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He immediately waited on the Massachusetts committee of safety, and informed them of the de. fenceless state of Ticonderoga. The committee appointed him a colonel, and commissioned him to raise four hundred men, and to take that fortress. He proceeded directly to Vermont, and when he arrived at Castleton was attended by one servant only. Here he joined colonel Allen, and on the 10th of May, the fortress was taken.
In the fall of 1775, he was sent by the commander in chief to penetrate through the wilderness of the district of Maine, into Canada. On the 16th of September, he commenced his march with about one thousand men, consisting of New England infantry, some volunteers, a company of artillery, and three companies of riflemen. One division was obliged to return, or it would have perished by hunger. After sustaining almost incredible hardships he, in six weeks, arrived at Point Levi, opposite to Quebec. The appearance of an army, emerging from the wilderness, threw the city in. to the greatest consternation. In this moment of surprise Arnold might probably have become master of the place, but the small crafts and boats in the river were removed out of his reach.
It seems that his approach was not altogether unexpected. He had, imprudently, a number of days before, sent forward a letter to a friend by an Indian, who betrayed him. A delay of several days on account of the difficulty of passing the river was inevitable, and the critical moment was lost.
On the 14th of November, he crossed the St. Lawrence in the night; and, ascending the precipice, which Wolfe had climbed before him, formed his small corps on the height, near the memorable plains of Abraham. With only about seven hun
dred men, one third of whose muskets had been 1 rendered useless in the march through the wilder
ness, success could not be expected. After parading some days on the heights, near the town, and sending two flags to summon the inhabitants, he retired to Point aụx Trembles, twenty miles above Quebec, and there waited the arrival of Montgomery, who joined him on the first of December.
The city was immediately besieged, but the best measures had been taken for its defence. On the morning of the last day of the year, an assault was made on the one side of the city by Montgomery, who was killed. At the same time, colonel Arnold, at the head of about three hundred and fifty men, made a desperate attack on the opposite side. Advancing with the utmost intrepidity along the St. Charles, through a narrow path, exposed to an incessant fire of grape shot and musketry, as he approached the first barrier he received a musket ball in the leg, which shattered the bone; and he was carried off to the camp. Though the attack was unsuccessful, the blockade of Quebec was continued till May, 1776, when the army, which was in no condition to risk an assault, was removed to a more defensible position. Arnold was compelled to relinquish one post after another, tili the 18th of June, when he quitted Canada. After this period he exhibited great bravery in the command of the American fleet on lake Champlain.
In August, 1777, he relieved fort Schuyler, under the command of colonel Gansevoort, which was invested by colonel St. Leger, with an army of from fifteen to eighteen hundred men. In the battle, near Stillwater, September the nineteenth, he conducted himself with his usual intrepidity, being engaged, incessantly, for four hours. In the action of October the seventh, after the British had been driven into the lines, Arnold pressed forward, and under a tremendous fire, assaulted their works from right to left. The intrenchments were at length forced, and with a few men he actually en
tered the works; but his horse being killed, and he himself badly wounded in the leg, he found it necessary to withdraw, and as it was now almost dark, to desist from the attack.
Being rendered unfit for active service in consequence of his wound, after the recovery of Philadelphia, he was appointed to the command of the American garrison. When he entered the city, he made the house of governor Penn, the best house in the city, his head quarters. This he furnished in a very costly manner, and lived far beyond his income. He had wasted the plunder, which he had seized at Montreal, in his retreat from Canada ; and at Philadelphia, he was determined to make new acquisitions. He laid his hands on every thing in the city, which could be considered as the property of those who were unfriendly to the cause of his country. He was charged with oppression, extortion, and enormous charges upon the public, in his accounts; and with applying the public movey and property to his own private use. Such was his conduct, that he drew upon himself the odium of the inhabitants, not only of the city, but of the province in general. He was engaged in trading speculations, and had shares in several privateers, but was unsuccessful.
From the judgment of the commissioners, who had been appointed to inspect his accounts, and who had rejected above half the amount of his demands, he appealed to congress; and they appointed a committee of their own body to examine and settle the business. The committee confirmed the report of the commissioners, and thought they had allowed him more than he had any right to expect or demand. By these disappointments he became irritated, and he gave fall scope to his resentment. His invectives against congress were not less violent, than those which he had before thrown out against the commissioners. He was, however,
soon obliged to abide the judgment of a court-martial, upon the charges exhibited against him by the executive of Pennsylvania; and he was subjected to the mortification of receiving a reprimand from Washington. His trial commenced in June, 1778, but such were the delays occasioned by the movements of the army, that it was not concluded until the 26th of January, 1779. - The sentence of a reprimand was approved by congress, and was soon afterwards carried into execution.".
Such was the humiliation, to which general Arnold was reduced, in conséquence of yielding to the temptations of pride and vanity, and indulging himself in the pleasures of a sumptuous table and expensive equipage...
From this time, probably, his proud spirit revolted from the cause of America. He turned his eyes to West Point as an acquisition, which would give value to treason, while its loss would inflict a mortal wound on his former friends. He addressed himself to the delegation of New York, in which state his reputation was peculiarly high; and a member of congress from this state, recommended him to Washington for the service which he desired. But this request could not be immediately complied with. The same application to the commander in chief was made not long afterwards through general Schuyler. Washington observed, that, as there was a prospect of an active campaign, he should be gratified with the aid of general Arnold in the field, but intimated, at the same time, that he should receive the appointment requested, if it should be more pleasing to him."
Arnold, without discovering much solicitude, repaired to camp in the beginning of August, and renewed, in person, the solicitations, which had been before indirectly made. He was now offered the command of the left wing of the army, which was advancing against New York, but he declined it under the pretext, that in conseqence of his wounds, he was unable to perform the active duties of the field. Without a suspicion of his patriotism, he was invested with the command of West Point.--Previously to his soliciting this station, he had, in a letter to colonel Robinson, signified his change of principles, and his wish to restore himself to the favour of his prince, by some signal proof of his repentance. This letter opened to him a correspondence with sir Henry Clinton, the object of which was to concert the means of putting the linportant post, which he commanded, into the possession of the British general. .
His plan, it is believed, was to have drawn the greater part of his army without the works, under the pretext of fighting the enemy in the defiles, and to have left unguarded a designated pass, through which the assailants might securely approach and surprise the fortress. His troops he intended to place, so that they would be compelled to surrender, or be cut in pieces. · But just as his scheme was ripe for execution, the wise Disposer of events, who so often and so remarkably interposed in faFour of the American cause, blasted his designs.
Major Andre, adjutant general of the British army, was selected as the person, to whom the maturing of Arnold's treason, and the arrangements for its execution should be committed. A correspondence was, for some time, carried on between them under a mercantile disguise, and the feigned names of Gustavus and Anderson; and at length, to facilitate their communications, the Vulture sloop of war moved up the North river and took a station convenient for the purpose, but not so near as to excite suspicion. An interview was agreed on, and in the night of September the 21st, 1780, he was taken in a boat, which was dispatched for the purpose, and carried to the beach without the posts of both armies, under a pass for John Ander