Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnolds March to Quebec, 1775


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Benedict Arnold's March to Quebec, 1775

Starvation forced them to eat whatever they could find, including such delicacies as dog meat and boiled leather straps. Displaying uncommon stamina and a steely will to survive, an army weakened by illness, hunger and death arrived at Fort Quebec only to realize that it lacked the necessary numbers and equipment to effectively besiege the stronghold. The reinforced troops stormed the gates with little success; Montgomery was killed and Arnold wounded in the initial raid.

Unable to take the fort, Arnold settled for harrying the British by sea. He could not defeat their superior navy, but he stalled it long enough to prevent the ships from sailing south to reinforce the British armies in the colonies until the following season, a delay that contributed greatly to the American victory at Saratoga in Desjardin Stand Firm Ye Boys from Maine , , not reviewed recounts the march in descriptive, detailed prose studded with visceral imagery, but Arnold comes across as a frequently incompetent commander throughout the Maine march, making it difficult to credit the decisive impact his actions had.

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Email Newsletter. Log In. Toggle navigation MENU. Email Address. Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. Do you work in the book industry? Arnold and most of the force had reached Fort Western by September The second, under Lieutenant Church, was to survey the route as far as the Dead River , at a place known to the local Indians as the Great Carrying Place, so that Arnold might better estimate how far the column would need to travel each day. Colburn and a crew of boatwrights came in the rear, to repair bateaux as needed. There was a rough track from Fort Western, so some of the men and supplies had moved overland rather than in the bateaux that had to be portaged around the falls above Fort Western to begin the trip.

Even at this early date, problems were apparent. The bateaux were leaking, resulting in spoiled food and a continual need for repairs. The men were constantly wet, due not only to the leakage but also the frequent need to pull the heavy boats upstream.

Benedict Arnold's Failed Siege of Quebec, and the Wicked Expedition through the Maine Wilderness!

As temperatures began to drop below freezing, colds and dysentery set in, reducing the effectiveness of the force. The portage around Norridgewock Falls, a distance of about one mile 1.

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Colburn's crew devoted some of this time to making repairs on the bateaux. This stretch of the trek was complicated by heavy rains, rendering the portages difficult due to extremely muddy conditions. The vanguard of the main body, led by Daniel Morgan, met Lieutenant Steele's scouting party en route to the first pond. Their supplies had been depleted, and they were largely subsisting on a protein-rich diet of fish, moose, and duck. Church, in his description of the route, had failed to account for the heavy rains and the boggy conditions between the first and second ponds.

Rain and snow slowed the long portage, and the expedition had its first casualty when a falling tree killed one of the party.

Some of the men who drank the stagnant waters along the way became violently ill, forcing Arnold to order construction of a shelter at the second pond as cover for the sick, and to send some men back to Fort Halifax for supplies that had been cached there. At this point, Arnold wrote a number of letters informing Washington and Montgomery of his progress. Progress up the Dead River was extremely slow.


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Contrary to its name, which supposedly described the speed of its currents, the river was flowing rapidly enough that the men had trouble rowing and poling against the current. The leaky boats spoiled more of the food, forcing Arnold to put everyone on half rations. When the sun rose they were surrounded by water. Precious time was lost when some of the men mistakenly left the Dead River and ascended one of its branches, having been fooled by the high water. Soon after, seven bateaux overturned, spoiling the remaining food stores.

Through a Howling Wilderness Benedict Arnold's March to Quebec 1775

This accident compelled Arnold to consider turning back. He called together his nearby officers for a council of war. Arnold explained that although the situation was grim, he thought that the expedition should continue. The sick and infirm were to retreat to American settlements in Maine. Further back on the route, Lieutenant Colonel Greene and his men were starving. They had little flour, and were consuming candle tallow and shoe leather to supplement their minimal rations. When he returned to camp, Lieutenant Colonel Enos had arrived, and they held their own council.

Enos's captains were united in wanting to turn back despite Arnold's most recent orders, which were to press ahead. In the council, Enos cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of continuing, but in a meeting with his captains after the council, announced that because they were insistent on returning, he was acceding to their decision, and would return.

The impact of the inaccurate maps was felt when the expedition reached the height of land. Although this part of the party crossed the height of land on October 25, it was not until two days later that they reached the lake.

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However, the way Arnold described the route included information from the incorrect maps that he had not seen on the route. Arnold first made contact with the local population on October Sympathetic to his plight, they supplied provisions and cared for the sick; some were well paid for their aid, while others refused payment. Halstead's mill became the organizing point for the crossing of the Saint Lawrence.

The Americans, with no cannons or other field artillery , and barely fit for action, faced a fortified city.

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When Montgomery arrived at Pointe-aux-Trembles on December 3, the combined force returned to the city and began a siege, finally assaulting it on December The invasion ended with a retreat back to Fort Ticonderoga , Montgomery's starting point, during the spring and summer of Arnold, who commanded the army's rear guard in the later stages of the retreat, was able to delay the British advance sufficiently to prevent them from attempting to reach the Hudson River in Enos and his detachment arrived back in Cambridge late in November.

Enos was court-martialed , charged with "quitting his commanding officer without leave". John Sullivan , the court-martial President, made public a written statement in support of Enos' conduct, and other officers also issued a public circular to support Enos, including William Heath , John Stark , Joseph Reed , and James Reed. Enos subsequently moved to Vermont , where he served in the militia as Colonel, Brigadier General and Major General, including commanding troops on the Vermont side of Lake Champlain during the Saratoga campaign to deter John Burgoyne from foraying into Vermont.

Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnold's March to Quebec, 1775

Reuben Colburn was never paid for his work, despite promises made by Arnold and Washington; the expedition ruined him financially. Henry Dearborn settled on the Kennebec River after the war, and represented the area in the U. He and two others escaped captivity in August and retraced the trek in the opposite direction, once again with meager resources. They benefited from better weather and equipment the expedition had abandoned along the way. Fobes reached his home near Worcester, Massachusetts at the end of September, and eventually rejoined the army.

A number of geographic features along the route of the expedition bear names related to the expedition. The wilderness portion of the route through Maine, roughly from Augusta to the Quebec border, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in as the "Arnold Trail to Quebec".

The lake was created in the 20th century by damming the Dead River, inundating part of the expedition route. Mount Bigelow, whose first recorded ascent was by Timothy Bigelow, stands just south of the lake. In the fall of , there was a reenactment of this expedition as part of the United States Bicentennial celebrations.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Canadian campaign. Ticonderoga Fort St. United States historic place.


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Arnold Trail to Quebec. National Register of Historic Places. Commemorative marker in Eustis, Maine. National Park Service. July 9, Arnold Expedition Historical Society. Retrieved The Historical Marker Database. Retrieved January 23, Hardy June 19, Arnold as true hero of the Revolutionary War". The Salem News. Archived from the original on February 1,

Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnolds March to Quebec, 1775 Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnolds March to Quebec, 1775
Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnolds March to Quebec, 1775 Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnolds March to Quebec, 1775
Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnolds March to Quebec, 1775 Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnolds March to Quebec, 1775
Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnolds March to Quebec, 1775 Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnolds March to Quebec, 1775
Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnolds March to Quebec, 1775 Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnolds March to Quebec, 1775
Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnolds March to Quebec, 1775 Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnolds March to Quebec, 1775

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