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CHRONICLE OF THE REVOLUTION
BENEDICT ARNOLD'S LEG
Monument to Benedict Arnold's Leg
 Monument to Benedict
 Arnold's Leg
 
On the grounds of the Saratoga National Historic Park, there rests a monument to Benedict Arnold's leg. It sits on the spot where Arnold fell wounded during the Battle of Freeman's Farm. He had just led a brilliant charge against a British redoubt—the culmination of a day of extraordinary field generalship that led one of his soldiers to later write of Arnold that he was "the very genius of war."

The leg was severely wounded, bleeding copiously, and pinned beneath Arnold's own horse. It survived the battle and the war.

Arnold, of course, did, too. But in the process, he turned from one of the great heroes of the American Revolution into the epitome of traitorousness.

Some of the seeds of his treachery were planted during his recuperation from that wound at Saratoga. Arnold started to become embittered by what he saw as a lack of recognition for his military genius on the part Congress and the Continental Army. Just a year and a half after his gallantry at Saratoga, Arnold offered his services to the British. Specifically, he planned to hand over the keys to West Point, a crucial American fort on the Hudson which Arnold commanded.

Benedict Arnold
 Benedict Arnold
The plot quickly unraveled. Arnold's contact with the British army, Major John Andre', was captured by American forces with letters implicating Arnold in his boot. Andre' was hanged. Arnold escaped to the British on a frigate called Vulture---one vulture receiving another, Thomas Paine wrote in one of his Crisis papers.

Arnold went on to command British forces against American troops in his native Connecticut, but the war was soon over, and Arnold had made the grave mistake of jumping to the losing side. In the new republic, his name was reviled; in England, where he sailed after the Revolution, he received an ambivalent reception.

He died there in 1801.

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