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BENEDICT ARNOLD. 



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GEORGE CANNING HILL 



BOSTON: 
E. O. LIBBY AND COMPANY. 

1858. 




Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1858, by 

E. O. LIBBY & Co.. 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts. 






PREFACE. 



The author has designed the present series of Biogra- 
phies more particularly for the young. And, in pursuing 
his original plan along to its termination, he has set 
before himself the following objects, to which he invites 
the reader's attention : 

To furnish from the pages of the world's history a few 
examples of true manhood, lofty purpose, and persevermg 
effort, such as may be safely held up either for the admi- 
ration or emulation of the youth of the present day ; 

To clear away, in his treatment of these subjects, what- 
ever mistiness and mustiness may have accumulated with 
time about them, presenting to the mental vision fresh 
and living pictures, that shall seem to be clothed with 
naturalness, and energy, and vitality; 

To offer no less instruction to the minds, than pleasure 
to the imaginations of the many for whom he has taken it 
in hand to write ; 

And, more especially, perhaps, to familiarize the youth 
1* 



n PREFACE. 

of our day with those striking and manly characters, that 
have long ago made their mark, deep and lasting, on the 
history and fortunes of the American Continent. 

The deeds of these men, it is true, are to be found 
abundantly recorded in Histories; but they lie so scat- 
tered along their ten thousand pages, and are so inter- 
mixed with the voluminous records of other matters, as to 
be practically out of the reach of the younger portion of 
readers, and so of the very ones for whom this series has 
been undertaken. These want only pictures of actual 
life ; and, if the author shall, in any due degree, succeed 
even in sketching interesting outlines^ he will feel that he 
is answering the very purpose that has long lain unper- 
formed within his heart. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I. 

Paoe. 
YOUTH AND EARLY MANHOOD, 7 

CHAPTER II. 

TAKING OF TICONDEROGA, 28 

CHAPTER III. 

IN THE WILDERNESS, 51 

CHAPTER IV. 

GOING AGAINST QUEBEC, 80 

CHAPTER V. 

FIRST NAVAL BATTLE WITH ENGLAND, .... 106 

1* 



VI CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Page. 
INJUSTICE TO ARNOLD, 129 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE NORTHERN ARMY, . . . . .. . .152 

CHAPTER VIII. 

THE BATTLES OF BEMIS HEIGHTS, 170 

CHAPTER IX. 

ARNOLD AT PHILADELPHIA, 197 

CHAPTER X. 

PLOTTING TREASON, 213 

CHAPTER XI. 

TAKEN IN THE TOILS, . . . ... . . 237 

CHAPTER XII. 
andre's execution, 258 

CHAPTER XIII. 

A traitor's barbarities, . . . . . . 279 



BENEDICT ARNOLD 



CHAPTER I. 

YOUTH AND EARLY MANHOOD. 

A TRAITOR is despised of all the world. 
I have stated in my preface, that it is 
the design of the Biographical Series of 
which this volume is a part, to " furnish from the 
pages of the world's history a few examples of true 
manhood, lofty purpose, and persevering effort, 
such as may be safely held up either for the admi- 
ration or emulation of the youth of the present 
day ; " and I am sure it is needless to add that the 
life of Benedict Arnold offers no such example. 
On the contrary, his memory will be detested as 
long as time shall help to keep it alive. 

Yet it is not impossible that the highest forms 
of manhood may be studied, sometimes, by the 



8 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

contemplation of their strongest contrasts; espe- 
cially, in cases where it was just as easy for men 
to be heroes as villains, and all attending influ- 
ences should have nerved them to deeds of pat- 
riotism and nobility. And I have thought it may 
be so in the present case. Arnold had oppor- 
tunities such as few men are offered; but he 
threw both them and himself away. 

The treason of Arnold is known wherever the 
EngHsh tongue is spoken. The details of the 
story, however, have been in a great degree forgot- 
ten, or merged in that universal sentiment of de- 
testation of the man, which seems to have swal- 
lowed all else up ; and even those honorable ser- 
vices which he did render his country on certain 
occasions, are willingly, but quite wrongfully, left 
out of the account. It is the purpose of this nar- 
rative to do justice to his merits, while sparing 
in no manner his unparalleled crimes ; for in no 
other way than by comparing one side of his char- 
acter with the other, can one hope to make up a 
judgment that will be either just or lasting. 

The ancestors of Benedict Arnold settled orig- 
inally in Rhode Island. One of them , after whom 



YOUTH AND EARLY MANHOOD. \) 

he was named, was the president of the colony 
immediately succeeding Roger Williams. His 
father emigrated from Newport to Norwich, in 
Connecticut, together with another brother, Oliver, 
not long after the year 1730. They both follow- 
ed the trade of coopers, which Benedict very soon 
after left for a commercial life. It is said that he 
sailed to England, in the prosecution of his new 
business, and likewise carried on a very thriving 
trade with the "West Indies, for which the town 
of Norwich was in those days much noted. As 
soon as he had secured a sufficient amount to 
furnish him with a reliable business capital, he 
left his voyaging and foreign trading, and betook 
himself to the occupation of a merchant. 

For a long time he enjoyed uninterrupted suc- 
cess. His profits came in steadily, and his pros- 
pects and position in the world ought to have been 
good enough to satisfy any man of reasonable 
desires ; yet it appears that he was regarded with 
feelings of suspicion by his fellow citizens, and 
failed to secure anything like that respect for him- 
self that gives life one of its highest values. In 
time, therefore, he became insensible to the good 
opinion of others; neglected his business; took to 



10 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

drinking and dissipation; and, in the natural order 
of things, grew to be poor, idle, and a burden in 
the public mind. 

During the years of his prosperity, however, he 
had married a widow lady of Norwich, Mrs. Han- 
nah King by name ; and the fruit of this union 
was six children, — three boys and three girls. 
The oldest was a boy named Benedict ; but as he 
died in his infancy, the same name was given to 
the next son, who is the subject of this narrative. 
It appears that Benedict had for many genera- 
tions been a favorite name with the Arnolds, and 
it was to be finally illustrated, in the case of the 
child who last took it, by a record of infamy from 
the very thought of which the upright mind 
shrinks with an instinct of dismay. 

Benedict, the Traitor, was born, therefore, on the 
3d day of January, 1740 ; which made him forty 
years old at the time of the consummation of that 
stupendous villany with which his name will ever 
be associated. All the other children, except 
himself and his sister Hannah, died in infancy. 
Very little is positively known as to the sort of 
education Benedict was permitted to get from the 
schools of his native town, although it is highly 



YOUTH AND EARLY MANHOOD. 11 

probable, from the fact of his father's being in 
such affluent circumstances during his early 
youth, that he certainly had the advantages 
of all that could be reached. Besides this, his 
mother was a lady of exemplary piety and of a 
highly consistent Christian character ; and sought 
on every occasion to instil into his nature those 
lessons of virtue and purity which should have 
finally made the boy a noble man. 

The following is a fragment of a letter written 
by Arnold's mother to her son, in these days — 
while he was away from home in Canterbury, 
twelve miles from Norwich : — 

"Norwich April 12 1754. 
" dear childe. I received yours of 1 instant 
and was glad to hear that you was well : pray my 
dear let your first consern be to make your pease 
with god as itt is of all conserns of y'^ greatest 
importence. Keep a stedy watch over your 
thoughts, words and actions, be dutifull to su- 
periors obliging to equalls and affibel to inferiors. 
********* 

"from your afectionate 

" Hannah Arnold. 

" P. S. I have sent you fifty shillings youse itt 
prudently as you are accountable to God and your 



12 BENEDICT ARNOLD/ 

father. Your father and aunt joyns with me in 
love and servis to Mr Cogswell and ladcy and 
yourself Your sister is from home. 

" To Mr 

benedict amold 
" Your father put at 

twenty more canterbury 

Benedict is said to have been placed at one 
time under the instruction of a Dr. Jewett, of 
Montville, — a little country town some half doz- 
en miles below Norwich. He was afterwards 
bound out to serve an apprenticeship wdth a 
couple of gentlemen in Norwich, named Lathrop, 
who were very extensively engaged in the drug 
and medicine business. He was still quite a lad 
when he went into their store, and it is likely that 
he was taken away from school as early as he 
was, in consequence of the fast sinking character 
of his father. The Messrs. Lathrop, too, were 
distantly related to his mother, and she no doubt 
thought her son would receive at their hands 
as good a training as it was possible for her 
circumstances to allow him. 

All accounts agree that Benedict was a perverse 
young fellow, from the very beginning. There are 
several stories in existence that go to show this 



YOUTH AND EARLY MANHOOD. 13 

fact beyond dispute. His heart was bad, at the 
outset. He possessed a vicious temper, which he 
would neither control himself, nor suffer any one 
else to control. He loved mischief, not, like some 
boys, for the sake of mere roguery and fun, but 
rather because he had a decided love for visiting 
other persons with his malice. All the teachings 
and precepts of his mother seemed to have made 
bat a slight impression upon him. 

Very few boys, at his age, could take much 
delight in robbing birds' nests, unless they were 
really bad at heart. But he would go out into the 
orchards and fields, and tear them from the trees 
with an inward chuckle of maliciousness, crush- 
ing the eggs he found, and pulling the helpless 
and unfledged young cruelly limb from limb. He 
took a downright pleasure in making the young 
birds cry out with his savage torments, that he 
might see the old ones flying around him in dis- 
tress, wailing for the destruction of their innocent 
offspring. He would likewise, when he began 
his apprenticeship in the drug store, strew broken 
bits of glass, pieces of vials and bottles, in the 
road near the school-house, in order to mangle the 
feet of the unsuspecting boys who went bare- 

2 



14 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

footed through the summer weather. The odd 
vials that came in the crockery crates were the 
property of the apprentices, according to the cus- 
tom of those days ; and young Benedict used to 
place them not far from the store where the school 
children would be likely to pick them up, not sup- 
posing that any one would ever claim them again : 
and as soon as they had started off with their trea- 
sure, he would dart out from his hiding place with 
a whip in his hand, shout after them that they 
were little thieves, and commence laying the lash 
about them without any compunctions. 

Mixed in with this malicious love of mischief, 
was a dash of boldness, or recklessness, which 
occasionally drew forth the wonder and admira- 
tion of all the boys of the town. Most boys, with 
a temper like his, are apt to be arrant cowards ; 
but it cannot be said that Arnold was a coward in 
any sense. He delighted in doing what no one 
else would dare to do, or even seriously think of. 
For example : when he carried the corn to the 
town gristmill for his employers, and while wait- 
ing for it to be ground, he sometimes caught hold 
of the great water-wheel at the mill, which was 
exposed to view, and, going round and round 



YOUTH AND EARLY MANHOOD. 15 

with it on its circuitous journey, displayed himself 
to the astonished crowd, now in the water, and 
now high up on the very top of the wheel. Such 
a feat as this gave him real delight. He loved 
applause, no matter how it was obtained; and 
when he failed to secure that, it was all the same 
if he was only able to make himself notorious, 
and generally talked about. One who carefully 
studies marked traits of boyish character like 
these, cannot very well help tracing out the future 
career of the man who still possesses them. Ar- 
nold showed himself a reckless, bad boy ; it is 
easy to conclude that as a man he would prove 
to be not very much changed. 

He soon grew tired of the business to which his 
mother had apprenticed him, and formed the deter- 
mination to run away. About this time, the Old 
French War broke out, in the year 1755, which 
is described in the biography of Gen. Israel Put- 
nam ; and the next year, 1756, Arnold being only 
sixteen years of age, he was so captivated with 
the thought of being a soldier, that he cherished 
the secret purpose of going off to the wars with 
the others who were at that time drafted from all 
parts of the Connecticut Colony. . He saw in a 



16 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

military career something to excite and inflame 
his imagination ; the irregular mode of life in a 
camp had many attractions for a spirit so uneasy 
and impatient of restraint as his ; his young mind 
found much to desire for its own enjoyment, in 
the stirring scenes of battle, in hard and trying 
journeys through the wilderness whither the ar- 
mies had already gone, and beneath the glories 
of an open sky ; and no sooner was his impulsive 
purpose taken, than he was in equal haste to 
carry it into execution. 

Men were flocking to the colonial head quarters 
from all directions, to join the army that was then 
forming against the French in Canada ; and Ar- 
nold managed to reach Hartford safely with the 
rest. He let none of his friends know a syllable 
of his intention, not even his employers, or his 
mother ; but, slinging such few clothes as he could 
hastily collect across his shoulder, he went off* on 
foot to the rendezvous whence the Connecticut 
men were to start for Lake George and its vicin- 
ity. His poor mother was in great distress ; so 
much so that she went to the minister of the par- 
ish, Dr. Lord, and prevailed upon him to interest 
himself, with others, in her design of getting the 



YOUTH AND EARLY MANHOOD. 17 

boy back before he should finally march away into 
the wilderness. The minister exerted himself to 
perform the office which the boy's mother so 
eagerly desired, although he cared little enough, 
probably, whether he returned into the town or 
not, such a name for mischief and malice had he 
succeeded in establishing ; the result was, that he 
Very soon came back to his mother and his em- 
ployers, having been discharged from the army on 
the strength of the representations of his mother's 
friends. 

But he was restless and uneasy still. Already 
he pined again for some such novel excitement as 
he had just had a taste of. It was but a little 
while after his return that he took it into his head 
to try it once more, and this time he ran away in 
downright earnest. It was not worth while to 
send for him again, and so he was allowed to go. 
He very soon reached the region around Lake 
George where the fighting between the two hostile 
armies was going on, and found himself a soldier 
in reality. 

The times were dull, however, and he grew as 
impatient of restraint as before. His restless 
spirit chafed at the thought of lying idle through 

2* 



18 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

the season, when so niiu^h bloody oxcitement 
might easily be had. Coming to the conclusion 
that camp life, after all, was by far too monotonous 
and inactive for him, he deserted the army of his 
own accord, found his way back to Hartford, and 
thence returned to Norwich and his friends. His 
mother was overjoyed to recover him, as may be 
supposed ; and no doubt she thought that this 
brief experience which he had gone through would 
be of essential service to him. The Messrs. Lath- 
rop were willing to receive him back into their 
store, admiring his courage and spirit, even if they 
had little confidence in the steadiness of his char- 
acter. One day not long after his return, an offi- 
cer of the British army came into the town to look 
around after deserters, who were quite easily to be 
found in some places at that time. Arnold's 
friends heard that such a person was in the place, 
and immediately took him and hid him away in a 
cellar during the day, and at night sent him off 
several miles into the country, where he remained 
until all danger of detection was over. 

The mother of young Arnold was tried with 
him in every way. His conduct was so different 
from what she had hoped for in the only son that 



YOUTH AND EARLY MANHOOD. 19 

was left her, there is little doubt that her heart 
was overburdened with grief and sorrow, and her 
hold on life became less and less strong in conse- 
quence. She died not a great while afterwards, 
disappointed in her cherished hope of having a 
son to lean upon in her declining years, of whom 
she might be as fond as she was proud. 

At twenty-one, according to the legal articles 
by which he was bound out to learn the trade of 
a druggist, he became his own master, having 
served out his apprenticeship. About this time 
he left home and went off to New Haven, where 
he determined to set up in the business for him- 
self. The Lathrops helped him, probably because 
of their feeling of interest in one of their own re- 
lations, and because they likewise knew this would 
be the best method of saving him to society ; so 
that he began his career in his new and enlarged 
sphere of action under very favorable and encour- 
aging auspices. He had money, and he had 
friends ; and that is more than many a young man 
could say in those times, who afterwards made a 
far better citizen than did Benedict Arnold. 

In the garret of the house he occupied while in 
New Haven, the sign was recently found that hung 



20 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

over the door of his store. It is black, with white 
letters, and painted alike on both sides. The let- 
tering is as follows : — 

B. ARNOLD, DRUGGIST. 

Bookseller, <^'C., 
FROM LONDON. 

Sibi Totique. 

The Latin motto means — for himself and for 
the whole. 

As his business increased, in consequence of the 
close attention he gave to it, he extended his oper- 
ations to other branches of trade. He went into 
the sale of merchandise of all kinds. At length 
he engaged in the West India trade, and began to 
ship horses and cattle, mules and provisions, to Ihe 
islands that compose the group known by that 
name, which was a great business in New Haven 
at that day, and continued to be for some time 
afterwards. This same business, too, his father had 
followed in Norwich before him, and became the 
possessor of his wealth inconsequence. Like his 
father, too, he commanded his own vessels, and 
made voyages to the West Indies on his own 
account. He was considered a very hard captain, 
and did not seem to multiply his friends anywhere 



YOUTH ANJJ EARLY MANHOOD. Zl 

very fast. It is recorded that he fought a duel 
with a Frenchman, while absent on one of 
these trading voyages, and was likewise en- 
gaged in difficulties of all sorts with those 
around him. Hardly less than this w^as to be 
expected from his overbearing, hot, and impulsive 
temper. 

Perhaps it was in consequence of these same 
traits that his ventures in the West Indies fmally 
turned out unsuccessful. His speculations all 
proved unfortunate, and lie ended his career in that 
quarter with bankruptcy and the utter loss of his 
reputation. There were plenty of people who be- 
lieved him dishonest and knavish. He at once 
returned to his old business in New Haven, at 
w^liich he worked as bard as ever. He was a man 
of great energy when he set before himself some 
particular object for accomplishment, and pretty 
sure to recover, under favorable circumstances, 
from his misfortunes. 

In New Haven he soon got into trouble again. 
He was still carrying on his business as usual, and 
I copy an advertisement of his from the " Connec- 
ticut Gazette," a paper which was started in New 
Haven during the year 1755. It reads thus : — 



'l^L BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

" Benedict ArxNold. — Wants to buy a num- 
ber of large genteel fat Horses, Pork, Oats, and 
Hay. And has to sell choice Cotton and Salt, by 
quantity or retail ; and other goods as usual. 

New Haven, January 24th, 1766." 

The trouble alluded to was the whipping of a 
sailor who had served with him on one of his ves- 
sels to the West Indies, and who now came for- 
ward and openly accused Arnold of having smug- 
gled goods into the port, and thereby defrauded 
Ihe custom-house. Arnold gave him a severe 
thrashing, and forced him to make a solemn prom- 
ise to leave the town and never come into it again. 
The sailor, however, did not go as he engaged, 
and Arnold took him in hand for failing to keep 
his word. As Arnold tells the whole story him- 
self in a letter which he wrote to the publisher of 
the Connecticut Gazette, it will be more interest- 
ing to give it in his own words, as follows : — 

" Mr. Printer: &ir — As I was a party con- 
cerned in whipping the Informer, the other day, 
and unluckily out of town when the Court set, 
and finding ihe ailair misrepresented much to my 
disadvantage and many animadversions thereon, 



yOlTII AND EAKLY MANII001>. 23 

especially in one of your last by a very fair, can- 
did gentleman indeed, as he pretends ; after he 
liad insinuated all Ihat malice could do, adds, that 
he will say nothing to prejudice the minds of the 
people. — He is clearly seen through the Grass, 
but the weather is too cold for him to bite. — To 
satisfy the public, and in justice to myself and 
those concerned, I beg you'd insert in your next, 
the following detail of the affair. 

" The Informer having been a voyage with me, 
in which he was used with the greatest humanity, 
on our return was paid his wages to his full satis- 
faction ; and informed me of his intention to leave 
the town that day, wished me well, and departed 
the town, as I imagined. — But he two days after 
endeavored to make information to a Custom 
House Officer ; but it beino: holv time was desired 
to call on Monday, early on which day I heard of 
his intention, and gave him a little chastisement; 
on which he left the town ; and on Wednesday 
returned to Mr. Beecher's, where I saw the fellow, 
who agreed to and signed the following acknowl- 
edgment and Oath. 

" I, Peter Boole, not having the fear of God be- 
fore my Eyes, but being instigated by the Devil, 
did on the 24th instant, make information, or 
endeavor to do the same, to one of the Custom 
House Officers for the Port of New Haven, 
against Benedict Arnold^ for importing contraband 



24 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

goods, do hereby acknowledge I justly deserve 
a Halter for my malicious and cruel intentions. 
"■ I do now solemnly swear I will never hereafter 
make information, directly or indirectly, or cause 
the same to be done against any person or per- 
sons, whatever, for importing Contraband or any 
other goods into this Colony, or any Port of Amer- 
ica ; and that I will immediately leave New 
Haven and never enter the same again. So help 
me God. 

New Haven, 29th January, 1766, 

" This was done precisely at 7 o'clock, on which 
I engaged not to inform the sailors of his being in 
town, provided he would leave it immediately ac- 
cording to our agreement. Near four hours after 
I heard a noise in the street and a person informed 
me the sailors were at Mr. Beecher's. On enquiry, 
I found the fellow had not left the town. I then 
made one of the party and took him to the 
Whipping Post, where he received near forty 
lashes with a small cord, and was conducted out 
of town ; since which on his return, the affair 
was submitted to Col. David Wooster and Mr. 
Enos Allen, (Gentlemen of reputed good judg- 
ment and understanding,) who were of opinion 
that the fellow was not whipped too much, and 
gave him 50s. damages only. 

" Query. — Is it good policy ; or would so great 



YOUTH AND EARLY MANHOOD. 25 

a number of people, in any trading town on the 
Continent, (New Haven excepted,) vindicate, pro- 
tect and caress an informer — a character particu- 
larly at this alarming time so justly odious to the 
Public? Every such information tends to sup- 
press our trade, so advantageous to the Colony, 
and to almost every individual both here and in 
Great Britain, and which is nearly ruined by the 
late detestable stamp and other oppressive acts — 
acts which we have so severely felt, and so loudly 
complained of, and so earnestly remonstrated 
against, that one would imagine every sensible 
man would strive to encourage trade and discoun- 
tenance such useless, such infamous Informers. 
I am Sir, your humble servant, 

Benedict Arnold." 

The above account lets one pretty thoroughly 
into the real nature of the man. Unquestionably 
he had been guilty of certain illegal practices, of 
which the sailor knew, and which he did not him- 
self deny. But he was irritated at the thought of 
exposure, and resolved to silence his informer by 
driving him out of town ; and after administering 
to him the second whipping, he appears in a card 
in the newspapers, and tries to divert public atten- 
tion from the meanness of the act by showing the 
3 



26 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

citizens what a lasting injury informers like this 
sailor could inflict upon the interests of trade. 
The whole affair illustrates Arnold's impetuous 
temper, and his determination to brook control 
at the hands of no one. 

A story is also told of him, at about this time, 
that one day he was engaged with his men in 
driving some cattle on board a vessel, when an 
ox of an obstinate temper refused to go. The 
animal finally turned on his tormentors with fury, 
and fled beyond their reach. Arnold instantly 
mounted a horse in pursuit, overtook the runa- 
way, seized hold of him by the nostrils, — which 
is a very tender place, and thus held him fast un- 
til he was subdued. 

Arnold had three sons while he lived in New 
Haven, Benedict, Richard, and Henry. The for- 
mer died while quite a young man, in the West In- 
dies. It is believed that he came to an untimely 
and violent death, in consequence of his uncon- 
trollable temper. In this respect he was very 
much like his father. Mrs. Arnold, who was ori- 
ginally a New Haven lady, died about the time 
the Revolutionary War commenced. Hannah, 
the only sister of Arnold, removed from Norwich 



YOUTH AND EARLY MANHUOL). 27 

to live with her brother, whom she loved with all 
a sister's devotion. And not until the whole world 
was assured of his deep and irreparable disgrace, 
did she give him up. She died at last somewhere 
ill Canada. 



CHAPTER II 



TAKING OF TICONDEROGA. 



WHEN the War broke out, Arnold was 
just thirty-five years old. His residence 
was in Water street, near the ship- 
yard ; and within a few years his house was still 
standing. At this time he was Captain of a mili- 
tary company called the Governor's Guards. The 
news of Ihe skirmish at Lexington reached New 
Haven about noon. Capt. Arnold at once called 
out his company, and proposed to them, while 
drawn up on the public green, to go on to Boston 
with him and take part in the fighting there. 
More than forty out of the entire number, which 
was fifty-eight, consented to go. But they had 
no ammunition. That was a serious obstacle 
indeed. There was a quantity stored in the 
town powder-house, of which Arnold of course 
knew. The selectmen of the town were in ses- 



TAKING OF TICOXDEROGA. 29 

sion the next day, to consider what was best to 
be done in view of the outbreak at Lexington. 
While they were in session. Arnold, who had al- 
ready drawn up the men who had volunteered to 
follow him to Lexington, put himself at their head 
and marched forthwith to the house in which they 
were assembled. 

He formed the company in front of the house, 
and proceeded at once to summary measures. He 
sent in word to the selectmen, that unless the key 
of the powder-house was delivered up within five 
minutes, he would give orders to his men to break 
open the building and help themselves to the con- 
tents. The threat produced exactly the effect he 
desired. The key was surrendered, and a suffi- 
cient supply of powder was dealt out. 

Arnold set off for Cambridge with his company 
without delay. On the second night of their 
march, they reached the town of Wethersfield, 
where the people received them with every dem- 
onstration of delight, and offered them all possible 
attention. The legislature of Connecticut was in 
session at that time in Hartford, and certain per- 
sons were talking up a bold project among them- 
selves, for which they hoped to obtain the favor of 



30 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

that body, to march a force np through the coun- 
try to Fort Ticonderoga, and suddenly wrest that 
fortress from the hands of the British. The mo- 
ment Arnold caught the whispered hint, he was 
impatient to share the glory which such an expe- 
dition, if successful, would be certain to bring. 
So that as soon as he arrived at Cambridge with 
his handsomely uniformed company, he laid the 
plan before the Massachusetts Committee of 
Safety, as if it were altogether original with him- 
self ; and went on to show them how easy it would 
be to carry it out. He set forth his design with 
all the enthusiasm of his easily moved nature. 
He showed to the Committee the splendor of such 
an achievement, and described in glowing terms 
the electric effect it would produce on the dejected 
heart of the country. The expedition was painted 
in the warmest colors, laid on with a lavish hand. 
And at the close of his remarks, he declared that 
he would freely undertake to do all this himself, 
if they would only furnish him with the necessary 
means. They accepted his proposal with eager- 
ness; and gave him a commission with ihe title 
of Colonel, with authority to enlist not to exceed 
four hundred soldiers in the western part of Mas- 



TAKING OF TICONDEROGA. 31 

sachiisetts, and wherever else along the line he 
might be able. 

Accordingly, on the 3d day of May, 1775, Bene- 
dict Arnold assumed his new command. Mean- 
time, the Connecticut men already spoken of had 
been active in carrying forward their plans, and 
had already started off up the valley of the Con- 
necticut on the projected expedition. They had 
got the Green Mountain Boys, with the famous 
Ethan Allen at their head, to join them. The 
Connecticut legislature voted thera a thousand 
dollars to begin with, although its aid was still 
kept a secret from the public at large, for prudent 
reasons. When this party left for Castleton, in 
Vermont, they numbered two hundred and sev- 
enty men. Allen was placed at their head, bv a 
vote of a council of war. The whole body was 
then divided up into three commands, each one 
of which was to take a different route, and finally 
arrive before Ticonderoga at the same time with 
the others. 

The Massachusetts Committee of Safety fur- 
nished Arnold with an outfit of a hundred pounds 
in money, two hundred pounds' weight each of 
powder and lead balls, a thousand flints, and ten 



32 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

horses. They likewise gave him authority to 
draw on them for a sufficient amount to furnish 
stores and supplies for his troops by the way. 

He reached Stockbridge, in Massachusetts, and 
there learned to his dismay that the Connecticut 
party was before him. Col. Easton had collected 
a force of some forty men in Berkshire, and 
marched on to Bennington, and there joined 
Ethan Allen. Arnold was in a fury of impatience 
at receiving this most unexpected intelligence. 
He now saw his coveted laurels plucked from his 
brow, and his honors suddenly withered like au- 
tumn leaves by a frost. He did not pause long 
to consider, and certainly he would have been the 
last living man to turn back because others were 
before. Accordingly, he left his men to follow 
after at their own convenient pace, and himself 
pushed on after the expedition at the top of his 
speed. 

At Castleton he came up with the whole of 
them. There he proceeded to make the first 
exhibition of his real character. Taking the piece 
of parchment from his pocket upon which his 
commission was written, he exhibited it to the 
officers of the other expedition with an air of 




4RN0LD CLAIMING THE COMMAND. 



TAKINC OF TiroNDKROcJA. 35 

haughty triumph, and claimed the right to exer- 
cise supreme authority over the entire body him- 
self, by virtue of his title. 

This was a sorry occurrence, to begin with. 
The Green Mountain Boys never would have 
served in any undertaking of the kind, unless they 
could have been allowed to do so under their 
favorite commander, Ethan Allen. The men col- 
lected from Connecticut, as well as those under 
Col. Easton, were secretly in the pay of the Con- 
necticut Assembly, and of course refused to obey 
any directions but such as were received, first 
and last, from the Legislature itself. And for a 
time it was feared that the enterprise might fall 
through altogether, just from an unhappy division 
of counsels and an irritated state of feeling. 

But Arnold saw at a glance how the matter 
stood, and thought best to control his ardor. Had 
he persisted in his claims, it is very certain he 
could not have distinguished himself as he did. 
He made up his mind, therefore, to join the expe- 
dition as a volunteer, though he insisted still on 
retaining his rank and title of Colonel. As such, 
his services were accepted, and they all went off 
towards the lake in the three squads just men- 
tioned. 



34 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

The division under Allen arrived at Shoreham, 
a little village opposite Ticonderoga, in the night 
time. This was on the tenth day of May. As 
it happened, the division which was to have 
captured certain boats at Skenesboro', on the 
lake, had not yet sent down their boats to Shore- 
ham, as expected, and how to proceed was a truly 
puzzling problem. There were only eighty-three 
men with Allen, in all ; and to assail an armed 
fortress like Ticonderoga with a puny force like 
this, seemed hardly less than madness. Yet it 
was more dangerous still to remain there idle. 
Nothing could come of waiting but increased 
hazard. 

Allen accordingly procured the services of a 
young lad in the neighborhood, named Nathan 
Beman ; his father was an honest and patriotic 
farmer, and w^as glad to do the party a favor. 
This little boy had been in the habit of crossing 
the lake and playing about the fortress with the 
other lads who belonged within its walls, and by 
this means had grown familiar with every secret 
passage and winding way there was about the 
place. Allen wanted him to go along as a guide. 

They crossed the lake in such boats as were at 



TAKING OF TICONDEROGA. 6b 

hand, dipping their oars silently in the water as 
they went. It was necessary to save every mo- 
ment now, for the gray of early morning was just 
beginning to show itself in the east. In good 
time, however, they reached the opposite shore, 
where they were drawn up noiselessly in three 
ranks. Allen now walked rapidly up and down 
the line, talking to them with a great deal of en- 
ergy, but in low and earnest whispers. He then 
called Arnold to his side, and started off at the 
head of his followers at a quick pace for the for- 
tress before him. It was a bold step, and few 
men would have dared to take it. But Ethan 
Allen was a bold man, and one just suited to an 
emergency of such a character. 

With the lad to show them the way, they 
soon came to the sally-port, through which they 
entered. A sentinel, who was thunderstruck by 
what he saw, hastily snapped his fusee at Allen, 
but fortunately it missed fire, and he ran off 
through a covered way within the fort. Rushing 
on close behind him, the assailants pushed their 
way to the parade within the barracks, where they 
at once found themselves masters. The garrison 
were of course aroused from their sleep by the 



36 BENEDICT AKXOLI). 

loud shoutings and hallooings of the victorious 
party, and sprang from their beds in a state of 
great alarm. But as fast as they made their 
appearance at the doors of the barracks, they 
were seized by the enthusiastic party of besiegers 
and made prisoners. 

Allen told the boy Beman to show him the 
way to the door of the commander's room. Col. 
Delaplace. In an instant he sprang up the steps 
and thundered away upon the door with the hilt 
of his heavy sword. He shouted out to him that 
he must get up and come to the door at once, or 
the whole garrison would be sacrificed. Col. 
Delaplace chanced to have been awakened by 
the noise of the Americans when they first sent 
up their shouts in the parade ; and he and his 
young wife hurried out of bed and were all ready 
to open the door the moment Allen made his 
startlins: demand. 

Both commanders were old friends. As soon 
as Delaplace, therefore, could manage to see by 
the aid of an unsteady light who it was that had 
so boldly disturbed his slumbers, he rather pre- 
sumed upon his former acquaintance, and asked 
Allen in a tone of authority why he was there at 



TAKING OF TICONDEROGA. 37 

such a time of night, and what he wanted. 
Allen replied, glancing significantly at the men 
he commanded, — " I order you to surrender this 
fort instantly ! " " By what authority do you 
demand it ? " returned Delaplace. " In the name 
of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Con- 
gress!" answered Allen, in tones that reverbera- 
ted through the place. Delaplace was on the 
point of saying something further ; but Allen 
impetuously raised his sword over his head, and 
ordered him, in a voice whose temper he dared 
not lightly regard, to keep silence and surrender 
the fortress at once. Delaplace gave directions 
to the entire garrison, which consisted of only 
forty-eight men, to parade without their arms, 
and gave up everything into the hands of his 
courageous conqueror. 

The demand of Allen seemed quite preposter- 
ous, since the " Continental Congress " by whose 
authority he claimed to speak had never met as 
yet, and did not meet until ten o'clock on that 
very same day. But the phrase sounded grandly 
enough for him, and no doubt assisted in striking 
terror to the heart of the surprised commander of 
the fortress. The spoils which thus fell into the 

4 



o8 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

Iniiids of the Americans, consisted of one hun- 
dred and twenty pieces of iron cannon, fifty- 
swivels, two ten-inch mortars, one howitzer, one 
cohorn, ten tons of musket balls, three cart-loads 
of flints, thirty new carriages, a considerable 
quantity of shells, a warehouse filled with mate- 
rials for boat building, one hundred stand of 
small arms, ten casks of powder not worth a 
great deal, two brass cannoub, eighteen barrels of 
pork, thirty barrels of flour, together with a quan- 
tity of beans and peas. The garrison were sent, 
with the women and children, as prisoners of 
war to Hartford, in Connecticut. 

But the fortress of Ticonderoga was not sur- 
rendered many hours, before the unquiet spirit 
of Arnold began to hatch further mischief. His 
pride was for the moment soothed by Allen's 
asking him to enter the fort side by side with 
himself; but as soon as the victory was secured, 
he thonght it was a barren triumph for him 
indeed. He held no authority, and was regarded 
by none of the men as their commander. To 
such a situation he did not intend to submit, 
especially when he thought of the parchment 
commission in his pocket, and the powers which 



-^?^ 



^ 



TAKING OF TICONDEROGA. 39 

had been entrusted to him by the Massachusetts 
Committee of Safety. It is needless also to say, 
that, as human nature is generally made up, 
there are few men who could have brought them- 
selves tamely to acquiesce in what Arnold 
thought, in his own case, was a sort of con- 
spiracy against him. And his native perverse- 
ness of temper came in to aggravate the wound 
which his feelings received, and made it much 
more difficult for him to be reconciled. 

He therefore set up his authority within the 
fortress as the commander, and began to issue 
his orders to the men. But his chagrin and rage 
were excessive, to find that none of them were 
obeyed, or, in fact, paid any attention to. The 
Connecticut Committee held a council and went 
through a formal election ; choosing Ethan Allen 
their commander, and delegating to him supreme 
authority over the fortress and its dependencies. 
They also requested Allen to remain where ho 
was until they could hear again from the Con- 
necticut Legislature, or perhaps from the " Con- 
tinental Congress" in whose name Allen had 
demanded the surrender. The Committee de- 
clared that this undertaking was one purely their 



40 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

own ; they had first conceived the plan, and 
afterwards first set it on foot. They added that 
the men who were raised in Massachusetts were 
in the pay of the Connecticut Legislature, as 
well as themselves; and that Arnold, by joining 
them as he did merely as a volunteer, conceded 
that his parchment commission gave him no 
authority as an officer over any part of the expe- 
dition. 

The result of the misunderstanding was, Ar- 
nold sent a narrative of his wrongs to the Mas- 
sachusetts Legislature, under whose patronage 
alone he claimed to act; and the Committee 
from Connecticut sent their statement directly 
after his to the same body. The Massachusetts 
Legislature thought the matter over, and finally 
concluded that, as long as the other party had 
entered upon the undertaking first, they would 
relinquish all claims, and so remove every obsta- 
cle to the harmony which was certainly so mucli 
to be desired. They therefore sent a message to 
Arnold, directing him not to attempt to assume 
any authority there on the strength of their sup- 
port, but to aid in the enterprises in that locality 
to the best of his ability. He yielded in silence 



TAKING OF TICONDEROGA. 41 

once more, and became no more a commander 
than any of the rest of the soldiers about him. 

But in a few days he saw his opportunity 
come again. About fifty recruits, whom his cap- 
tains had drummed up in Western Massachu- 
setts, reached Ticonderoga, and placed them- 
selves under him according to the conditions of 
their enlistment. These men were in the pay of 
Massachusetts, as the others were in the pay of 
Connecticat. They came on to Ticonderoga by 
way of Skenesboro', bringing with them the ves- 
sel that had been captured from Major Skene, of 
that village. Arnold did not wait a moment to 
put himself on board this little vessel with the 
men who were now properly under him, and 
sailed at once down the lake to St. John's, where 
was a British sloop-of-war, which he captured 
with a mere handful of his own men, and also 
surprised the garrison and captured the fort. He 
burned several bateaux, and, taking four others, 
loaded them with provisions from the fort, and 
proceeded up the lake again with his trophies to 
Ticonderoga. 

Allen started off on the same expedition ; but 
Arnold was anxious to distinguish himself, and 
4* 



42 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

hurried matters forward with the greatest speed ; 
so that when he was on his return in triumph up 
the lake, that triumph beeame doubly sweet to 
him from fortunately meeting Allen and his hun- 
dred and fifty men coming slowly along on the 
very same errand of war. Lake Champlain, 
therefore, with its forts and strongholds, came all 
at once into the control of the Americans. The 
whole work was accomplished in little more than 
a week. The capture oi" two renowned strong- 
holds like Ticonderoga and Crown Point, was 
an event worthy of special commemoration all 
over the country ; and that it soon received at 
the hands of an astonished and admiring people. 
Just then came a story that the British and 
loyal Canadians were forming in the vicinity of 
St. John's, with the intention of coming up the 
lake in their boats and making an attempt to 
retake the lost forts. This news was almost 
exactly what Arnold was waiting for, as he thus 
had an excuse for separating himself and his 
little force from Allen, and setting up the busi- 
ness of Avar rather more on his own account. 
He therefore hastened to improve the opportu- 
nity by taking personal command of the two ves- 



TAKING OP TICOXDEROGA. 43 

sels, — the schooner captured at Skenesboro', and 
the sloop-of'-war captured at St. John's, — and, 
joining with them the several bateaux that had 
likewise been taken, he styled himself the naval 
commander of the lake, and put out upon the 
water. His previous experience on board his 
own vessels between New Haven and the "West 
Indies gave him considerable advantage in this 
capacity, and he showed himself familiar enough 
with the manoeuvring and working of small 
water craft to really deserve the title and place 
which he had so eagerly assumed. 

Once out by himself upon the water, he sailed 
for Crown Point with the determination to make 
a stand there and receive the enemy from above. 
He had at this time some hundred and fifty men 
under him. Arriving before this other fortress, 
he proceeded to arm his little fleet with the guns 
which he took from the same, placing on board 
the schooner four carriage guns and eight swiv- 
els, and on board the sloop six carriage guns and 
twelve swivels; and he then appointed a com- 
mander to each vessel, with the usual title of 
captain. 

Thus he busied himself for some time in pre- 



44 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

parations for the enemy's coming. The can- 
non, mortars, and stores, which were captured 
from the British, he got ready to send off to 
Cambridge to the army, where such things were 
greatly in demand. At Albany, large quantities 
of flour and pork were received, and sent forward 
according to his directions. This was one of the 
terms on which, in fact, he procured his commis- 
sion from the Massachusetts Committee. 

But even had an opportunity offered for action 
on his part, he would have been deprived of th*e 
privilege of distinguishing himself in conse- 
quence of the representations that were now 
freely sent on to the Connecticut and Massachu- 
setts Legislatures. The former body, in order to 
heal all divisions, appointed Col. Hinman to the 
command of their troops around the fortresses, 
Avhile the latter, not altogether satisfied with the 
way in which Arnold was represented to have 
employed his authority, despatched a committee 
to Lake Champlain to inquire into the troubles 
that had arisen there, and to report exactly how 
matters stood. Their instructions also were to 
investigate Arnold's "spirit, capacity, and con- 
duct," and, if thought necessary, to send him 



TAKING OF TICONDEROGA. 45 

back to Cambridge to give an account of his 
doings at head-quarters. Now for a man ah'eady 
invested with a colonel's commission, as Arnold 
was, to be weighed and measured by men whom 
he did not, and could not recognize as his supe- 
riors, holding no rank whatever of their own, and 
by the very nature of their errand casting suspi- 
cion on himself and his own character, it is a 
rather hard thing, it will be confessed on all 
sides. It is very certain, too, that the letters 
which had been forwarded by those whom he 
had alienated by his arrogant manner, had taken 
pains to set forth the worst points of his conduct, 
and in the worst possible light. In their eager- 
ness to express their entire dislike of what they 
thought a higb-handed assumption on his part, 
they went to the other extreme, and forgot even 
how to be fair and just. It is human nature 
now, and we can readily believe it was human 
nature then. 

But before this Committee of Inquiry came 
upon the ground to do the work on which they 
were sent, Arnold had been busy in still another 
way. Having the advantage of a personal ac- 
quaintance in certain parts of Canada, and espe- 



46 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

cially in Montreal, he privately despatched par- 
ties to the latter city to serve him as spies and 
bring back information of the British forces in 
that quarter. The latter were under the com- 
mand of General, or Governor Carleton. The 
result of these investigations he forwarded to 
Congress as soon as they reached him, and in 
laying this intelligence before that body, he most 
urgently set forth the possibility of capturing the 
whole of Canada with a single effort. He said 
it could be done with so small a force as two 
thousand men, and volunteered to put himself at 
the head of such an expedition and be responsi- 
ble in his own person for the result. He wrote 
to Congress that he well knew both Montreal 
and Quebec, having previously carried on com- 
mercial business with persons residing in those 
two cities ; these latter had given him the infor- 
mation he had desired so much. He further 
represented to Congress that there were less than 
six hundred fighting men at Montreal under 
Carleton at that time, and they very much scat- 
tered among the various posts thereabout; like- 
wise that certain parties in Montreal, whom he 
knew, and on whom he could rely, had engaged 



TAKING OP TICONDEROGA. 47 

to throw open the gates of the city to the Ameri- 
cans whenever they should make their appear- 
ance. 

It is told that these representations of Arnold 
were quite reliable. He knew very well, it is 
said, what he was talking about. But Congress 
hesitated; perhaps because the requisite number 
of men were not to be had as soon as desired. 
Enough was pressing upon their attention, in the 
troubles that were going forward at Boston and 
the country around. Men and means were not 
to be had so easily, especially the latter. If this 
proposal of Arnold had been acted upon at that 
time, however, there is no telling what a new 
face it might suddenly have put on the character 
and results of the w^ar just begun. 

As soon as the Massachusetts Committee 
came upon the ground to begin their inquiry 
and investigations, Arnold's temper underwent a 
change. It has already been shown, too, how 
natural it was that it should. He was a bold 
and brave volunteer, even if he was an ambitious 
and impetuous one, and was serving the common 
cause; and while engaged in that service, with 
the proper title and authority in his pocket, he 



48 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

was visited by a Committee of men who pulled 
out their certificates, and informed him that they 
had been sent on to look into his conduct and 
capacity. He could not bear such a thought 
with patience ; few men of spirit would have 
borne it; he gave loose to his passion, and 
denounced with fury and indignation the men 
who soDght thus to hold him up to public scorn, 
declaring that he would submit to no such in- 
sults, and that he would continue no longer in 
any such service. 

He spoke of his services already, and what 
they had cost him ; of how much he had ex- 
pended of his own private means, in order to 
help on this very enterprise upon the shores of 
the lake ; of his great surprise that he should at 
first be the recipient of the confidence of the 
Massachusetts Committee, and that afterwards 
they should send out men to look into the matter 
and report if he had skill and capacity ; and 
finally, of his indignation that they should have 
the effrontery to place him now under the com- 
mand of an inferior officer, which they did by 
directing him to obey the orders thereafter of Col. 
Hinman, of Connecticut. 



TAKING OF TICONDEROGA. 49 

With this explosion, he at once forwarded a 
letter to Cambridge, enclosing his resignation. 
Then he proceeded to discharge the men who 
had volunteered to serve under him. This last 
step made a good deal of trouble for the time, as 
perhaps he meant it should. For the men under 
him shared the feelings of their brave com- 
mander, and did and said all they could to in- 
crease the perplexity. Their pay was behind, 
and so was that of the other troops ; and having 
thrown out that it would not be remitted to 
them at all, a scene of confusion and disorder 
began to show itself which it took all the art and 
address of the Committee alluded to, to quell. 
The latter assured the troops of Arnold that they 
should certainly be paid in good time, and finally 
succeeded even in inducing the most of them 
to enroll themselves under Col. Easton, who 
already had in his command the body of the 
men from Western Massachusetts, that originally 
joined the Connecticut troops and Allen's forces 
in Vermont. 

Thus thrown out of command, and thoroughly 
disappointed in his plans, he quitted the region 
and went back to the American camp in Cam- 

5 



50 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

bridge. He complained at head-quarters, how- 
ever, bitterly. Nothing could exceed the inten- 
sity of his rage at the course pursued by the leg- 
islature of Massachusetts. 



CHAPTER III. 



IN THE WILDERNESS. 



ARNOLD returned to Cambridge in July. 
Congress, then in session in Philadelphia, 
had been planning an expedition against 
Canada, which was to be under the command of 
General Schuyler, and to proceed by way of the 
great lakes. A committee came on from Con- 
gress to consult with General Washington about 
the project, and, if possible, to devise some way 
by which another party might be made to cooper- 
ate with that under Schuyler. 

The complaints of Arnold, all through the 
month of July, were loud and frequent. He 
declared that he was shamefully treated by the 
Massachusetts Legislature, and appeared uneasy 
in the inactive condition to which it had doomed 
him. It was admitted, both by Washington, 
who had just come on and assumed the office of 



A9 



BENEDICT ARNOLD. 



Commander-in-chief of the army, that ho was a 
brave man, and could perform as much service 
for the colonies as any other ; it seemed a pity, 
therefore, that he should be condemned to idle- 
ness and inaction, when there was so much to be 
done. 

The Committee from Congress having con- 
ferred a long time with Washington on the sub- 
ject, it was at last determined to send a military 
force into Canada by way of the Kennebec river, 
in Maine. Thus the two forces would finally 
come together before Quebec, and be able to 
operate to advantage against this greatest strong- 
hold of the enemy. The next question was, who 
should command this expedition ? It lay in 
Washington's power to answer that question, 
and he was not long in making up his mind. 
He knew very well the impetuous courage and 
hot-headed daring of Arnold, and rightly con- 
cluded that he was just the man to be placed at 
the head of such a hazardous enterprise. 

Accordingly he tendered him the appointment, 
together with the title of Colonel in the Conti- 
nental army. Perhaps, too, he put him in this 
position in order to keep so uneasy a spirit quiet, 



IN THE WILDERNESS. 53 

as well as to secure such valuable services as his 
to the interests of his country. Arnold accepted 
the appointment, and, with his new title of Col- 
onel, got his command in readiness to move 
northward at the earliest day possible. 

There were eleven hundred men under him 
in all, composing thirteen different companies, 
which were detached from the regular army for 
this special purpose ; ten companies of New 
England musketeers, and three companies of 
riflemen from Virginia and Pennsylvania. The 
field officers were as follows : Lieut. Col. Chris- 
topher Greene (afterwards the hero of Red Bank 
on the Delaware), Lieut. Col. Roger Enos, and 
Majors Meigs and Bigelow. Capt. Daniel Mor- 
gan commanded the riflemen, a man who became 
very well known as a brave partisan leader in 
the progress of the war. 

The men being all ready, they started off from 
the camp and marched down to Newburyport, at 
which place eleven transports were waiting to 
convey them to the mouth of the Kennebec river. 
The next day after reaching Newburyport they 
went on board the vessels. Several small boats 
had previously been sent to explore the coast, in 
5* 



54 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

order to learn if any of the enemy's ships were 
hovering near, but nothing being seen of them, 
the expedition set sail as already stated. 

A large force of carpenters had been sent to 
the Kennebec from Cambridge some little while 
before this expedition set out; they were to con- 
struct as many as two hundred bateaux against 
its arrival, and get all things else in readiness, so 
that when the regiment reached Gardiner, which 
they did after a sail of two days, they found mat- 
ters exactly as they would have desired. Only a 
slight mishap befell them on the way, and that 
was the grounding of a couple of the vessels on 
the bars in the river ; but this did not occasion 
them any delay, and caused no damage what- 
ever to the transports. The bateaux were built 
at Pittston, on the bank of the river over against 
Gardiner, and the men and provisions were taken 
from the transports and placed on board them at 
once. They then all met together again at Fort 
Western, opposite the city of Augusta, and a 
few miles farther up the river. 

It was at this time late in the autumn. The 
enterprise was certainly a hazardous one at any 
period of the year, but more especially so with 



IN TlIK W11JJERNES.<. O^) 

winter and the wilderness before them. The 
region was new to them all, and comparatively 
unknown to everybody. Some St. Francis In- 
dians had previously visited the American camp 
at Cambridge, and given our officers some more 
distinct ideas about that tract of country than 
they ever possessed before ; and from them, too, it 
was very well known what sufferings this party 
of stout-hearted men would be obliged to endure. 
Still, it was thought best to run the risk and pat 
the plan to a trial. 

Colonel Montressor, likewise, an officer in the 
British service, had gone through the whole of 
this howling wilderness about fifteen years be- 
fore, and kept a journal of his experience on that 
route. Arnold had an imperfect copy of this 
journal in his possession at the time he started 
off, which, with the information given by the 
Indians spoken of, was quite all he had to guide 
him. Montressor, however, had gone up the 
Chaudiere river from Quebec, crossed the high- 
lands not far from the head-waters of the Penob- 
scot, and, after sailing over the surface of Moose- 
head Lake, struck the Kennebec river at its east- 
ern branch. The route mapped out by Arnold 



56 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

was in many important points a different one 
and therefore quite as difficult to traverse, per. 
haps, as if Montressor had never written anj 
journal at all. 

In the first place, then, a small party was sent 
forward to Chaudiere pond, or Megantic Lake, 
to look about and see what was to be done there 
to help along the main body whenever it should 
come up on its toilsome journey. Then another 
party was despatched to the Dead River, a 
remarkably still and sluggish stream flowing into 
the Kennebec, to ascertain its course and dis- 
tances. To describe these two rivers as they 
stand relatively each to the other, — the Chau- 
diere and the Kennebec, — it may be said that, 
taking their rise but a few miles apart in the 
highlands of that region, they flow on, one to the 
St. Lawrence on the north, and the other to the 
Atlantic ocean on the south ; thus, though they 
empty at points so widely apart, it is neverthe- 
less but a few miles between them at their 
sources. The task before the American party 
was, therefore, to force their way up the Kenne- 
bec as far as they could, cross the country with 
their bateaux to Lake Megantic, which is the 



IN THE WILDERNESS. 5T 

head-waters of the Chaudiere, and afterwards 
embark on the latter river and pass down it to 
the St. Lawrence and the city of Qaebec. 

The little army knew they had a hard task 
before them, but it was even much harder than 
they had thought for. Encumbered with their 
arms, accoutrements, baggage, and provisions, at 
the very outskirts of a wild and untravelled for- 
est, two hundred miles of the rockiest and stern- 
est country imaginable stretching between them 
and the French settlements on the frontier, w^ith 
fierce river currents and precipitous torrents of- 
fering their obstacles to their daily progress, it 
would not have been very much to be wondered 
at, if many of them had given out at the first 
appearance of such astounding difficulties and 
dangers. If they got on, they knew it must be 
done only by a resolution and perseverance such 
as few men, and never any ordinary men, are 
known to possess. And then the thought that 
winter was approaching so fast was quite enough 
to appal almost any, even stouter-hearted than 
they. 

But the journey was at length seriously begun. 
As before related, Ai'uold pushed forward a party 



58 BENEDICT ARNOLD 

of half a dozen men to explore in the region of 
Lake Megantic, and collect what intelligence 
they could from the Indians who were known to 
be out on their annual autumn hunt in that 
vicinity; and another party of the same number 
was sent on to explore the courses, currents, and 
distances of Dead river, which emptied into the 
Kennebec from the westward. Then the army 
itself started. It was divided into four sections, 
each following the other at a distance of a day 
between, which prevented all confusion and per- 
plexity at the several carrying-places along on 
the river. Morgan led the first division, which 
was composed of the riflemen, whose weapons 
would be of most service in the forest they were 
to penetrate ; then came Greene and Bigelow 
with three companies of musketeers ; next fol- 
lowed Major Meigs with four companies more ; 
and finally came Major Enos with the three 
companies remaining. The very last man to 
leave Fort Western was Arnold himself, who 
had thus stayed behind until every soldier had 
been safely embarked. 

As soon as they were all off, he got into a 
light birch canoe and started on after them. He 



IN THE WILDERNESS. 59 

passed the several divisions on their way up the 
river, shooting by in his own lighter craft with 
all possible celerity ; and on the third day after 
leaving Fort Western, he overtook the party of 
Morgan's riflemen in the van, which had already 
reached Norridgewock Falls. 

At these Falls, or a little way below them, on 
a fine open plain stretching out upon the eastern 
bank of the river, was once an Indian village, 
peopled by the ancient Norridgewock tribe ; and 
a French Jesuit, named Father Ralle, a learned 
and zealous missionary, had resided among them 
for twenty-six years, wielding a great and salu- 
tary influence over their untutored minds. The 
story of this mission is as romantic in some 
particulars as it was tragical in its termination. 
The British settlers in Massachusetts considered 
Father Ralle their enemy, believing that he pre- 
judiced the minds of the savages against them, 
and they therefore set on foot an expedition to 
destroy the entire settlement. A party of sol- 
diers came upon them very suddenly, and struck 
terror into their hearts. Unable from the nature 
of the attack to rally themselves for a concerted 
defence, they were put to the sword indiscrimi- 



60 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

nately, and not one allowed any quarter. Every 
one belon2:in£2: to this devoted little settlement 
was slaughtered. Old Father Ralle was bar- 
barously scalped, together with many of his In- 
dian disciples. This bloody drama was en- 
acted in the year 1724, just a year over half a 
century before Arnold came upon the place. He 
found the remains of the church and altar, how- 
ever, most melancholy memorials of the wild 
havoc that had desolated this once happy spot. 
A dictionary of the language of these Norridge- 
wock Indians, in the handwriting of Father Ralle, 
is still preserved in the library of Harvard College. 
At this place the toils and perils of the devoted 
little army began in good earnest. None of them 
had any conception of the dangers and sufferings 
that were in store for them, or they would have 
turned back appalled. Norridgewock Falls were 
to be gone around first, and that was no slight or 
easy undertaking. It was a long mile-and-a- 
quarter around to the upper side, w^here they were 
to launch their fleet of boats again ; and this dis- 
tance they had to travel with their bateaux, pro- 
visions, ammunition, and stores besides. The 
river banks, too, on both sides, were extremely 



IN THE WILDERNESS. 61 

rocky and difficult, without the first sign of roads 
or paths, the scowling wilderness hemming them 
in on the right and the left, and the roar of the 
Falls filling their ears with its steady thunder. 

The work was slow and toilsome. A good 
deal of the bread which they brought along with 
them was spoiled by exposure to the weather, 
which would now make them come short. Other 
provisions also prpved worthless, upon examina- 
tion. The boats leaked ; the men did not know 
how to manage them, either ; and it was seven 
days before they completed this mile-and-a-quar- 
ter journey around the Falls with their remaining 
provisions and unwieldy burdens. Much of that 
time was consumed by the carpenters in making 
repairs and putting the boats in their former con- 
dition. 

Arnold plunged his canoe into the river again 
as soon as he reached it, and, taking an Indian 
with him for a guide, paddled swiftly on past the 
last division of his little army, until he arrived at 
the Carratunc Falls ; here they all went through 
the same trials and delays as before, but suc- 
ceeded in getting around the falls much sooner 
than they had passed the Norridgewock. The 



62 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

other two divisions of the army were still ahead 
of him. 

Pushing on, however, in a couple of days after 
leaving the Carratunc Falls he overtook the rest 
of the men at what is called the Great Carrying 
Place. This is at the point twelve miles below 
where the Dead River joins the Kennebec on the 
east, the angle of whose junction is almost a 
right angle. The men were there Avaiting for 
him to come up, before they proceeded to take 
another step forward. On reckoning up his 
whole force again, Arnold found that they 
counted only nine hundred and fifty out of the 
original eleven hundred. This considerable fall- 
ing off was owing in part to sickness, and partly 
to desertion. On their way up to the Great Car- 
rying Place, they had been in the water much 
of the time, pushing the bateaux before them as 
they waded in the shallow places, the current 
running strongly against them, yet all the while 
keeping up most cheerful spirits and evincing the 
stoutest resolution. The enthusiasm which their 
commander showed, they could not help catching 
themselves. It was chiefly that which helped, or 
led them on. 



IN THE WILDERNESS. 63 

While pausing to look over his muster-roll arid 
reckon up the amount of his stores, he found that 
he had provisions for twenty-five days, whereas 
he calculated that he could reach the Chaudiere 
River and the straggling French settlements along 
its course in ten days, at the farthest. The first 
stretch, from the Great Carrying Place to the Dead 
River, was a distance across the country of fifteen 
miles. Three ponds broke the land travel, the 
first of which was some three miles from the 
Kennebec. The road was craggy and very diffi- 
cult. They were obliged to procure oxen to drag 
the bateaux across the land, which was done by 
the patient animals only with the greatest labor. 
The men strapped their baggage to their own 
backs, and likewise loaded themselves with the 
provisions and stores. 

This picture of an army tramping through the 
wilderness, was a wild and most exciting one. It 
was a passage quite as heroic as the more famed 
retreat of the Ten Thousand described by the 
Greek writer, Xenophon. It was in the Fall 
time, and all the splendors of the season were at 
their highest. The weather was superb. The 
leaves in the forest were changing rapidly, fur- 



G4 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

nishing the most gorgeous colorings on which the 
eye could desire to rest. The waters in the ponds 
they came to were calm and unruffled, and in the 
placid bosom of each the spacious dome of the 
slvy was perfectly reflected. And the stained 
leaves of Autumn scattered themselves over the 
surface of the ponds as they fell, forming a 
beautiful mosaic pavement around their borders 
which heightened indescribably their sequestered 
beauty. 

The boats were launched on the bosom of the 
first pond, and the men embarked again. They 
found great abundance of luscious salmon trout 
within the lake, which they caught in astonishing 
numbers. Probably these tempting fish, now 
sought after by the sportsman with so much ea- 
gerness, were never before disturbed by the ap- 
proach of the white man. If the Indians drew 
them out, as we have good reason to believe they 
did, they took no more of them than just enough 
to satisfy their immediate wants. But we venture 
to say that this superb fish was never hunted by an 
army before. This timely wild game afforded the 
troops a great deal of comfort, jaded and dispir- 
ited as they were getting to be, and in want, too, 



IN THE AVILDERNESS. 65 

of some such delicacy as this new food was 
fitted to furnish them. A couple of oxen were 
likewise killed, and thus a morsel of fresh beef 
was divided up among those who most stood in 
need of it. 

Alternately by water and land they passed on, 
now launching their boats on the ponds, and now 
dragging all after them from one portage to 
another. Arnold directed the carpenters to build 
a block house at the second portage, within which 
were placed such as were sick and otherwise 
unable to withstand the hardships of the journey. 
He likewise ordered a second house of this des- 
cription to be erected on the banks of the Ken- 
nebec river, for the purpose of storing what 
provisions might be sent up for the army from 
Norridgewock. In case he should find it neces- 
sary to retreat, on account of the enemy's advance 
or the assailing rigors of approaching Winter, he 
wished to have something to fall back upon, and 
to feel that he was at the same time safe. 

It was during this slow passage of the little 
army across from the Great Carrying Place on 
the Kennebec to the Chaudiere river, that Arnold 
himself learned how pleasant was that same spirit 



QQ BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

of treachery which he afterwards practised on a 
much larger scale. He formed the design of 
sending forward a couple of Indians, one of 
whom was named Eneas, to certain gentlemen 
of his acquaintance in Quebec, and likewise to 
General Schuyler, with whom it was intended 
that his command should cooperate. With these 
Indians also went a white man, Jakins by name, 
whose orders were to search for the French 
settlements along on the Chaudiere river, obtain 
all the information he could, make as friendly an 
impression upon them as he was able, and then 
return and report his success. The two Indians 
carried letters in Arnold's hand-writing to the 
gentlemen in Quebec, upon the reception of 
which much depended. But the letters never 
reached those to whom they were sent. The In- 
dians proved arrant traitors. Instead of obeying 
the directions given them, they delivered them 
into the hands of other parties, and thus sowed a 
crop of mischief for Arnold and his men, the 
harvest of which they reaped not a great while 
after. It was always supposed, from the best 
information that could be obtained about them, 
that they were carried directly to the Lieut. Gov- 



IX Till-: WILDERNESS. 67 

ernor of Canada, who was thus put on his guard 
against the approach of the bold American party. 
In fact, Eneas, the treacherous Indian fellow, was 
some time after seen in Quebec by those who 
knew him in the army. 

With a new feeling of joy they at last came to 
the banks of the Dead River. This was certainly 
one step gained, and a very important one, too. 
Thev were conscious of havins: met and con- 
quered difficulties, before which three short 
month- earlier they would have stood appalled 
and disheartened. They had accomplished more 
than they thought mortal man could accomplish. 

Dead River was so named from its slow and 
almost motionless current. It was rather devious 
in places, but, with the exception of a few slight 
falls, or rapids, was everywhere as calm as a 
summer's morning ; never fretting and fuming 
like many a little inland stream, and nowhere 
disposed to chafe against its banks because im- 
patient to get on faster. All along its course its 
path was placid, gentle, and dreamy. It was on 
such a stream as this that the men launched their 
boats anew, with hearts refreshed at so much 
more agreeable prospects. They came in sight 



68 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

of a very high and bold mountain as they sailed 
onward, whose base came down to the river, and 
whose distant summit was akeady covered with 
snow. It seemed like a great friend to them 
all, — a huge rock casting down its welcome 
shadow in the wilderness. Here they encamped 
for a couple of days. Arnold believed it was a 
good place to find rest. There was not a single 
one, either, who was not glad enough to lie down 
under its broad shelter. 

It is said Arnold run up the American flag to 
the peak of his tent while here encamped ; and it is 
solely on account of this slight incident that the 
little settlement since built up on the spot goes 
by the name of the " Flag-Staff." There is like- 
wise another story connected with this same 
mountain, which deserves mention as well. It is 
a pleasant tradition that has become smoky from 
being told so many times in all the old chimney- 
corners of the neighborhood. Major Bigelow — 
so says the tradition, — climbed to its top, expect- 
ing when there to rest his longing eyes on the 
far-off hills of Canada, and the roofs and spires 
of ancient Quebec. It was a very courageous 
unde^rtaking, and the man who carried it through 



IN THE WILDERNESS. 69 

certainly deserves more than a mere mention for 
his exploit. From this circumstance the moun- 
tain received the name Mount Bigelow, which it 
has faithfully kept to this day. The enterprising 
Major failed to find the particular objects after 
which he gazed from its height into Canada ; but 
his eyes were greeted with another view that 
must have afforded him quite as agreeable an 
impression, if he was a lover of nature in her 
inmost solitude. There were mountain peaks all 
around and beneath him, and he the king, as it 
were, of them all. Not an echo broke the solemn 
stillness of the scene. The wild animals that 
peopled this awful solitude, were unused to the 
footfall of man, and had never learned to flee 
from the intrusion of his presence. Beavers and 
other wild game frequented the coverts and the 
glens, sharing the gloom and the silence with 
none but those who were made after their own 
kind. 

While they rested at the foot of this mountain, 
Arnold found that their provisions were coming 
short, and sent back a party of ninety for a new 
supply. And immediately upon issuing this 
order, he started forward again. Morgan had 



70 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

already gone ahead with his party of riflemen, 
and Arnold came close after. Hardly had they 
begun their march, when a violent rain set in that 
continued for three days, successively, drenching 
them all to the skin and damping their ardor 
excessively. Everything about them was soaked 
with water, clothes and provisions alike. Late 
one night they lay down in their hasty encamp- 
ment on the bank of the stream, when the swollen 
torrents from the surrounding hills came rushing 
down upon them, the river rising eight feet at the 
time ; so suddenly were they assailed, that they 
had just got up and left their camp when the 
waters poured over the spot in a flood. Many 
of them must have been drowned, had they 
remained w^here they were but a few minutes 
longer. The men took to the boats with all pos- 
sible haste, to find the entire plain submerged, a 
roaring torrent all around them, and the channel 
completely choked up with the drift wood that 
had been brought down by the swollen current. 
As it was, seven of the bateaux were overturned 
by the headlong violence of the angry stream, 
much of the remaining provisions was lost, and 
the men barely escaped with their lives. 



IN THE WILDERNESS. 71 

This was a severe blow indeed. Arnold had 
sent back for a fresh supply of provisions already; 
and now to lose a part even of what was left, 
was enough to infuse terror into hearts much 
stouter than theirs. They were thus more per- 
plexed than ever. It was next to impossible to 
tell which one of the many streams, now all 
swollen to the size of the river itself, conducted 
them in their true course ; and hence they pad- 
dled far up into many a creek and bay, down 
which they were soon obliged to retrace their 
way. 

Plunged into a! maze of dangers and difficulties 
like these, Arnold found himself still thirty miles 
distant from the head of the Chaudiere River, 
with provisions enough to last them not more 
than a fortnight. A little undecided what to do, 
he called a council of war. The officers looked 
the matter straight in the face, bad as it was, and 
decided that it was best to send back the sick 
and disabled, and to push on with all rapidity 
themselves. 

Colonels Greene and Enos were with the rear 
party. Arnold despatched to them a written 
order, directing them to hasten forward with as 



i '1 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

many of their able-bodied and healthy men as 
they could supply with provisions for a fortnight, 
and to leave the others to make their way back to 
Norridgewock. Enos behaved either like a cow- 
ard or a fool ; for he instantly led off his whole 
division, and returned to the American camp at 
Cambridge again. The army was greatly excited 
to see them back again, especially as it was 
known in what a situation they had left their 
imperilled comrades. Enos was tried by a court- 
martial, but acquitted because it was proved that 
he was in the heart of the wilderness at the time, 
and without sufficient provisions to sustain his di- 
vision. But Washington never looked upon him 
with favor again, and Enos saw it ; he therefore left 
the army at the earliest opportunity that offered. 
As Arnold pressed forward with a small 
detachment of sixty men under Capt. Hanchet, 
intending to reach the settlements as soon as 
he could and send back provisions, the weather 
suddenly grew colder, and snow began to fall in 
large quantities, chilling them through. While 
they were dragging and pushing their boats 
through the water, ice was forming in the river, 
and in all the ponds and marshes in which the 



IN THE WILDERNESS. 73 

Dead River took its rise. They passed around 
seventeen different falls in this region; and on 
one of the bleakest and most blustering of late 
Autumn days, with the snow lying two inches 
deep on the ground, they came to the Highlands 
to which the streams of New England and 
Canada both trace their origin, and from which 
they both flow in opposite directions to empty 
themselves at last into the Atlantic. From the 
Highlands they had to drag their bateaux four 
long miles more to a little stream that took them 
to Lake Megantic, the source of the Chaudiere 
River. 

Lieuts. Steele and Church had previously been 
sent forward from the Great Carrying Place on 
the Kennebec, with a small party to explore the 
way and make paths at the portages as they went 
along; and here at Lake Megantic they were 
found, glad enough to see signs of the army 
coming up. Jakins was with them — the same 
who had been sent forward to the French settle- 
ments along the Chaudiere ; he brought word that 
the people were quite friendly in their disposition 
towards them, and that they would receive the 
little army with expressions of joy. 
7 



74 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

There are mountains all around Lake Megan- 
tie, which is itself a body of water thirteen miles 
in length and about three in breadth. On the 
eastern shore Arnold formed his camp. The very- 
next morning he ordered fifty-five men, under 
command of Capt. Hanchet, to follow the lake 
along its shore, while he took thirteen men, 
together with Lieuts. Church and Steele, with 
five bateaux and a birch canoe, and hastened on 
down the Lake and Chaudiere to the French 
settlements. He was desirous of obtaining pro- 
visions and sending them back to the suffering 
army with all despatch. 

This journey by water was a fearful one for 
them all. The moment they got out of the out- 
let of the Lake and struck the river, — which 
was some three hours after they started from the 
little camp in the morning, — they found their 
boats plunged into a seething and boiling current 
from which it seemed impossible to extricate 
them. They Avere forced to lash their baggage 
and provisions fast to the boats, and trust to the 
merciless madness of the stream. They had no 
guides with them, and knew no more of the 
course they should pursue than they did of the 




SURPRISED IN THE RAPIDS. 



IN THE WILDERNESS. 75 

treacherous whirlpools and angry flood which 
threatened every moment to overwhelm them. 
The bed of the river -was of rocks, over whose 
jagged surface the waters foamed and fretted 
like fabled furies. Of a sudden their hearts were 
filled with a new terror. The roar and thunder 
as of a waterfall sounded like the ring of fate in 
their ears. They were plunged among the rapids 
without the least warning. Three of the boats 
were instantly dashed to fragments against the 
rocks, and the six men in them were thrown into 
the boiling current. They managed, however, to 
escape with their lives, but it was only after a 
long struggle in the water. 

This accident proved but a merciful provi- 
dence, however, for just beyond the rapids was a 
high fall, over which they must all have been 
plunged, had they not been thus fortunately 
warned of their danger. It was one of the six 
men who were rescued that made the discovery. 
They were all struck dumb with terror, at the 
thought of their narrow escape. 

For seventy miles they sailed on, now and 
then carrying their boats, as before, around other 
falls, until they reached the little French village 



76 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

of Sertigan, four miles beyond where the river 
Des Loupis joins the Chaudiere. There they 
were received in the most friendly manner by 
the simple inhabitants, and Arnold was freely 
supplied with what provisions he wanted for the 
detachments he had left behind. He paid them 
for all he took, and received abundant expres- 
sions of their favor and gratitude in return. As 
lately as the year 1848, one of the old settlers in 
this charming valley of the Chaudiere, showed 
to an American traveller an order for cattle and 
flour signed by Arnold, which had been treasured 
as a most valuable memento of those days. 
The old man was ninety-three years of age, and 
all of the old settlers there, as well as himself, 
were wont to speak of this descent of the "good 
Bostonians " into their peaceful and happy val- 
ley, as one of the most important and memora- 
ble events of their lives. 

Arnold sent back the flour and cattle by some 
Indians and Canadians, and the supply arrived 
just in time to save the remainder of the little 
army from total annihilation. They were in a 
truly lamentable condition, suffering for want of 
needful food. They had already butchered their 



IN THE WILDERNESS. 77 

last ox, and eaten him ; all their boats were de- 
stroyed, together with the provisions they con- 
tained ; the men even dug and clav^ed into the 
sandy beach, like animals, and tore out such 
roots as they could discover there; they washed 
their moose-skin moccasins in the river, scraping 
away the sand and dirt with great care, and then 
threw them into a kettle of hot water and boiled 
them, hoping to extract some little mucilage from 
them for nourishment; they even chewed the 
tasteless leather itself; a dog was killed and they 
made broth from his flesh ; and General Dear- 
borne, who was of the party, gave up his dog, 
which was a very large one and a general favor- 
ite, to one of the companies, and they killed and 
divided him up, eating every part of him, not 
even excepting his entrails. 

Had not aid reached them as it did, they must 
all very soon have perished from want. As it 
was, they had been without food for forty-eight 
hours already. Now they took fresh courage, 
and soon emerged from the forest and came for- 
ward in separate detachments, uniting again at 
Sertigan. From this place, all along the banks 
of the Chaudiere to the St. Lawrence, was one 
7* 



78 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

of the most beautiful valleys known, and those 
who peopled it were peaceful, happy, and indus- 
trious, and surrounded with all the comforts that 
make life desirable. 

Before he left Cambridge, Arnold had been 
furnished by Washington with copies of a pro- 
clamation to the inhabitants of this valley in the 
French language, which he was directed to scat- 
ter among them very freely. This paper only set 
forth the origin of the present war with England, 
and expressed the wish that the people addressed 
would at once join themselves to the cause of 
America and Freedom. It was written in good 
taste, and calculated to produce the desired 
effect. Arnold circulated copies of this paper 
with great judiciousness, and found that it 
gained him friends wherever it went. No man 
ever went away from a place leaving so many 
and such strong admirers behind him. He paid 
promptly for all he took, and received the ready 
and willing cooperation of the population in 
return. 

Taken all together, this is one of the most 
romantic and remarkable expeditions on record. 
For thirty-two days the men were in a trackless 



IN THE WILDERNESS. 79 

wilderness, with no guides, and meeting no face 
of human settlers along the whole of that weary- 
route. Yet there was no murmuring. They 
pushed on with persistent courage and energy. 
Troops made of stuff like this, it was impossible 
to vanquish anywhere. There were women, too, 
following in the train of the army, w^ho bore up 
as stoutly against disaster as any of the rest. 
They all alike were obliged to wade through the 
mud and the water, the ice on the surface of 
the latter being sometimes so thick that the sol- 
diers had to break it with the butts of their guns. 
Of those who accompanied Col. Arnold on 
this desperate expedition, there were not a few 
who afterwards became celebrated in the history 
of our revolutionary struggle, and earned the 
lasting gratitude of their countrymen. Among 
those may be named Morgan, Dearborne, 
Greene, Febiger, Meigs, and Burr. Aaron Burr 
was then an amiable and accomplished young 
man of but twenty years, and held the rank of a 
cadet. This was excellent discipline for them 
all, and such as they would be likely to carry 
into the service whenever they were called ©ut 
into action. 




CHAPTER IV. 

GOING AGAINST QUEBEC. 

RNOLD took forty Norridgewock In- 
dians along with him under Natalis, and 
hastened forward from these peaceful 
French settlements in the direction of Quebec, 
the object of all his hopes and ambition. In ten 
days he reached Point Levi, over opposite that 
city. Here he waited for his little army to come 
up. By the 13th day of November they were all 
with him again. Eneas, the rascally Indian, had 
previously given up the letters he entrusted to 
him into the hands of the enemy, and by this 
means they were apprised of Arnold's approach. 
Eneas said himself that he had been taken pris- 
oner, but the probability is that he told an out- 
right lie about it. 

There were no boats, therefore, on the southern 
side of the St. Lawrence river, the British having 



GOING AGAINST QUEBEC. 81 

removed them all, lest the American party, of 
whose approach they had heard, should use them 
for crossing. But Arnold contrived, through the 
aid of his Indian allies, to get together some 
thirty or forty birch canoes, with which he set 
out to cross on the evening of the same day, at 
nine o'clock. They paddled across as silently as 
possible in the dark, managing to pass the frigate 
Lizard and a sloop-of-war that lay anchored in 
the river, which had been ordered there for the 
very purpose of preventing their approach. Three 
several times did these frail boats carry their 
freights of armed men, and by early dawn five 
hundred troops were transported to Wolfe's Cove 
and nearly ready to begin offensive operations. 
They had just landed the third party, leaving a 
hundred and fifty yet to be sent for, when some 
sentries in one of the enemy's boats detected 
their movements. The American party on the 
instant fired into the boat, and three men fell 
over the sides into the water, dead. Of course 
to think of going across, after that, for the remain- 
ing hundred and fifty, would have been the height 
of foolhardiness. 

Upon this sudden and most unfortunate alarm, 



82 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

Arnold saw that he must make haste or it would 
soon be over with him. If the garrison was 
aroused, all would be lost. It was now a little 
■past four o'clock in the morning. He put him- 
self at the head of his five hundred men, and led 
them up the sides of the frowning precipice on 
whose summit lay the immortal Plains of Abra- 
ham. The young and heroic General "Wolfe had 
led an army up those same heights sixteen years 
before, and died just as the cheering sounds of 
victory rang in his ears. The ascent was rugged 
and extremely toilsome, but they had an Arnold 
to lead them on, and there was no faltering with 
him. Up, up, up they climbed, until at last their 
eyes rested on the sight they had so long coveted. 
There was Quebec before them, its roofs and 
spires pencilled dimly against the gray sky of the 
early morning. From the day on which they 
marched out of camp at Cambridge with the 
good wishes of the whole army following them, 
all along through their solitary and painful pil- 
grimage in the wilderness, wading and paddling 
and pushing their boats up the lakes and rivers, 
this single view had danced like a dream of 
delight before their eyes ; and now, on this cold 



GOING AGAINST QUEBEC. 83 

and dreary morning of November, it was real- 
ized. " '•" " 

There was the city, and here were not many 
more than five hundred men, worn and weary 
and dispirited, with whom to take it. Was ever 
any enterprise so foolish on the very face of it ? 
Did it look as if the leader in this fearful expe- 
dition had first sat down and counted the cost ? 
They were without artillery, and almost half of 
their muskets had been spoiled on their march. 
The garrison within the massive walls of the cas- 
tle and fort had been strengthened by fresh acces- 
sions of troops from Sorel and Newfoundland, 
and was now quite eighteen hundred strong. 
These were made up of regulars, militia, and 
marines. Many have wondered that so superior 
a force did not at once sally out and destroy the 
weaker one ; but it is to be remembered that a 
majority of the militia were ready to desert to 
the Americans, in case an opportunity was of- 
fered them, and it was not deemed safe to run 
the risk of giving them the opportunity. 

Arnold, however, still placed great reliance 
upon the friendly feelings of the inhabitants of 
the city, as well as of the militia composing the 



84 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

garrison, and who were supposed to be at least 
two-thirds of the whole. He wished to be per- 
fectly well satisfied of this friendship, and so 
resorted to an expedient which he thought would 
decide the matter at once. Drawing up his little 
band before the walls, and within eight hundred 
yards of the same, he ordered them to give three 
rousing cheers ; by this means he was in hope to 
bring out the regulars on the open plain, when 
the militia, together with the people of the town, 
would throw wide open the gates and permit 
them to enter without opposition. The men 
gave the cheers as directed, but the only substan- 
tial answers they got were sent them from the 
mouths of the cannon that were fired in return 
from the walls. To be sure, the parapets of the 
walls were dark with clustering people, and they 
huzzaed in return ; but Cramahe, the Lieut. Gov- 
ernor, knew better than to trust too much to the 
loyalty of the population. The disaffection was 
very widely spread, the old animosity between 
the English and French races continuing as deep 
and strong as ever. The English were dissatis- 
fied with the French laws, and the French had 
no objection to seeing their ancient enemy humil- 



GOING AGAINST QUEBEC. 85 

Failing in this artifice, Arnold tried another ; 
and this seems to have been even more shallow 
and foolish than the first. He sent a flag to the 
commandant of the garrison, summoning him, 
with all the pomp of inflated language, to sur- 
render without further delay. Inasmuch as the 
garrison were more than two to Arnold's one, 
this looks to us a little preposterous. The com- 
mandant not only treated the approach of the 
flag with contempt, but fired upon it as soon as 
it came within range. Some of those who were 
there with the Americans at the time, thought 
Arnold did this more for display than anything 
else, and to gratify his excessive vanity. He was 
once in the habit of buying horses of certain per- 
sons in Quebec, which he shipped from New 
Haven to the West Indies, in the way of his 
trade ; and among these persons he was still 
known by the name .of the " horsejockey." He 
was therefore quite anxious to impress upon these 
persons a new idea of his importance, bearing, as 
he did, the honorable military title of Colonel. 
This second stratagem is chargeable almost 
entirely, therefore, to his vanity, and his disposi- 
tion to establish of a sudden a great name 
8 



80 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

among those who never saw any special great- 
ness in him before. 

Arnold went through all the military forms 
and ceremonies in the matter, however. The 
summons to surrender which he entrusted to the 
flag, to be placed in the hands of Lieut. Gov- 
ernor Cramahe, was made up of high sounding 
phrases, invoking him in the name an(J authority 
of the Congress of America to yield up his posi- 
tion, and throwing out the most terrific threats iti 
case he should either refuse or delay obedience to 
his demand. As before stated, the very idea of 
receiving a flag with a message from so inconsid- 
erable an enemy, was hooted down with disdain, 
and the bearer was fired upon from the walls and 
compelled to make good his retreat. The Brit- 
ish were safely and snugly entrenched within a 
strongly walled town, with an abundance both 
of defences and provisions ; while the little Amer- 
ican force were shivering and half starved upon 
an elevated plain, with the wintry winds howling 
around them from every quarter, and the sullen 
skies promising them no more welcome visitants 
than the icy sleets and snows that were to blow 
out of them. 



GOING AGAINST QUKBEC. 87 

Yet this same scnnty, ill-fed, and freezing body 
of men struck a sort of terror into the hearts of 
the Canadians, too, and it was a terror mixed 
somewhat with admiration. They believed it 
was only by the aid of some great miracle that 
an army could have emerged from the depths of 
a gloomy forest at such a time of the year; 
indeed, it was a wonder to them how they had 
threaded this wilderness at all, with its streams, 
and swamps, and mountains, and rocks. Be- 
sides this, they gave credence to the stories about 
the vast numbers of the strangers, and were ready 
to believe that the entire wilderness was swarm- 
ing with them. Morgan's company of riflemen, 
who led the van, wore linen frocks, which was the 
usual uniform at the time for troops of that char- 
acter ; and the inhabitants soon got the story 
going around that they were cased in iron, and 
that their courage and physical strength corre- 
sponded to such a massive style of defensive uni- 
form. 

It was just then that Arnold received the news 
that Governor Carle ton, who had managed to 
make his escape from the British fleet that was 
stopped at Sorel by the American batteries, had 



88 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

suddenly started on for Quebec, and would soon 
be there. Arnold stopped short, therefore, where 
he was, and examined into the condition of his 
force. He was astounded to learn that a great 
number of his men were invalids, that more were 
entirely destitute of needed clothing, that nearly 
a hundred of their muskets were good for nothing 
as weapons to fight with, and that nearly all the 
cartridges for the balance of the guns were spoiled 
by the water, there being not more than five 
rounds left to each man. Right upon this fol- 
lowed the intelligence that the enemy were get- 
ting ready to sally out into the plain from the 
city, and give them battle. It would have been 
foolhardy to expose his crippled and diminished 
force to such superior numbers, and he therefore 
prudently resolved on a retreat. Point aux Trem- 
bles was some twenty miles above, and thither 
he set out on the instant. At that place he 
intended to await the approach of the troops un- 
der General Montgomery, from Montreal. 

Arnold reached Aux Trembles with a few more 
men than half the number he led out across the 
wilderness from Cambridge. They numbered in 
all six hundred and seventy-five. He arrived 



GOING AGAINST QUEBEC. 89 

only to learn that Carleton had just left the place 
before him, and even then he could distinctly 
hear the sound of the cannon that were firing at 
Quebec in honor of his arrival at that city. Ar- 
nold did not delay an hour in sending to Montreal 
to General Montgomery and ii.forming him of 
the sad condition of his troops. Clothing and 
provisions were very soon sent down to them in 
response to Arnold's statement, and thus they 
were made more comfortable. 

Above Quebec, all Canada was in possession, 
at the time, of the Americans; they had control 
of the river St. Lawrence, and of every post of 
any importance ; nothing remained for them to 
take but the powerful capital itself, and that was 
the sole object of this expedition. In order to 
accomplish this purpose, therefore, it was neces- 
sary for Montgomery to join Arnold with his 
forces as soon as he could. 

He left only a weak garrison at Montreal at 
best, and hurried away with three hundred men, 
three mortars, and artillery ; these he placed on 
board the vessels that were captured from the 
enemy at Sorel, and all set sail down ilie river 
together. On the first day of December, he 
8* 



90 IJENEDrCT ARNOLD. 

landed at Point aitx Trembles^ and at onco took 
command of both forces, numbering in all only 
nine hundred fighting men. It was with such an 
army that he was to undertake to reduce a forti- 
fied town with a garrison just twice as numerous. 
On the next day they set off from this point for 
Quebec again. A furious storm of snow was 
driving into their faces at the time, at first almost 
blinding them as they marched. It soon began 
to pile in the roads, and to blow and drift so 
much as to seriously obstruct their progress. 
They moved forward, therefore, but slowly, wad- 
ing as they went, and finally came in sight of 
Quebec on the fifth of December. The houses 
where the two commanders took up their quarters 
are still shown to travellers. The body of the 
Americans were encamped in a suburb of the 
city, called St. Roche. 

They did not happen to know inside the walls 
how great was the disparity between the two 
forces, or the besiegers might not have been left 
unmolested as long as they were. Arnold wrote 
on to Washington, while at Point avx Trembles^ 
that it would take fully twenty-five hundred men 
to storm Quebec with any hope of success ; and 



GOING AGAINST QUEBEC. 91 

still they found it necessary to advance to their 
perilous work with but a trifle more than a third 
of that number. Montgomery's first device was, 
what Arnold had vainly tried before, to send a 
summons to Carleton to surrender ; but the Gov- 
ernor refused to allow a flag to come within shot 
range of the walls of the city. But a letter was 
finally sent to Carleton from Montgomery through 
a citizen, in which he demanded of him to give 
up the town without delay, or he would make an 
assault for whose results he could not become 
responsible. He likewise tried to make Carleton 
think he had a great many more men than he 
had. But the Governor was not so easily fright- 
ened. No doubt he believed the assailing force 
of Americans was stronger than it was, yet he 
chose to take his own course. 

It still continued to be a favorite idea of Mont- 
gomery and Arnold that the inhabitants of the 
city felt friendly towards them, and would turn 
out in their support as soon as a good chance 
offered ; but they were afraid of the troops that 
composed the garrison; it was this alone that 
held them in check. For three weeks almost, 
they remained in their present position, trying in 



92 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

every way to effect an entrance into the city. It 
was a curious, and a wretched picture ; and yet 
it compelled admiration for the courage and pluck 
that were displayed on every side. Here was a 
poorly fed, poorly clad, and poorly supplied army, 
the mere remnant of what it was when it set out 
■on this formidable winter expedition; they had 
no heavier ordnance than three mortars and a few 
light pieces of artillery ; the snow was falling on 
their little half-protected encampment almost in- 
cessantly ; their limbs were bitten with the severe 
frosts almost every night they lay down to their 
broken slumbers ; the leader himself was nearly 
ready to despair, in the face of so many obstacles 
both of man and of nature ; and a gradual feel- 
ing of disappointment and depression seemed 
likely to take possession of the sinking hearts of 
the whole. 

Nothing less than the lofty courage of such a 
nature as Montgomery's could have kept alive the 
spirits of the troops as long as it did ; though a 
native of Ireland himself, and still a young man, 
he nevertheless loved his adopted country with 
all the ardor of a son. Orators like Chatham, 
Burke, and and Barrd thought his name worthy 



GOING AGAINST QUEBEC. 9^ 

of their splendid eulogies on the floor of the 
British Parliament ; and even Lord North, the 
Prime Minister of King George in the Revolu- 
tion, exclaimed in regard to him, after conceding 
his worth and manliness, — "Curses on his vir- 
tues, — they have undone his country ! *' He had 
taken the general command in consequence of the 
illness of Schuyler, and received the commission 
of a major-general just before reaching Quebec, 
and while on his way to assail that town. But 
alas for the land of his adoption! it was to be but 
a very brief time that he would wear the honors 
with which she sought to reward him. 

This brave young officer could not help reflect- 
ing what a blow it would be to the hopes of the 
patriots of America, if he should retreat or even 
falter now ; and he therefore nerved himself to 
make the greater effort where they were. He 
thought that outright death was easier to be con- 
templated than retreat. As long as the Governor 
refused to treat with him, he determined to treat 
with the Governor ; and so he began to throw 
bombs from the mortars over the walls among 
the houses of the city. This he found produced 
no such effect as he had reckoned on ; it did not 



94 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

seem to harass the enemy in the least. Accor- 
dingly it occurred to him to try another plan, and 
make a more forcible demonstration. 

The men set to work with earnestness, and 
soon collected heaps of snow and ice at a point 
within seven hundred yards of the walls, upon 
which he mounted a battery of six guns; and 
then he opened with all his force against the 
entrenched enemy. But he might as well have 
played against the walls with pop-guns. He 
made no impression whatever. Next, the two 
armies had skirmishes with each other in the 
suburbs of the city; in which there were a few 
men killed, and some houses were burned. 

Thus three weeks spoken of slipped away, and 
nothing was effected. The term for which many 
of the companies had enlisted was now expiring, 
and they began to think loijgingly of the quiet 
and secure comforts of home. Mutiny likewise 
began to show itself in various forms. That ter- 
rible visitor in the camp, the small-pox, also made 
its appearance among the troops, and the pros- 
pect was, certainly, of the entire dissolution and 
ruin of the army. The mutinous disposition was 
brought on by the breaking out of a fierce quar- 



GOING AGAINST QUEBEC. 95 

rel between Arnold and one of his captains ; the 
captains of two other companies look sides 
against Arnold, and for a time the danger of a 
general breaking up was imminent. But it was 
soon laid at rest by the discrimination and 
firmness of Montgomery, who ascertained where 
the trouble arose, and took speedy and decided 
means to reduce the rebellious troops to subordi- 
nation again. 

The quarrel, it appears, grew out o4 an old 
difficulty between Arnold and a Major Brown at 
Ticonderoga ; Brown improved the occasion to 
widen the breach between Arnold and his cap- 
tain, and managed to draw still other companies 
into it, so that he might get them detached from 
Col. Arnold's command, and joined to his own. 
The matter had gone so far that they refused to 
serve unless they could be so transferred, accord- 
ing to Major Brown's purposes. 

In the midst of thickening dangers like these, 
with foes within as well as without, a council of 
war was called in order to determine what was 
best to be done. It was resolved to make a 
decided movement at once and try and carry 
the works by assault. The town was to be 



96 ' BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

attacked at different points at the same time, it 
being calculated that by thus dividing the effec- 
tive garrison, success would be more sure. The 
army was divided into two bodies; Arnold was 
to lead his around by the way of the suburb 
named St. Roche, and Montgomery was to fol- 
low the bank of the river with his, and pass 
around by the base of Cape Diamond. 

The troops were ordered to parade at two 
o'clock op. the morning of the last day in the 
year. They were all promptly on the ground. 
The real plan was then made known. The first 
and second divisions were to attack the lower 
town on opposite sides at the same time ; while 
a third was to make a feigned attack upon the 
upper town from the Plains of Abraham. 

Montgomery led his men down from these 
plains to Wolfe's Cove, to the south of the city, 
and at once began a march towards the lower 
town, by the road that ran along the margin of 
the river, and under the frowning front of Cape 
Diamond. Arnold led on his division towards 
the north side of the town, and both parties were 
at length to meet, and force Prescott.Gate. 

Jt was snowing furiously at the time they set 



GOING AGAINST QUEBEC. 97 

out, and it was so dark as to render it difficult for 
them to find their way. At the foot of the high 
precipice called Cape Diamond, was a strong 
block-house, forty or fifty feet square, which 
only left a cart-path, on each side, for the travel 
along the road; and within this block-house was 
mounted a battery of three-pounders, charged 
with grape and canister shot, which raked the 
entire avenue. In the face of this appalling 
obstacle went Montgomery with his division, the 
precipice on the one side, and the river on the 
other. He stopped within fifty yards of the 
block-house to look about him. He listened in- 
tently. All was profound silence. Not a sound 
was to be heard within the building, and they 
concluded that the men who served the guns 
must have fallen asleep on their watch. Mont- 
gomery stepped forth in the gray of this winter's 

a 

morning, with the snow sifting down all around 
them, and cried out, in a loud voice, " Men of 
New York ! you will not fear to follow where 
your General leads! march on!" — and at once 
rushed forward to charge the battery. 

But they had sadly miscalculated. The artil- 
lerymen were at their posts all the while, with 
9 



98 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

lighted matches in their hands ; and, being able 
to distinguish the movements of the Americans, 
hy the dim mornhig hght, appHed the matches as 
soon as they came within forty paces. The effect 
was terrible. General Montgomery fell dead at 
the first fire, and both of his aids and several 
soldiers were slain with him. 

The men saw they had lost their leader, and a 
panic instantly seized them; they turned and fled 
at the top of their speed. But the cannon kept 
up their thunderous roar in the gorge, and the 
grape and cannister rattled like hail all up and 
down the deserted road. And this aimless fire 
was continued for the space of ten minutes, with 
no enemy to slaughter. After Montgomery fell, 
his whole division retreated to Wolfe's Cove, 
where they rested, without any further disposition 
to fight an enemy so strongly entrenched. No 
more attempts were made to join Col. Arnold 
on the other side of the town, but they left him 
to fight his own way through as well as he could. 

He was even then advancing, at the top of his 
energy. The fallen snow had drifted and banked 
up on his route along the St. Charles, much more 
formidably than it had where Montgomery led 




DEATH OF MONTGOMKKY 



GOING AGAINST QUEBEC. 99 

his division, by the banks of the St. Lawrence. 
At length, after pushing through the drifts till 
their strength was well nigh spent, they came to 
a narrow street named Sault au Matelot, where 
was a battery of two guns, mounted just under 
a high rock that jutted over the way. Arnold 
here displayed his customary intrepidity. It was 
never in him to hesitate or be behind the rest; he 
took the lead in an instant, and shouted to his 
men to come on. He put himself at the head of 
Lamb's artillery, and advanced to the barrier, 
charging upon it with great impetuosity. The 
guns of the battery belched forth their fire, and 
the musketry mingled in their sharp report with 
the deeper roar of the cannon. A ball struck 
Arnold in the leg below the knee, and shattered 
the limb. He was taken up by his comrades and 
carried off to the general hospital, where he 
learned for the first time of the death of his 
commander, General Montgomery, which filled 
him with dismay. 

Daniel Morgan, the famous rifleman, then took 
the command, and held the men hard at the fight 
amid the rain of balls and shot, for a full hour ; 
and they finally carried this defence by their 



100 BENEDICT aunold. 

persistency, and the unerring aim of the body 
of riflemen. Nothing could stand against the 
deadly skill of their marksmanship. Having car- 
ried this, they rushed on to the second barrier, 
which commanded two streets at once ; and here 
they fought with an unsurpassed courage, that 
amounted even to ferocity, for the space of three 
hours. Numbers were killed, on both sides, and 
more were wounded. The American party were 
forced to take shelter in the houses on each side 
of the street. They were still exposed, however, 
to the enemy in houses near by, as well as from 
the city walls above their heads. Capt. Lamb, 
of the artillery, had his jaw partially carried away 
by a grape-shot, and was removed from the field 
soon after. 

The assailants took the barrier at last, and 
were on the point of making a final desperate 
charge on the town, when Gov. Carleton sent out 
a force through Palace Gate, to attack them in 
the rear. The news of Montgomery's death had 
been carried to him, and he took fresh courage. 
Capt. Dearborne had already been stationed near 
Palace Gate, to guard against surprises ; and 
suddenly the two ponderous halves of it flew 
9* 



GOING AGAINST QUEBEC. 101 

open, and out poured a detachment of troops, in 
full force, upon him. He was so taken by sur- 
prise that he could not make any defence, and 
his party were obliged to surrender at discretion. 
Morgan was driving on, in another direction, 
into the town, at the moment he got the news of 
the death of Montgomery, the capture of Dear- 
borne's party, and the movement to his rear. He 
was thunderstruck. Thus he found himself 
almost entirely surrounded, with no resources ?d 
his call, and no place of safety to fall back upon. 
There was nothing left them but to surrender, 
and that unpleasant step was instantly taken. 
In all their prisoners, they counted four hundred 
and fifty-six. They were confined in a seminary 
within the city walls. A part of the division, 
however, had retreated, leaving a field-piece and 
some mortars behind them. The killed and 
wounded of the Americans numbered one hun- 
dred and sixty ; the loss of the British was only 
about twenty. Gov. Carleton treated his pris- 
oners with a kindness of which they ever after- 
wards spoke with gratitude. Major Meigs was 
sent out into the American camp to procure the 
clothing and baggage of the prisoners, which was 
furnished them for their comfort. 



102 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

Search was made for the bodies of those who 
fell fighting with Montgomery, as soon as the 
battles were over ; and, deeply buried in the snow, 
were found thirteen men, including the body of 
Montgomery himself. Carleton for a long time 
refused to believe that Montgomery had fallen ; 
but his corpse was recognized by a captured field- 
officer, who stood there in the guard-house in the 
presence of all, and, with tears running down his 
cheeks, delivered a pathetic funeral oration over 
his cold remains. The lieutenant governor, 
Cramahd, took charge of the body, and had it 
buried within a wall that enclosed a powder 
magazine, the better for its safety. General 
Montgomery had a watch in his pocket which 
his wife wanted exceedingly ; she sent word to 
that effect to Arnold, and he offered Governor 
Carleton almost any sum he chose to ask for it ; 
Carleton at once sent the watch to Arnold, refus- 
ing to receive anything in return. The body of 
Montgomery was disinterred in June, 1818, and 
buried at the foot of the monument erected to 
the hero's memory in St. Paul's churchyard, New 
York, by direction of Congress. 

After his first burial in Quebec, one of the 



GOING AGAINST QUEBEC. 103 

English officers wore his sword in his own belt ; 
but the American prisoners were so affected at 
the sight of it, that he instantly laid it aside. It 
was the same officer who identified the gen- 
eral's remains, when they were removed in 1818. 
When Montgomery was ready to set out and join 
Schuyler on this northern expedition, he was liv- 
ing at Rhinebeck, on the Hudson ; his brother-in- 
law was walking over the grounds with him a 
day or two before he left home, and the young 
patriot suddenly stopped and stuck a willow twig 
into the ground, saying, as he did so, — "Peter, 
let that grow to remember me by." It is now a 
noble tree, growing in the spot where he stuck 
the twig, with a trunk fully ten feet in circum- 
ference. 

Arnold at once took command of the remnant 
of the little army, which now numbered only 
eight hundred men. The moment Congress 
heard the news of this gallant storming of Que- 
bec, they made Arnold a brigadier-general, as a 
token of their appreciation of his skill and bra- 
very. He had well earned so significant a com- 
pliment. They likewise reinforced him with 
more troops, taken from New Hampshire, Ver- 



104 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

mont, and Massachusetts ; and these new troops 
reached Quebec only by walking on snow-shoes 
and carrying their own provisions. 

Arnold retired about three miles from the town, 
and began to entrench himself, as if he were 
seriously blockading the city. He certainly did 
cut off supplies from the garrison and the inhab- 
itants, but Carleton was sure of receiving rein- 
forcements from England as soon as the ice 
started out of the St. Lawrence in the Spring, 
and so waited quietly for that time to come round. 
General Wooster, who was a townsman of Arnold 
in New Haven, was his superior officer, and had 
command in Montreal ; on the first of April he 
moved down to Arnold's position and super- 
seded him altogether. What with the added 
force of Wooster and the new troops from New 
England, the entire army now counted some 
twenty-eight hundred men ; of whom eight hund- 
red were down w^ith that loathsome and conta- 
gious disease, the small-pox. 

Wooster began to get ready to beleaguer the 
city without delay. He erected one battery on 
the Plains of Abraham, and another at Point 
Levi, and opened a brisk cannonade ; but it did 



GOING AGAINST QUEBEC. 105 

no good whatever. Arnold's horse fell with him 
at this time, throwing himself upon his rider's 
v.onnded leg, — the same that had been twice 
wounded before ; Arnold was totally disabled ibr 
active service for a time, and procured leave from 
Gen. Wooster to retire to Montreal. There was 
no good feeling wasted between these officers, 
and each was glad to turn his back on the other. 
It is naturally supposed that as Arnold generally 
managed to have a good number of quarrels on 
his hands while living in New Haven, he may 
have been in trouble with Wooster along with 
the rest. 



CHAPTER V. 

FIRST NAVAL COMBAT WITH ENGLAND. 

AS he held the highest military rank of any- 
one in the city, Gen. Arnold of course 
took command of Montreal, and for six 
weeks did nothing, because there was nothing 
to do. Gov. Carleton received reinforcements 
under Burgoyne, and the Americans vacated the 
neighborhood of Quebec as fast as they could go. 
In the spring of this year, 1776, a party of 
about four hundred Americaws, under Col. Be- 
dell, held a post on the northern side of the St. 
Lawrence river, at a point called the Cedars. In 
May, Capt. Foster came down the river from 
Oswegatchie (now Ogdensburgh), with a force of 
five hundred Indians, under Joseph Brant, and a 
hundred and fifty English and Canadians, and 
made for the fort. Bedell had gone down to 
Montreal at the time, leaving the fort in com- 



FIRST NAVAL COMBAT WITH ENGLAND. 107 

mand of a Major Butterfield. Both were arrant 
cowards, as the sequel shows. The instant the 
British and Indian force made its appearance, 
Butterfield surrendered ; he did not even strike a 
blow. Bedell had conveniently kept himself out 
of the way. 

Arnold sent Major Sherburne, \\ *.;^ one hund- 
red and forty men to strengthen the garrison ; but 
he arrived too late : the post was ignominiously 
surrendered on the very day he arrived. Being 
quite ignorant of this, however, he pushed on to- 
wards the fort, only to find himself of a sudden 
surprised by Indians and Canadians, who sprang 
out of their ambuscade upon him. The Ameri- 
cans fought with desperation for more than an 
hour ; but in a little time the Indians had grad- 
ually formed a comple circle around them, and, a 
signal being given, rushed upon them, man for 
man, and disarmed them entirely. So enraged 
were the savages at the resistance of the little 
party, they began to butcher and hack them up 
with knives and tomahawks, and, after stripping 
the remainder nearly naked, drove them off to 
the fort, which, through Bntterfield's cowardice, 
had just fallen into their hands. Fifty-two Amer- 
icans were thus massacred. 



108 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

The blood of Gen. Arnold boiled at thi^ intel- 
ligence, and he resolved on instant revenge. 
Taiving eight hundred men, he hurried to St. 
Anne's, on the western end of the island. The 
very moment he arrived, he happened to descry 
the enemy taking their prisoners from an island 
about three miles off, and carrying them across to 
the main land opposite. His boats had not yet 
come round as expected, and he could therefore 
do nothing. A party of friendly Caughnawaga 
Indians returned while he was idly waiting, 
whom he had sent over in the morning to de- 
mand the surrender of the prisoners from the 
hostile Indians ; they brought back word that the 
prisoners would not be give up, and that if Ar- 
nold attempted their rescue, they should — the 
whole five hundred — be butchered without cere- 
mony. 

But Arnold paid no heed to their threats. His 
boats having arrived, he sprang into them with his 
troops and rowed as fast as they could go 1o the 
island where the prisoners had been confined. 
Five naked and nearly starved soldiers had been 
left behind on this island, and they were all. 
The rest were taken to Quinze Chiens, four miles 



FIRST NAVAL BATTLE WITH ENGLAND. 109 

below, except two, who were butchered because 
they were too feeble to bear the journey. Arnold 
pushed on for the latter place with all despatch. 
They fired on his little flotilla as he came near 
the land, and, it being night, at last compelled 
him to retreat to St. Anne's again. Here he held 
a council of war. At midnight a flag arrived 
from the British captain, making a proposal to 
Arnold that he should sign an agreement, which 
Capt. Foster had already compelled his prisoner, 
Major Sherburne, to sign, — providing that as 
many British soldiers should be delivered up as 
there were American prisoners, and also that the 
latter should, as soon as released, march off home 
and never take up arms against the British pow- 
er again. Four American captains were to be 
sent down to Quebec, to be held in captivity 
there until the agreement was fnlly carried out. 
The British officer represented that unless Arnold 
would consent to this proposal, which Major 
Sherburne had already signed, he could not an- 
swer for the consequences ; the savages could not 
be restrained from putting all the prisoners to 
death. 

This was truly a horrible alternative. Com- 
10 



110 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

mon humanity compelled Arnold to do all that 
lay in his power to save his countrymen who 
were in the enemy's hands ; and still he flatly re- 
fused to be bound by any such terms as that they 
should never again, if released, take up arms 
against the British. He therefore consented to 
sign the agreement proposed by Capt. Foster, but 
refused his assent to this clause of it. Foster 
finally waived this, and the convention being duly 
signed, the prisoners were released. 

Congress subsequently refused to be bound by 
this proceeding, inasmuch as it had been forced 
upon Arnold by threats of cruelty towards the 
five hundred prisoners for whose safety he was 
chiefly anxious ; but Washington gave it his sanc- 
tion as the commander-in-chief of the American 
forces, chiefly because it was consummated 
according to military rules and formularies. 
There was much indignation felt all over the 
country when the facts came out ; and to this day 
the transaction remains a foul blot on the military 
honor of the nation whose agent proposed such 
a base and inhuman alternative. 

As soon as this affair was over, Arnold returned 
with his detachment to Montreal. It was now 



FIRST NAVAL BATTLE WITH ENGLAND. Ill 

dark and gloomy on every side. There was a 
great deal of disaffection in the camp, and a 
much stronger dislike had been conceived against 
the Americans by the Canadian inhabitants. 
The British had just been strengthened by a large 
body of experienced troops from Europe, that had 
fought their way all over the continent, while our 
army was continually dwindling and tapering 
down, and becoming less and less able to make 
an effectual resistance? on Canadian soil. The 
small-pox, too, had done a terrible work with 
them, and was still active with its ravages. 

Just at this crisis, a committee came on from 
Congress, consisting of Franklin, Carroll, and 
Chase, to see how matters stood, and to make a 
report on the same. They found that little hope 
remained. There was no further encouragement 
to attempt to secure a foothold within the British 
possessions. The Americans were driven out of 
Quebec, and came up the St. Lawrence and 
made a stand at Sorel. Pursued thither, they 
tried to maintain their ground, but vainly, in the 
face of such superior numbers ; the encampment 
was hastily broken up, and the entire force catne 
sailing down Lake Champlain to Crown Point; 
here they were within their own territory again. 



112 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

Arnold remained at Montreal, however, as long 
as it was safe, and at the very last moment hur- 
ried off for St. John's, a post on the Sorel, or 
Richelieu river, conducting into Lake Champlain. 
General Sullivan was with him, and took a lead- 
ing part in this retreat. Arnold had himself been 
down to St. John's a couple of days before, di- 
rected an encampment to be closed, and ordered 
a vessel then on the stocks to be taken in pieces, 
the pieces numbered, and •the w4iole to be sent 
off to Crown Point. Both commanders wished 
to stand and defend the fort at St. John's, but the 
troops refused outright to serve any longer in 
Canada; nothing, therefore, was left them but to 
embark in their boats, which they did without 
delay, and sailed up the lake to Isle aux JVoix. 
On the occasion of this retreat, Arnold again 
showed out all his natural bravery and impetuos- 
ity. After every boat was loaded with troops, he 
took Wilkinson, his aid, and rode back two 
miles to reconnoitre. Burgoyne was discovered 
with his advanced division, marching on at a 
rapid pace. Arnold sat on his horse and studied 
their appearance quite as long as it was safe, and 
then rode back at full speed to the lake. Their 



FIRST NAVAL BATTLE WITH ENGLAND. 113 

single boat was waiting to receive them. They 
stripped the horses of their saddles and bridles, 
shot them, ordered the rowers all on board, and 
then followed themselves. Arnold was the last 
man to leave the shore, and pushed off the boat 
with his own hands and jumped in. 

It was sunset already. Night soon settled 
down upon them. They plied their oars with 
vigor, and before midnight overtook the main 
body of the army at Isle aux Noix. 

General Arnold next proceeded to Albany, 
where were Generals Schuyler and Gates, the 
latter having but recently been invested by Con- 
gress with the command of the northern army. 
These three officers having learned that the 
Americans under Sullivan had left Isle aux Noix 
and retreated still farther up the lake to Crown 
Point, they all repaired to that post with the 
design of arranging a regular system of opera- 
tions. Carleton was expected to be after them 
with a fleet every day. A council of war was 
held, at which it was determined to give up the 
idea of holding Crown Point, but to retreat fif- 
teen miles up the lake to Ticonderoga, and there 
make as strong a defence as they were able. 
10* 



114 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

Some of the field-officers protested against this 
abandonment of so strong a position as Crown 
Point, but their opposition had no effect on those 
who had formed their resolve at the council 
board. Both Congress and Washington ex- 
pressed their surprise that such a step should be 
taken, and Gates and Schuyler defended it in 
letters which they addressed them in explanation. 
It was afterwards acquiesced in as the wisest 
plan that could at that time have been pursued. 
To have divided their force and tried to hold two 
posts, would have weakened them inevitably ; 
whereas to keep them united in defence of a 
single position, w^ould be the surest guaranty of 
their success in staying the further progress of 
the enemy. 

While the army was at Ticonderoga, a serious 
difficulty arose in relation to certain goods Arnold 
seized from Montreal merchants, which he took 
for the use of his soldiers. He was careful to 
give the merchants certificates for the value of 
their property, and pledged himself that all de- 
mands thus certified by him would be paid by 
the United States. Many parcels, however, were 
carried off in the haste and confusion of leaving, 



FIRST NAVAL BATTLE WITH ENGLAND. 115 

which were not thus certified, and bore no other 
proof of ownership than Ihe merchant's name 
marked on the parcel. Col. Hazen was under 
Arnold at the time, and to his care he entrusted 
the packages at Chambly, directing them to be 
despatched down the Sorel and the lake to Ti- 
conderoga. Hazen nursed a hostility to Arnold, 
and so paid but a careless attention to his instruc- 
tions ; he first suffered the goods to lie out on 
the river bank exposed to the weather till many 
of them were spoiled in consequence, and after- 
wards gave them such slight attention that many 
of the packages were broken open and rifled by 
soldiers. 

The owners followed their goods down even to 
Crown Point, and there they presented their 
claims for what had been taken from them. They 
accused Arnold, and Arnold accused Hazen ; and 
the matter came to such a pass that the latter 
was finally tried for disobeying the orders of his 
superior officer. One of Arnold's witnesses on 
the trial was a Major Scott ; but the court set him 
aside because he was an interested party. At 
this Arnold flew. He sent the court a letter, in 
which he used language such as no military court 
was ever known to tolerate. 



116 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

The court insisted that he should forthwith 
apologize for his insult ; but he flatly refused ; 
and not only refused, but told them he was quite 
ready to give each and every one of them satis- 
faction whenever they wished ; in other words, he 
sent them what might be considered a challenge. 
This was out of all sort of rule, and without pre- 
cedent; they appealed to the commander, Gen- 
eral Gates, and he was thrown into a quandary. 
Arnold stood high with him then, and he knew 
too well what the services of such a man were 
worth in the army. He likewise had it in his 
mind to give Arnold the command of the fleet of 
vessels which was in course of preparation to 
meet the enemy, now advancing up the lake. 

In order, therefore, to solve the problem and 
get himself out of his perplexity, he suffered the 
matter to pass unheeded, and gave orders to dis- 
solve the court. He afterwards WTote to Con- 
gress, explaining his conduct, saying that he as- 
sumed all the responsibility himself, and that 
" the United States must not be deprived of that 
excellent officer's (Arnold's) services at this im- 
portant moment." The court, however, acquitted 
Hazen, which was about the same thing as con- 



FIRST NAVAL BATTLE WITH ENGLAND. 117 

demning Arnold. But the latter was in no sense 
guilty of any breach of honor, much less of any 
criminal intent in the transaction ; his letters to 
Schuyler at the time he took the goods, explain- 
ing that he was directed by the Congressional 
commissioners to take tliem, — and afterwards to 
Sullivan, in which he spoke of the way Hazen 
had treated the same, abundantly show this, and 
are to be set down as his effective vindication. 
It is not at all likely, from what evidence can be 
obtained, that he ever intended to carry valuable 
articles of merchandise out of Canada for the 
sake of enriching himself. 

Another difficulty arose at this time between 
Arnold and Major Brown, growing out of an old 
feud at Ticonderoga, when both were there before. 
While in Canada, Arnold sent on letters to Con- 
gress accusing Brow^n of the same crime which 
had just been imputed to himself; Brown heard 
of it, and demanded an investigation, but Arnold 
managed, as long as they were in Canada, to 
have it evaded. Now they were both at Ticon- 
deroga, Brown again demanded a trial, and Con- 
gress issued express orders to have a court of 
inquiry held upon the matter ; but Gates put him 



118 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

off just as he had done in the case of the court 
martial on Hazen. Arnold was his particular 
pet, and he protected him openly on all occasions. 

Gates now concerted active measures to meet 
the enemy whenever they might choose to ap- 
proach. Materials for building craft of any kind 
were very scarce in the vicinity, and as for obtain- 
ing carpenters and workmen, it was almost an 
impossibility. For the latter, they were obliged 
to send to the sea-ports. Yet, in spite of all 
obstacles, between June and August they had 
worked with so much industry and zeal, that 
quite a little squadron of vessels had been built 
and equipped, consisting of a sloop with twelve 
guns, three schooners, one of which carried as 
many guns also, and the others eight, and five 
gondolas, with three guns each ; making, in all, a 
floating armament of fifty five guns. 

Arnold was placed in command of the whole, 
as much on account of his experience on the 
water as his title and distinguished services. It 
was late in August when he set sail down the 
lake from Ticonderoga, with directions from 
Gates not to pass beyond Isle avx Tetes^ or the 
Canada line, near w^hich Rouse's Point now is; 



FIRST NAVAL BATTLE WITH ENGLAND. 119 

he was also ordered to act only in defenc-e of his 
own force, and to strive to check the enemy, 
rather than attack them. He went down the 
lake as far as Windmill Point, four miles from 
Isle aux Tetes, and there halted to reconnoitre. 

He found that island covered with both British 
and Indians, and accordingly drew off some ten 
miles further back, to Isle La Matte. His squad- 
ron was increased considerably here, so that it 
now numbered two sloops, three schooners, three 
galleys, eight gondolas, and twenty -one gun- 
boats. 

Governor Carleton had heard of the activity 
of the Americans at Ticonderoga, and began to 
prepare for them in season ; so that, by this 
time, he had collected a large number of vessels, 
which were built at St. John's by the seven hun- 
dred men he had sent forward from Quebec for 
that purpose. Arnold knew nothing of the ex- 
tent of his force, and therefore deemed it prudent 
to withdraw to a point where he might hope for 
some advantage. So he retreated still further, 
and chose his position between Valcour Island 
and the western shore of the lake, which was 
nothing more than a narrow channel. 



120 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

Carleton appeared off Cumberland Head with 
his fleet, at an early hour on the morning of the 
11th of October. He had about thirty strong 
and well-built vessels and boats, including one 
ship with three masts, a flat-bottomed boat car- 
rying heavy guns, which was called the Thun- 
derer^ and twenty-four gun-boats, each provided 
with a piece of ordnance ; forty boats, laden with 
provisions, also accompanied the fleet. On they 
came in proud array up the lake, steering to the 
east of Valcour Island, so as to reach its south- 
ern point, and cut off Arnold's retreat by the 
channel. Capt. Pringle was commodore of the 
fleet, and his flag-ship was named the Inflexible. 
Edward Pellew served under him, afterwards 
Admiral Viscount Exmouth, one of the most 
noted men in the British navy. 

At precisely twelve o'clock, the battle began. 
The British opened fire on the schooner Koyal 
Savage and the three galleys which Arnold had 
ordered to advance to meet them. The schooner 
was badly managed, and soon ran aground. She 
was burned, but her crew contrived to effect their 
escape. 

An hour later, the battle was at its height, and 



FIRST NAVAL BATTLE WITH ENGLAND. 121 

every one of the British vessels, except the ship 
and schooner, was closely engaged with the 
American force. The American vessels fared 
badly enough. The Congress, on board which 
Arnold was, was hulled a dozen times ; received 
seven shots between wind and water; had her 
mainmast shivered in two places, the rigging torn 
and tattered, and lost a great number of her 
crew. This brisk style of cannonading with 
grape and round shot was kept tip for nearly live 
hours, without cessation. The men became so 
scarce on board the Congress, after a time, that 
there were not enough to work the guns, and 
Arnold sprang to, and labored with all his zeal, 
pointing his guns at the enemy with his own 
hands. The British likewise sent a body of In- 
dians ashore on the island, w^hile the conflict was 
raging, and these kept up the firing with muskets 
from their new position, but fortunately to little 
purpose. During the time the battle was raging 
Arnold's little fleet had lost in all, counting the 
killed and wounded, about sixty men. The sol- 
emn shadows of night curtained the sanguinary 
scene at last, and the combatants were compelled 
to separate, neither side being able to claim a 
11 



122 i:i-:neuict aknold. 

victory. The two fleets, however, anchored but 
a few hundred yards from each other. 

So active a spirit as that of Arnold would not 
permit slumber to come near his eyelids on such 
a night. He hastily called a council of his offi- 
cers, and it was resolved by them to try and make 
their way back to Crown Point before morning. 
It was a hazardous undertaking — perhaps hardly 
a possible one. Yet it looked as if little else now 
was left them. The enemy were vastly their 
superior, both in the number of their vessels and 
their men, and would be more than likely, if they 
came to another engagement, to sink them, in 
their present shattered condition, without any 
trouble. 

It was to guard against just such a step that 
the British commander stretched his vessels in a 
line, across from the island to the mainland on 
the western side, thinking to hem them in. For- 
tunately, a stiff wind was blowing from the north 
at the time, and continued to blow through the 
night. It looked like a direct interposition of 
Providence, for their escape. The moon was new, 
and threw down no light upon the lake to betray 
them ; dark and angry clouds, too, had piled up 



FIRST NAVAL 15ATTLK WITH ENGLAND. 128 

in the sky, overshadowing the whole scene with 
their dense glooni. 

In the dark, and with all the silence and 
secrecy possible, Arnold weighed anchor and set 
sail at about ten o'clock. The north wind, which 
was still blowing strongly, filled their canvas, and 
wafted them all safe and sound through the 
enemy's lines. The latter did not know a whis- 
per of it all, until they descried the few lagging 
boats of the American fleet a long way out of 
their reach, in the early morning. The watch on 
deck had looked in vain to find them where they 
lay anchored at sunset, and only awoke to their 
surprise on turning about and seeing them far 
away in their rear ! So bold a movement was 
calculated to set all ordinary feelings of astonish- 
ment at fault. 

The shattered little American fleet made good 
its retreat for about ten miles, to Schuyler's Island, 
where they set to work to repair damages with 
all despatch. Their sails were almost entirely 
gone, and the leaks in the vessels became danger- 
ous. But the moment the British commander 
found how skilfully his enemy had escaped him, 
he ordered instant pursuit. His entire fleet 



124 Bi:-N EDICT ARNOLD. 

started off accordingly. Meantime Arnold had 
set sail again from Schuyler's Island, intending 
to place a still greater distance between himself 
and his pursuers. Towards evening the wind 
changed again, blowing this time from the south, 
and, of course, directly in the face of the enemy. 
But it also retarded the advance of the Ameri- 
cans as much. 

The next day was the 13th. At an early hour 
of the morning, the British vessels were descried 
advancing, and it was apparent they were now 
gaining on the Americans rapidly. Arnold still 
lingered behind with his new flag-ship, the Con- 
gress, together with the Washington and four 
gondolas, unable, on account of his crippled con- 
dition, to keep up with the body of his fleet. 
The British vessels continued to gain upon him, 
in spite of all he could do. Very soon three of 
them came up alongside ; the Carleton, the In- 
flexible, and the Maria. Gaining a proper posi- 
tion, they applied the matches, and poured in 
upon his already disabled craft a fire so galling 
and destructive that the Washington was com- 
pelled to strike her colors, and the Captain, with 
all his crew, surrendered themselves prisoners. 



FIRST NAVAL BATTLE WITH ENGLAND. 125 

Then they turned their whole energies upon 
the Congress, on board which was General Ar- 
nold. For four long hours the battle raged with 
great violence. Gun answered gun in quick suc- 
cession. The British fleet was manned by a 
disciplined force, and they worked their arma- 
ments with unerring precision and destructive 
effect. Such odds were tremendous for a single 
vessel, like that which Arnold commanded, to 
encounter ; yet he unflinchingly held his ground 
for all this time, and fought with an obstinate 
courage that sheds a lustre on his name. 

His vessel w^as already reduced nearly to a 
wreck, and there were seven of the enemy's sail 
fast crowding upon him and hemming him in. 
But one way of safety lay open to him, and that 
was to run his crippled galley and the four gon- 
dolas ashore. Quick as the thought itself, his 
resolution was taken. The vessels were all 
grounded, high and dry, on the bank of a small 
creek on the east side of the lake, about ten 
miles distant from Crown Point. They were 
every one fired by their crews as they deserted 
them, and the latter jumped into the water and 
waded to land, carrying their muskets in their 
11* 



126 BENEDICT ARxNOLD. 

hands. Arnold immediately drew them up on 
the beach in martial order, so as to prevent par- 
ties of the enemy from coming off in boats and 
quenching the flames. He did not mean that 
any vessel he commanded should pass as a tro- 
phy of war into the hands of the British. 

He was himself the last man to go ashore. 
He never struck his flag, but, amid the flames and 
the smoke, he kept it proudly flying at the mast- 
head of his vessel, till that and all the rest were 
totally consumed. Then he placed himself ;it 
the head of his men, and marched off at a rapid 
pace through the woods to Crown Point, which 
he reached in safety, and found the rest of his 
little fleet arrived before him. It was fortunate 
for him that he made as much haste as he did ; 
for the British had sent the Indians forward to 
lay in ambush for his party at a particular place, 
which place he passed just an hour before they 
reached it. 

Waterbury and his men, who had been taken 
prisoners, arrived at Crown Point on parole the 
next day, and forthwith the entire American 
force at that place went on board their vessels 
and retreated southward to the fortress at Ticon- 



FIRST NAVAL BATTLE WITH ENGLAND. 127 

d6roga. Carleton came up and occupied Crown 
Point, and for a little while seemed to menace 
Ticonderoga, appearing in its vicinity as if it 
was his design to attack it. It was while he was 
ill the neighborhood that Arnold ventured out 
from the reach of protection, to reconnoitre. He 
was in a small boat, and young Pellew (after- 
wards Lord Exmouth) caught sight of him and 
chased him. His pursuers gained so fast upon 
him that he was obliged to run his boat ashore, 
leaping out of it with inconsiderate haste, and 
leaving his stock and buckle as spoils for the 
enemy behind him. This stock and buckle are 
said to be still in possession of the Pellew family. 

General Carleton very soon withdrew with his 
fleet down the lake again, satisfied that nothing 
further could be accomplished at so late a period 
of the year. In the two days' engagement with 
the enemy, the American loss was not far from 
ninety men, while that of the former was about 
forty. And this brings us to the close of the 
year 1776. 

By the display of so much courage and gal- 
lantry in times of peril, and by his superior 
address in deceiving and defying an enemy so 



128 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

much his superior in all particulars, Arnold's 
name was passed over the country with accom- 
paniments of the highest praise. None spoke 
of him but in terms of admiration. His popu- 
larity was now secure. If he had rested under 
a cloud of public prejudice before, his recent 
bravery had served to dissipate all its darkness. 
From this day he began to be a popular idol, and 
whenever his name was publicly mentioned, it 
was only to call up recollections of some bold 
and daring deed, for which that name had now 
become justly celebrated. 



CHAPTER VI 



INJUSTICE TO ARNOLD. 



THE British army having gone back into 
winter-quarters in Canada, a large detach- 
ment was drawn from the American force 
at Ticonderoga and sent forward to Washing- 
ton's camp in New Jersey. Arnold went along 
with them, and presented himself to Washing- 
ton, on the western side of the Delaware, exactly 
a week before the famous battle of Trenton. 
The Commander-in-chief had just forwarded a 
letter to him, ordering him to go to Rhode Island 
and aid General Spencer in enlisting recruits in 
New England, with a view to prevent the ene- 
my's advance ; into the interior for they were 
already hovering off the coast, and did a very 
few days afterwards take possession of the town 
of Newport. 

Arnold stayed in the camp of Washington but 



180 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

three days, and then posted off for Providence, 
which was the head-quarters of the eastern army. 
And thus the two forces kept their position 
through the rest of the winter. Arnold was quite 
active in devising plans for harassing the British 
and finally driving them from the land, but the 
chances of enlisting men enough for carrying out 
any plan to attack them, were extremely few and 
feeble. He went on to Boston to lay the matter 
before the legislature through some of the most 
influential men of the State, but nothing resulted 
from his errand. The people of New England 
were anxious enough to drive the hostile invaders 
beyond their borders, but there were a great many 
obstacles that practically prevented such an un- 
dertaking then. The last yearns campaign had 
well nigh drained them of their resources, and 
what was more, they were calculating almost with 
certainty on the British army's marching down 
out of the northern country in the spring. 

Late in the winter of 1776-7, Congress ad- 
vanced five oflficers, each of them of inferior rank 
to Arnold's, to one above his own, making them 
Major-Generals in the Continental Army ; while 
he was shghtingly passed by without any public 



IX.TUSTTCE TO ARNOLD. 131 

notice, and left with nothing but his old rank of 
a brigadier. The transaction showed a motive 
on the face of it ; for certainly no one of the five 
men promoted had ever rendered such brilliant 
services as he, nor done a fraction of what he 
had done to inspire the minds of the soldiers with 
enthusiasm. 

Washington was sorely perplexed at this slight 
on the part of Congress, for he knew as well 
as others, that no conduct of Arnold had ever 
earned it ; and he felt as well assured of the mis- 
chief such a course would make throughout the 
army. He therefore set himself to work apply- 
ing the remedy. 

Assuming at first that it was nothing worse 
than a mistake on the part of Congress, he ad- 
dressed a letter to Arnold at Providence, begging 
him to keep perfectly quiet and neither do nor 
say anything rash, but promising, so far as lay 
with himself, to see that this manifest wrong was 
made right. A second letter he forwarded to 
Lee, then in Congress, in which he said of Ar- 
nold, — " Surely, a more active, a more spirited, 
and sensible officer, fills no department of 3^our 
army. Not seeing him, then, in the list of major- 



loZ IlEXKDrCT ARXOLD. 

generals, and no mention made of him, has given 
me uneasiness, as it is not presumed, being the 
oldest brigadier, that he will continue in service 
under such a slight." 

Arnold immediately wrote back to Washing- 
ton, on receiving his letter, — "I am greatly 
obliged to your Excellency for interesting your- 
self so much in respect to my appointment, which 
I have had no advice of, and know not by what 
means it was announced in the papers. Con- 
gress undoubtedly have a right of promoting 
those whom, from their abilities, and their long 
and arduous services, they esteem most deserving. 
Their promoting junior officers to the rank of 
major-generals, I view as a very civil way of 
requesting my resignation, as unqualified for the 
office I hold. My commission was conferred 
unsolicited, and received with pleasure only as a 
means of serving my country. With equal plea- 
sure I resign it, when I can no longer serve my 
country with honor." 

He closed his letter by protesting that he was 
even willing to spend his life for the welfare of 
his native land, and insisting that a court-martial 
should at once be ordered to examine into his 



INJUSTICE TO ARNOLD. 133 

public conduct during the war ; and added, that 
he did not intend to do anything rashly, but 
should continue in command of his present post 
at Providence until he could relinquish it without 
bringing the general cause into any needless risks 
and danger. 

Congress afterwards explained the grounds of 
their action to Washington. It appeared that 
they had made the new promotions with as care- 
ful a view to the geography of the country, as to 
its productions in the line of men ; and as Con- 
necticut had already furnished two major-gen- 
erals, they deemed it quite proper that in the new 
promotions, candidates should be taken from 
other States. Washington wrote to Arnold that 
it was " a strange mode of reasoning," yet he did 
not see on what grounds the latter could ask for 
a court of inquiry ; adding in complimentary 
phrase, — "Your determination not to quit your 
present command, while any danger to tlie public 
might ensue from your leaving it, deserves my 
thanks, and justly entitles you to the thanks of 
the country." 

It was not long before matters were in train to 
bring Arnold out before the public eye again. 
12 



134 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

He obtained leave to proceed to Philadelphia and 
lay his claims for a court-martial before Con- 
gress; at all events, if that much should not be 
granted him, he was desirous of settling his 
accounts, and as soon after as possible of quitting 
the public service. 

It so happened that the Americans had a large 
deposit of stores and provisions at Danbury, an 
inland town in Western Connecticut, some twen- 
ty-five miles from the coast ; and Gov. Tryon, the 
British General, set off by water with a force of 
two thousand men, intending to pass up the 
Sound from New York, and, after landing at a 
favorable point, to march across the land and 
capture them. This expedition was on the move 
at the very time when Arnold was passing 
through Connecticut on his errand to Philadel- 
phia. 

Tryon's force was a mixed medley of Ameri- 
cans, British, and Irish refugees, and made their 
way along the Connecticut shore in a fleet of 
twenty-six sail, the sight of which filled all the 
peaceable settlements on the coast with terror. 
He landed this body of troops at Compo, a point 
of land near Fairfield, and close by the mouth of 



INJUSTICE TO ARNOLD. 135 

the Saugatuck river. A handful of raw militia 
flocked to give them a warm reception ; but a 
few cannon balls speedily dispersed these and left 
the way open for the enemy's advance. The men 
all went ashore from the vessels just at evening 
on Friday, the 25th day of April. 

Arnold had proceeded as far on his journey as 
New Haven, when he heard the intelligence of 
the enemy's approach ; and without a thought 
more of the way in which he had been treated by 
Congress, he mounted his horse on the instant, 
and, in company with General Wooster, set off 
at a rapid pace for Fairfield, where was General 
Silliman, commander of the Connecticut militia. 
It was a long ride of between twenty and thirty 
miles. They roused the people as they went 
along, and there was many a hamlet, and many 
a plain and sequestered farm-house, that gave its 
generous and ready quota of men to the work of 
driving the enemy from the soil. 

The British marched on seven miles into the 
interior that evening, and encamped for the night. 
During the night it rained. They started again 
at an early hour, and by eight o'clock reached 
the town of Reading, only eight miles from Dan- 



136 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

bury, where they stopped and breakfasted. There 
they procured the services of a couple of young 
men, named Jarvis, and Benedict, who showed 
them the route to Danbury, and went along with 
them. It was between one and two o'clock in 
the afternoon when they reached the village, and 
they had proceeded so expeditiously that none of 
the people heard of their coming till they were 
within a few miles of the town. And then there 
was such a confusion, flying and lamenting and 
hasty arranging for the safety of the sick and 
aged, as baffles all attempt at description. 

At the little village of Bethel, Tryon and his 
whole force of two thousand men were suddenly 
brought to a stand by the boldness of a single 
individual named Holcomb. This man wished 
to give the inhabitants of Danbury as much time 
to escape as possible, and he rode to the brow of 
a hill the enemy were on the point of climbing, 
and, turning his back to them and waving his hat 
as if he were addressing at least a whole army, 
cried out the top of his voice, — " Halt, the whole 
universe ! Break off into kingdoms ! " Tryon 
did not understand what sort of a force might be 
collected on the other side of the hill, and brought 



INJUSTICE TO ARNOLD. 137 

his army to a sudden halt; he then ordered his 
cannon to the front, and displayed strong parties 
at the flanks to prevent a surprise. Holcomb saw 
that he had carried the stupendous joke as far as 
it would answer, and drove the spurs into his 
horse and galloped off to Danbury. 

The Americans collected from all quarters as 
fast as they could, and set off after the marau- 
ders in hot pursuit. It was eleven o'clock at 
night, however, when they arrived at Bethel, and 
the mischief had all been done before then. 
Bethel is four miles from Danbury. They rested 
here until morning, resolved then to form and cut 
off the enemy's retreat to their shipping. 

At the time the British came upon Danbury, 
there was a body of militia-men an hundred and 
fifty strong in the town ; feeling themselves too 
weak in numbers to offer resistance to a force so 
much their superior, the commanders left the 
town by the north road as the British entered by 
the south, and during the night took a circuitous 
route and joined the rest of the Americans at 
Bethel. 

This invasion of Tryon will ever be remem- 
bered in western Connecticut, for it was little 
12* 



138 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

less than a continued series of burnin<]:s and 
cruelty and rapine. The moment his troops 
entered the town, they began their piratical 
work. The people were insulted and outraged in 
every imaginable way. It is stated that what 
first brought on the serious part of the business, 
was the indiscreet conduct of four men who had 
stationed themselves in a dwelling house near 
the court house, and fired upon the British, 
though without effect, as they marched by. One 
of these zealots was a negro, and they were all 
excited with the too free use of liquor. But they 
paid dearly enough for their folly* they were 
instantly seized by the enemy, who rushed with 
fury into the house, thrust them down into the 
cellar, and fired the building over their heads ! 
All four perished in the flames. 

An anecdote is narrated of an old man named 
Hamilton, who was bent on saving a piece of 
woollen cloth which he had left at a clothier's at 
the south end of the village. He got his cloth, 
tied one end of it to his saddle, and had just 
jumped on his horse to ride away with it, when 
the British troopers came up. Three of them at 
once set off" in pursuit. His beast was slower 




OLD HAMILTON SAYING HIS CLOTH. 



INJUSTICE TO ARNOLD. 139 

than theirs, and the chances were all against hira. 
One of them pretty soon caught up with him, 
and called out in a taunting way, — " Stop, old 
daddy ! stop ! we '11 have you ! " " Not yet! " was 
the old gentleman's answer ; and at that moment 
his cloth began to let itself out on the wind. 
Such a fluttering did it make as it streamed far 
out behind him, that the troopers' horses could 
not be made to approach any nearer, and by the 
means he got several rods the start of them. 
They chased him all the way to the bridge at the 
north end of the town, where they were obliged 
to give over. Several times they raised their 
sabres to cut him down, but the troublesome 
streamer of cloth was always tangling itself up 
and flirting in their way. He carried off his 
prize, and most courageously had he earned it. 

Having begun their work in this way, they 
next attacked the public stores. The Episcopal 
Church was filled up to the galleries with flour 
and pork, and provisions were likewise stored in 
two other buildings. These were immediately 
sacked, and the stores thrown out into the street. 
The soldiers drank freely of the ardent spirits 
they found, and were very soon more or less 



140 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

intoxicated. Indeed, they gave up the rest of the 
day and night to a general carouse; nor could 
tlu'ir officers have stopped them if they had tried. 

The night came on dark as pitch. Those who 
were ah-eady sober were too much fatigued from 
their two days' march to keep awake ; and the 
others certainly could not have done so. Tryon 
found it a difficult matter to procure even senti- 
nels enough to keep the necessary watch. In fact, 
there were not over three hundred men out of his 
whole two thousand, on whom he could at this 
time rely. Could the Americans have been ap- 
prized of his real condition, they might have 
attacked him in the night, and won an easy 
victory. This was what Tryon chiefly feared. 
He did not sleep a wink that night himself, but 
remained in a state of helpless suspense until 
morning. A tory brought him word of the rapid 
Sfatherinc: of the Americans at Bethel, and he 
concluded it was best for him to be off as soon 
as he could start. 

lie therefore began his retreat out of town 
before daylight on the 27th. This was Sunday 
morning, quiet and holy. The houses of the 
tories in the town had all been marked the even- 



INJUSTICE TO ARNOLD. 141 

ing before with a cross that could easily be dis- 
tinguished, and these were spared. To the re- 
mainder the torch was applied, and before the 
day broke in the east the flames were lighting up 
the country all around with their lurid radiance. 
And thus was a beautiful and inoffensive village 
devoted to destruction by an enemy that hoped 
to conquer a peace by such ruthless barbarities. 

^y this attack on Danbury, three thousand 
barrels of pork and over one thousand barrels of 
flour were destroyed, together with four hundred 
barrels of beef, seventeen hundred tents, and two 
thousand bushels of grain. The spirits and 
sundry other articles likewise destroyed were in 
the same ratio. The entire loss to the American 
army in money was more than seventy thousand 
dollars ; but it was not easy to estimate it in such 
a way, at a crisis like the one we were then pass- 
ing through. 

It is as well to add in this place, that the two 
fellows — Jarvis and Benedict — who had piloted 
the British army across the country to Danbury, 
left that part of the country forthwith. Jarvis 
went to Nova Scotia. He returned to Danbury 
many years afterwards, and went to his father's 



142 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

house ; but the people, as soon as they heard of 
it, procured a coat of tar and feathers, and sur- 
rounded the house with the determination to 
capture him. They demanded of his friends that 
they should give him up, and some of them 
entered the house to take him ; but his sister hid 
him in an ash oven, and he lay thus concealed 
until the search was over and they had all gone. 
He then secretly took himself out of the town 
forever. Benedict came back, intending to spend 
the rest of his days among those who could not 
help despising him ; but on hearing loud threats 
of being ridden out of town on a sharp rail, he 
concluded he could find more peaceful quarters 
elsewhere. 

The Americans were now six hundred strong 
at Bethel. The Generals divided them into two 
parties, having heard that Tryon had shaped his 
course south-westerly, instead of south-easterly, 
by the way he came; one division, consisting of 
two hundred men, commanded by Wooster, and 
the other, of four hundred men, w^as led by Gen- 
erals Arnold and Silliman. The plan now was, 
both to harass the enemy in their rear and to cut 
off their retreat to their shipping. 



INJUSTICE TO ARNOLD. 143 

"Wooster started after them at nine o'clock in 
the morning, and was not long in overtaking 
them. This was before they reached Ridgefield. 
He at once fell upon the rear guard, and captured 
forty prisoners after but little fighting. Two 
miles out of Ridgefield they had another brush, 
on broken ground which favored that kind of 
fighting. The British were hidden behind a hill, 
and Wooster was urging his men forward to 
another attack. A discharge of artillery, how- 
ever, seemed to make them a little timid. " Come 
on, my boys ! " shouted Wooster from his horse ; 
" never mind such random shots ! " He had 
hardly spoken the cheering words when a musket 
ball entered his side, and he fell from his horse 
mortally wounded. His men at once fled in dis- 
order. He was carried from the field and 
removed to Danbury, whither his wife and son 
hastened to solace him in his dying moments; 
and there he lingered along till the 2d of May, 
when he died. It is a standing shame to the 
town that to this day even the place of his burial 
cannot be distinguished. At the time he fell 
fighting so bravely, he was an old man of sixty- 
seven years, with all the fire of youth still burn- 
ing in his heart. 



144 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

Arnold and Silliman started across the country 
to head the British o(T. About eleven o'clock in 
the forenoon of that Sunday they reached Ridge- 
field, having five hundred men under their com- 
mand. Arnold chose his position on the road by 
which the British were coming, and began to get 
ready to receive them. He hastily threw up a 
barricade of carts, logs, earth, and stones across 
the road, having a house and barn on his right, 
and a ledge of rocks on his left. 

By and by the British approached. The mo- 
ment they saw what a formidable obstacle lay 
across their path, the main body advanced in 
solid column, while other detachments made a 
movement to gain the American rear. In this 
they were finally successful, since they so greatly 
outnumbered the handful of Americans and 
could readily accomplish it. Arnold ordered a 
retreat when he saw that no more could be done 
to stay their progress, and Avas himself engaged 
in bringing away the rear when a whole platoon 
of British muskets belched forth their fire upon 
him from the ledge, and his horse instantly fell, 
coming down on his knees. Arnold found his 
feet entangled in the stirrups, and for a moment 



INJUSTICE TO ARNOLD. 145 

was not able to rise. A tory villain seeing the 
plight he was in, ran up with fixed bayonet, in- 
tending to capture him whether dead or alive. 
" You are my prisoner I " shouted the tory. " Not 
yet! " answered Arnold; and with great presence 
of mind he drew a pistol from the holsters and 
shot him dead in his tracks. He then extricated 
himself from the stirrups, and fled to a swamp 
near by, volleys of the enemy's bullets whistling 
after him all the way. 

So cool an action is very rarely recorded of 
any one in a time of great danger. It drew forth 
the admiration of all to whom it soon after be- 
came known. A few years ago, an old man, who 
was a boy at the time of this transaction, declared 
that himself and a few other boys skinned Ar- 
nold's horse, after the battle, and found nine bullet 
holes in his hide! It was wonderful that the 
brave rider should himself have escaped. 

That night, the British stayed in Ridgefield. 
The Americans still hung on their rear, while Ar- 
nold again took the saddle and threw hims(^lf in 
the way of their advance. His own force was 
now considerably strengthened by two companies 
of artillery and three field pieces. 

13 



146 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

The enemy saw where he had posted himself 
in their way, and at once turned off to take 
another route, intending to ford the Saugatuck 
river. Arnold hurried to get across the bridge 
below the ford, with the design of taking them in 
flank ; but he found he was just too late. Still, 
the field pieces were brought to bear, and a hot 
skirmish of fifteen minutes ensued, during which 
seven or eight men were killed. He continued to 
push on in pursuit as far as Compo, where they 
had just landed, which was now about three 
miles distant to the south. Here they had an- 
other skirmish with the right flank of their rear ; 
and had it not been for the sudden assistance 
which came from the marines who were sent on 
shore from the ships, they would all have been 
made prisoners and (tarried back into the interior. 
A great many Connecticut farmers had collected 
at this place through the day, and Arnold exerted 
himself with his usual energy to induce them to 
go into the fight ; had it not been for their strange 
cowardice, the enemy would have been over- 
come. 

While urging them forward to the conflict, a 
second horse was shot under General Arnold, 
and a bullet passed through his coat collar. 



INJUSTICE TO ARN01>D. 147 

The enemy finally took to their boats under 
the protection of the marines, and escaped in 
safety ; the latter afterwards, by a sudden move- 
ment, secured their own escape. It was sunset 
by this time, and the British fleet weighed anchor 
and sailed out of sight. 

The Americans lost during this invasion about 
an hundred men; the British lost three times as 
many. The infamous Gov. Tryon was safe on 
board his ship, but he did not leave the soil 
without carrying away a souvenir of his unwel- 
come visit in the shape of a wound. 

Congress was obliged to confess to the bravery 
of Arnold in these engagements, and at once 
directed the quarter-master to " procure a horse 
and present the same, properly caparisoned, to 
Major- General Arnold, as a token of their ap- 
probation of his gallant conduct in the action 
against the enemy in the late enterprise to Dan- 
bury." At the same time they promoted him to 
the rank he had so long and unjustly been de- 
])rived of, as the order just quoted shows. Still, 
it left him below the other four Major-generals, 
and the case was as bad as before ; besides, by 
making the appointment now, the old geograph- 



148 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

ical objection to it was destroyed, and unless 
there was some secret feeling against hinn, he 
should have been given the seniority to which 
his brilliant services fully entitled him. 

The gift and the promotion, therefore, appeared 
to betray an inconsistency on the part of Con- 
gress ; with one hand they gave, and with the 
other they took. Washington saw the injustice, 
and felt it keenly; writing to the president of 
Congress about Arnold, he said, — " He has cer- 
tainly discovered, in every instance where he has 
had an opportunity, much bravery, activity, and 
enterprise. But what will be done about his 
rank ? He will not act, most probably, under 
those he commanded but a few weeks ago." 

Still, nothing was done. Washington gave 
him the command on the Hudson, thinking thus to 
testify his own appreciation of his services, and 
likewise to heal the wound which Congress per- 
sisted in keeping open. It was as honorable a 
position as any Major-general in the army could 
have desired : but Arnold declined it, determined 
to go on and prosecute his demands himself be- 
fore Congress. 

Arrived at Philadelphia, he saw what a deep 



INJUSTICE TO ARNOLD. 149 

prejudice existed against him among the mem- 
bers, and how fruitless almost it would be for 
him to try to make head against it. All the old 
stories about him at Ticonderoga had been 
brought up, and were having their influence. 
There is no disputing that, even if Congress took 
the right view of his real character and felt a dis- 
position to treat him with distrust, they did not 
deal with such a man with the good judgment 
and skill we should have expected. It is un- 
questionable that they made a serious mistake, 
or rather a series of mistakes; and the natural 
fruit was borne a little more than three years 
afterwards. 

Arnold WTote to them, — "1 am exceedingly 
unhappy to find that, after having made every 
sacrifice of fortune, ease, and domestic happiness 
to serve my country, I am publicly impeached 
(in particular by Lieut. Col. Brown) of a cata- 
logue of crimes, which, if true, ought to subject 
me to disgrace, infamy, and the just resentment 
of my countrymen. Conscious of the rectitude 
of my intentions, however I may have erred in 
judgment, I must request the favor of Congress 
to point out some mode by which my conduct 
13* 



!;")() BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

and that of my accusers may be inquired into, 
and justice done to the innocent and injured." 

His letter was referred to the Board of War, 
who reported that they saw no fault whatever to 
find with General Arnold, but, on the contrary, 
they thought that his character had been "cruelly 
and groundlessly aspersed. " Congress accepted 
this report, thus subscribing to the opinion of the 
Board; yet they did not restore him to the rank 
to which he was properly entitled, and thus 
opened the way for all the calamities that natur- 
ally followed such unjust conduct. 

Arnold next presented his accounts to Con- 
gress for final settlement; and while these were 
under the examination of a committee, he was 
appointed to the command of the army near 
Philadelphia, which was concentrating to oppose 
the advance of General Howe across the Dela- 
ware into Pennsylvania. He was soon after sent 
forward to a point on the river above Trenton, 
where he could be of more immediate service in 
conjunction with the main body of the army un- 
der Washington. Howe made a movement from 
Brunswick towards Washington's position, but 
soon retired to that place again ; and finding 



INMUSTrOK TO AHNUIJ). 151 

nothing was likely to be done. Arnold went back 
with his force to Philadelphia. 

Still, Congress made no progress with his ac- 
counts. He was irritated at the delay beyond 
nneasure, and forthwith sent them a letter resign- 
ing his commission. He said that he still loved 
his country as much as ever, and was still willing 
to risk his life in her imperilled cause ; " but," he 
continued, " honor is a sacrifice no man ought to 
make ; as I received, so I wish to transmit it in- 
violate to posterity. " 



CHAPTER VII 



THE NORTHERN ARMY. 



VERY unexpectedly to all who kept their 
eyes fixed on the army in the vicinity of 
Ticonderoga, that fortress was suddenly 
deserted by the American troops, and the British 
advance under Burgoyne made their way down- 
wards from the north unmolested. 

Burgoyne had been gathering his forces at St. 
John's, on the Sorel river, for some time, prepar- 
ing for the descent he afterwards made. In fact, 
the whole of the memorable campaign of the year 
1777, at the end of which he and his army were 
taken prisoners, was mapped out by Lord Ger- 
maine, the British Secretary of War, and him- 
self, some time before he came over and took 
command. Governor Carleton, of Canada, gave 
the plan all the aid possible. By the 1st of June, 
therefore, six thousand men were assembled at 



THE NORTHERN ARMY. I;j3 

St. John's, ready to take boats and go np the 
lake. They immediately embarked, and set sail 
for Cumberland Head, where they waited for 
ammunition and stores, and then pushed on. At 
the river Boquet, a few miles north of Crown 
Point, they landed and held a council with the 
Indians. Burgoyne made a war-feast for the 
savages, and then addressed them in a pompous 
speech, which at this day sounds no more ridicu- 
lous than it must have sounded then. 

St. Clair was in command at Ticonderoga, and 
his scouts brought him word of the enemy's com- 
ing. They had seen their boats, their vessels, 
and the savages, with the smokes of their wig- 
wams on the hillsides. The enemy's number 
y/as greatly exaggerated, and St. Clair felt fright- 
ened. He wrote down to General Schuyler, who 
was stationed at Fort Edward, about it, and the 
latter despatched the letter to Washington, urg- 
ing: that reinforcements should be sent immedi- 
ately to his relief. Enjoining it upon St. Clair 
likewise to keep a sharp look out on the east and 
west sides of the lake, he started oif himself from 
Fort Edward for Albany, to get what aid was to 
be had there. 



154 liENRDICT ARNOLD. 

Every sign went to show by this time that the 
British intended to invest and finally capture the 
fortress at Ticonderoga. They were so shaping 
matters as to cut off all communication of the 
garrison with the country below. Forces were 
assembling on the east and west, to make ready 
for the final demonstration. Schuyler promised 
St. Clair that he would help him if help was pos- 
sible ; but no symptoms of aid showed them- 
selves, and day after day slipped rapidly by. The 
enemy's vessels were coming nearer and nearer. 
At Ticonderoga the garrison could hear the 
morning guns of the British fleet, over the water, 
continually. The enemy are in front of them ; 
the enemy are seeking to post themselves around 
them ; and they will very soon wind a complete 
coil about their position, in whose folds there is 
no chance of escape. 

St. Clair waited for succor, and waited in vain. 
It was already the last of June. 

On the 1st of July, Burgoyne came within four 
miles of the fortress ; here he encamped, began to 
erect works for defence, and threw a heavy boom 
across the lake. He issued at this place another 
pronunciamento to the savages, even more full 



THE NOKTIIKRV ARMY. 155 

of nonsense than the other. Schuyler had in the 
meantime been doing all he could. He made a 
draft on Gen. Putnam at Peekskill for men, but 
they had not arrived at Albany, as expected, on 
the 5th. He said he should go without them, if 
they did not arrive on the 6th ; they did not 
arrive, and he set out with a force of militia on 
the 7th. 

He had gone only as far as Stillwater, on the 
Hudson, when the astounding news reached him 
that St. Clair had evacuated Ticonderoga, and 
made his retreat to Fort Edward. Some of the 
troops belonging to St. Clair's army had had a 
fight with the British, who pursued them, while 
St. Clair himself had disappeared into the forest, 
and not been heard of since by any one ! 

St. Clair had abandoned his post, which was a 
strong one, without firing a gun. Washington 
was struck dumb with the intelligence ; he could 
not conceive its cause or meaning. In this 
dilemma, he had vast plans resting upon him 
indeed. It was necessary for him to hold the 
posts on the Hudson, to prevent the junction of 
Burgoyne on the north and General Howe from 
New York ; Philadelphia must likewise be guard- 



15G BENEDICT AllNOLD. 

ed, since the enemy were already ma-king a feint 
in that direction ; and on the east, the necessity 
of remaining as strong as possible was just as 
apparent now as it was on the day the British 
determined to destroy the stores at Concord. The 
enemy likewise had another plan, which they 
began to put in operation as soon as Burgoyne 
commenced his march southward ; Lieut. Col. 
St. Leger, with a force of seven hundred Cana- 
dians and regulars, was to effect a landing at 
Oswego, and, joined by the tories and Indians 
under Johnson, was to distract the attention of 
Schuyler by passing down the Mohawk Valley 
towards the Hudson, besiege and capture Fort 
Stanwix (or Schuyler), lay waste the settlements 
along their route, and at last unite with Bur- 
goyne about the time he should arrive at Albany 
from the Lake. 

It was a fine plan, if it had only worked well. 
With such diverse and widely separated points 
to protect, it is easy to understand that Wash- 
ington had as full a weight of responsibility upon 
him as even his large and comprehensive mind 
could well bear. 

It was while matters were in this state, Con- 



THE NORTHERN ARMY. 157 

gress having done nothing as yet in the way of 
justice to Arnold, that the latter sent in his letter 
of resignation. At the same moment came also 
a letter from Washington to Congress, requesting 
that Arnold should at once be sent to the north- 
ern army ; " I need not enlarge," said he, " upon 
his well-known activity, conduct and bravery. 
The proofs he has given of ah these have gained 
him the confidence of the public and of the army, 
the Eastern troops in particular." Arnold re- 
flected upon the matter, agreed to waive for the 
present all thought of his injuries, and asked that 
his letter of resignation be left unconsidered until 
he could first go and render the service needed on 
the northern frontier. 

Washington set matters in train for defence 
against the irruption of the British from the 
north, without delay. He never despaired, let 
the skies look as dark as they might. He ordered 
all the vessels not needed at Albany to move 
down to Fishkill, so as to be ready to transport 
the troops there to the northward, the moment 
Howe began his advance up the river. He next 
issued circulars to all the brigadier-generals in 
Western Connecticut and Massachusetts, request- 
14 



158 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

ing them to concentrate at least a third of their 
militia forces at or near Saratoga, or wherever 
Generals Schuyler and Arnold might direct. 

Schuyler now had deserted Fort Edward, and 
moved down four miles below to Moses Creek ; 
and the men were engaged in throwing up w^orks 
of defence. While here, several letters passed 
between him and the commander-in-chief rela- 
tive to the work to be done ; the latter suggested, 
among other things, that if Fort Stanwix should 
be threatened. General Arnold would be just the 
officer to take command of that position, for he 
could do as much as any man to inspirit the gar- 
rison and the inhabitants in the neighborhood. 

While Burgoyne and his semi-barbarous force 
w^ere at Fort Anne, some distance below^ Lake 
Champlain, he contemplated several plans by 
means of which he might make his Indian allies 
of service to him. They were treacherous fellows, 
and already occasioned him a deal of trouble. 
And the Canadian interpreters, or go-betweens, 
were the knaves who successfully imposed upon 
both himself and them. Many of these very same 
savages had previously served with the French 
against the British, during the Old French War. 



THE XORTIIEKX ARMY. 159 

At this time it was that a tragedy occurred in 
the vicinity of the deserted Fort Edward, which 
has left one of the foulest blots in history upon 
the name and fame of Burgoyne ; and yet he 
may not himself be held altogether responsible, 
since the plan of employing Indians to help them 
fight their battles in America, was a favorite one 
with the Ministry at home. 

There was a young man named David Jones 
in the division of General Frazer, an American 
by birth, yet still loyal to the King. Previous to 
the revolution, he had been living near Fort Ed- 
ward. A young and lovely girl, named Jane 
McRea, the daughter of a Scotch Presbyterian 
clergyman in New Jersey, likewise lived about 
five miles below the Fort at the same time ; her 
father was dead, and she had made her home 
with her brother. Thus, being neighbors, a 
strong and fond attachment Sprang up between 
the young man and the young girl, and they soon 
exchanged vows of fidelity and devotion. In 
fact, they were all ready to be married when the 
war between America and the mother country 
broke out. 

The Joneses, however, favored the royal cause ; 



IGO BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

while the family in which the beautiful Jane 
McRea lived were devoted to the cause of Amer- 
ica. It was therefore quite natural, even if it 
were not necessary, that the former should move 
off into Canada, where all were royalists alike. 
Young Jones was there invested with a Lieu- 
tenant's commission. Still, absence served to 
make no inroad on their affection. They kept up 
a correspondence with one another, and proffered 
all the former tokens of devotion on the one side 
and the other. 

Just at this present time, Jones was serving 
with General Fraser, who had advanced with his 
division to within a short distance of Fort Ed- 
ward ; in this neighborhood the young man felt 
perfectly at home again. His youthful lady-love 
had just previously left her brother's, below Fort 
Edward, and gone on a brief visit to a Mrs. 
O'Neil, who lived at the Fort. 

As soon as the news spread that Burgoyne 
was approaching with his army of British and 
Indians, the people began to scatter. Miss 
McRea's brother sent for her to come home as 
quick as she could, intending to take all and go 
down to Albany. She did not obey at once, 



THE NORTHERX ARMY. 161 

however, for there were too many inducements 
for her to remain a little longer where she was. 
Her lover was with the British army just above, 
and the lady with whom she was staying was 
likewise a royalist ; she had not rested her eyes 
in a long time on the form of her betrothed ; she 
knew there could be nothing to fear, with friends 
all around her; and she kept delaying, and 
delaying, determined to have an interview with 
her lover if she could reach him. 

Her brother sent up a second message, urging 
her in stronger terms to come away and join the 
family, and setting forth the danger of remaining 
where she was, at the Fort. Still she did not go. 
She felt no fear, even should Burgoyne come 
and capture the Fort ; for then she would only 
be united with the one whom her heart had so 
long treasured. 

JNIore messages came from her brother ; so em- 
phatic and urgent now, that even her infatuation 
began to yield ; and she got ready, with several 
other families, though not without much reluc- 
tance, to embark on a large and commodious 
bateau, and make her way down the river. 

But her resolution, alas ! was taken a little too 
14* 



162 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

late. Had she gone before, her life would have 
been spared. On the very nnorning set for the 
journey, a band of Indians made an irruption 
into the neighborhood, sent out by Burgoyne to 
plunder and annoy all who remained near the 
camp of General Schuyler. Early in the morn- 
ing they came and burst into the house of Mrs. 
O'Neil. 

A black boy who belonged to Mrs. O'Neil 
saw them coming just in time to give the alarm 
to his mistress, and then ran off himself to the 
Fort. The only persons in the house were the 
old lady, young .Tenny McRea, two small chil- 
dren, and a black female servant. The latter 
caught up the children and fled to the kitchen, 
which in those days stood a few feet distant from 
the house ; as soon as she gained this place, she 
opened a trap-door in the floor and climbed down 
with all haste into the cellar. Jenny and Mrs. 
O'Neil ran on after her as fast as they could. 
Jenny got to the trap-door first, and managed to 
descend into the cellar before the savages came 
up ; but the old lady was not quite as agile, and 
got but part way down when her Indian pursuers 
espied her, and, seizing her by the hair of her 




THE INDIANS SEIZING MRS. O'NEIL 



THE NORTHERN ARMY. 163 

head, violently dragged her up again. They next 
went down and found Jenny, and pulled her out 
of her hiding place also. The black girl they for- 
tunately did not see, on account of the darkness ; 
and so she and the two children escaped. 

Jenny and the old lady they bore away in tri- 
umph to the camp of Burgoyne. Coming to 
the foot of a hill, they captured two horses that 
were grazing there ; on one of them they tried to 
place Mrs. O'Neil, but she was so heavy and 
unwieldy that they did not succeed, apd so hur- 
ried her on up the hill. Jenny, however, they 
lifted to the other horse's back, and set out with 
her thus mounted for the camp, furnishing her 
with as ample and attentive an escort as she 
could ask. 

Mrs. O'Neil was carried directly into camp by 
the Indians, and forthwith began to upbraid Gen- 
eral Frazer, who w^as her relative, for permitting 
his Indians to use her in this way ; but he de- 
clared he did not know she was in that part of 
the country, and made haste to make her as com- 
fortable as he could. 

While she was thu^ detained, two parties of 
savages came in bringing several scalps reeking 



1G4 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

with blooH. The old lady looked at them with a 
chill of horror. As she gazed, her fears told her 
that the long silken tresses by which one was 
held, could be none other than the beautiful locks 
of her dear Jenny ! It was, alas ! too true. No 
language can fitly describe the anguish of her 
heart. She could scarcely have suffered more 
intensely, had she been put to the torture by the 
savages herself. 

These luxuriant locks of the young girl were 
said to be a yard and a quarter long; and the 
hues were such as greatly heightened the natural 
attractions of her face and features. 

The Indians, on being brought to account for 
this atrocious murder of an innocent girl, ex- 
plained that they were coming along the road 
near the spring by a well-known pine tree, when 
a bullet was shot from the gun of some American 
scouting party, which brought her from the horse 
she was riding to the ground. Not being able 
then to bring her in as a trophy to the camp, they 
resolved to do the next best thing, and carry in 
her scalp ! They of course expected their re- 
ward. 

It was told around at that time, that young 



THE NORTHERN ARMY. 165 

Lieutenant Jones had employed these Indians to 
go to the house where she was staying, and bring 
her into the camp ; and that they had stopped at 
the spring with her, and fallen into a quarrel about 
the amount of the reward they were to get for 
performing their errand ; in the midst of which 
one savage chief suddenly slew her, as the best 
way to finish the dispute. 

But the truth was otherwise. The real story 
has been told by a man who was also taken pris- 
oner by the same party of savages, Standish by 
name, and a lineal descendant of the famous 
Miles Standish, of Pilgrim memory. He said 
that he was carried off a little ways from the 
spring and pine tree alluded to, and there left to 
himself for a few moments, while the savages 
gathered about the spring, which was a sort of 
rendezvous with them. Presently he saw another 
party of Indians coming up the hill, bringing 
along their youthful prisoner. He knew her well, 
for he had often seen her at Mrs. O' Neil's house. 
Not many minutes after the second party came 
up, a dispute arose between them and the other 
party, in the course of which warm words were 
used, and excited gestures j and at last they fell 



166 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

to belaboring one another with the stocks of their 
muskets. One of the chiefs seemed to be in a 
towering rage, so that he could not control him- 
self ; and in the heat of it, he suddenly stepped 
up in front of Miss McRea, presented his musket 
to her breast, and fired! She fell dead instantly. 

The savage then drew his knife and took off 
her scalp so skilfully, that nearly the whole of her 
long hair came with it; and seizing this bloody 
trophy in one hand, he sprang up and shook it in 
the face of the rival chief, at the same time giv- 
ing a yell of barbarous dehght. After this, the 
quarrel w^as at an end ; and the Indians hurried 
off to the camp where General Frazer was, fear- 
ing lest they might be overtaken by the aroused 
Americans below. 

When the body of Miss McRea was found, it 
was pierced with several wounds, as if made by 
a knife. Her brother was informed of the trans- 
action, and immediately came up from below and 
took charge of her corpse. It was to him a heavy 
blow indeed ; and aroused his hatred of the Brit- 
ish, who could employ these savages in their war- 
fare, to its highest pitch. 

The feelings of the hapless lover, on first be- 



THE NORTHERN ARMY. 167 

holding the scalp and the matchless tresses of 
young Jenny, it is not possible to describe. He 
secured this melancholy relic of the object of his 
devotion, and, with such a strange possession, 
settled down into a state of despondency and 
gloom. Some aver that he rushed madly into the 
subsequent battle at Bemis Heights, desirous of 
throwing away a life that had become already 
worse than worthless to him. At any rate, it is 
known that he not long after left the army, re- 
tired into Canada, and lived only to cherish that 
dark melancholy into which this horrible tragedy 
so suddenly plunged him. He became an old 
man, never marrying, and keeping away from 
society altogether. On the anniversary of this 
tragical day, which came in July, he always shut 
himself in his room from the observation of every 
one, and gave himself up to his sorrowful reflec- 
tions. He was never known to allude to the war 
afterwards. 

Jenny's grave is still to be seen near the ruins 
at Fort Edward, marked by a plain white marble 
slab about three feet high, with nothing but the 
simple inscription — JaxNE McRea. 

This murder very soon did its legitimate work. 



168 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

The hearts of those Americans that never had 
been moved before against the enemy, were now 
filled with indignation. The story went with the 
wind ; it aroused the entire northern country as 
no other appeal could have done. General Gates 
addressed a letter to Burgoyne on the subject, 
charging home upon him and his government 
these most barbarous practices, and citing many 
instances where equal cruelty had been employed 
with his knowledge and at his instigation. Bur- 
goyne denied the whole of the charges, and as- 
serted that this was the only case of murder that 
had transpired ; which was known to be untrue. 
Edmund Burke told the harrowing tale in elo- 
quent language, in the British House of Com- 
mons, and it very soon became a familiar story 
throughout Europe. Burgoyne dared not punish 
the savage who was proved guilty of this crime, 
for the rest of the warriors threatened, in case he 
did, to desert the army altogether. 

The moment Arnold heard of these incursions 
of the Indians, he detached two bodies of troops 
to overtake them on their retreat ; but it rained 
very hard after they began their march, spoiling 
nearly the whole of their ammunition, and oblig- 



THE NORTHERN ARMY. 169 

ing tlipm to fall back again. It is not likely, how- 
ever, that they would have fallen in with the 
Indians, had they kept on ; for the latter had 
made as swift a retreat as possible to the camp 
of their scarcely more civilized employers. 
15 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE BATTLES OF BEMIS HEIGHTS. 

N the very next day after this murder, 
Burgoyne moved his ^rmy down and 
took possession of Fort Edward; Schuy- 
ler withdrew at the same time to Stillwater. 
While there, Congress took action on the ques- 
tion of Arnold's appointment; they voted against 
his promotion, three to one. He was both morti- 
fied and indignant to learn the result, and this 
was the first decided expression they had given 
to their opinion respecting him. He instantly 
told General Schuyler that he should leave the 
army ; but the latter persuaded him not to heed 
the partisan clamors that might be raised against 
him, but to lend his further valuable services to 
his country; at this critical juncture, too, they 
were needed more than ever. 

Then came the news from the westward, that 



"the battles op bemis heights. 171 

St. Leger had begun his march from Oswego, and 
was ah'eady laying siege to Fort Schuyler, while 
his Indians and Tories were devastating the val- 
ley. Only a handful of men held the fort ; Her- 
kimer had been defeated at the battle of Oriskany, 
only eight miles off — a bloody battle, in which 
the brave old man showed the heroic stuff of 
which his nature was made ; and right upon all, 
an order was sent on from Congress, su}3ersedi ng 
Schuyler in his command with General Gates. 
The history of this last transaction would take us 
too much out of our way just at this time ; it is 
enough to say of it, that it was the most unfortu- 
nate thing that could have happened to an army, 
now, if ever, needing all possible strength and 
harmony within its own ranks. 

Schuyler, therefore, had a chance to practice 
the same virtue of submission to which he had 
so earnestly urged Arnold. He wrote to a friend 
in Congress on the subject, — "I am incapable 
of sacrificing my country to a resentment, how- 
ever just ; and I trust I shall give an example of 
what a good citizen ought to do when he is in my 
situation. " 

He looked at Fort Schuyler, and saw that its 



172 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

fall would be the signal for indiscriminate mur- 
der and rapine through the valley ; and he deter- 
mined to send forward a force to the relief of the 
garrison. His officers in council opposed the 
p1;in, knowing that they were themselves none too 
strong, with Burgoyne approaching from the 
north ; and one of them whispered that he meant 
to weaken the army. He was pacing the Hoor 
and smoking his pipe, at the moment, and over- 
heard the slander. Instantly he turned upon his 
officers, biting the stem of his pipe in several 
pieces as he did so, and said, — " Gentlemen, I 
shall take the responsibility upon myself I Where 
is the brigadier that will take command of the 
relief ? I shall beat up for volunteers to-mor- 
row. " 

Arnold was the man for the service, and he 
stepped forth and volunteered to take the com- 
mand. At drum beat the next morning, August 
16th, a force of eight hundred men was collected, 
ready to march to the relief of their beleaguered 
comrades. The fort was finally saved, and saved 
through nothing but the sagacity and generalship 
of Arnold ; he sent forward, first, a worthless re- 
fugee, with several bullet holes in his coat, to 



THE BATTLES OF BEMIS HEIGHTS. 173 

make St. Leger believe that he had barely escaped 
hanging for being taken as a spy ; he was also 
employed to tell St. Leger that Arnold was ap- 
proaching with an army of over two thousand 
men. Others were sent forward directly after 
him, who communicated precisely the same false 
inteliigence. Believing it to be true, St. Leger 
made as rapid a retreat as he could. He tried to 
keep the Indians orderly, but it was an idle en- 
deavor. They stole the liquors of the officers, 
became intoxicated, and acted out their savage 
natures. St. Leger broke up his camp in the 
greatest haste at noon, leaving his tents still 
standing, and relinquishing all his artillery and 
the most of his ammunition and stores to the 
Americans. Panic reigned alone. 

As soon as the news of this most timely suc- 
cess reached the ears of Schuyler, he rejoiced be- 
yond measure. Washington heard of it with 
undisguised satisfaction. The effect was unmis- 
takable. The battle of Bennington had just been 
fought by brave old General Stark, who told his 
men in the morning that the red-coats must be 
theirs before night, or Molly Stark " would be a 
widow," — and the result was received by the 



174 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

country with the greatest delight. Those who 
were indifferent towards the American cause 
before, came eagerly into the ranks of the patriots 
now, swelling the army around Saratoga to a 
very effective number. A new energy seemed to 
have been suddenly infused into all minds; when 
as if some dark fate was in it, General Gates 
arrived in the camp and took from General 
Schuyler the entire command. This was one of 
those steps taken by Congress at a critical period 
in our revolutionary history, which always seem 
at such times to come in for the purpose of con- 
fusing all previous arrangements. 

Schuyler accepted his subordinate position 
without a. murmur. His conduct at that time 
stamped him a greater hero than even his courage 
in the trials and risks of hostile encounters. 
Gates, however, was a very different man. He 
came and found his work all blocked out for him. 
As another writer has observed, everything was 
ready for the sickle to be put into the harvest 
when he arrived in the camp. His letters to the 
commander-in-chief show how large was the 
measure of his self-conceit, and how delighted he 
was to find a splendid victory nearly ready to his 
hand. 



THE BATTLES OF BEMIS HEIGHTS. 175 

General Arnold retraced bis steps, after Fort 
Schuyler was relieved, towards the Hudson. He 
took the command of the left wing of the army, 
which was posted at Loudon's Ferry, on the south 
bank of the Mohawk, about five miles distant from 
where it joins the Hudson. This position was 
chosen in order to check Burgoyne, should he 
attempt to cross the Mohawk and push down to 
Albany. But the battle of Bennington on the 
east, and the loss of Fort Schuyler on the west, 
together with the defection of numbers of his 
Indians just at this juncture, made it necessary 
for him to be cautious and remain where he now 
was at Fort Edward. Crowds were flocking to 
the American standard. In particular, the story 
of the Jane McRea tragedy had a wonderful 
influence in raising up an indignant population 
to join against a cause that employed such base 
and cruel agencies to secure its success. 

Gates now advanced up the Hudson to Still- 
water, and resolved to fortify there ; but the Pol- 
ish officer Kosciusko advised him to retire upon 
Bemis Heights and fortify that place, which he 
finally did. Here th(^ Hudson is very narrow, 
the valley is of trifling width, and the hili on the 



17») BKNKDICT ARNOLD. 

west is extremely abrupt and well calculated 
for a strong defence. A line of breast-works 
about three-fourths of a mile long were therefore 
stretched along the brow of the hill, Avith batter- 
ies at the extremities and the centre ; these swept 
the entire valley. An intrenchment was likewise 
thrown up from the foot of the hill across the 
flats to the river; at this point was a floating 
bridge, made to swing around with the tide if 
necessary, which was protected by a battery. 
Half a mile above, another battery with breast- 
works was erected near a small stream called 
Mill Creek ; and this was the extent of the Amer- 
can fortifications. 

Matters continued comparatively quiet until 
the middle of September. General Lincoln had 
been making demonstrations to Burgoyne's rear, 
which quickened the resolution of the British 
general very materially ; he saw that he was 
liable to be cut off from his connection with the 
lakes if he remained long where he was, and he 
therefore made up his mind to move forward and 
open the contemplated communication with the 
South. He did not so much as call a council of 
officers, fearing they would advir>e to a retreat 



THE BATTLES OF BEMIS HEIGHTS. 177 

rather than an advance. On the 13th and 14th, 
he crossed the Hudson ; on the 15th, he moved 
down to Do-ve-gat ; and on the 18th, he moved 
still further down to Wilbur's Basin, only two 
miles from the American camp. Here he made 
ready for the conflict of the next day. 

It was a still and cloudless morning, — that of 
the 19th of September, — and the ground was 
white with the heavy autumn frost. Each army 
could hear the roll of the other's drums, calling to 
the reveille. They both lay extended over the 
hills, stretching westward from the Hudson, and 
were in fact face to face with each other. Gates 
resolved to run no hazard, but to act strictly on 
the defensive. Burgoyne w^as all ready to com- 
mence the attack. He had planned it that the 
Canadians and Indians in his camp should assail 
the American centre, while himself and Fraser 
were to make a wide circuit and unite their forces 
in the American rear. Their union was to be 
made known by the firing of three signal guns ; 
on hearing which the artillery was to assail the 
American front and right, cut their way through, 
and scatter and destroy them as they went. 

The interval between the two camps was irreg- 



178 BK\ EDICT ARNOLD. 

nl'cir on its surface, and mostly hidden with forest 
trees; so that lighting was not the w^ork in would 
be on an open plain. The bright uniforms and 
glittering bayonets of the British troops were 
seen through the forest vistas at an early hour in 
the morning, as they began to advance to their 
work. Gates was informed from time to time 
of their motions, but he made no movement in 
return himself. It got to be ten o'clock in the 
morning, and the whole British army was reported 
to be coming on, in three divisions; one on the 
river road to the east, one around the west, and 
the third against the centre. Still CTates was 
quiet and unmoved at his quarters in the farm- 
house. 

Arnold's spirit chafed beyond control. He had 
command of the left wing of the army, as before 
stated. It galled him beyond description to 
know that the enemy were coming up, but no 
orders issued as yet from the commanding gen- 
eral. He kept sending most urgent messages to 
Gates all through the morning hours, describing 
the movements and position of the enemy, and 
declaring that it was certain ruin to allow them 
to advance further, without opposition. Finally 



^THE BATTLES OF BEMIS HEIGHTS. 179 

Gates gavt^ way before his hot importunity, and 
the advice of Arnold was carried into effect. It 
was about half-past two in the afternoon. Mor- 
gan, at the head of his famous riflemen, made an 
impetuous assault upon the Canadians and In- 
dians in the ravine, and charged with such resist- 
less fury that his men were scattered in all direc- 
tions in the woods, and he suddenly found him- 
self almost entirely alone I He sounded his shrill 
whistle in a moment, however, and his gallant 
riflemen came flocking back to his support; 
whereupon he charged again, carrying all before 
him. 

There was also a severe skirmish going on at 
the same time between the American pickets and 
detachments of the enemy on the margin of the 
flats near the river. Burgoyne and Fraser like- 
v.'ise moved rapidly forward to attack the Ameri- 
cans in front and on the left flank. Fraser tried 
to turn the latter, and Arnold saw the movement 
and made a vigorous assault on Fraser's right; 
Arnold found the position too strong, however, to 
be carried with what force he had, and sent a 
despatch to Gates asking for reinforcements; but 
the latter refused, declaring that he " could not 



180 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

suffer his camp to be exposed." He waited for 
nothing more ; but dashed on and made a coun- 
ter-movement to turn Eraser's left. This of 
course brought him face to face with the main 
line of the British army ; and he fought at this 
crisis with a courage and headlong impetuosity 
that could not but be resistless. For a brief 
space of time, it seemed as if he would cut the 
wings of that proud army in twain. 

The British dragoons under the German Baron 
Reidesel came up at this juncture, and so did a 
detachment of artillery under Phillips, dragging 
their heavy pieces along through the woods as fast 
as they could. Arnold, too, was reinforced with 
four fresh regiments. The British were already 
beginning to yield, so furious was the assault of 
Arnold's division ; but they were just saved by 
the timely approach of the artillery and the 
heavy dragoons. Victory was thus snatched 
from the hands that were stretched out, ready to 
grasp it. 

The conflict from that time continued without 
interruption. The whole of the British right 
wing was engaged. Hand to hand almost they 
fought, eager to vanquish the enemy they had so 



THE BATTLES OF BEMIS HEmilTS. 181 

long waited to engage. For four long hours 
during that September afternoon, they kept it 
up; now one side advancing, and now the oiher. 
Morgan did terribly destructive service on the 
British with his sharp-shooters, having the wood 
to cover them. Burgoyne ordered his troops to 
clear the woods at the point of the bayonet, and 
they undertook the task. Each dash of the hos- 
tile wave, as it struck against the American posi- 
tion, was at once scattered harmless over the 
intervening plain. The Americans held their 
post with dogged resolution ; from that it seemed 
impossible to drive them. 

Our division rested on one hill-side, and the 
British on another opposite ; the contest lay be- 
tween. While the Americans fou2:ht from their 
own position, they fought successfully; but when- 
ever they made a sally on the other hillside, they 
did so only to retreat at length to their old post 
again. The two armies were so near, that in the 
lulls of the battle the Americans could distinctly 
hear the word of command passed along down 
the enemy's lines. The fighting continued like 
the ebb and flow of a surging sea, with scarcely 
any rest or interruption. Not until the sun went 
16 



182 ]^EXEDICT ARNOLD. 

down at night did the booming of the cannon 
and the crack of the musketry cease their echoes 
between these peaceful hills. The Americans 
retired within their lines, and the British lay on 
their arms on the field of battle. 

Though this was not a rout for the enemy, it 
was a victory for the Americans ; for the former 
were checked in their advance, and their entire 
plan of battle was broken up. They tried to 
assail the position of the main body of the Amer- 
icans, but found it could not be done. If this 
was not defeat, it would be difficult to say what 
is. The loss of the Americans in this engage- 
ment was about three hundred ; that of the Brit- 
ish about five hundred. The maiming and 
wounding was terrible to contemplate. 

Had Gates seconded Arnold cordially in this 
memorable battle, the enemy would have been 
totally vanquished ; but it was believed that the 
former did not intend to oppose Burgoyne at all, 
until Arnold absolutely compelled him to it. 
Gates did all he could, through his adjutant, to 
cripple Arnold's forces, and the latter General 
found himself more than once issuing orders dur- 
ing the battle which his superior countermanded! 



THE BATTLES OF liEMIS HEIGHTS. 188 

Few men but Arnold could have accomplished 
what he did under such circumstances. Gates 
also showed his jealousy of Arnold's reputation 
in another way, which was still more noticeable ; 
he refused, in ^vriting his despatches to Congress, 
to mention the name of Arnold at all in what he 
had to say of the battle, but merely stated that 
"the action was fought by detachments from ihe 
army. " 

Of course there could be no concert of action, 
when it w^as most needed, too, with such a state 
of feeling between the general officers. Arnold 
sought Gates, and told him plainly what he 
thought of his meanness in .lea.ving him out of 
his despatches to Congress, and insisted that it 
not only did himself a wrong, but it was a greater 
wrong to the brave troops that had so successfully 
fought the battle. Gates had a high temper, as 
well as high self-esteem ; they exchanged angry 
words, such as men never like to recall after- 
wards, and parted in the heat of their passion ? 
Gates twitted Arnold with having resigned his 
office already, and said that he could claim no 
military standing whatever ; he further assured 
him that he was of no sort of use in the army, 



184 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

and might go home whenever he wanted to ; also 
that General Lincoln would take his command as 
soon as he arrived in camp. 

Arnold demanded his pass to go and join 
Washington. It was at once granted him, and 
he prepared to leave the camp ; but after his pas- 
sion cooled down, he saw what an imputation 
might be cast on him if he deserted the army just 
before another battle was coming on, and he 
therefore resolved to remain a little longer where 
he was. But he need not have had any concern 
about his reputation ; for Burgoyne himself, after 
his surrender, told at Albany, even in the presence 
of Gates, that Arnold was a wonderfully brave 
man and an active officer. 

From the 20th of September till the 7th of Oc- 
tober, the hostile armies were industriously en- 
gaged in strengthening their respective positions. 
General Lincoln joined the army on the 29th, and 
took command of the right wing, Gates himself 
assuming the command of the left ; so that Arnold 
was deprived of all place and authority whatever. 

Sir Henry Clinton was trying to force his way 
up the Hudson from below, and managed to get 
word to Burgoyne that he should attack Forts 



THE BATTLES OP BEMIS HEIGHTS. 185 

Clinton and Montgomery on the 20th. The lat- 
ter, therefore, felt encouraged that by delaying a 
little he should finally be able to unite his forces 
with those advancing up the river. The two 
armies lay almost in parallel lines, and within 
cannon shot of each other. Day after day passed, 
and yet no tidings came to Burgoyne from Clin- 
ton. On the 1st of October, he was compelled 
to put his soldiers on short allowance ; his own 
stores were diminishing rapidly, and nothing in 
the shape of provisions was allowed to reach him. 
The American ranks were filling up- every day, 
the farmers flocking to the patriot standard from 
all the country round. 

Burgoyne tried two or three times to send word 
to Clinton, telling him what a condition he was 
in ; but he never received a syllable from Clinton 
in return. He knew himself that he could not 
hold out where he was longer than the 12th, and 
at length he came to his determination. One of 
two things he must do, and that without much 
more delay ; he must either advance and fight, or 
retreat in disgrace. One alternative seemed just 
as dangerous as the other, for the Americans were 
now both on his front and his rear. 
16* 



186 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

At a little after two o'clock, therefore, on the 
afternoon of the 7th, he opened the conflict ; in- 
asmuch as Gates declined to take the initiative, 
he resolved to wait no longer, but to take it him- 
self. The British army was all arranged with 
consummate skill, so as to take advantage of 
every favorable turn of the approaching battle. 
General Fraser — who was on that day the soul 
of the British army, was stationed in advance of 
their right wing, with a force of five hundred 
picked men, 1o fall upon the American flank the 
moment the attack was made on their front. 
Morgan saw the design, and suggested to Gates 
that another force should be sent around to fall 
upon the flank of Fraser, as soon as the assault 
was made on the British left. Gates thereupon 
sent Morgan himself, with his irresistible riflemen, 
to do the work ; and he set ofl" to occupy the 
heights on the enemy's extreme right. Wilkin- 
son, his adjutant, brought in reports of the posi- 
tion of the British right, left, and centre, and 
Gates now thought the battle might as well 
begin in good earnest. 

The American troops under Poor marched 
steadily up the hill to the British right, took their 



THE BATTLES OF BKMIS lIKliiliTS. l8T 

fire in silence, and then rushed on to the assault. 
Again and again they dashed up to the field 
pieces, captured and lost them alternately, and 
finally held and turned them with deadly effect 
agains the ranks of the enemy. At the same 
moment with this attack, the sharp crack of rifles 
was suddenly heard on the British right, and Bur- 
goyne was filled with astonishment. 

Gates remained at his head-quarters, and did 
not go upon the field at ail. Arnold, as we have 
stated already, had no command. But the mo- 
ment the firing began, his impetuous nature re- 
fused control. It was a new thing for him to 
remain quiet, while the thunder of British guns 
was sounding in his ears. He tried to be calm, 
but it was in vain. All the old feelings of indig- 
nation at thinking of the way in which he had 
been treated, came up freshly in his heart. He 
chafed like a hound in the leash. Not a syllable 
reached him from Gates all this while, as if the 
latter neither knew nor cared that he was in the 
camp. It was for just this conflict that he had 
thought better of his former resolution, and con- 
cluded to stay where he was ; and now to let it all 
come and go without lifting a hand for his coun- 



188 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

try, was something to which he could not recon- 
cile himself. 

Springing upon the back of his large brown 
mare, he dashed off at a headlong pace, to join 
the force under General Poor on the left, and 
soon showed himself at the head of the line. 
The soldiers knew him as he rode up in such hot 
haste, and received him with shouts which the 
British could not understand. Gates saw him at 
the moment he dashed out of camp, and des- 
patched his aid-de-camp. Major Armstrong, to 
bring him back ; " he'll do some rash thing ! " said 
he. Arnold caught sight of Armstrong, and knew 
his errand ; he put spurs to his horse, therefore, 
and kept the latter on a wild, and fruitless chase 
after him for more than half an hour. 

Being the superior officer on the field, his direc- 
tions were followed all through the battle. He 
rode with lightning speed up and down the lines, 
throwing himself into the very jaws of death, as 
if he was willing on that day to become a sacri- 
fice. His horse was covered with foam, and 
seemed to partake of the fiery desperation of its 
rider. Again and again he led the troops on to 
the charge, attacking the Hessians in the centre 



THE LATTLES OF BEMIS HEIGHTS. 189 

with such fury that their solid hnes wavered and 
finally gave way. He brandished his sword 
about his head like a glittering flame. His shouts 
and cries imparted to the troops a great share of 
his own madness. The frenzy that possessed 
him, many of the soldiers declared they had never 
before seen equalled by mortal man. So uncon- 
trollable was his excitement, he struck an officer 
over the head during the battle, wounding him 
very severely ; and when told of it afterwards, he 
declared that he was not aware of having done 
anything of the kind. It was said that he was 
intoxicated ; but there is not the slightest ground 
for such a rumor to rest upon. The story origi- 
nated with Wilkinson, and he certainly had reason 
enough to feel jealous of Benedict Arnold for that 
memorable day's work. 

At the same time that Arnold was dashing his 
impetuous columns against the enemy's left and 
centre, Morgan and his riflemen were making 
great havoc on the extreme right. General 
Fraser was the leading spirit there, and kept the 
fiery American soldiery at bay. He was mounted 
on a splendid iron grey horse, and equipped in his 
showy uniform ; and Morgan's sharp-shooters 



190 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

could not fail to be attracted to so conspicuous a 
mark. Morgan saw that on him alone depended 
the fortune of that part of the field, if not the 
fate of the day ; and he ordered one of his best 
marksman, Timothy Murphy by name, to take 
his stand and pick him oft'. It may seem cold- 
blooded and even cruel, in the narration ; but it 
nevertheless belongs to the bloody practices of 
war. Murphy climbed up into a tree, and from 
his high perch took a more deliberate aim. The 
first ball cut his horse's crupper ; the second 
grazed his mane. His aid came up to him and 
said, — " It is evident that you are singled out. 
General, by the enemy's marksmen ; you had 
better change your ground. " " My duty forbids 
me to fly from danger," was his reply. In five 
minutes he fell from his horse, a bullet having 
been shot through his body. He was carried oft' 
by a couple of grenadiers to the camp. 

The moment the British saw their gallant 
leader fall, a panic spread all along the line. A 
large reinforcement of New York troops came up 
at this time, which encouraged the Americans 
wonderfully. Burgoyne saw the critical condi- 
tion of affairs, and rushed forward to take the 



THE BATTLES OF BEMIS HEIGHTS. 191 

command in person. But it was too late. Even 
the presence of their commander could not revive 
the courage of the already panic-stricken and dis- 
heartened British troops. In vain he exerted 
himself to hold them to the terrible work; they 
gave way in solid column, and broke and fled 
within their intrenchments with all the eager 
haste of fear. A detachment under PhiUips and 
the German baron, Reidesel, covered their con- 
fused retreat as weJl as they could, and barely 
saved them from utter annihilation. 

Arnold, on finding the victory within the grasp 
of the Americans, determined to pursue every 
advantage. He put himself at the head of his 
troops and led them on to a vigorous assault 
upon the camp itself. There was thus a very 
fierce and bloody fight at the enemy's intrench- 
ments, which Arnold tried to carry at the point 
of the bayonet ; but they were defended too well 
to be taken by a force without artillery, and other- 
wise placed at a disadvantage. 

Like a flash, therefore, Arnold wheeled his 
foaming horse towards the right flank of the Brit- 
ish camp, and, with but a handful of men behind 
him, undertook to force his way into a sally-port; 



192 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

the Hessians deserted it, leaving the British camp 
badly exposed. A shot at that moment killed 
the faithful horse of Arnold, and again womided 
the leg that had before been shattered with a 
bullet at Quebec. He was carried off the field, 
but not until victory was assured to the Ameri- 
cans. That was decisive and complete. 

Night now began to settle down upon the bloody 
work of that autumn afternoon. The British re- 
mained quiet within their camp, and the Ameri- 
cans lay on their arms upon the field, prepared to 
renew the battle at the earliest hour of the morn- 
ing. The scenes that occurred on that day and 
the next, are affecting in the extreme. Wounded 
soldiers, dying officers, delicate ladies, just now 
bereaved of their husbands, — there are pathetic 
stories in plenty about these, in the British camp, 
that make one lament with all the more sadness 
the terrors and cruelty of war. 

Burgoyne took advantage of the night to 
change his position, retreating a mile to the 
north. The Americans in the morning occupied 
his abandoned camp. Burgoyne evidently mean.t 
to make the best of his way back to Fort Ed- 
ward ; but Gates had laid all his plans to head him 



THE BATTLES OF BEMIS HEIGHTS. 193 

off, and compel the surrender the latter so much 
dreaded ; accordingly, he despatched a force over 
to the high grounds on the east side of the Hud- 
son, and another still farther up towards Lake 
George. 

Burgoyne began his retreat in the night, and 
continued it slowly through the whole of the next 
day. It rained continually, making the roads ex- 
tremely difficult to travel. At evening he came 
to Saratoga. He could get no farther; it was 
still raining; and the soldiers had to lie down in 
their soaked clothes, the rain still falling upon 
them, and catch such sleep as they could. They 
were exhausted, and could hold out against nature 
no longer. 

Again Burgoyne moved backwards, and began 
to fortify ; but the Americans were swarming all 
around him. They cut him off alike at the fords 
and the bridges. He could get no word from Sir 
Henry Clinton below, and his own provisions 
would hold out but three days longer. He called 
a council of war in this emergency, to see what 
was best to be done. Negotiations were imme- 
diately opened with General Gates, and con- 
tinued for several days. While Burgoyne and 
17 



194 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

his officers were consulting what step it was best 
to take, an eighteen pound cannon-ball tore 
through the tent and drove across the table at 
which the council were sitting. 

The papers being all prepared, and signatures 
exchanged, on the 17th of October the British 
surrendered to the Americans, on the plain in 
front of old Fort Hardy, — a fort thrown up by 
Dieskau in 1755. Gates had, with a true sense 
of delicacy, ordered his army within their lines; 
so that when the enemy marched down on the 
plain, formed into parallel lines, grounded their 
arms, and emptied their cartridge boxes, not an 
American soldier was to be seen. The only of- 
ficer who witnessed the transaction, was Wilkin- 
son, the adjutant. 

Burgoyne then wished to be introduced to 
General Gates. His staff accompanied him. 
Gates and his officers met him at the head of the 
American camp. Burgoyne was in full uniform, 
shining with scarlet and gold; Gates wore only 
a plain blue frock-coat. Wilkinson presented 
the gentlemen, each to Ihe other, as soon as they 
reined up. " The fortune of war, General Gates, 
has made me your prisoner," said Burgoyne. '* I 



THE KATTI.IvS OF I'.KMIS HEIGHTS. 195 

shall always be ready to bear testimony," an- 
swered Gates, " that it has not been through any 
fault of your excellency." After these ceremonies 
were over, all the gentlemen went to Gates's head- 
quarters, — an old farm-house now standing, — 
and sat down to a bountiful dinner. 

Burgoyne was a large man, while Gates was 
much smaller, and wore spectacles. The former 
stepped backwards when he surrendered, and 
presented the hilt of his sword to Gates ; who 
took it into his hand, and immediately returned 
it to his captive again. 

The Americans gained a fine train of brass 
artillery by this event, together with about seven 
thousand stand of arms, much clothing, a quan- 
tity of tents, and military stores. The van- 
quished army afterwards passed between the 
colunms of the Americans, who were drawn up 
for the purpose, and, with an American flag at 
their head, were marched off under a proper 
escort three hundred miles to Boston. There 
they took vessels and returned to England, hav- 
ing engaged to serve no more during the war. 

Arnold was carried to Albany after the battle 
he had himself cliieHv won, it being: discovered 



190 LENEDICT ARNOLD. 

that the bone of bis leg was badly fractured; 
that leg seemed to be a very unfortunate one. 
Here he remained during the entire winter, shut 
up closely in his room. Though he had no com- 
mand on the 7th of October, yet his was the 
controlling spirit of that memorable battle. He 
led the troops up to victory himself; while Gates, 
it is said, was in the house he made his head- 
quarters, discussing idle questions with Bur- 
goyne's aid-de-camp, who had been wounded 
and taken prisoner! To Benedict Arnold, aided 
by the gallant Colonel Morgan, was mainly due 
the success of that most important day in Amer- 
can history. 



CHAPTER IX. 

ARNOLD AT PHILADELPHIAo 

AFTER all this, there would have been 
less excuse than ever for Congress to 
refuse to do justice to Arnold ; and they 
directed Washington to give him the full rank to 
which he was entitled. The commander-in-chief 
accompanied the act with a friendly letter, in 
which he expressed the wish that he would repair 
to his own quarters as soon as he had sufficiently 
recovered, as he desired his personal services in 
the next campaign. In the spring he passed a 
month in Middletown, in his native State, and 
then returned to New Haven. As he approached 
the latter place, he was received with military 
honors; a company of soldiers marched out to 
meet him on the road, and crowds of the citizens 
accompanied them. Cannon were likewise dis- 
charged to testify to the public appreciation of 
17* 



198 EEXEDICT ARNOLD. 

his services. These demonstrations should have 
filled the soul of a brave man like himself with 
the sweetest satisfaction. 

In May, Arnold went on to the camp of Wash- 
ington, at Valley Forge. The British were then 
in possession of Philadelphia, but evacuated a 
few days afterwards, when Arnold was tendered 
the command, and proceeded to make his head- 
quarters in the city. His wound did not suffer 
him to engage in field service, and no better post 
than this could have been found for him. 

He had but a regiment under him here, and his 
duties were light ; yet the situation was a delicate 
and difficult one, on account of the long stay the 
British had made ; the people were become largely 
disaffected, and, in fact, a great part of the most 
respectable inhabitants decidedly favored the 
British cause. There were disputes about prop- 
erty of all kinds, especially of merchandise. 

The temptations, on these accounts, to a per- 
son of not the most fixed resolutions, were many 
and powerful. For a man like Arnold, — hasty, 
ambitious, petulant, fond of show, and inclined 
to almost any extravagance to sustain it, — it was 
a great trial indeed. What made his position 



ARNOLD AT I'lIILADELPHIA 199 

still more hazardous, his authority was not prop- 
erly defined : thus leaving him at liberty to take 
such advantages without restraint as came in his 
way. He was put almost entirely upon his own 
discretion; and he must be a man of fixed and 
firm principle, who can successfully resist strong 
temptations like those which beset Arnold, with 
no guidance or check save what he chose to im- 
pose upon himself. 

He had been in Philadelphia but a month, 
when he thought seriously of quitting the army 
and joining the naval service. He wrote to 
Washington about it, speaking of his wounds as 
likely to keep him out of the field for some time 
to come, and urging that, if he did not finally 
conclude to retire to private life again, he might 
be appointed to the command of the navy. 
Washington would not give any encouragement 
to his application, but pleaded ignorance of naval 
matters, and said that he was not a proper judg:^ 
at all of Arnold's qualifications. Arnold h.i'! 
already made enemies in the city, and that did 
not better his situation much ; the difficulty arose 
from a conflict between himself as a military 
commander, and the authority of the State. 



200 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

Congress had ordered that no goods or merchan- 
dise should be sold until a joint committee of 
Congress and the Council of Pennsylvania should 
decide to whom they rightfully belonged, — 
whether to the loyal citizens, or to those who 
openly favored the royal cause; and Arnold 
issued a proclamation, notifying the people that 
he should enforce this order of Congress strictly. 
Many became enraged against him in conse- 
quence ; and he was charged with privately buy- 
ing and selling goods for his own advantage, 
whije he prevented others from doing only Avhat 
he was doing himself. 

While he resided in Philadelphia, he kept up 
an extravagant style of living; his house was one 
of the finest in town ; he supported a carriage 
and four, with which he used to appear in the 
public streets with imposing effect ; his servants 
were very numerous; he gave expensive dinner 
parties ; and, generally, he gave himself up to a 
way of life that could not but excite scandal 
against a leading officer in an impoverished conn- 
try. Add to Ihis that Congress had not yet 
settled his accounts, and that he was openly 
charged with mercenary practices, \n the buying 



ARNOLD AT PHILADELPHIA. 201 

and selling of goods, and it is easy to coneeive 
that his reputation was sufiR^ring much from his 
own voluntary practices. He seemed to forget 
that he was a commander now. with the respon- 
sibilities of properly governing a large city on his 
shoulders; but began to busy himself in traffic, 
just as much as when he was purchasing horses 
in Canada and shipping them from New Haven 
to the West Indies. He even conceived the 
design of fitting out a privateer, for the purpose 
of making such captures from the enemy as he 
could upon the ocean. He likewise used the 
public moneys that passed through his hands, and 
exerted himself in every way to secure the wealth 
that would allow him to indulo^e his extrava2:ant 
inclinations. 

While occupying this position, he saw and fell 
in love with Miss Margaret Shippen, then resid- 
ing in Philadelphia, and one of the reigning belles 
of the city. Her family were not inclined to favor 
the cause of America, and his addresses were 
therefore set down to his further prejudice. At 
any rate, it is certain that at that time he kept 
company more with the friends of Great Britain 
than of America. 



202 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

Arnold did one generous thing, however, for 
Avhich he must receive the admiration of all par- 
ties. He took a lively and tender interest in lh(^ 
four young orphan children of Gen. Joseph War- 
ren, the only legacy besides his name that he left 
his country ; and it was through his personal 
efforts that Congress offered to educate the oldest 
son, while it was expected that Massachusetts 
would take care of the rest ; but as it did not, he 
addressed the following kind letter respecting 
them 1o Miss Mercy Scolla}^ of Boston, in whose 
care they were placed : — 

" About three months ago, I was informed that 
my late worthy friend, General Warren, left his 
affairs unsettled, and that, after paying his debts, 
a very small matter, if anything, would remain 
for the education of his children, who, to my great 
surprise, I find have been entirely neglected by 
the State. Permit me to beg your continuing 
your care of the daughter, and that you will at 
present take charge of the education of the son. 
I make no doubt that his relations will consent 
that he shall be under your care. My intention 
is to use my interest with Congress to provide 
for the family. If they decline it, I make no 
doubt of a handsome collection by private sub- 



ARNOLD AT PHILADELPHIA. 203 

scription. At all events, T will provide for them 
in a manner suitable to their birth, and the grate- 
ful sentiments I shall ever feel for the memory of 
my friend. I have sent to you by Mr. Hancock 
five hundred dollars for the present. I wish you 
to have Richard clothed handsomely, and sent to 
the best school in Boston. Any expense you are 
at, please call on me for, and it shall be paid with 
thanks." 



He kept his word faithfully. Money was sent 
on with regularity. He tried to raise private sub- 
scriptions, but that came to nothing. lie like- 
wise engaged the attention of Congress in the 
matter, and a committee reported that the rest of 
the children ought to be maintained at the public 
expense till they were of age, when a thousand 
pounds apiece should be given them. The aid 
was not finally granted in this shape, but Con- 
gress voted them a major general's half-pay from 
the date of their father's death, which amounted 
to nearly seven thousand dollars to begin with. 

Only six weeks before he betrayed his country, 
he wrote to Miss Scollay on the subject of these 
children again. This incident is one that goes 
far to redeem his character. 



204 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

While hostility was making head against him 
in Pennsylvania, he set on foot a soheme for 
founding a settlement in western New York, then 
a tract of wild land ; he intended to engage in it 
all the officers and soldiers who had ever been in 
his command, and the expedition was to set forth 
as soon as the war should come to an end. He 
took letters from distinguished men, and started 
for Albany about the 1st of January, 1779, to 
complete his arrangements. 

Hardly was his back turned, when the Council 
of Pennsylvania began to rake over their preju- 
dices against him, and to put their complaints in 
form. They passed resolutions that affirmed that 
he had shown himself a military oppressor, that 
his conduct was unworthy of his rank, that it 
was an injury to the American cause, and want- 
ing in respect to the State authority. These 
charges, eight in number, were sent to Congress 
for their action. Copies of them were received 
by Arnold while on his journey to Albany ; he 
immediately sat down and wrote a letter to Miss 
Shippen, trusting that these things would have 
no effect upon her, for they could in no way 
harm him. 



ARNOLD AT PHILADELPHIA. 205 

Next he issued an address to the people, going 
into a strong defence of his own conduct, an^ 
attempting to refute the charges of the Council. 
He stated that he had desired Congress to order 
a court-martial on his conduct, and hoped the 
public would reserve their opinion till such in- 
quiry was made. 

There were two parties on this question ; one 
favored Arnold, and thought he was persecuted ; 
the other upheld the authorities of Pennsylvania. 
These parties found their way into Congress, as 
a matter of course. 

Arnold meant to resign his situation in Phila- 
delphia in January ; but he afterwards thought it 
best to wait till the committee brought in their 
report. They did so about the middle of March, 
and cleared him of every suspicion of guilt. This 
elated him, and without another thought he 
resigned his post. But he was in too great 
haste ; Congress itself had not yet acted on the 
report. Instead of passing directly upon it as 
they should have done, they referred it again to a 
joint committee of their own body and the 
assembly of Pennsylvania. Inasmuch as^ he was 
just then in the midst of preparations for his 
1^ 



206 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

marriage, these proceedings inflamed and irri- 
tated him to an extreme degree. And it wrA.s but 
natural they should ; for few ladies of character 
would wish to connect themselves with a genlle- 
man, against whom were still pending similar 
charges of criminality. 

There was a hot debate in Congress over the 
measures recommended by this joint committee, 
which finally ended in empowering Washington 
to order a court-martial. Arnold was indignant 
that he should again be tried, after having once 
been put to that test and trouble ; he said that 
Congress had taken this step merely to please 
the authorities of Pennsylvania, and were ready 
to sacrifice him in order to be at peace with 
them. 

He was married to Miss Shippen five days 
after Congress had voted this court-martial; she 
remained true to him through it all. 

Washington appointed the trial for the 1st of 
May ; but, from one reason and another, it was 
postponed till Arnold's patience was nearly ex- 
hausted. While delayed in this way he con- 
tinued to reside in Philadelphia, where his habits 
grew more expensive and ostentatious than ever. 



AKNOLD AT PIULADLLPIIIA. 207 

He was assaulted in the streets at one time, so 
great was his unpopularity, and he asked Con- 
gress for a body-guard, declaring that " no pro- 
tection was to be expected from the authority of 
the State for an honest man." Congress tartly 
answered him that he must look to the State for 
protection, " in whose disposition to protect every 
honest citizen they had full confidence, and highly 
disapproved the insinuation of every individual to 
the contrary." 

Nothing was done by the court during the 
whole of that season. The army was in the 
field, but Arnold was ignominiously laid on the 
shelf. He could serve his country neither in one 
capacity nor another. His spirit rebelled against 
this treatment ; it would, indeed, have been diffi- 
cult for almost any man of spirit to endure. 

The army had gone into winter-quarters, when 
the court began its session at Morristown. Only 
four out of the eight original charges were brought 
before them. He was acquitted on two, and 
found guilty on the other two ; yet the verdict 
explained that no fraud was proved against Ar- 
nold, but that his conduct had simply been found 
to be irregular and imprudent ; and the sentence 



208 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

was, that he be reprimanded by the commander- 
in-chief. Congress confirmed this sentence on 
the 12ih of February, 1780. 

After all this, in spite of the harmless character 
of the finding of the court, Arnold felt the deep- 
est and bitterest resentment. It is not difficult 
for those who are given to trace the line of cause 
and eflect, to see in this transaction of Congress, 
yielding as they did to the virulent prejudices of 
Pennsylvania, the natural stimulus and induce- 
ment to that crime which will make the name of 
Benedict Arnold forever detestable. 

Washington reprimanded him ; but he did it 
in as mild a way as possible, knowing something 
himself of the sensitiveness of the brave soldier. 
His words were these : — " Our profession is the 
chastest of all ; even the shadow of a fault tar- 
nishes the lustre of our finest achievements. The 
least inadvertence may rob us of the public favor, 
so hard to be acquired. I reprehend you for hav- 
ing forgotten, that, in proportion as you had ren- 
dered yourself formidable to our enemies, you 
should have been guarded and temperate in your 
deportment towards your fellow-citizens. 

" Exhibit anew those noble qualities which 



ARNOLD AT PHILADELPHIA. 209 

have placed you on the list of our most valued 
commanders. I will myself furnish you, as far as 
it may be in my power, with opportunities of 
regaining the esteem, of your country." 

In March, Arnold started another plan ; it was 
an expedition, to be equipped with several vessels 
of war and three or four hundred troops, of which 
he wished to be placed in command. But so 
many men could not at that time be spared from 
the army, and the project was abandoned. On 
this he obtained leave of absence from Washing- 
ton for the summer, urging as reasons for asking 
it his severe wounds and the small prospect there 
was of an active campaign. He then went back 
to Philadelphia, where he lived in even a more 
extravagant style than before. The house he 
occupied was the old mansion of the Penns. It 
was expensively furnished, and he entertained in 
a manner calculated to strike people with won- 
der. The truth was, the one weak point in Ar- 
nold's character was his love of display. To pro- 
cure money with which to gratify this passion, he 
resorted to expedients from which most men in 
his position, especially if they were true patriots, 
would instinctively have shrunk. When the 
18* 



210 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

French fleet arrived ofT our coast, and it was 
expected that the British would be compelled to 
vacate New York, Arnold entered into a regular 
})artnership with two other individuals, for the 
purpose of purchasing goods within the enemy's 
lines to as large an amount as an hundred and 
fifty thousand dollars. This was a transaction 
with which he should have scorned to have any- 
thing to do. 

He still dinged it into the ears of Congress 
that it was high time his accounts were settled ; 
but they were a long time getting to them. This 
delay stung him as much as anything could. 
Finally the committee to whom they were refer- 
red, made a report; and the Treasury Board took 
the accounts in hand to settle them. But the 
settlement did not satisfy Arnold any better than 
the delay about getting to it did before; he 
inveighed against them till all parties got thor- 
oughly tired out with hearing about it, and it 
seemed as if, between one side and the other, he 
had lost his friends altogether. 

In such a state of mind, full of anger and dis- 
appointment, his pride wounded in its most sen- 
sitive part, he approached M. de la Luzerne, the 



ARNOLD AT PHILADELPHIA. 211 

French envoy, with the design of getting from 
him, in some way, pecuniary aid. Luzerne held 
him in the highest admiration, and Arnold 
thought he could take advantage of so favorable 
a fact. To him, therefore, he opened his heart 
freely ; he rehearsed the history of his services for 
his country, the wrongs with which that country 
had visited him, and the persistent and ground- 
less malice of his enemies ; he said that the war 
had ruined him, and he must either obtain pecu- 
niary aid, or relinquish the army altogether; in 
short, he made an outright proposal for the King 
of the French to purchase him, by favoring him 
with a loan of money. 

The envoy was struck with astonishment. He 
declined the proffer of Arnold with firmness and 
candor, telling him that the transaction would 
degrade both of them. " When the envoy of a 
foreign power gives, or, if you will, lends money," 
said he, " it is ordinarily to corrupt those who 
receive it;" and still admiring the unprincipled 
man who had thus addressed him, he strove in 
every honorable way to bring him back to the 
path of honor and integrity. He kindly expostu- 
lated with him; and told him that if he wished 



212 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

to exhibit that devotion to his country which he 
professed, he need not wait for a better time than 
now; it was very easy to i^how that the malice 
of his enemies could not harm him, and that 
their prejudices were without foundation. 

But Arnold cared nothing for his expostula- 
tions or his advice. He found there was no 
chance to make money out of the envoy, and 
turned from him with an increased determination 
to carry his services where they would bring the 
highest market price. On that day he had 
crossed a line over which he could not easily 
expect to retreat. 



CHAPTER X. 

PLOTTING TREASON.* 

THE greatest crime in the whole catalogue 
of crimes, Arnold now began deliberately 
to plan. He was the only one of all the 
oihcers of the Revolution who proved traitorous 
to his country. The two motives that hurried 
him on To this step, as the reader must see for 
himself, were his \vounded pride and his sordid 
disposition. When the authorities of Pennsyl- 
vania were making w^ar upon him, he confined 
his resentment to them alone ; but as soon as 
Con'gress took up their cause, and ordered a 
court-martial that finally found him guilty of 
improper and un military conduct, he transferred 
his hatred to those who were actinsr on behalf of 
his country, and of course to that country itself. 

* I am much indebted to Sparks's " Life and Treason of Arnold'* 
for many of the details to be found in the chapters that follow. 



214 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

He was covered with debt, and he had a feel- 
/ ing also of having been pubUcly disgraced; he 
had been delayed in the settlement of his ac- 
counts; the way in which he had been treated in 
, I the matter of his miUtary rank it galled him to 
^ think of; he had sunk in the estimation of the 
)^ French envoy; he had been for months in cor- 
respondence, in one way and another, with the 
enemy; creditors were following him up for debts 
into which his extravagant habits had led him ; 
and he resolved to make one move more, no 
matter how desperate it was, to extricate himself 
f:om his position, and place himself in possession 
of the stake for which he was willing to risk all. 

With characteristic boldness, he opened a cor- 
respondence direct with Sir Henry Clinton, in 
New York. He disguised his hand, and adopted 
the name of Gustavus. In these letters he set 
forth that he was an officer in the American 
army, who was opposed to the recent alliance of 
America and France, and ready to signify his 
disapprobation by coming back to the support of 
the king. As a further inducement to this, all 
he asked was that the loss of property he would 
be obliged to suffer in consequence might be 



PLOTTING TREASON. 215 

made up to liim again. And in order to interest 
Clinton the more in what he wrote, he gave items 
of intelligence respecting the Americans from 
time to time, which proved soon after to be true. 

Clinton became interested, nnd told his aide- 
de-camp. Major John Andr^, to return proper 
replies; which the latter engaged in, under the 
fictitious name of John Anderson, and in a dis- 
guised hand. Thus this correspondence was car- 
ried on for months. Clinton saw as yet no great 
advantage likely to grow out of it, because, when 
he came to find out who this Gustavus was, it 
occurred to him that the latter then held no 
actual rank in the service, and could sell nothing 
more than himself and his personal endeavors. 
This was hardly worth the trouble ; almost any 
other man of equal courage would answer just as 

Seeing how the matter stood, and what was 
chiefly in his light, Arnold resolved to place him- 
self in a position where his favor would be likely 
to command the price he demanded. Accord- 
ingly he importuned Washington for the com- 
mand of West Point, till the latter, though 
greatly surprised at his request, gave him charge 



216 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

of the post. And early in August, 1780, he went 
up the Hudson, and established his quarters in 
the Robinson House, on the eastern side of the 
river and a few miles below West Point. Here 
he continued the secret correspondence with 
Andre industriously, both of them still using the 
names of Gustavus and John Anderson, and 
wording the letters after the style of men engaged 
in a commercial transaction. It was Arnold's 
plan to betray West Point and its fortress, which 
was in fact the key to the Highlands, into the 
hands of Sir Henry Clinton. It was Andre's 
aim to do the most effective service he could 
for his king, conscious that a glittering reward 
awaited him if he should be successful. 

The transaction, in few words, was to be thus : 
— Since it was known that it was the design of 
the Americans and French to cooperate against 
the British, in New York, the critical moment 
when the American forces would be drawn away 
was to be seized for the consummation of the 
treachery. Washington would be down near 
King's Bridge, and the French would be on Long 
Island ; and then it was that the British were to 
sail up the Hudson in a flotilla of boats as far as 



PLOTTING TREASON. 217 

the Highlands, and land and surprise West Point, 
which, after a mere show of resistance, was to be 
surrendered by Arnold. Thus would the East- 
ern and the Western States be dissevered, and 
Washington's favorite plans of warfare would 
fall to the ground. 

Arnold of course thought he would not be 
driven from the country in case of the success of 
this project, but that his treachery would be kept 
a secret always ; and, indeed, had Great Britain 
by this means obtained control on our soil again, 
it is not likely that he would have suffered from 
any discomfort; on the contrary, he might have 
held high and important trusts. 

Major Andre was at this time in the thirtieth 
year of his age ; accomplished and popular ; social 
in the extreme; the favorite with the officers; and 
as ready to write a squib in rhyme, or help the 
ladies on with their party plays, as he was to risk 
his life in the service of his king. He was a 
native of Switzerland, but had been educated in 
a counting-room in London. At eighteen he had 
fallen in love, but the parents of the young lady 
broke off the match ; and to his dying dav he 
wore next his heart the portrait of her who 
19 



218 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

shared his affections. He was taken prisoner by 
Montgomery at the capture of St. John's, in 
Canada, and wrote to a friend at the time, that 
he had been stripped of everything by his captors 
" except the picture of Honora, which I concealed 
in my mouth." He could paint and draw, write 
verses, and make himself agreeable to all around 
him ; and in the theatrical shows with which the 
British ofiicers solaced their idleness in New 
York, he was always ready to take an active 
part. 

Having been intimately acquainted with Mrs. 
Arnold during his stay with the British army in 
Philadelphia, and before her marriage, he made 
use of so fortunate a circumstance to cover his 
correspondence now with her husband. It was 
not, however, what a man with the highest and 
most delicate sense of honor would have permit- 
ted himself to do. Mrs. Arnold afterwards rested 
under the stigma of being privy to the nature 
of this correspondence ; but there is nothing to 
show that it was more than an unfounded suspi- 
cion. Had Andrd been alive, he would have set 
the matter right with a word. 

Irving well says of Andrd and his correspond- 



PLOTTING TREASON. 219 

ence with Arnold through such a channel, — 
" Various circumstances connected with this ne- 
farious negotiation, argue lightness of mind and 
something of debasing alloy on the part of Andre. 
The correspondence carried on for months in the 
jargon of traffic, savored less of the camp than 
the counting-house ; the protracted tampering 
with a brave and necessitous man for the sacri- 
fice of his fame and the betrayal of his trust, 
strikes us as being beneath the range of a truly 
chivalrous nature." 

Having thus opened the way, the next thing in 
order was an interview ; it was necessary for 
Arnold and Andre to see one another. Arnold 
wanted Andre to come to his quarters at the 
Robinson House, in disguise, using his fictitious 
name ; but this risk he refused to run. Then the 
proposition was to meet near the outposts, at 
Dobb's Ferry, and on what was called the " neu- 
tral ground;" to this Andre at last consented. 
The time appointed for the meeting was the 
11th of September, at twelve o'clock meridian. 

Andrd w^as punctual, but Arnold was kept 
away by an unforeseen occurrence ; he was com- 
ing down the river in his barge, from the house 



220 BENEDICT AUNULI). 

of Mr. Joshua H. Smith, just below Stony Point 
on tlic western side, when the British guard-boats 
near Dobb's Ferry fired upon him and compelled 
him to return to the shore. He had no flag with 
him, and the guard were of course ignorant of his 
business. During the night he returned to the 
Robinson House, to make his arrangements all 
over aofain. Andre went back to the British ves- 
sel in the stream. In order to keep suspicion out 
of the thoughts of Washington, Arnold wrote to 
him of his trip down the river, and pretended he 
had made it in order to provide against surprise 
from the enemy's movements in their vessels. 

Another negotiation for a meeting was opened. 
Washington was to be absent at Hartford, to 
confer with Count Rochambeau and other French 
officers in relation to the attack on New York ; 
and then, thought Arnold, would be the time for 
the meeting with Andre. The British sloop-of- 
war Vulture came up the river and anchored just 
below Teller's Point, to be of service while the 
plot was hatching. Col. Beverly Robinson was 
on board, the same who once owned ihe " Robin- 
son House" at which Arnold now made his 
head-quarters ; he was a royalist, and all his prop- 



PLOTTIXr. TREASON-. 221 

crty had been confiscated. In order to get word 
to Arnold, he pretended not to know but what 
Putnam was still in command in the Highlands; 
and so sent a letter to the latter concerning his 
property, requesting an interview, enclosed in 
another letter to Arnold. If Putnam was absent, 
he asked that Arnold might meet him in his 
stead, as he wished to talk further of his property. 
Washington sailed across the Hudson in Ar- 
nold's barge, on the 18th of September, on his 
route to Hartford. Arnold went over with him, 
and with the rest of his staff. The Vulture 
was in sight, and Washington looked at it 
through his glass. Those who recalled the inci- 
dent afterwards, remembered that Arnold ap- 
peared uneasy and full of concern all the time. 
While going across, also, Lafayette remarked 
to Arnold, speaking of the French fleet under 
Guichen that was looked for every day upon the 
coast, — " General Arnold, since you have a cor- 
respondence with the enemy, you must ascertain 
as soon as possible what has become of Guichen." 
Arnold asked him what he meant; he acted 
strangely, and doubtless thought the whole plot 
was exposed, and that this method and place had 
19* 



222 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

been chosen to confront and arrest hi in. While 
on the road to PeeksUill, Arnold laid before 
Washington the contents of this letter of Robin- 
son, and asked what he had better do ; Washing- 
ton advised him to take no notice of it, as it was 
out of the line of military proceeding; if Col. 
Robinson wished his property restored to him, he 
must apply to the civil authorities. 

But Arnold heeded the advice by sending an 
answer by a flag directly back to Robinson, on 
board the Vulture ; and in this answer he took 
occasion to say that a person with a flag would 
come alongside in a boat, on the night of the 
20th; and in order to blind other parties, should 
the letter fall into their hands, he added that 
Washington would probably return on the Sat- 
urday following, and, if he had business with 
him, he could communicate it by this messenger 
of the 20th. 

This was exactly the hint wanted to fill up the 
existing gap in the arrangement. Andrd came 
up the river again on the 20th, therefore, went 
on board the Vulture, and met Col. Robinson. 
He inquired of him for Arnold ; but he was not 
there, and never meant to be there. The time 



PLOTTING TREASON. 223 

had not yet arrived when a British vessel-of-war 
was the safest place for him. 

On the night of the 20th, no boat came along- 
side ; on the next night, however, the watch on 
deck descried a little craft gliding silently over the 
water, with three men in it. Their oars made no 
click as they worked in the rowlocks ; the blades 
dipped silently in the river, as if the whole was 
the work of magic. It was about half past 
eleven o'clock. An officer hailed them from the 
deck. The man in the stern answered that they 
came from King's Ferry, and were going down 
to Dobb's Ferry. Upon this he was ordered to 
come alongside ; and in another moment he was 
climbing over the rail upon the deck. 

This man was Joshua H. Smith. Arnold had 
employed him to go on board, and told him that 
he was to bring back a person who was to fetch 
him important news from New York. To pre- 
vent surprise and capture, he carried passes from 
Arnold in his pocket, answering both for himself 
and those with him. He also bore a letter to 
Col. Robinson from Arnold, in which the latter 
said, — "This will be delivered to you by Mr. 
Smith, who will conduct you to a place of safety. 



224 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

Neither Mr. Smith nor any other person shall be 
made acquainted with your proposals; if they 
(which I doubt) are of such a nature that I can 
officially take notice of them, I shall do it with 
pleasure. I take it for granted Colonel Robinson 
will not propose anything, that is not for the inter- 
est of the United States as well as of himself." 
He wrote in this blind way about ^' Colonel Rob- 
inson " in order to guard against detection in case 

of an accident to the letter. 

Robinson pretended to Smith to be too unwell 
to go on shore himself, and introduced to him a 
gentleman in his place by the name of John And- 
erson, — who was, as the reader knows, no other 
than Major Andre. Smith declared that even 
then he did not suspect anything wrong, inas- 
much as Andre was dressed in a great-coat of 
blue, hiding his uniform and entirely concealing 
his character. Besides, Robinson's plea of ill 
health was very natural, and he assured Smith 
that Mr. John Anderson knew all about the busi- 
ness in hand, and would make the arrangements 
and give the information just as well as he could 
himself. 

Robinson, for all this, was strongly opposed, in 



PLOTTING TREASON. 225 

fact, to Andre's going on shore at all; he knew 
not what Arnold's promise of protection was 
worth, — the promise of a man who was plotting 
to betray his country. Bat he was overcome by 
the superior zeal of Andre. The latter saw a 
dash of adventure in an undertaking with so 
much risk in it, and it offered more attractions to 
him on that account. 

He therefore went down over the vessel's side 
into the boat. Little, indeed, did he think that 
he was going on an errand from which he would 
never return. The Captain of the Vulture 
wanted one of his own boats to go out armed 
and escort this one ; but both Smith and Andre 
objected to it, as more likely to attract attention. 
Besides, they were going under a flag of truce, 
and an armed boat would be quite out of charac- 
ter in company with such a flag. This was a 
reason subsequently offered by Sir Henry Clinton. 

The boat, thus freighted with secrets on which 
depended the life of a nation, glided silently 
over the water towards the western shore. Not 
a syllable was spoken by the watermen, and the 
few words exchanged by Smith and Andr<^ were 
very low. A little after the hour of midnight 



226 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

they landed at the foot of a mountain, full of 
shadows and mystery, called Long Clove. This 
was about six miles below Stony Point. 

Arnold was already there, half hidden in the 
bushes, but watching with an anxious look for 
the approach of his midnight visitor. Twice 
already they had been foiled in their attempts to 
secure a meeting, and it was gratifying now to 
feel assured that all the obstacles had been re- 
moved. Arnold had come down that night from 
Smith's house on horseback, and a servant rode 
another horse ; the distance was between three 
and four miles. The servant retired a little dis- 
tance with the horses, and was waiting further 
orders. 

Smith came up from the water first, and felt 
his way about in the darkness until he had ap- 
proached near Arnold's hiding-place. As soon 
as he found that, he returned and brought back 
Andr^ with him. He then left the two men 
together, and went back again into the boat to 
await the result of the interview. Thus these 
plotters against Liberty stood concealed in that 
lonely place, at the hour of midnight, with no 
person near to interrupt their consultation. It 




MEETIXa OF AKNOIA) AND ANDHE AT MIDNKillT 



PLOTTrXCi TREASON'. 227 

was an hour that each had ardently wished for, 
but had eluded them both till now. 

Hour after hoar passed, and Smith began to 
feci impatient. It was not so easy a matter, 
either, to sit in a boat and resist the influences 
of the air of a night in September. Presently 
he went up the bank into the bushes again, and, 
in a whisper, reminded Arnold that it was get- 
ting late, and the chances of being discovered by 
the morning light were thickening. But the 
traitorous business was not yet completed; more 
time was wanted to make all things clear to 
Andre, and the arrangements had not been con- 
cluded for Arnold's remuneration for his infamy. 
The latter therefore urged Andre to remain on 
shore till the next night, promising to conduct 
him to a place of safety, and then to send him 
to the Vulture again. He consented, and the 
boat was sent higher up the river into a little 
creek that set in on the shore. 

Arnold and Andrd then mounted the two 
horses the servant had been holding in the thicket, 
and rode off to the house of Smith. Their road 
took them through the little village of Haver- 
straw; and there the demand of the guard for 



2'2S BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

the countersign sent a shudder of alarm to the 
heart of Andre, for this was the first evidence he 
had that he was within tlie American lines. 
Even if he had desired to go back, it was too 
late then: he had reached a point from which he 
could not so easily recede. 

They came to the house at daybreak, and went 
into an upper room. Smith had two days before 
sent away his family on a visit to their friends in 
Fishkill, thirty miles above, and on the other side 
of the river. Hardly had they shut the door, 
when they heard the thunder of cannon below. 
From the window of the chamber Andr^ saw, 
with sinking spirits, that a party of Americans 
were firing on the Vulture from Teller's Point, 
having secretly carried down cannon during the 
night; Livingston, who commanded at Ver- 
plank's Point, heard on the day before, that she 
lay within cannon range, and resolved to compel 
her to change her position. Andrd thought at 
one time that the vessel was on fire, and his heart 
almost misgave him. But she at length weighed 
anchor and dropped down the river beyond can- 
non shot reach. 

The two men ate their breakfast, and then 



PLOTTIXa TREASON". 229 

proceeded to finish the business of the mceMng. 
The whole plot was laid open, explained, and 
agreed upon ; and then the sum of money which 
Arnold was to receive was named, in case the 



treason turned out successfully. Arnold gave 
Andr^ a plan of the works at West Point, 
together with papers properly explaining them ; 
these he told him to conceal between one of his 
stockings and his foot, and, in case he met with 
trouble, to destroy them. Arnold then got ready 
to go back to his quarters at the Robmson House, 
on the other side of the river. But before he left, 
he informed Andre that he had better return to 
New York by land, since the Vulture had gone 
further down the river, and it might not be so 
easy for him to get on board of her ; Andre, how- 
ever, opposed this idea, and urged that he should 
be sent to the vessel on the same night. Arnold 
agreed to this, but furnished him with a written 
pass, which would be of service in case he should 
be obliged to go down by land. The pass read 
as follows : 

"Head Quarters Robinsox 
House, Sepf 22^1, 1780 

" Permit Mr. John Anderson to pass the Guards 
20 



230 BENEDldT ARNOLD. 

to the White Plains, or below, if He chuses. He 
being on Public Buisness by my Direction. 

B. Arnold M Genl" 

It was ten o'clock in the forenoon when Arnold 
left the house. Andre stayed alone all day in the 
chamber. What his thoughts were no one can 
tell. There is little doubt, however, that he 
looked wistfully towards the Vulture down the 
stream, and many a time wished himself safe on 
her deck ; the moment he was there, all danger 
was behind him; his work would be complete, 
and his reward secure. 

Arnold had arranged with Smith, who still 
remained at home, to take Andre back to the 
Vulture as soon as it was dark ; and Andrd sup- 
posed that such an arrangement would be carried 
out. After his capture, he wrote as follows con- 
cerning it : — " Arnold quitted me, having himself 
made me put the papers I bore between my 
stockings and feet. Whilst he did it he expressed 
a wish, in case of any accident befalling me, that 
they should be destroyed : which I said of course 
would be the case, as when I went into the boat 
1 should have them tied about with a string and 



PLOTTING TREASON. 231 

stone. Before we parted, some mention had been 
made of my crossing the river and going another 
route ; but I objected much against it, and 
thought it was settled, that in the way I came I 
was to return." 

Yet there was some trouble, and Arnold had 
evidently expected there would be ; for he had 
provided three passports, — two for Smith, and 
one for Andre. Smith's gave him a free right to 
travel either by water or by land, and Andre's we 
have already given a copy of. When it came 
night, Andre supposed his anxiety was at an end ; 
and he told Smith that he was all ready to be 
rowed down to the Vulture again. But Smith 
objected ; he said that he had been attacked with 
ague in consequence of his exposure of the pre- 
vious night, and did not wish to repeat so dan- 
gerous an experiment; yet he was willing to 
accompany him on horseback, which was strik- 
ingly inconsistent, to say the least, since his health 
would suffer no more from one journey than the 
other. The only explanation that can be given 
is, that he w^as really afraid of being fired upon 
on his way to or from the Vulture, since she 
had again come up and anchored in her old posi- 



232 bi:nedict Arnold. 

tion. He said he was perfectly willing to cross 
the river with him at King's Ferry, and put him 
safely on his route into the lower country; but as 
for venturing in the open boat again, it was not 
to be thought of. 

Andre was distressed beyond description. He 
pleaded with Smith to take him back by the way 
he came ; but it was to no purpose. As Smith 
had promised to accompany him on horseback 
for a considerable distance, he closed with his 
offer in lieu of what he thought the safer course. 
He could not for a moment, however, banish 
the thought from his mind that he was within the 
American lines. 

He came, as we have said, in a militar}^ coat, 
over which was buttoned a long blue surtout; 
this he now laid aside, at the suggestion of Smith 
himself, borrowing from him a citizen's coat, 
which he wore in its stead. There were three in 
this silent little party going down from Smith's 
house to the river : Smith, Andre, and a negro 
servant. Andre could not help feeling the humil- 
iation of his situation, whenever he thought of 
his disguise. At sundown, they came to King's 
Ferry and crossed to Verplank's Point. They 



PLOTTING TREASON. 233 

travelled along quietly for some eight miles, on 
the road down to White Plains; Smith trying to 
engage him in conversation on the war, and 
Andre studiously avoiding all the answers he 
could. He appeared taciturn and thoughtful ; 
there was nothing of his usual gaiety about him. 
When they first came over to Verplank's Point, 
Smith went up to the works and called on Col- 
onel Livingston, telling him that he was going 
above presently, and would take charge of what- 
ever letters he wished to send ; but Andre and 
the negro rode on. Smith hastily excused him- 
self to Livingston on account of company, and 
hurried along and overtook them on the road. 

Towards nine o'clock in the evening, they were 
stopped by a patrolling party, near Crompond. 
Being challenged by the sentinel. Smith got off 
his horse, handed the bridle to his servant, and 
stepped forward and asked who the captain was. 
" ^^aptain Boyd " — the sentinel answered. The 
captain, overhearing his name called, made his 
appearance and began to put his questions. He 
was exceedingly inquisitive, asking Smith who 
he was, where he belonged, and what was his 
business. Smith answered him promptly, and 



234 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

told him that he carried a pass from General 
Arnold. Even after that, the captain inquired 
how far he was going that night ; Smirh replied, 
" as far as Major Strang's, or Colonel Drake's." 
The captain informed him that Sirangwas away 
from home, and that Drake had removed to 
another part of the country. He then insisted on 
seeing the passport, and went on a little ways 
with the party to a house, in order to get a light. 
Andre began to be seriously alarmed, and fol- 
lowed on with trembling; but the sight of the 
pass seemed to mollify the captain somewhat, 
although he was still as full of curiosity as ever. 

He took Smith aside therefore, and beo:2:ed to 
know what could be the urgent business that 
took him and his friend down so perilous a road 
in the night. Smith deceived him as well as he 
could, saying that he and his friend jMr. Ander- 
son were sent by General Arnold to meet a per- 
son near White Plains, from whom they expected 
to procure important information. The captain 
earnestly advised him not to go on that night, for 
the Cow Boys had been out upon the road, and it 
was dangerous; and further recommended that 
they should stay till morning at the house of Mr. 



PLOTTING TREASON. 235 

Andreas IMiller, where they wonld find a good bed 
and all that they wanted. Smith went and iold 
Andre what the captain said; Andre would not 
hear to it at all ; he was for going on at all hazards. 
Finally he went and brought Captain Boyd, and 
they argued on it together. He asked Boyd 
which was the safest road to White Plains ; the 
captain told him that both were very dangerous, 
but the one throus^h North Castle was the least 
so ; for the Cow Boys, or loicer party ^ were out on 
the Tarrytown road, and had done a good deal 
of mischief. Andre remembered this afterwards, 
and acted upon it in choosing his route. 

Finally Smith declared that lie should stop 
over night at Miller's house, and Andre found 
himself forced to fall in. The people at the 
house treated them cordially, and offered them 
the best they had ; but being called out of bed to 
entertain travellers, they were not able to do what 
they otherwise might. Andre and Smith were 
compelled to sleep in the same bed, and Siriith 
said that Andre lay and tossed pretty much all 
the rest of the night. At earliest dawn he arose, 
called the negro servant, and ordered the horses 
to be got ready for starting on again. The honest 



236 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

fanner Avould not take any money for his hospi- 
tality, and, bidding him and his family good 
morning, they strnck oiT on the road leading to 
Pine's Bridge. Andre's heart began to feel light 
again ; Smith declared himself astonished at the 
sudden and marked change in his demeanor. He 
talked gaily of whatever came into his mind. 
Thus they kept on till they came within two 
miles and a half of Pine's Bridge, where Smith 
resolved to bring his part of the journey to an 
end. They went up to a farm house near by, 
which had just been plundered, and got a bowl 
of hasty pudding and milk to eat, after which 
Smith divided his funds with him, and bade 
Andre farewell. Here they parted. 



CHAPTER XI, 



TAKEN IN- THE TOILS. 



SMITH, with his servant, hurried back to 
Fishkill the same evening, where, as we 
have stated, he sent his family in order to 
give up his own house to Arnold's use. On his 
way he called on the latter at the Robinson 
House, and dined with him. Arnold was thus 
put in possession of all that had thus far trans- 
pired. 

Below Pine's Bridge, it was the Cow Boys' do- 
main. These were chiefly British refugees, given 
to stealing cattle from the peaceful inhabitants, 
and driving them off to New York ; and hence 
their very appropriate name. There was another 
parry, called the " Skinners;" these pretended to 
favor the American cause, whereas they even laid 
in with the Cow Boys to rob all within their 
reach. By these two lawless parties the thirty- 
mile strip above New York, known as the " Neu- 



238 BENEDICT ARNOLD, 

tral Ground," was infested. If a person was 
friendly to the cause of the Americans, the Cow 
Boys plundered him; and if he declined express- 
ing his sentiments from motives of prudence, the 
Skinners stripped him on account of his want of 
patriotism. So that between the two, the unof- 
fending inhabitants fared badly enough. In fact, 
the barbarities practised on the Neutral Ground 
formed a war by themselves, even more dreadful 
to those who suffered than the open conflicts be- 
tween opposing armies in the field. 

It was through this ground that Andre now 
had to find his way. He crossed Pine's Bridge, 
and had gone on about six miles, when he came 
to a place where the road forked ; the left led to 
White Plains, into the interior of the country, 
and the right along the course of the Hudson. It 
was his purpose originally to take the left hand 
road, and so Smith had advised him ; but remem- 
bering what Captain Boyd had told them the 
evening before about the Cow Boys, or Lower 
Party^ being out on the Tarrytown road, he 
thought he should be safer among them if he 
should happen to fall in their way, and so he de- 
cided to take tlie right hand. In that moment 



TAKEN IN THE TOILS. 239 

of doubt his life was literally poised. Had he 
taken the left hand route, he would no doubt 
have got on unharmed. 

As fortune would have it, on that very morn- 
ing a company of seven young farmers in that 
neighborhood had met and agreed to proceed to a 
certain point on the Tarrytown road, and chal- 
lenge whoever came along. Four of them took 
their position on a hill from which they could see 
the country for a wide circuit; the other three, 
named John Paulding, Isaac Van Wart, and 
David Williams, stayed down near the road run- 
ning along by the banks of the river. Two of 
these three were playing cards in the bushes, as 
the best way to wile away the time, and the other 
kept a sharp lookout on the road. 

The story has been told so much better than 
we could hope to tell it by Paulding himself, that 
we offer no excuse for giving it in his own lan- 
guage:— 

"Myself, Isaac Van Wart, and David Wil- 
liams were lying by the side of the road about 
half a mile above Tarrytown, and about fifteen 
miles above King's Bridge, on Saturday morning, 
between nine and ten o'clock, the 23d of Septem- 



240 • BENKDICT ARNOLD. 

ber. We had lain there about an hour and a 
half, as near as I can recollect, and saw several 
persons we were acquainted with, whom we let 
pass. Presently one of Ihe young men, who 
were with me, said, — "There comes a gentle- 
manlike-looking man, wiio appears to be well 
dressed, and has boots on, and w^hom you had 
better step out and stop, if you don't know him.' 
On that I got up, and presented my firelock at 
the breast of the person, and told him to' stand ; 
and then I asked him which way he was going. 
* Gentlemen,' said he, ' I hope you belong to our 
party.' I asked him what parly. He said, 'the 
Lower Party.' Upon that I told him I did. 
Then he said, ' I am a British officer out of the 
country on particular business, and I hope you 
will not detain me a minute;' and to show that 
he was a British officer, he pulled out his watch. 
Upon which I told him to dismount. He then 
said, ' My God I I must do anything to get 
along ! ' and seemed to make a kind of laugh of 
it, and pulled out General Arnold's pass, which 
was to Jolni Anderson, to pass all guards to 
White Plains and below. Upon thiit he dis- 
mounted. Said he, ' Gentlemen, you had best 



takp:n in the toils. 241 

lot me go, or you will bring yourselves into 
trouble, for your stopping me will detain the 
General's business ; ' and said he was going to 
Dobb's Ferry to meet a person there and get 
intelligence for General Arnold. Upon that 1 
told him I hoped he would not be offended, that 
we did not mean to take anything from him; 
and I told him there were many bad people, who 
were going along the road, and I did not know 
but perhaps he might be one." 

Paulding asked Andre his name, and he told 
him it was ' John Anderson ; ' he also said he 
should have let him go after seeing the pass in 
General Arnold's handwriting, but for his having, 
a little before, called himself a British officer. 
Paulding inferred, from his pulling out his watch, 
that he meant by it only to show that he was a 
British officer, and not to offer it as a bribe. 

Another of the three men, David Williams, 
gave his testimony on the matter to the same 
effect; and added some further particulars, which 
we subjoin in his own language : — 

" We took him into the bushes, and ordered 
him to pull off his clothes, which he did ; but on 
searching him narrowly we could not find any 
21 



242 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

sort of writing. We told him to pull off his 
boots, which he seemed to be indifferent about ; 
but we got one boot off, and searched in that 
boot, and could find nothing. But we found 
there were some papers in the bottom of his 
stocking next to his foot, on which we made him 
pull his stocking off, and found three papers 
wrapped up. Mr. Paulding looked at the con- 
tents, and said he was a spy. We then made 
him pull off his other boot, and there we found 
three more papers at the bottom of his boot with- 
in his stocking 

" Upon this we made him dress himself, and I 
asked him what he would give us to let him go. 
He said he would give us any sum of money. I 
asked him whether he would give us his horse, 
saddle, bridle, watch, and one hundred guineas. 
He said ' yes,' and told us he would direct them 
to any place, even if it was that very spot, so 
that we could get them. I asked him whether he 
would not give us more. He said he would give 
us any quantity of dry goods, or any sum of 
money, and bring it to any place that we might 
pitch upon, so that we might get it. Mr. Pauld- 
ing answered, 'No; if you would give us irn 



TAKEN IN THE TOILS. 243 

thousand guineas, you should not stir one step.' 
1 then asked the person, who had called himself 
John Anderson, if he would not get away if it 
lay in his power. He answered, ' Yes, jl would.' 
I told him I did not intend he should. While 
taking him along we asked him a few questions, 
and we stopped under a shade. He begged us 
not to ask him questions, and said when he came 
to any commander he would reveal all. 

" He was dressed in a blue overcoat, and a 
tight body-coat, that w^as of a kind of claret color, 
though a rather deeper red than claret. The but- 
ton-holes w^ere laced with gold tinsel, and the 
buttons drawn over with the same kind of lace. 
He had on a round hat, and nankeen waistcoat 
and breeches, with a flannel waistcoat and draw- 
ers, boots, and thread stockings." 

Having secured their prisoner, they marched 
off with him to North Castle, which was the 
nearest military post, and nearly a dozen miles 
inland. Lieutenant Colonel Jameson was in 
command there. They walked off through ravines 
and across fields, striking the straightest track 
possible, one of them going ahead and occasion- 
ally taking the horse by the bridle, while the rest 



2^4: BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

distributed themselves on either side. It formed a 
ludicrous picture ; and Andre afterwards sketched 
it with a pen, and presented it to one who had 
been with him during a part of his captivity. 
They put him several questions, but he declined 
answering any of them. At noon they came to 
a farm-house ; the housewife was struck with the 
sad looks of the youthful prisoner, and urged him 
to share their frugal meal, while she likewise 
apologized for having nothing better to offer him ; 
he thanked her for her kindness, but declared with 
a shake of the head that he could not eat. 

When they reached North Castle, Jameson ex- 
amined the papers that were taken from his 
stocking, and recognized the handwriting of Gen- 
eral Arnold. The first thing he did was to send 
these off post haste to Washington, Avho was at 
Hartford. Andre used his eloquence with great 
effect upon Jameson, and prevailed on him next 
to despatch a message to West Point, informing 
Arnold that Mr. John Anderson had been de- 
tained as already described. It is difficult to 
understand what Jameson could have been think- 
ing of; for if Arnold was really a participator in 
the j)lot, this was merely giving him warning of 



TAKEN IN THE TOILS. 245 

his danger and allowing him time to make his 
escape. Jameson did more even than to send the 
letter: he sent Andrd along with it I The like of 
such infatuation and folly has rarely been seen. 

The prisoner had been gone but a little time, 
wlien Major Tallmadge, who was second in com- 
mand and had been off all this while on duty at 
White Plains, returned to his post. The moment 
he heard the story, he seemed to understand the 
whole matter ; he believed that Arnold had been 
guilty of a treasonable correspondence with the 
enemy. He insisted that Andre should be or- 
dered back without an instant's delay, and 
pledged himself to take the responsibility on his 
own shoulders. Jameson was hard to persuade, 
but he finally yielded to Major Tallmadge's en- 
treaties ; he countermanded his order sending 
Andre forward to Arnold, and had him brought 
back, — but the letter he suffered to go on. He 
refused even to suspect his commander of a crime 
of so heinous a character. 

Andre came back again under guard. He was 

confined in a room, and began to pace up and 

down the floor, lost in thought. Major Tallmadge 

observed his step closely, and saw by the way. he 

21* 



246 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

turned on his heel that he was a military charac- 
ter. Very soon after, he conducted him to Lower 
Salem, thinking him there more secure, as it was 
still farther within the American lines. They 
reached this place, after travelling during the 
night, at eight o'clock in the morning. Here he 
was forced to share the room of Mr. Bronson, 
having but one window and one door, and which 
on that account could be more easily guarded. 
Andre was tired when he was placed in this 
room, and said but little ; he was troubled at 
seeing the soiled condition of his clothes, and 
accepted the loan of a change from Bronson, 
while his linen and nankeen underclothes were 
gone to be washed. After this he began to feel 
a little more revived, and showed more disposi- 
tion to talk. 

His affable manners pleased all who saw him. 
He was genial and gentlemanly, and indulged in a 
strain of agreeable conversation that won them 
over to him at once. It was while he was con- 
fined here at Lower Salem that he sketched the 
ludicrous scene of his being led away on horse- 
back into captivity. 

Andrd was aware by this time that the papers 



TAKEN IN THE TOILS. 247 

found on him had been sent off to Washington, 
and he determined to throw off all further dis- 
guise. He therefore sat down and wrote a letter 
to Washington, telling him who he was, and 
what was his rank, though he honorably abstained 
from drawing Arnold into the gulf of his own 
guilt, as he easily might. He explained that he 
was in no sense a spy, but had come to meet a 
person who was to give him intelligence on 
ground which neither army pretended to occupy. 
His attempt to prove that disguising his dress 
and name was not necessarily against him, since 
he did it only to get himself beyond the American 
lines, into which he was carried against his own 
will and stipulation, — was quite ingenious, how- 
ever inconclusive it might have been. 

He showed the letter to Major Tallmadge 
when he had finished it, and immediately felt 
relieved of a great load. From that moment he 
was himself again : lively, cheerful, talkative, and 
winning. Those who had him in charge never 
forgot to their dying day the impressions his 
engaging manners and conversation made upon 
their hearts. 

Washington set out from Hartford on his 



248 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

retnrii to the Hudson two or three clays earlier 
than he had intended, owing to a disappointment 
in relation to the operations of the French fleet, 
about which he had gone on to confer with the 
French commander. Lafayette was with him, as 
were also General Knox and his suite ; with 
these two in particular he was wont to unbend. 
He travelled, in going to Hartford, what was 
called the lower road, which run through Dan- 
bury to Peekskill, and it was thought he would 
return by the same way ; instead of that, how- 
ever, be took the upper road, which led him 
through the upper highlands to West Point. On 
the afternoon of the 24th of September, he 
reached Fishkill, eighteen miles distant from 
Arnold's headquarters. Word was sent on that 
the commander-in-chief would be there to break- 
fast on the next morning. 

The next day they were in the saddle as soon 
as it was light, and on their way to the Robinson 
House. Their course lay through the Highlands, 
and the scenery and the morning air were invig- 
orating. They had come within a mile of the 
Robinson House, when Washington was ob- 
served, instead of keeping on the road, to turn 



TAKEN IN THE TOILS. 249 

his horse's head down a cross road leading to the 
river. Lafayette spoke to him, and told him that 
he was on the wrong road, adding that they had 
best keep along, for Mrs. Arnold would be wait- 
ing breakfast. " Ah! you young men are all in 
love with Mrs. Arnold!" said Washington in 
reply. " I see you are eager to be with her as 
soon as possible. Go and breakfast with her, 
and tell her not to wait for me ; I must ride 
doW'U and examine the redoubts on this side of 
the river, but will be with her shortly." 

Lafayette and General Knox, however, turned 
off with Washington; but Colonel Hamilton and 
the aide of Lafayette kept on, and presented to 
the fair hostess their commander's apology. They 
sat down to breakfast as desired, — Arnold and 
his wife, and Hamilton and McHenry. Mrs. 
Arnold had been there not more than four or five 
days, having come from Philadelphia with her 
infant child, some six months old. She was as 
agreeable and chatty as ever ; but Arnold himself 
sat at the table gloomy and taciturn. He had 
reason to be thoughtful, for this was the day on 
which the plot with Sir Henry Clinton was to be 
carried out, and the enemy's boats were to come 



250 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

up the river. Washington had come back from 
Hartford two days earlier than he had expected 
him, and his visit to West Point now was going 
to throw all his plans into disorder. 

While he was plunged in this sea of doubt and 
perplexity, a messenger on horseback dashed up 
to the gate, alighted and delivered a letter. It 
was the one Lieut. Colonel Jameson had written 
him respecting the capture of Andr^, in which he 
also stated that the papers found in the prisoner's 
boot had been sent on to Washington at Hart- 
ford. 

Arnold took the letter and broke the seal in the 
presence of the company. It was all he could do 
to suppress his agitation, as he eagerly read its 
contents. Few men could have gone through 
what he went through in that single moment, and 
not betrayed themselves. He immediately rose 
from the table, went to Mrs. Arnold's cham- 
ber, and thence sent a servant down to call her 
up to him. She obeyed the summons, and thus 
the guests were left alone at their morning meal. 
When she was in the room, he told her that he 
was a ruined man, and that instant flight was all 
that could save him from death I She swooned 



TAKEN IN THE TOILS. 251 

at the intelligence, and fell helpless to the floor. 
He did not stop to assist her, but hurried down 
stairs and sent up the messenger that had just 
arrived, to her aid. Without a moment's delay 
he threw himself into the saddle of the horse 
standing at the door, and dashed down to the 
river by a path that goes by the name of Arnold's 
Path to this day. His six-oared barge was 
moored close by, and he ordered his oarsmen to 
row with all speed down to Teller's Point. 

He had hardly gone, when Washington arrived 
at the house. Learning that Mrs. Arnold was 
sick, and that her husband had gone over to 
West Point — as he said — to meet him, he ate 
his breakfast hurriedly, and went back again 
across the river. He left word that he should be 
with the rest of them at dinner. As he went 
over, he noticed that no salute w^as fired at his 
approach, as expected. When he landed, too, he 
saw that no proper reception had been made for 
him. Colonel Lamb came down the bank alone 
to meet him, expressing the greatest surprise at 
his arrival; had he known of his coming before- 
hand, he should have received him in a very dif- 
ferent manner. "Is not General Arnold here?" 



252 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

inquired Washington. Lamb answered that he 
was not, and had not been there in two days. 
Washington was perplexed, yet he suspected 
nothing. Pie stayed at the fortress through the 
morning, and then went over again to dinner. 

Meantime the papers that Jameson had sent to 
Hartford, and that missed Washington on his 
way back in consequence of his travelling the 
other road, had reached the Robinson House ; 
and as they were said to be of the greatest impor- 
tance, Hamilton opened and examined them. 
The messenger, on finding that Washington had 
come back to West Point, turned upon his course, 
passing through Lower Salem where Andre was 
confined ; and now he took Andrd's letter to 
Washington along Avith him, too ; so that this 
letter, together with the papers that were found 
on him, told who he was at once. 

As Washington and his party were coming up 
from the river to the house, Hamilton met them. 
He spoke briefly to the commander-in-chief in a 
low voice, and both withdrew in private as soon 
as they got in. Washington was astounded, yet 
he preserved his calmness, as the damning facts 
were laid before him. He soon joined his mill- 



TAKEN IN THE TOILS. 253 

tary party again, and, taking Lafayette and Knox 
aside, communicated to them the whole story, 
putting the papers into their hands. He only 
exclaimed, — " Whom can we trust now ? " — 
but that exclamation was crowded with meaning. 
Ploping to arrest the flight of the traitor, he 
sent Colonel Hamilton at the top of his horse's 
speed down to Verplanck's Point, below the 
Highlands, which commanded the river at a nar- 
row part ; he was to order Livingston to play his 
battery upon the boat and bring it to. Dinner 
was soon after announced, and they all sat down 
to the table. Washington was as self-possessed 
in the midst of so terrible a discovery as he ever 
was. " Come, gentlemen," said he, pleasantly, 
" since Mrs. Arnold is unwell, and the general is 
absent, let us sit down without ceremony." Hav- 
ing heard of Mrs. Arnold's situation, he went up 
stairs to endeavor to soothe her feelings ; the 
meeting was a most remarkable and exciting one. 
Hamilton wrote of her condition, that " she, for a 
considerable time, lost herself. The general went 
up to see her, and she upbraided him with being 
in a plot to murder her child. One moment she 
raved, another she melted into tears. Sometimes 



254 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

she pressed her infant to her bosom and lamented 
its fate, occasioned by the imprudence of its 
father, in a manner that would have pierced 
insensibility itself. All the sweetness of beauty, 
all the loveliness of innocence, all the tenderness 
of a wife, and all the fondness of a mother, 
showed themselves in her appearance and con- 
duct." To Washington it must have been pain- 
ful indeed. 

Hamilton meanwhile spurred on to Verplanck's 
Point, but he arrived there too late. Arnold had 
passed some time before, having got some six 
hours the start ; it was ten o'clock in the morn- 
ing when he fled, and when Hamilton reached 
the Point it was four in the afternoon. On 
entering the boat, Arnold told his oarsmen to 
row with all speed down the river, for he had 
important business on board the Vulture. He 
promised them two gallons of rum, if they would 
do their best. As he passed Verplanck's Point, 
he displayed a white handkerchief, w^iich gave 
his boat all the protection needed. He reached 
the Vulture in safety, and told the whole story to 
Capt. Sutherland ; and then he gave up his oars- 
men as prisoners! Few acts could have been 







^^ 







WASHINGTON'S INTERVIEW WITH MK8. ARNOJ.i». 



TAKEN IN THE TOILS. 255 

meaner than this. The men protested, saying 
that they came under the protection of a flag of 
truce ; but they were taken on board and carried 
down to New York the same night. Sir Henry 
Clinton, however, showed his scorn for such an 
act by immediately liberating and sending them 
back again. 

A flag came over from the Vulture to Ver- 
planck's Point while Hamilton was there, bring- 
ing a letter from Arnold to Washington. He 
still protested his love for his country, but be- 
lieved he would be judged harshly by the world. 
He asked no favor for himself, but simply pro- 
tection for his wife from every insult and injury 
that a mistaken vengeance of his country might 
expose her to. " She is as good," said he, " and 
as innocent as an angel, and is incapable of 
doing wrong." And he begged that she might 
be permitted to return to her friends in Philadel- 
phia, or go to him, as she chose. She set out in 
a few days for her father's house in Philadelphia. 
With this came also another letter from Col. 
Beverly Robinson, asking for the release of Andre 
on the ground that he had gone ashore under the 
protection of a flag of truce, and at the invitation 
of an American ijeneval 



250 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

The hour was one of the greatest doubt and 
danger. No one could tell how far the plot had 
extended itself. It was not possible to say who 
were innocent, and who were guilty. Washing- 
ton now knew that the enemy had all the intelli- 
gence they wanted of the fortifications at West 
Point, and took instant measures to secure their 
safety. He sent orders over to have the force 
there disposed to the best advantage to guard 
against a sudden attack, especially on that very 
night. He also issued orders to General Greene, 
who was in command at Tappan, to put a divi- 
sion of his troops in motion at once, and to hold 
the rest in readiness. And finally he sent word 
to Col. Jameson to take all possible care that 
Andre was neither rescued nor made his own 
escape ; and to send him to that place by a 
strong guard by some road not generally trav- 
elled. The order reached Jameson at midnight, 
and Andre was at once apprised of its nature ; he 
started out of bed and prepared to obey the sum- 
mons promptly. Before he left, he offered his 
thanks to the gentlemen around him for their 
kindness, and assured them that he never could 
meet them anywhere again as enemies. It was 



TAKEN IN THE TOILS. 257 

a dark and rainy night, and the travelling was 

difficult. They reached the Robinson House the 

next morning, the 26th. "Washington would not 

see the prisoner, however, and did not see him 

from first to last. On the same evening he was 

taken over to West Point, and remained there 

till the morning of the 28th, when he was carried 

in a boat down to Stony Point, and thence under 

an escort to Tappan. 

Joshua H. Smith was likewise arrested on the 

night of the 25th, at Fishkill, and taken to the 

same place. W^ashington gave directions to have 

them kept in separate houses, and on no account 

to be allowed to see one another. " I would 

wish," said he, " the room for Mr. Andre to be a 

decent one, and that he may be treated with 

civility." 

22* 



CHAPTER XII. 

ANDRE'S EXECUTION. 

MAJOR Tallmadge had personal charge 
of Andre, from the hour he left his bed 
at Lower Salem till the day of his 
execution. They were both young men, and 
very soon conceived an ardent attachment for 
one another. Tallmadge thought his prisoner 
one of the most delightful companions he had 
ever seen. 

They went on board the barge to go dow^n to 
King's Ferry, on the morning of the 28th. The 
two youthful officers sat side by side on the 
boat's after-seat. While sailing silently past the 
frowning heights of West Point, with the fortress 
in view, Tallmadge asked Andre if he should 
have taken a part in the attack, if Arnold had 
carried out his jilnn. Andre answered him that 
he should; and hr poinicxi out the piece of level 



259 



ground on which he expected to land with a 
select body of troops, and from which he would 
have gone by a certain route up the mountain to 
a place overlooking the entire parade-groand of 
the fortress I 

Tallmadge was much excited with hearing 
Andre tell what he was going to do, and asked 
him what was to have been his reward ; " noth- 
ing but military glory," said he ; " the thanks of 
his general and the approbation of his king, 
would have been a rich reward for such an 
undertaking." 

Reaching King's Ferry, they found an escort 
of dragoons and started off at once for Tappan 
in their company. Riding along through a 
mountain defile, Andre ventured to ask Major 
Tallmadge what he thought would be the result 
of this affair, and in what light he would be con- 
sidered by General Washington, and a military 
tribunal, if one should be ordered. Tallmadge 
tried to evade the question for a time, but being 
urged for an answer, he finally said as follows: — 

" I had a much-loved classmate in Yale Col- 
lege, by the name of Nathan Hale, who entered 
the army in 1775. Immediately after the battle 



260 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

of Long Island, General Washington wanted in- 
formation respecting the strength, position, and 
probable movements of the enemy. Captain 
Hale tendered his services, went over to Brooklyn, 
and was taken, just as he was passing the out- 
posts of the enemy on his return. Said I with 
emphasis, — ' Do you remember the sequel of the 
story ? ' ' Yes,' said Andre, ' he was hanged as 
a spy ! But you surely do not consider his case 
and mine alike ? ' ' Yes, precisely similar ; and 
similar will be your fate!' 'He endeavored,' 
adds Tallmadge, ' to answer my remarks, but it 
was manifest he was more troubled in spirit than 
1 had ever seen him before. We stopped at the 
Clove to dine and let the horse-guard refresh. 
While there, Andre kept reviewing his shabby 
dress, and finally remarked to me, that he was 
positively ashamed to go to the head-quarters of 
the American army in such a plight. I called my 
servant and directed him to bring my dragoon 
cloak, which I presented to Major Andrd. This 
he refused to take for some time ; but I insisted 
on it, and he finally put it on and rode in it to 
Tappan." 

Andre was confined at Tappan in a building 



^^^'"^^ 




ANDRE ON THE ROAD TO TAPPAN. 



Andre's execution. 261 

which is still pointed out as the " 76 Stone House," 
and treated with the utnnost kindness and sym- 
pathy. Washington reached the camp as soon 
as his preparations for the safety of West Point 
were concluded, and immediately summoned a 
board of general officers to inquire into the case ; 
they were to say in what light Andre should be 
regarded, and what disposition should be made 
of him. This board of officers met on the 29th, — 
the next day. Meantime Sir Henry Clinton des- 
patched a letter to Washington from New York, 
covering another from Arnold, demanding the re- 
lease of Andre on the ground of his having been 
invited within the American lines by an officer, 
under the sanction of a flag of truce. Arnold 
likewise argued to the same effect, insisting that 
he had a perfect right to send for Andre under 
the protection of a flag, and concluding that he 
had no doubt the prisoner would be forthwith 
released and sent to New York. 

But neither letter moved the mind of Wash- 
ington. The Board met as ordered; General 
Greene presided ; six major-generals and eight 
brigadiers composed the court. Andre was 
brought before them, but told that he need an- 



2G2 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

swer no questions which would even embarrass 
his feelings. He carefully concealed everything 
that might implicate others in his own guilt, but 
frankly confessed all the facts that related to him- 
self. On his confession alone the board made up 
their report, which was as follows : — "that Major 
Andre, adjutant-general of the British army, 
ought to be considered a spy from the enemy, 
and ought to suffer death. " 

Andre did not expect this, yet he preserved his 
calmness still. His conduct was manly to the 
end. " I foresee my fate," said he, " and though 
I pretend not to play the hero, or to be indifferent 
about life, yet I am reconciled to whatever may 
happen ; conscious that misfortune, not guilt, has 
brought it upon me." 

He expressed much tender regard for Sir Henry 
Clinton, who, he said, " had been too good to 
him." He could not bear that his commander 
should ever reproach himself, or that others 
should reproach him, for the fate with which he 
was now overtaken. He would not leave a sting 
in his mind that should embitter his future days. 
He burst into tears while saying this, and 
requested permission to write to Sir Henry, which 



AXDRK's KXECriTION. '2^'}lj 

was granted. In the letter he spoke tenderly of 
his mother and three sisters, hoping they would 
be treated with kindness. Washington sent a 
letter to Clinton along with his, acquainting the 
British Commander with the finding of the court, 
but saying nothing of the sentence. Captain 
Ogden was selected to bear these two letters to 
the enemy, and directed to ascertain from the 
officer to whom he delivered them, if Sir Henry 
Clinton would be willing to give up Arnold on 
condition of Andrew's release. Clinton received 
the proposal, but declared it would be both un- 
military and a breach of honor to surrender one 
who had deserted from an enemy to his own 
camp. 

Washington made an attempt to capture Ar- 
nold, resolved, if it could be done and he could 
be brought back to the American camp alive, to 
release Andre and make a merited public example 
of the traitor himself. To this end a young Vir- 
ginian named John Champe, but twenty-four 
years of age, and a sergeant-major of cavalry, 
was induced by Major Lee to peril his life, and 
undertook the dansrerous task with a fixed deter- 
mination to bring back the victim to the com- 
mander-in-chief. 



264 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

In order to give the whole transaction an air 
of naturalness, and keep the plan a secret from 
his comrades, young Champe pretended to be a 
deserter. It was his design, as soon as he reached 
New York, to enlist in a corps which Arnold was 
at that very time trying to raise, and procure 
some situation in the same that would place him 
near the traitor's person. When the right mo- 
ment came, he was to seize Ai'nold during the 
night, thrust a gag in his mouth, bind him, and 
carry him in a boat across the Hudson into Ber- 
gen woods, in New Jersey. To carry out this 
bold project, the only help he was to have was to 
come from a man belonging in Newark. 

The whole affair was kept as secret as possible. 
Washington was anxious to learn its result from 
the time it was entered upon. But he was stren- 
uous in insisting that on no account should Ar- 
nold be brought back otherwise than alive. " No 
circumstance whatever," said he, " shall obtain 
my consent to his being put to death. The idea 
which would accompany such an event, would 
be, that ruffians had been hired to assassinate 
him. My aim is to make a public example of 
him, and this should be strongly impressed upon 
those who are employed to bring him off. " 



Andre's execution. 205 

Sergeant Champe took his cloak, valise, and 
orderly book at eleven o'clock at night, and, with 
all possible caution, went and untied his horse, 
sprang on his back, and was off. Major Lee then 
went to bed. The brave young sergeant had all 
sorts of dangers to run, and the chances were 
even, at best, if he could get beyond the lines 
without either detection or pursuit. The guards 
on the road were thickly stationed, additional 
watchfulness having everywhere followed the dis- 
covery of Arnold's perfidy. 

Major Lee had been abed but a little more 
than half an hour, when an officer came up to 
his quarters in the greatest haste and alarm, 
saying that one of the guard had challenged a 
dragoon, who, instead of giving the countersign, 
put spurs to his horse and escaped. In order to 
give the sergeant all the time he could, Lee pre- 
tended to believe that the guard must have taken 
somebody else for a dragoon, and thought it use- 
less to make a stir about nothing. But the officer 
who brought the news persisted in his statement, 
until Lee found it would not do to deny him an 
investigation. So he told him to call up all the 
dragoons, and run through the roll to see if any 
23 



20(3 IJENEDICT AHXOl.L). 

one was missing. In a few minutes he came 
back iM-iiiizincf word that the semeant himself was 
not to be found, and had carried off with him his 
horse, arms, baggage and orderly book. 

Much against his wish, Major Lee allowed a 
party to set out in pursuit ; but he threw as many 
petty obstacles in their way as his ingenuity 
could devise, and so managed that Champe 
finally had a full hour the start of them. Besides 
this, the party in pursuit had to stop along the 
route to see if they could follow the deserter by 
his horse's tracks ; this likewise gave Champe an 
advantage. 

They rode on in hot pursuit until the day 
dawned. Then they came to the brow of a hill, 
and strained their gaze to see if they could dis- 
cover any signs of him. As luck would have it, 
there he was, not more than half a mile ahead! 
Plying the spur and urging on their horses at the 
top of their speed, they began very rapidly to 
gain on him. But just at the moment they saw 
Champe in advance, he happened to see them ; 
and he also put his horse to his highest mettle. 
It was a fearful race. Already he saw over his 
shoulder that his chances for escape were small. 



Andre's execution. 207 

He was on the river road, and a couple of British 
galleys lay at anchor near the shore. One of his 
pursuers was about two hundred yards behind 
him. His purpose was quickly taken. He threw 
himself from his horse, dashed headlong into a 
bog, and, plunging into the river, called out to 
the men on board the galleys to help him. They 
immediately sent out a boat and took him on 
board. 

The pursuers returned without their prisoner, 
but greatly chagrined at thinking that they had 
lost him. Champe went to New York, procured 
exactly such a situation as he desired, and had 
fixed the night on which his plan was to be 
carried into execution. Arnold was to be sur- 
prised at night in a gard'en in which he was wont 
to w^alk, taken on board a boat, and carried 
straight across the river. Lee was all ready and 
waiting at the appointed place, with three dra- 
goons and six horses to assist in carrying out the 
enterprise. But all was overturned by Arnold's 
removing his quarters to another part of the city, 
on the very day which was to crown the under- 
taking. 

Champe found much difficulty in deserting 



268 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

back again to the Americans, but he did so after 
a time, and was rewarded most generously by 
Washington for his bravery and the temporary 
sacrifice of reputation to which he had so nobly 
submitted. It was a deed that drew upon him 
universal admiration. 

It was determined that the execution of Andre 
should take place at five o'clock on the afternoon 
of the 1st of October ; but Washington received 
a second letter from Clinton, dated Sept. 80th, 
stating that there were some circumstances con- 
nected with the case which had not yet been laid 
before the board ; and he stated that he should 
send up a commission on the following day to 
Dobb's Ferry, to lay these facts before Washing- 
ton, or whomsoever he might appoint. On this 
account the execution was delayed ; Washington 
was anxious to allow the prisoner every chance 
he had. 

The next day. General Greene went down to 
meet the commission that were sent by Clinton, 
at Dobb's Ferry. They came up the river in a 
schooner with a flag of truce, having Colonel 
Beverly Robinson on board. But one landed, 
General Robertson, he being the only military 



Andre's execution. 269 

man on board. Greene and Robertson had a 
long interview, but nothing new was presented : 
Greene left and promised to report to Washing- 
ton all that had been urged. 

He also bore a letter from Arnold, in which the 
traitor went through a long argument to show 
that he had a right to do as he did, and that 
Andrd ought not to suffer for it. Arnold added 
that if Andrd was finally executed, it would be 
because of the passion and resentment of the 
board that had condemned him ; and he pledged 
himself to retaliate to the fullest extent on such 
Americans as might thereafter fall into his power. 
Arnold further went through the mockery of ten- 
dering his resignation as a major-general in the 
American army, and added, with matchless im- 
pudence, that he was actuated by the same 
principle, in deserting to the enemy, which had 
been the governing rule of his conduct during the 
contest ! 

Arnold's letter was treated with silent scorn ; 
but Greene wrote briefly to General Robertson, 
saying that the conference he had had with him 
was reported with exactness to Washington, but 

23* 



270 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

that his mind was nowise changed. Robertson 
believed that Greene had nevertheless failed to 
convey every circumstance to Washington, and 
so addressed the latter a statement of his own ; 
this done, he and his party returned to New York 
by the way they came. 

By this delay, Andre gained a respite of nearly 
a whole day. He was calm and resigned, be- 
traying no loss either of courage or spirits. His 
continued cheerfulness was a wonder to all who 
came in contact with him. During the day he 
drew a hasty pen-and-ink sketch of himself, 
seated at the table in the guard-room. The 
original is to be seen in the Trumbull Gallery of 
Yale College, together with a lock of his hair, 
which was taken from his cofliii at the time his 
remains were removed from Tappan to England. 
He made a present of this sketch to the officer 
on guard. An accurate copy forms the frontis- 
piece to the present volume. * 

It was now made known to him that he must 
die at one o'clock on the following day, the 2d of 
October ; he received the tidings with composure, 
betraying nothing hke fear, merely remarking that 



Andre's execution. 271 

since it was his lot to die, he had a choice in the 
mode. Upon which, he sat down and addressed 
a letter to Washington, as follows : — 

" Sir: — Buoyed above the terror of death by 
the consciousness of a life devoted to honorable 
pursuits, and stained with no action that can give 
me remorse, I trust that the request I make to 
your Excellency at this serious period, and which 
is to soften my last moments, will not be rejected. 
Sympathy towards a soldier will surely induce 
your Excellency and a military tribunal to adapt 
the mode of my death to the feelings of a man 
of honor. 

" Let me hope, sir, that if aught in my charac- 
ter impresses you with esteem towards me ; if 
aught in my misfortunes marks me as the victim 
of policy and not of resentment, I shall experi- 
ence the operation of these feelings in your breast 
by being informed that I am not to die on a 
gibbet." 

* This was a touching appeal from an unhappy 
man, who desired to be shot rather than hanged. 

•*']^t Washington could give him no hope that his 
request would be granted. The fate of the spy 
was hanging on the gibbet ; the board of general 
officers had decided that Andre was a spy ; and, 



272 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

according to the laws of war, he must expect to 
meet with death in the ignominious manner he 
so dreaded and detested. It was indeed a hard 
fate for him ; but he had voluntarily brought it 
upon himself, and his punishment must serve as 
a standing example for the warning of others. 
Still, Washington was merciful, even while sternly 
pursuing the course of his duty ; since he could 
not grant Andre's last request, he saved his feel- 
ings as much as possible by keeping him ignor- 
ant of the mode of his death to the last. 

The morning of the 2d came. Andre was as 
composed as ever ; all around him were sensibly 
filled wdth a sympathy that gave them indescriba- 
ble pain. His servant came into his apartment, — 
the same who had come up wdth his uniform 
from New York to tend him in his last mo- 
ments, — and could not keep back the flow of 
tears as he looked at his still pleasant face. 
"Leave me," said Andr^ to him, "till you can 
show yourself more manly." 

Dr. Thatcher, Avho was present during the 
wiiole scene, thus graphically sketches it : — 

" His breakfast being sent to him from the 
table of General Washington, which had been 



ANDRE'S EXECUTION. 273 

done every day of his confinement, he partook of 
it as usual, and, having shaved and dressed him- 
self, he placed his hat on the table, and cheerfully 
said to the guard-officers, " I am ready at any 
moment, gentlemen, to v^ait on you." 

" The fatal hour having arrived, a large detach- 
ment of troops was paraded, and an immense 
concourse of people assembled; almost all our 
general and field officers, excepting his Excellency 
and his staff, were present on horseback ; melan- 
choly and gloom pervaded all ranks ; the scene 
was affecting and awful. 

" I was so near during the solemn march to 
the fatal spot, as to observe every movement and 
participate in every emotion, which ,the melan- 
choly scene was calculated to produce. Major 
Andre walked from the stone house, in which he 
had been confined, between two of our subaltern 
officers, arm in arm ; the eyes of the immense 
multitude were fixed on him, who, rising superior 
to the fear of death, appeared as if conscious 
of the dignified deportment which he displayed. 

" He betrayed no want of fortitude, but retained 
a complacent smile on his countenance, and 
})o]itely bowed to several gentlemen whom he 



274 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

knew, which was respectfully returned. It was 
his earnest desire to be shot, as being the mode 
of death most conformable to the feelings of a 
military man, and he had indulged the hope that 
his request would be granted. At the moment, 
therefore, when suddenly he came in view of the 
gallows, he involuntarily started backward and 
made a pause. ' Why this emotion, sir ? ' said 
an officer by his side. Instantly recovering his 
composure, he said, — ' I am reconciled to my 
death, but I detest the mode.' 

" While waiting and standing near the gal- 
lows, I observed some degree of trepidation ; 
placing his foot on a stone, and rolling it over, 
and choking in his throat, as if attempting to 
swallow. So soon, however, as he perceived 
that things were in readiness, he stepped quickly 
into the wagon, and at this moment he appeared 
to shrink ; but instantly elevating his head with 
firmness, he said, — ' It will be but a momentary 
pang ! ' and, taking from his pocket two white 
handkerchiefs, the provost marshal with one 
loosely pinioned his arms; and with the other, 
the victim, after takinq^ oil his hat and stock, ban- 
daged his own eyes wiih jxiiect firmness, which 



Andre's execution. 275 

melted the hearts and moistened the cheeks not 
only of his servant, but of the throng of specta- 
tors. The rope being appended to the gallows, 
he slipped the noose over his head and adjusted 
it to his neck without the assistance of the execu- 
tioner. Colonel Scamrnell now informed him 
that he had an opportunity to speak, if he desired 
it. He raised his handkerchief from his eyes, and 
said, — 'I pray you to bear me witness that I 
meet my fate like a brave man.' The wagon 
being now removed from under him, he was sus- 
pended and instantly expired." 

His conduct from first to last was that of a 
polished, generous, and courageous person. His 
step to the gallows was firm, and he betrayed no 
emotion save when he was first made aware of 
the mode of his violent death. He was com- 
posed in his mind, and his countenance showed 
that he had made up his resolution to meet his 
fate without fear or flinching. He wore his own 
uniform, which was that of a British officer. 
After the body had been suffered to hang till life 
was extinct, it was taken down and buried only 
a few yards distant. His servant attended him 
till all was over, and remained till the sods were 



276 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

placed over his grave. The military uniform was 
taken from the body before burial, and given to 
this faithful servant. 

Such was the melancholy end of a young and 
brave man, whose name is never mentioned save 
with a feeling of sympathetic regret. The news 
of his death was at once despatched to Sir Henry 
Clinton, who in turn published it to the British 
army. " The unfortunate fate of this officer," 
said he, " calls upon the commander-in-chief to 
declare that he ever considered Major Andr^ a 
gentleman of the highest integrity and honor, and 
incapable of any base action or unworthy con- 
duct." Not a syllable was said respecting either 
the cause or the manner of his unfortunate end. 

. A monument was erected to the memory of 
Major Andr^ in Westminster Abbey, by order 
of the king. In 1821, his remains were disin- 
terred, and carried over to England, where they 
were buried again near by the monument. In 
striking contrast is this with the death and burial 
of young Capt. Nathan Hale, the martyr spy, 
who was hanged by the notorious Cunningham 
on the morning after his capture. He was not 
permitted to see a bible before he died ; and the 



Andre's execution. 277 

affectionate letter he had written his mother was 
wantonly torn in pieces before his eyes. No 
spot is pointed out, that can be named as the 
place of his burial. Andrd expired, exclaiming 
that he wished them "to bear witness that he 
died like a brave man ; " Nathan Hale's last 
words were, — " I only regret that I have but one 
life to lose for my country I" 

The captors of Andre were recommended to 
the attention of Congress by Washington, as 
having averted the heaviest calamity that could 
have befallen the American arms. Congress 
publicly voted them patriots, presented each of 
them with a farm, settled on them a pension of 
two hundred dollars a year for life, and ordered 
to be struck a silver medal, bearing on one side 
the engraved word Fidelity, and on the other, 
the motto Vincit amor Patrice. Washington pre- 
sented these medals to them at head-quarters 
with much ceremony. It is said that Van Wart, 
one of the captors, was present at Andrd's execu- 
tion, and was so deeply moved by what he saw 
that he never wished to speak of the event after, 
wards. 

Smith was arrested and tried on a char<re of 
24 



278 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

being concerned in the plot of treason ; but the 
court found nothing against him. Yet there 
were some points in his conduct that have never 
been made clear to this day. He was either the 
deepest of knaves, or the greatest of fools. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

A traitor's barbarities. 

ARNOLD was now made a brigadier-gen- 
eral in the British army. He thus held 
rank with honorable men ; and he lived 
to know that by those men he was scorned and 
detested. Clinton paid over to him, as agreed, 
six thousand, three hundred and fifteen pounds 
sterling, as the sum necessary to make up what 
he had lost by his treachery. 

Col. Laurens, the aid-de-camp to Washington, 
remarked of the fate of Andr^, that " Arnold 
must undergo a punishment comparatively more 
severe, in the permanent, increasing torment of a 
mental hell." But Washington replied that he 
lacked feeling. " From some traits of his char- 
acter," said he, " which have lately come to my 
knowledge, he seems to have been so hackneyed 
in villany, and so lost to all sense of honor and 



280 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

shame, that, while his faculties will enable him 
to continue his sordid pursuits, there will be no 
time for remorse." He also wrote to Governor 
Reed, of Pennsylvania, — "Arnold's conduct is 
so villanously perfidious, that there are no terms 
that can describe the baseness of his heart. That 
overruling Providence which has so often and so 
remarkably interposed in our favor, never mani- 
fested itself more conspicuously than in the timely 
discovery of his horrid intention to surrender the 
post and garrison of West Point into the hands 
of the enemy. * * * The confidence and folly 
which have marked the subsequent conduct of 
this man, are of a piece with his villany, and all 
three are perfect in their kind." 

Arnold was nowise satisfied, however, in his 
new position and among his new friends ; and he 
therefore published an address to the Inhabitants 
of America, in which he sought to defend his 
conduct. He said he had always considered the 
Declaration of Independence to be hasty and ill- 
considered ; and he blamed Congress for having 
plunged the people into a long and expensive 
war, without first submitting the matter to their 
vote. And as a final argument, he declared that 



A traitor's barbarities. 281 

he could have nothing further to do with a cause 
which had for an ally such an enemy to Protest- 
antism as France! This was, indeed, " Satan 
rebuking sin I " 

He likewise published a proclamation, inviting 
the officers and soldiers of the American army to 
leave a sinking and unworthy cause, and join the 
side of the king for true American liberty ; and 
he offered large amounts to such as would desert, 
with additional pay for whatever they might 
bring over with them that would be useful in 
war. 

Both the address and the proclamation were 
treated w4th supreme contempt. Washington 
said of the address, — "I am at a loss which to 
admire most, the confidence of Arnold in pub- 
lishing it, or the folly of the enemy in suppos- 
ing that a production signed by so infamous a 
character will have any weight with the people 
of these States, or any influence upon our officers 
abroad." No such desertions followed from his 
proclamation as he expected. It was all nothing 
more than a trick to make Clinton and the Brit- 
ish think him a person of vastly more influence 
and importance than he was. 
24* 



282 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

Arnold's wife left her husband's former quarters 
at the Robinson House, and went immedia aly to 
her father in Philadelphia. She had at one time 
resolved to separate from her husband altogether; 
but she was prevented from doing this by the 
course pursued by the executive council of Penn- 
sylvania. They thought she was privy to his 
treachery from the time his mind first conceived 
the infamous thought ; and they therefore told 
her she must quit the State within fourteen days, 
and not return as long as the war continued. Her 
friends tried to influence the council to milder 
measures, but to no purpose. Her father prom- 
ised them that she should not write to General 
Arnold, and she signed a writing to the same 
purpose ; and she further engaged " to receive no 
letters without showing them to the council, if 
she was permitted to stay." 

But they would hear nothing to it. She was 
absolutely driven out of Pennsylvania, and forced 
to rejoin her husband in New York. The people 
were so incensed at the conduct of Arnold, that 
|hc;y burned him in effigy in almost every town 
and village. Of course, journeying on to her 
husband, she could not but be made aware of 



A traitor's BAK15AKITIES. 283 

these transactions ; but she never was treated 
with any disrespect herself on her husband's 
account. She came into one village just at even- 
ing ; the inhabitants were making ready to burn 
Ijim in effigy; a great excitement pervaded the 
place ; but as soon as it was known that she was 
among them, they all dispersed to their homes, 
and refused to add to the poignancy of the wife's 
sufferings by publicly showing their detestation 
of the husband's crime. She went from this 
country along with him, at the close of the war, 
to England, where her own character, position, 
and youth helped a little to sustain him in the 
eyes of the world ; and at the expiration of five 
years, she returned to Philadelphia. But her old 
friends treated her with so much coldness that 
she resolved not to trouble them with her presence 
again. Her death took place during the winter 
of 1796. There is no evidence in existence that 
she ever knew of the design of her husband to 
betray his country, until he confessed all at the 
moment of his flight- 
In the latter part of December, and about two 
months after his treason, Arnold received from 
Sir Henry Clinton the command of a force of 



284 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

sixteen hundred men, which sailed from New 
York for the coast of Virginia. The British 
troops in that quarter had been recently drawn 
off to aid Cornwall is, who was operating against 
the Carolinas ; and Arnold was despatched tp 
hold the Virginians in check, if they should 
think of making any movement to unite with 
General Greene. He established his post at 
Portsmouth, on Elizabeth River, where he got 
ready boats of light draught to send up Albe- 
marle Sound and the Chesapeake Bay. Still, 
Sir Henry Clinton put but little faith in him, and 
accordingly sent along two other officers with the 
expedition, with whom Arnold was to consult 
and advise before taking any step in that region. 
They experienced rough weather off the coast, 
and the vessels were separated ; but on the 30th 
of December they all met, with the exception of 
one ship and three transports, having four hun- 
dred men on board, in Hampton Roads ; these 
last arrived five days after, having lost half the 
cavalry horses, and been obliged to throw many 
of their heavy guns into the sea. Arnold went 
straight into the country, and began his career of 
burning, destroying, plundering and cruelty. 



A traitor's barbarities 285 

Having thus struck terror into the hearts of the 
inhabitants, he withdrew again to his post at 
Portsmouth. 

Lafayette and others laid a plan to capture 
him there, and it came very near being successful. 
Washington took a deep interest in the plan, and 
would have been rejoiced to take the traitor 
alive ; but circumstances alone protected him. 
If he had been captured by the Americans, it was 
Washington's fixed resolution to have him hanged 
at once. 

While Arnold subsequently held command of 
the army in Virginia, General Phillips having 
died there and left it to him, he sent a flag of 
truce to Lafayette, with a letter. Lafayette 
received the letter and opened it ; but the mo- 
ment he saw the name of Arnold signed at the 
bottom, he utterly refused to read it, and told the 
officer who brought it that he would have no 
communication whatever with such a villain. 
Even Lord Cornwallis, who afterwards came to 
Virginia with his forces, and finally surrendered 
to the Americans at Yorktown, told Lafayette 
that as soon as he arrived he sent Arnold down 
to Portsmouth, for he would never consent to 
associate with a person of such a character. 



286 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

An American captain was taken prisoner while 
Arnold was in Virginia, and the latter asked him 
what he thought his countrymen would do with 
him, if he should fall into their hands. " They 
will cut off the leg which was wounded while 
you Avere fighting for the cause of liberty," said 
he, "and bury it with the honors of war; and 
the rest of your body they will hang on a gib- 
bet!" 

In April, 1781, Arnold returned to New York. 
During that summer he did nothing. But in 
September, Clinton despatched him on a ravag- 
ing expedition against New London, in Con- 
necticut, but a few miles from the spot on which 
he was born. There were valuable stores col- 
lected in that town, and, being a fine seaport, 
it was easily approached by the enemy's vessels. 
He had full license to plunder and destroy ; and 
his conduct showed his true character. All his 
old resentments he now felt that he had an 
opportunity to wreak upon his friends and neigh- 
bors ; whatever ranklings he felt in his heart, he 
determined now with a sullen and fiendish malice 
to gratify. 

He marched with a force of about twenty- 



A traitor's barbarities. 287 

three hundred men to the extreme eastern end of 
Long Island, from which point he crossed the 
Sound and landed at the mouth of the Thames 
river. There he divided his command into two 
bodies. New London lies on the west bank of 
the river, and about three miles from its mouth ; 
and the town is protected by two forts, — Fort 
Trumbull on the west side, and Fort Griswold 
on the east. 

As soon as he made his appearance before the 
former, the garrison deserted, it and fled back- 
wards upon the city ; his troops outnumbered 
what they could bring together before the place, 
and a resolute defence would have been of no 
avail. The detachment that he sent over on the 
east side against Fort Griswold, met with a stout 
resistance. This fort stood upon quite high 
ground, and held a commanding position. Col. 
Ledyard was in command, — the brother of the 
celebrated traveller, John Ledyard. The little 
garrison made a most determined defence, and 
killed one officer after another who led on the 
British over the walls. One of the officers fell at 
the hands of a negro, who ran him through with 
a spear. At length, however, a foothold was 



288 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

gained within the works, though the enemy suf- 
fered badly before they secured it. Col. Ledyard 
ordered the garrison to cease further resistance, 
and prepared to surrender. Offering his sword 
by the handle to the advancing British officer, the 
latter demanded — " Who commands this fort, 
sir?" "J did, sir," answered Ledyard, in a manly 
voice, " but you do now." Upon which the heart- 
less barbarian seized the sword extended to him, 
and plunged it through the brave Ledyard's heart. 
He fell dead at his feet. The vest he wore on 
that bloody day is still preserved in the Wads- 
worth Athenaeum, at Hartford, and the rent is to 
be seen through which his noble spirit was let out 
to heaven. 

After consummating a barbarity like this, the 
enemy put the entire garrison to the sword, spar- 
ing not a single one of them. One hundred and 
five valiant and true men on that day were 
enrolled on the list of the immortal names in our 
country's history. The blood in the fort flowed 
in streams, and the officers and soldiers were com- 
pelled to wade in it. The dead, dying, and 
wounded Americans were picked up and piled 
together indiscriminately in a wagon, which was 



A traitor's barbarities. 289 

set going from the top of the hill, and rushed on 
with all speed to the bottom. It struck a tree just 
before it reached the foot, throwing out some of 
the dying ones with the shock, and extorting deep 
groans and piercing shrieks of anguish from lips 
that even then were almost mute in death. So 
cruel and barbarous a mode of torture to the per- 
sons of helpless captives, was never before re- 
corded among the practices of a civilized nation. 
What makes the affair still more terrible to con- 
template, the commander to whom the fort was 
surrendered was a native of American soil; and, 
like the traitor Arnold himself, the main body of 
these barbarians in disguise were heartless refu- 
gees from the cause of their country. The names 
of those whose lives were given as a forfeit to 
Liberty on that memorable day, are chiselled on 
a tall granite shaft whose shadow daily falls 
across the spot where they fell fighting. 

Arnold himself marched on New London after 
capturing Fort Trumbull, and set fire to the town. 
It is said that he climbed up into the belfry of a 
steeple, and from that perch looked down, hke 
Nero upon Rome, on the devastation of which 
he was the author. Families fled on this side 
25 



290 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

and that in wild dismay, unable to save any- 
thing from the sudden wreck of their household 
treasures. The rich became poor in an hour. 
All were placed upon a common footing, and all 
became sufl'erers and destitute alike. Arnold's 
memory could not have failed, at that hour, to 
remind him of a similar scene in the village of 
Danbury, when he was himself spurring on his 
horse to overtake Tryon, who played the ruthless 
incendiary there. But what his thoughts must 
have been, as he contemplated the flames rolling 
about the roofs of a peaceful population, and 
many of them, too, known to him from his boy- 
hood up, — it is not for us to attempt to tell. He 
must ha-ve felt that he was what Jefferson called 
him, when he made his desti'uctive incursion into 
Virginia, — a parricide. The past had no recol- 
lections so sweet, that they could avert his inhu- 
man resolution from the pursuit of its own cruel 
course. His heart was become like stone. A 
merciless fate was forcing him on. 

He withdrew with his forces after this act of 
barbarism, having had time barely to escape the 
aroused vengeance of his countrymen : and this 
was the last appearance he ever made in a ])Lil3lic 



A traitor's lURBARITIES. 2^1 1 

capacity in the country. He remained quiet in 
New York till the surrender of Corn wall is at 
Yorktown, which was practically the end of the 
war. The officers of the British army scorned 
and detested him, and Sir Henry Clinton saw 
how unwilling they were to serve near his person ; 
he therefore offered him a passage with his family 
to England, and in the month of December, 1781, 
the outcast set sail accordingly. It were better 
to have even an enemy upon our soil, than the 
foot of a traitor. 

From this time forward, little was known and 
much less was said about him. He sank grad- 
ually out of notice. For twenty years after this 
he lived, and made an effort to be a man among 
men ; but the load of infamy which he had to 
carry on his shoulders, was as much as mortal 
man could bear. There are several anecdotes re- 
lated of his meanness and duplicity, which came 
out subsequently; but nothing can add an iota to 
the weight of the damnation under which he 
labored already. 

While he was in London, the question of nego- 
tiating a peace with the United States was talked 
of ; and parliament presented a bill to that effect 



292 BENEDICT ARNOLD. 

to the king. Arnold was seen standing near the 
throne. One of the Lords declared aloud, that 
" however gracious might be the language he had 
heard from the throne, his indignation could not 
but be highly excited at beholding his majesty 
supported by a traitor I " Another Lord had risen 
to speak, on another occasion, when he chanced 
to observe Arnold in the gallery. Instantly he 
took his seat again, and, pointing with his finger 
at him, exclaimed in a loud voice, — "I will not 
speak while that man is in the House ! " 

Some time after the peace, Arnold came over 
to St. Johns, in New Brunswick, and embarked 
once more in the West India trade. The govern- 
ment aided him, furnishing him wdth contracts to 
supply provisions to their troops in Jamaica. He 
prospered greatly, building ships and sending 
them out to the West Indies on profitable ven- 
tures. His style of living was as ostentatious 
and extravagant as when he was in command of 
the city of Philadelphia. The population of St. 
Johns was made up chiefly of persons who had 
fled from the United States, and had settled there 
after the war. 

Arnold soon grew as unpopular in that place as 



2m 



he made himself in every other. He had two 
ware-houses, in which his goods were stored, and 
while he was gone to England one of them was 
burned in the night to the ground. Two of his 
sons slept in the building that night, but could 
give no explanation of the manner in which the 
fire was set. Suspicions were soon excited that 
there was foul play in the case, especially as it 
was known that the building and goods were in- 
sured for a very large amount. A suit with the 
company grew out of this affair, but Arnold at 
last recovered his insurance. 

Yet the people of St. Johns were not satisfied. 
They believed him a knave. Eager to express 
their opinion of the man, therefore, they made an 
effigy, stuck a label on it that read '• The Traitor,^^ 
and hung it before the windows of his house. A 
mob collected around it very rapidly. They grew 
so tumultuous that an officer was obliged to 
make his appearance and read the Riot Act to 
them. This dispersed them for a time, but they 
soon reassembled, and hung up the effigy for 
public derision again. The excitement became 
so intense that the military were finally called 
out; but the people gratified their feelings by 
25* 



204 ]]KNE1)1CT ARNOLD. 

casting the etiigy into the flames, before they 
separated. 

Not long after this, it is supposed that he left 
St. Johns, and went over to England again. 
There he remained during the rest o( his life, 
occasionally making a voyage on business to the 
West Indies. He asked for a command in the 
army when the war between England and France 
broke out, but the government were obliged to 
refuse his request, since not a single officer could 
be found who would serve with him. By high 
and low he was alike detested. Already he was 
himself what his name has been ever since, — an 
outcast on the face of the earth. His death took 
place in London, on the 14th of June, 1801, — he 
having survived his second wife about five years, 
and learned in a long course of twenty years how 
hard a thing it is to stem the torrent of the world's 
scorn and indignation. 

It is told that at the approach of death, he 
asked, as he sat in his chair, to have his old Con- 
tinental uniform brought out, — the same in 
which he had so bravely fought the battles of his 
native country. The coat was put upon his 
shoulders, and he looked around and surveyed his 



A traitor's barbarities. 295 

appearance with a strange mingling of emotions. 
While thus enveloped in the insignia of a glorious 
and successful Revolution, and no doubt smitten 
with remorse at the thought of the crimes for 
which he was answerable, — alternately toying 
with the honored uniform and deploring the depth 
of infamy into which he had plunged himself, — 
life took its departure, and the soul of the traitor 
went to another world. His old uniform was his 
winding sheet. He had lived both to honor and 
disgi-ace it. 

It was time the end had come. 



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