Monument to Benedict Arnold

Revolutionary War Image

Benedict Arnold was wounded in action twice, both times in the leg, while fighting with the rebels at Quebec and Saratoga. This monument honors his leg only, as he later switched sides and betrayed his country.

During his 1777 campaign, British General Burgoyne attempted to split New England away from the rest of the colonies. At Breyman Redoubt on the Saratoga battlefield, American forces, rallied by Benedict Arnold, broke through the British defenses, forcing a retreat of Burgoyne’s remaining troops. A few days later the King’s army was surrounded and forced to surrender.

Without the heroic actions of Benedict Arnold, the Americans would not have won the Battle of Saratoga. It was possibly during his long recuperation from the severe leg wound that he received there, he fell under the influence of his loyalist in-laws, and turned traitor. According to period letters and diaries, they worked on him incessantly, reminding him of the disrespect that General Gates had shown to him by relieving him of command just before the battle.

Some historians believe that had he not turned traitor, he would have gone down in history as one of America’s greatest patriots – almost at the lofty heights of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Now his name is much worse than Dr. Mudd’s.

This image was made in Saratoga County, New York (map).

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The image, Monument to Benedict Arnold, is subject to copyright by Captain Oblivious. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.

20 Responses to Monument to Benedict Arnold

  1. opiejeanne says:

    Wonderful blog!

    I had one heck of a time locating this monument the day I visited, and only found it by accident because it was not marked and the monument is obscured from the main path by vegetation. It was cold and windy, and raining hard that day. There were two other visitors who were looking for it that day and we split up on the loop and called out to each other as we retraced our steps.

    The Battle of Saratoga (there were two, actually, a few days apart) were fought on and around John Freeman’s Farm, and was originally known as the Battle of John Freeman’s Farm. The site is not really in Saratoga, but several miles away, closer to Stillwater. The farm was rented from General Philip Schuyler.

    John Freeman was a Loyalist; he took his oldest son, Thomas who was 12, and went to volunteer for Burgoyne, as did hundreds of other men from the Saratoga area. Imagine their surprise that the battle was fought on their farm. Under the terms of the surrender, Burgoyne and his men were allowed to return to Canada, along with the families of the local Loyalists, which including the Freeman and Scott families. All their land and property had been confiscated, and in John Freeman’s case, there wasn’t much of his property left after the battle anyway. This exhausted and demoralized group began making their way north, a seventeen day, two hundred mile journey from Saratoga to St. John, Quebec, where they arrived November 3rd.

    Soon after arriving, the Freeman family suffered yet another devastating blow. In January and February of 1778, a smallpox epidemic struck the settlements along the eastern shores of Lake Champlain. John Freeman, his wife, and 7 of their 10 children died, leaving only Thomas and two of his sisters, Mary and Dorcas.

    I am the 4X great granddaughter of John Freeman, but I am also descended from several American Patriots.

  2. Well I hope you will considering joining the DAR, if you are not already a member, Opie Jeanne. My chapter has a Canadian lady descended from loyalists, however, she found one ancestor who stayed behind and fought for liberty.

  3. Jim Edgeworth says:

    Thomas, Daughter Hannah is my 4X Grandmother The family ended up in Windham Center in Ontario.
    There is a extensive family tree from this

  4. Jim Edgeworth says:

    ” I have a BIG problem with this ” Liberty” thing I think there is much more freedom on the north side of the border. Canada’s history has few invasions of other countries, and much less killing and attempting to show the world that our way is the only way. It seems to me there is too much flag waving and too little understanding of the rest of the world.

    As example after the USA became a county within 40 years they invaded Canada to save us. Big surprise We didn’t want to play. The first of many kicks in the butt for the good old USA for not minding their own Business.

  5. Liberty is a burden to bear. If Canadians do indeed have more of this “liberty thing” than do US citizens, they might wonder just who is protecting those liberties. Keeping the free world free IS the business of the United States. If we don’t, who will?

  6. Jim Edgeworth says:

    1914 Canada enters WWI
    !939 Canada enters WWII
    Show up late and want all the credit !
    Per population Canada had 4 times the people in uniform that the USA had.
    Wanted to form a pact with Hitler.Marches in Streets to support Hitler
    Lindberg and Joe Kennedy supporting Germany.
    Read ” A Man Called Intrepid”
    The Major threat to the Allies spy network ? J Edgar Hoover
    The battle of Britain was over in 1941 at that point Hitlers fate was sealed.
    We seem to need to protect ourselves from many things the USA is one of them.
    Keeping the world free is The responsibility of the people directly involved.Most of the places The US is “helping” They earlier helped the people they now fight. Examples Cuba,Iraq,Viet Nam,Panama,etc.
    A country that has 40 million without health care and an public education system that is in trouble needs to take care of it’s own problems and have some faith that the rest of the world will take care of it’s own.Might start with 17,000 Bridges, We are in the same position. Started on it after one fell in the spring.The only thing being helped is the defense industry. Who feeds the fear.

  7. Jerome J Levans says:

    There is no doubt in my mind that the ambitious Arnold should be considered as one of the best fighting men we ever had. I don’t think he could be placed in the same rank as Adams, Jefferson or even Washington. Adams and Jefferson’s contributions were of a different sort. As for Washington, there was no other man as great as he in the cause of Liberty during that time and afterwards.

    I believe Washington stands alone because of the weight of all his accomplishments and enduring trials. I also believe that a comparison between Arnold and Washington is difficult because of their different styles perhaps due in part to New England passion vs. Southern Gentleman. Each led from the front, could motivate and commanded respect. Each tasted victory and suffered defeat. However, Washington had much more on his plate. Knowing Arnold’s temperament, It is not difficult to speculate that Arnold would have had more difficulty commanding an entire Army (better than Washington) rather than an independent command. His virulent opinion of Congress could not have served the cause well nor endeared him to the same success achieved by Washington maintaining the Army in the field.

    Perhaps food for hypothetical thought, IF Arnold did not betray us…would Arnold’s ambition have found him challenging for leadership after the conflict? What type of leadership would he have favored and would he have put the interests of the new country above his own if he became its leader (accusations made in Philadelphia)? I reason not. He was never to be allowed the chance because of selling West Point and perhaps that is a good thing for all of us.

  8. Great food for thought and a great analysis, Jerome.

  9. Benedict Arnold’s story is one of the great personal tragedies in our history. He sacrificed greatly for our country, marching through the Maine woods in early winter, attacking Quebec, leading his little fleet against the British in the Battle of Valcour Island, taking charge at Saratoga . . . . But perhaps his personal ambition, inability to deal with the real politics of the Continental Congress, and, yes, love for his wife led him to make such a tragic mistake. I’m not so sure he is all that different from those humans today who desire to lead this country. Each reflects our weaknesses and strengths as humans. And as we have seen from so many of our presidents, the real circumstances they face once they become president determines who they really are, regardless of their past performances.

  10. The guilty says:

    Arnold saw the foundations of the disaster that is the US. When the end of days dawns, I hope we Brits are forgiven for allowing our frankensteins monster to survive. What have we done? Look what they have created. Arnold saw, God bless him.

  11. To Brits hoping for forgiveness — May your hopes spring eternal. Look at what “they” have created? Look indeed. Brits – may God bless ’em, every one.

  12. The guilty says:

    Washington? An Englishman from English stock who forgot where he came from. Arnold had the integrity to tell the truth. Stop claiming them, it was a civil war we didn’t appreciate the consequences of not taking seriously. Our greatest faux pas.

  13. Yes, Washington was an “Englishman from English stock,” who indeed, wanted to be nothing else. However, the British-born of the period refused to treat him, and other American-born Englishmen, as equals to themselves. George Washington from early on was an ambitious young man. He soon discovered that being a Colonial was far from being a real Englishman. … So, indeed, “he forgot where he came from” and the “upstart” Washington started his own country. The rest is history. If it was, as you describe, a Civil War, then the world’s greatest military force was bested by General Washington and his Rabble in Arms. We Americans call it a Revolution, understanding well that we are progeny of ancient English barons who instilled in our long ago forebears the yearning for liberty.

  14. The guilty says:

    So whose ‘liberty’ were you defending in 1812 when you ‘patriots’ invaded Canada? Or was that the birth of American expansionism. Don’t tie your colours to the flagpole of the noble cause, it was then, as it is now driven by ego and greed.

  15. As “The Guilty” knows well, “we” were defending our own liberty. Americans believed, as a sovereign nation, that our ships should have “liberty” to sail the ocean blue without the threat of boarding parties of British pirates. I doubt that little invasion of British lands to tweak the British would be seen as “American Expansionism.” Why would we Americans expand to Canada of all places? 😉

  16. Mark Arnold says:

    As an infant country of borrowed cultural status your limpet like clamp to Arnold as your nemesis is poor. Who else do you have? Your infantile betrayl of your first hero shows your national intellect. You are blind people. Ignorant flagwavers. Respect?

  17. Why don’t you tell us how you really feel about Americans, Mr. Arnold?

  18. Mark Arnold says:

    I love Americans, my Mother was one, my issue is you romanticise your history on sites like this. You need to be more pragmatic, with your past. Your nationalism is ill advised. Humility? Your contribution to our planet has so far, been lacking.

  19. Jim Edgeworth says:

    Re: expansionism ? what a pretty word for MURDER, What do you call the POW camp in Cuba, the mass wire taps, the e mail scans. Freedom to speak the party line to say anything else is un american. If the prisoners in cuba were in the States they would get access to your justice system. Then the treatment would be very different. Justice for All ! except etc.s
    Why would you what to expand ? Oil 2.5 million barrels per day going south, we have more than Saudi. Electric Power most of the northeast U.S. Power comes from Canada. Ontario builds more cars than Michigan the list is endless.
    The U.S. has much to be proud of and contributes well to the world. The lack of knowlege of the rest of the world and the fact they are not the only people who have a civilized free and democratic society makes many people laugh at the lack of understanding.
    Why is it America There are many other countries in North America ?
    Just how many British Pirates were there on Lake Erie ? There were a lot of American Man of War.

  20. Why are we Americans, and you are not?

    You people of the other countries here on this North American continent are North Americans, or Nord-américains, or Norteamericanos. Since we are in the middle of the continent we get to be called Americans. 😉

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