After defeating British troops in Saratoga, Congress made Benedict Arnold a major general in the Continental Army. Washington wrote a commendation saying that Arnold was a brave officer. Despite the promotion, Arnold remained at the bottom of the list. There were four other major generals superior to him.
Arnold was soon off once again to help the northern army. Ticonderoga had fallen back into enemy hands. British General John Burgoyne and his troops were moving rapidly down from Canada toward Albany. Arnold fell under the leadership of General Horatio Gates. Arnold and Gates were complete opposites. Gates appeared cautious and calculating while Benedict was persistent and hasty. Gates held position on an area overlooking the Hudson River. His plan was to wait for an attack. He knew that the British were low on supplies from their long march from Canada and planned on using that to his advantage. Arnold disagreed, urging Gates to attack General Burgoyne during his progress. However, Gates didn’t trust Benedict or believe in his tactics. Once the battle begun there was no holding back. Disobeying Gates orders, Arnold led a furious attack. Upon the barrage of bullets swarming the battlefield, Arnold was shot in the leg. Ironically this was the same leg that had been wounded in the battle at Montreal. Thanks to Arnold’s valiant effort General Burgoyne and his men were faced with retreating. Over six hundred British soldiers were killed. On October 16, General Burgoyne surrendered his sword to General Gates, instead of Arnold. This had disgruntled Arnold greatly, given that it was his brilliant, tactical assessment that forced the British army to surrender. This had made the victory bittersweet threw his perspective.
Following the battle, Arnold lay in an Albany hospital for three months. Arnold left the hospital with a “fracture box” around his bad leg. Gates distort over Arnold’s disobedience stripped him of his rank. However, the Continental Congress restored his rank as a reward for Arnold’s spirited efforts.
After Ticonderoga, Arnold was having problems getting reimbursements from Congress for his expenses. Unfortunately, Arnold lacked receipts for those purchases. Arnold felt his loyalty and honor were in question given that Congress was slow to react to Arnold’s claim.
Soon after Washington requested that Arnold come to Valley Forge to converse his next assignment. Upon learning the extent of Arnold’s injury, Washington decided to position Benedict as the military governor in Philadelphia.
The British had occupied the capital city Philadelphia for nine months under the leadership of General William Howe. In June 1778 Benedict marched into the city and quickly ordered military law while taking possession of shops and supplies. The feeling of power and prestige that he had always longed for was finally his.
At the same time Benedict had encountered a striking 16-year old girl named Peggy Shippen. Peggy was the daughter of a Quaker, Judge...