October 11

This Day in History

General Interest

Oct 11, 1776:

Benedict Arnold and the Battle of Valcour Island

During the American Revolution, a British fleet under Sir Guy Carleton defeats 15 American gunboats under the command of Brigadier General Benedict Arnold at the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain, New York. Although nearly all of Arnold's ship were destroyed, it took more than two days for the British to subdue the Patriot naval force, delaying Carleton's campaign and giving the Patriot ground forces adequate time to prepare a crucial defense of New York.

Four years later, Benedict Arnold, as commander of West Point, agreed to surrender the important Hudson River fort to the British for a bribe of $20,000. The plot was discovered after British spy John André was captured, forcing Arnold to flee to British protection, where he joined in their fight against the country that he once so valiantly served. He died in London in 1801. His name is synonymous with the word "traitor" in American speech.

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