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"On This Day in American History"



Comment ....... I've lived in Norwich Connecticut and the surrounding area for years. In the research I have done Benedict Arnold was born the second of six children to Benedict Arnold 1683-1761 and Hannah Waterman King in Norwich, Connecticut Colony, on January 14, 1741. He was named after his great-grandfather Benedict Arnold, an early governor of the Colony of Rhode Island, as were his father and grandfather, as well as an older brother who died in infancy. Only Benedict and his sister Hannah survived to adulthood. His other siblings succumbed to yellow fever in their childhood. The house (pictured above) is where he was born still stands in Norwich and in the past drove by it everyday...

It was on this day in 1781. Arnold’s 1,600 largely Loyalist troops sailed up the James River at the beginning of January, eventually landing in Westover, Virginia. Leaving Westover on the afternoon of January 4, Arnold and his men arrived at the virtually undefended capital city of Richmond the next afternoon. Virginia’s governor, Thomas Jefferson, had frantically attempted to prepare the city for attack by moving all arms & other Military Stores records from the city to a foundry five miles outside Richmond. As news of Arnold’s unexpectedly rapid approach reached him, Jefferson then tried to orchestrate their removal to Westham, seven miles further north. He was too late–Arnold’s men quickly reached and burned the foundry and then proceeded towards Westham, which Jefferson had asked the formidable Prussian military advisor Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben to guard. Finding von Steuben, Arnold chose to return to Richmond, burning much of the city the following morning. Only 200 militiamen responded to Governor Jefferson’s call to defend the capital–most Virginians had already served and therefore thought they were under no further obligation to answer such calls. Despite this untenable military position, the author of the Declaration of Independence was criticized by some for fleeing Richmond during the crisis. Later, two months after Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, he was cleared of any wrongdoing during his term as governor. Jefferson went on to become the leader of the Democratic-Republican Party, and his presidential victory over the Federalists is remembered as The Revolution of 1800. After the war, Benedict Arnold attempted and failed to establish businesses in Canada and London. He died a pauper on June 14, 1801, and lays buried in his Continental Army uniform at St. Mary’s Church, Middlesex, London. To this day, his name remains synonymous with the word “traitor” in the United States.
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