Monday, April 12, 2010

Benedict Arnold Revisited

For those of us that are familiar with this subject feel free to skip this post.

Benedict Arnold was perhaps the most capable military leader of the American Revolution. He was
very much an outsider and despite all of his brilliant achievements a clique of lesser talents seem to get all of the promotions and credit.

While his treason remains a fact so does the brilliant achievements. There might not have been a successful revolution without the efforts of Benedict Arnold. The time has come to take a more balanced look at his record in total. He did do the wrong thing, but we can not dismiss his achievements.

Simply Arnold stormed Fort Ticonderoga with the help of the Green Mountain Boys. Some of the Canons there end up breaking the siege of Boston. Arnold recognized the strategic value of the Champlain Corridor. He then leads a spectacular march across the wilds of Maine. One can fault him somewhat on the planning. Many of his men die or are weaken to where they can not fight.
They come much closer to taking Quebec than is commonly assumed.

The Brittish have to get the Colonialists out of Canada and spend time and effort there rather than in Boston. The Colonists gather strength and supplies and build armies. Arnold creates a mini Navy on Lake Champlain and thwarts a naval invasion down lake Champlain.

The next year Arnold relieves Fort Stanwix with some rather creative use of the mentally ill Hons Yost Schuyler. He rushes back to Saratoga and leads the toops getting wounded again in the pivotal battle of Saratoga.

Oddly Arnold's efforts impress the French who aid the Colonials. This is not exactly what Arnold desired. He isn't given proper credit or compensation. Some blame his much younger loyalist wife for the treason that followed.

I would like to think the tales of him regretting his treason on his death bed are true.

For those of you who prefer to read historical novels. He does make a brief appearance in Drums Along the Mohawk. If you can acquire the version with the literature professor's notes before and after they are well worth the extra money. I am trying to track down a more direct version in the Historical Novels of Kenneth Roberts. He is a portrayed in three books.

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