Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Boot

At Saratoga, at Breymann's Redoubt, Major General Benedict Arnold, holding no orders and otherwise laid aside by the commanding General Horatio Gates, facilitated the assault on this post, with Colonel Daniel Morgan and Major Henry Dearborn attacking head-on.  Arnold is generally credited for the assault on this redoubt (and suffering a shot to the leg) and turning the tide at this second battle at Saratoga, the Battle of Bemis Heights on October 7, 2016.  It was a victory that was obtained in violation of the commanding general's orders.  A plaque at the site consists solely of a boot.

His name is not mentioned on the monument,  National Park Service signage does note the "Arnold Monument." On the back, the soldier who put up the monument, had this inscribed:

 "Erected 1887 By
Brev: Maj: Gen: S.N.Y.
2nd V. Pres't Saratoga Mon't Ass't'n:
In memory of
the "most brilliant soldier" of the
Continental Army
who was desperately wounded
on this spot the sally port of
7th October, 1777
winning for his countrymen
the decisive battle of the
American Revolution
and for himself the rank of

Major General."

As I looked at it, a father was explaining to his daughter what it meant.  She said that Arnold was a traitor.  Her father said that Arnold had done great things for the Revolution, and noted the victory here.  He referred to Arnold as "a maverick" and said sometimes you need that.

I don't defend Arnold's attempted sell-out of West Point or his later treachery and ferocious assaults in aid of the British in the latter part of the war, particularly in his home state of Connecticut, but it was interesting to hear this discussion in such a setting.

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