John André (May 2, 1750-October 2, 1780) was born in London where he worked in his father's merchant business till 1770. In 1771 he bought a second lieutenant's commission in the 23d Regiment, Royal Welsh Fusiliers and later purchased a first lieutenancy in the same regiment. In 1775 he was sent to St. Johns on the Sorel River in Canada where the British were fortifying against an impending American attack. He was taken prisoner by the Americans in November 1775 and not released till November 1776 in a prisoner exchange. In 1777, André became an aide-de-camp to Major General Charles Grey, with whom he accompanied to battles of the Brandywine (September 11), Paoli (September 20-21), Germantown (October 4), and Whitemarsh (December 4). In 1778, he became an aid to General Clinton and was promoted to deputy adjutant general of the army in 1779. In this position, André managed correspondence between Clinton and secret agents in America and was involved with currying letters for Benedict Arnold. On Septembers 23, 1780, André was caught with an incriminating military letter from Arnold and was arrested, tried as a spy and was executed shortly after.
A few months before his death, André composed The Cow Chace, A Poem in Three Cantos, which satirized the Battle of Bull's Ferry, an unsuccessful attack by American generals Anthony Wayne, Henry Lee, and William Alexander, which won only cattle for the Americans. The poem was first published in the London Gazette.