garrison ordered to Fort Constitution. — First Proposition to occupy West Point and erect Redoubts on the east side of the River. — Removal of Romans, and Report of the Commissioners en route to Canada. — Order of Washington for a Board of Officers to Report upon the Condition of the Fortifications in the Highlands. — Report of the Board.

Appointment of a Secret Committee for Obstructing the Channel of the Hudson. — Their Action and Letter to Washington. — Assignment of General Geo. Clinton to Command in the Highlands. — General Clinton and other Officers examine Works and Report upon the Necessity of a Boom and Chain at Fort Montgomery. — Major-General Putnam appointed to Command. — Advance of Sir Henry Clinton up the Hudson to Co‑Operate with General Burgoyne. — Assault and Capture of Forts Montgomery and Clinton.

Renewed Efforts to Obstruct the Hudson. — Selection of West Point as a Suitable Place. — Letters of Washington to Putnam and Clinton upon the Subject. — Appointment of a Committee by the New York Provincial Convention to confer with Putnam. — Report of the Committee, in which they Recommend the Fortification of West Point. — Commencement of the Works by General Parsons. — Contract made by Colonel Hughes for the Great Chain at West Point. — Report of General Putnam on the Progress of the Fortifications. — Report of General Parsons on the same. — General McDougall ordered to Relieve General Putnam. — Instructions to General Parsons relative to the Construction of the Works.

Progress of Obstructing the Hudson. — Relic of the Boom and Chain. — Letters of General Glover and Captain Machin. — Disposition of the Boom, Chain, etc. — Fort Arnold. — Discrepancies in the Name of the Work. — Assignment of Major-General Heath to the Command. — Head-quarters of Washington Established at West Point. — Washington's Orders. — Severity of the Winter of 1778‑'80. — Assignment of General Howe to the Command of the Post.

Major-General Arnold ordered to Relieve General Howe. — Dis affection of Arnold. — Disheartening Condition of the American Cause. — Advantages of West Point if Captured by the Enemy. — Sir Henry Clinton's Idea. — The Secret Correspondence with Arnold. — Appointment to meet John Anderson. — The "Robinson House," and its Original Proprietor. — The Meeting between Arnold and Anderson Thwarted. — A Flag of Truce from the Vulture, and its Purport. — Smith's House. — Joshua Hett Smith. — Meeting between Sir John and Anderson. — Attempt of Anderson to Return to New York by Land. — Cow-boys and Skinners. — Capture of Anderson.


Narrative of One of the Captors. — Anderson Conveyed to North Castle. — The Papers found on his Person. — Anderson's Appearance Described. — He is Transferred to the "Robinson House." — Arrival of Washington. — The Plot Discovered. — Flight of Arnold. — André Conveyed to West Point and from thence to Tappan. — Board of General Officers Convened.


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Technical Details

Edition Used

The edition transcribed here is the first edition of 1864; it is in the public domain. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)


This transcription is being minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, some sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

The book was well proofread, and the inevitable errors are minor. I fixed them by marking the correction each time, when important (or unavoidable because inside a link), with a bullet like this;º and when trivial, with a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the bullet or the underscored words to read the variant. Similarly, bullets before measurements provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles. A small number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, split infinitives, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic  in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked.

Any over­looked mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have a copy of the printed book in front of you.

Pagination and Local Links

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line); p57  these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.

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Site updated: 16 Jun 16