I visited this site in Haverstraw, NY yesterday – it’s on a bike trail that heads off from the end of a little road paralleling the Hudson. Posting this a few days early for the anniversary, but this gives you time to arrange the party. 🙂
Historical markers are fun and often incongruous; we stand there at the side of a busy highway or next to a shopping center trying to imagine what took place on that spot hundreds of years ago, and usually failing. This spot is at least still quiet, and you can ignore the houses down the road, let alone the industrial site and the ferry terminal. I scrambled down a path to the shore, trying to find the rock that’s labeled as the approximate spot John André stepped ashore, and didn’t see it fifty yards or so in each direction, but this is what it looks like. And here’s a photo of the shore:
Also quite peaceful. And that is quite a long way he had to climb up the hill to meet Arnold, in close to complete darkness. It was probably the only flat spot, and at the end of a trail Arnold knew about, and private enough that no one could hear. (Except my characters George and Rinaldo, hidden in the woods, and the young slave Arnold brought with him to hold the horses. Slaves couldn’t testify in courts of law, so he risked less if he was caught.) This is one case where I got somewhere near sensing what it would have been like to be there at the time, the tension and the silence and the furtive whispering and the utter boredom of the others who were present, except that it was late morning instead of midnight.
This incident peripherally touches the plots of my fourth and fifth books, but the theme of treason and what it means in political and psychological terms is going to weave through Book Five. I’m pretty sure, anyway – actually getting that first chapter done would be a big step in the right direction.