Minton 1Melissa MintonProfessor DennisENG 11118 April 2020Benedict Arnold: Friend or Foe?“Traitor” is a very ominous term in the English language, and is synonymous with many different names throughout history. Brutus and Cassius, Guy Fawkes, Judas Iscariot; however, few individuals personify the term “traitor” like Benedict Arnold. Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Judas sold only one Man, but Arnold three millions” (“Founders Online”). Many people do not understand the complexities behind that fateful day in September 1780. Arnold was a military hero during the Revolutionary War, but was passed over for promotion multiple times and misunderstood throughout his career (Trees 247). Arnold himself admitted (qtd. in Philbrick), “I am a passionate man”, and that passion led to many misunderstandings with others (28). He would fight for what he believed in, without regard to what others thought. Through conflicts and misunderstanding at Ticonderoga, Quebec, Ridgefield, and Saratoga, Benedict Arnold, unappreciated by the country he once loved; had no other choice but to abandon it in the ultimate act of self-preservation.Benedict Arnold’s impressive military career began with the capture of what came to be apivotal site for the Americans during the Revolution, Fort Ticonderoga, in 1775 (Arnold 37-40; “Ticonderoga”). Arnold convinced Dr Joseph Warren to allow him to join the expedition to capture the fort after the attacks at Lexington and Concord, where he joined Ethan Allen and TheGreen Mountain Boys (Arnold 37; Philbrick 84). Once the pair reached Lake George however, they found the British had taken or destroyed all but a handful of boats for them to cross. Arnold,
Minton 2in typical fashion, believed they could use this to their advantage and surprise the British. With a small band of 83 men, Arnold and Allen navigated the waters and marched into Fort Ticonderoga; capturing it (Arnold 40). At this point, since Arnold had received the rank of Colonel and been appointed by the State authority, he felt that he should be in charge. After an argument between Arnold and Allen, a division of troops ensued, giving Arnold control of his first 50 enlisted men (41). The pair met again during a “race for the ‘keys’ to Canada”, and Arnold beat Allen, as he attained control of Lakes George and Champlain. After Arnold secured the lakes, men under Allen’s command wrote to Congress and complained of his conduct and demeanor. Delegates went to Lake Champlain, and informed Arnold that if he remained there, hewould no longer be in command (44). Arnold, devastated, formally resigned and discharged the enlisted men under him (45). Silas Deane (qtd. in Arnold) wrote on August 10, 1775, “Colonel Arnold has been in my opinion hardly treated by this colony, through some mistake or other. He has deserved much and received little or less than nothing” (44-45). This was just the start of Arnold’s problems with Congress, although he met George Washington soon after and secured his confidence and friendship (Arnold 48; Philbrick 86).