CHAMPE, JOHN. (c. 1756–1798). Continental soldier who attempted to kidnap Benedict Arnold. Virginia. On 20 October. 1780, Washington directed Henry Lee to select volunteers from his legion to capture Benedict Arnold and also to check on intelligence that other high ranking American officers were dealing with the enemy. Lee picked John Champe, who was then serving as sergeant major in Lee's cavalry. Lee describes Champe as being of a "saturnine countenance, grave, thoughtful, and taciturn, of tried courage and inflexible perseverance." (Lee, p. 272.) Champe "deserted" at about 11 p.m. on the same day, and on 23 October he was accepted by the British as a bona fide deserter. He then joined the legion of Loyalists and deserters being raised by Arnold and learned enough about the latter's habits to make a plan to capture him. Meanwhile, he established communications with Lee, sending back word that he had found no evidence that other American officers were dealing with the enemy and informing Lee when the attempted abduction would take place.
Champe had learned that every night at about midnight, Arnold walked in the garden of his quarters, which were near the Hudson River. Having secretly loosened some fence pickets between this garden and an alley, Champe and one accomplice planned to grab and gag Arnold and hustle him to the river. A boat would be waiting there to take Arnold to Hoboken, New Jersey. Before the attempt could be made, however, Champe was ordered to embark with Arnold's legion for operations in Virginia. Sergeant Champe was unable to escape safely from the legion until Arnold had completed his raids in Virginia. Eventually effecting his escape, Champe rejoined Henry Lee in the Carolinas. Champe's comrades did not know until his return that his desertion to the Loyalist cause had been faked. Champe was rewarded and discharged from the service to protect him from British retaliation if he were captured. When Washington again became commander in chief in 1798 he proposed to commission Champe a captain, but he learned that Champe had recently died along the Monongahela River.
SEE ALSO Arnold, Benedict.
revised by Michael Bellesiles
"Champe, John." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 18, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/champe-john
"Champe, John." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. . Retrieved February 18, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/champe-john
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.