Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > American History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

American History American History Forum - United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America


View Poll Results: What was Arnold's role at 1st Freeman's Farm
He led from the front, fought like a wildcat, and deserves all the accolades 2 20.00%
He led the troops into battle but mostly directed the field action from behind 6 60.00%
He was behind the battle directing the troops 1 10.00%
He was at headquarters arguing with Gates and giving orders from there 1 10.00%
Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old April 6th, 2013, 04:07 AM   #21
Lecturer
 
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 487

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viperlord View Post
I would indeed. Getting shot at is the job of colonels and brigadiers, not army commanders. When Civil War army or corps commanders played brigade or regimental leaders, like A.S. Johnston at Shiloh or Reynolds at Gettysburg, little good came of it.
True, but Washington did lead from the front at times Princeton, Trenton, Brandywine and sometime during the retreat from NY. It was a different war.


The Marksman Who Refused to Shoot George Washington
Rediscovering George Washington . Milestones: Read About Battles of Trenton and Princeton | PBS
yakmatt is offline  
Remove Ads
Old April 6th, 2013, 05:19 AM   #22

Baltis's Avatar
Goat Whisperer
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Texas
Posts: 3,005
Blog Entries: 30
Wilkinson's memoirs


One of the most oft used sources for writers on Saratoga is the memoirs of James Wilkinson. As mentioned above, there are many who discredit anything he writes as tainted, if they don't like it. yet, almost 100% of the writers use the memoir. It is lengthy and has great detail. I think today is a good day to go ahead and put it up. I must go out of town on a quick day trip and this will likely be all I can post until tomorrow (or late tonight).

One might remember that, by the time this was written, Wilkinson probably hated Gates way more than he would have hated Arnold. He and Gates had a serious falling out during the Conway Cabal affair in which Wilkinson was a player. Seems like maybe his role was whistle-blower who turned on Gates in a most angry manner.

IF you have no patience for the entire account, skip to the bold print in the last paragraph. It focuses on Arnold.

Memoirs of my own times, Volume 1 of 4 - James Wilkinson

About 8 O'clock on the morning of the 19th September, I received information from Colonel colburn, that the enemy had struck the chief part of their tents on the plain near the river, had crossed the gulley at the gorge of the great ravine, and were ascending the heights in a direction towards our left. On making this communication to the general, he immediately ordered Colonel Morgan to advance with his corps, who was instructed, should he find the enemy approaching, to hang on their front and flanks, to retard their march, and cripple them as much as possible.

About half after twelve o'clock, a report of small arms announced Morgan's corps to be engaged in front of our left; the General with his suite was at this time examining the battery which had been commenced on our left: I asked leave to repair to the scene of action, but was refused with this observation, "It is your duty, Sir, to wait my orders." This firing was of short duration, but was soon recommenced with redoubled vivacity: id. made an excuse to visit the picket on the left for intelligence, put spurs to my horse, and directed by the sound, had entered the wood about an hundred rods, when the fire suddenly ceased. I exchanged a few words with him, passed on and met major Morris alone, who was never so sprightly as under a hot fire; from him I learned that the corps was advancing by files into lines, when they unexpectedly fell upon a picket of the enemy, which they almost instantly forced, and pursuing the fugitives, their front had as unexpectedly fallen in with the British line; that several officers and men had been made prisoners, and that to save himself, he had been obliged to push his horse through the ranks of the enemy, and escaped by a circuitous route. To show me where the action commenced, he leaped a fence into the abandoned field of Freeman, choked up with weeds, and led me to the cabin which had been occupied by the British picket, but was then almost encircled with dead; he then cautioned me to keep a lookout for the enemy, who he observed could not be far from us; and as I never admired exposition from which neither advantage nor honor could be derived, I crossed the angle of the field, leaptt the fence, and just before me on a ridge discovered Lt. Col. Butler with three men, all treed; from him I learnt that they had "caught a Scotch prize," that having forced the picket, they had closed with the British line, had been instantly routed, and from the suddenness of the shock and the nature of the ground, were broken and scattered in all directions; he repeated Morris is cautioned to me, and remarked that the enemies sharpshooters were on the opposite side of the ravine, and that being on horseback, I should attract a shot. We changed our position, and the Col. inquired what were Morgan's orders, and informed me that he had seen a heavy, moving towards our left. I then turned about to regain the camp, and report to the general, when my ears were saluted by an uncommon noise, which I approached, and perceived Col. Morgan attended by two men only, who with a turkey call, was collecting his dispersed troops. The moment I came up to him he burst into tears, and exclaimed," I am ruined, by God! Major Morris ran on so rapidly with the front, that they were beaten before I could get up with the rear, and my men are scattered God knows where." I remarked to the kernel that he had a long day before him to retrieve and inauspicious beginning, and informed him where I had seen his field officers, which appeared to cheer him, and we parted.

Having reported to the general, he ordered out Cilley's and Scmmel's regiments, of New Hampshire, to March and fall in on the left of Morgan, for which purpose I gave them the best direction my observation on the ground enabled me to do. These regiments advanced through the woods, the ground on the left of Morgan, and the action was renewed about one o'clock, and was supported with spirit, though subject to occasional pauses, as the troops on either side advanced, retired, and shifted their ground. Hale's Regiment of New Hampshire, Van Cortland's and Henry Livingston's of New York, and Cook's and Latimer's of the Connecticut militia, were successively led to the field, with orders to extend to the left, and support those points of the action, where they perceive the greatest pressure; our right being secured by thickets and ravines. About three o'clock the action became general; and from that. Until night fell, the fire of the musketry was incessant: the enemy brought for field pieces into the engagement, but on our side the ground was impracticable to artillery. Towards evening general Learned's whole brigade was ordered out, consisting of Bailey's, Weston's, and Jackson's regiments, of Massachusetts, and James Livingston of New York, together with Marshall's Regiment and Patterson's brigade and the Massachusetts line. These troops got into action with a part of the British like core, which had kept its ground to cover Burgoyne's right, and the column of Germans, whom he had drawn from his left just about sunset, and of consequence they were but lightly engaged, as is manifest from their loss. If these columns had met at an earlier hour of the day, something decisive must have taken place, the ground being somewhat open and on the right flank of the enemy. We had about 3000 men on the field, and the enemy, from general Burgoyne's account, about 3500; on our part, the stress of the action fell upon Morgan's corps and Poor's brigade, and on that of the enemy it was chiefly sustained by Hamilton's brigade, consisting of the 20th, 21st, and 62nd British infantry, with a brigade of artillery under Capt. Jones, who was killed.

This battle was perfectly accidental; neither of the generals meditated an attack at the time, and but for Lieut. Col. Colburn's report, it would not have taken place; Burgoyne's movement being merely to take ground on the heights of the front of the great ravine, to give his several corps their proper places in line, to embrace our front and cover his transport, stores, provisions and baggage in the rear of his left; and on our side the defenses of our camp being not have completed and reinforcements daily arriving, it was not general Gates policy to court and action. The misconception of the adverse Chiefs put them on the defensive, and confined them to the ground they casually occupied at the beginning of the action, and prevented a single maneuver, during one of the longest, warmest, and most obstinate battles fought in America. General Gates believed that his antagonist intended to attack him, and circumstances appeared to justify the like conclusion on the part of Burgoyne; and as the thickness and depth of the intervening would conceal the position and movements of either Army from his adversary, sound cautioned obliged the respective commanders to guard every unassailable point; thus the flower of the British Army, the Grenadier's and light infantry, 1500 strong, were posted on an eminence to cover it's right, and stood by their arms, in active spectators of the conflict until near sunset; while general Gates was obliged to keep his right wing on post, to prevent the enemy from forcing that flank, by the plain bordering on the River. Had either of the generals been properly apprised of the dispositions of his antagonist, a serious blow might have been struck on our left or the enemies right to me: but although nothing is more common, it is as ill liberal as it is unjust, to determine the merits of military operations by events exclusively. It was not without experience that the Romans erected temples to fortune. Later times might afford motives for edifices, in which genius or wisdom would have no votaries.

The theater of action was such, that although the combatants change ground a dozen times in the course of the day, the contest terminated on the spot where it began. This may be explained in a few words. The British line was formed on an eminence in a thin pine wood, having before it Freeman's Farm, an oblong field stretching from the center towards it's right, the ground in front sloping gently down to the verge of this field, which we bordered on the opposite side by a close wood; the sanguinary scene lay in the clear ground, between the eminence occupied by the enemy and the wood just described; the fire of our marksmen from this wood was too deadly to be withstood by the enemy in line, and when they gave way and broke, our men rushing from their covert, pursued them to the eminence, where, having their flanks protected, they rallied, and charging in turn drove us back into the wood, from whence a dreadful fire woud again force them to fall back; and in this manner did the battle fluctuate, like waves of the stormy sea, with alternate advantage for four hours without one moment's intermission. The British artillery fell into our possession at every charge, but we could neither turn the pieces upon the enemy, nor bring them off; the wood prevented the last, and the want of a match the first, as the lintstock was invariably carried off, and the rapidity of transitions did not allow us time to provide one. The slaughter of this brigade of artillerists was remarkable, the Capt. and 36 men being killed or wounded out of 48. It was truly a gallant conflict, in which death by familiarity lost its terrors, and certainly a drawn battle, as night alone terminated it; the British Army keeping its ground in rear of the field of action, and our core, when they could no longer distinguish objects, retiring to their own camp. Yet general Burgoyne claimed a victory, as may be seen by the following letters to Brig. Gen. Powell, commanding a Ticonderoga.


It is worthy of remark, that not a single general officer was on the field of battle the 19th September. Until the evening, when general Learned was ordered out; about the same time general Gates and Arnold were in front of the center of the camp, listening to the appeal of small arms, when Col. him Lewis Deputy quartermaster general returned from the field, and being questioned by the general, he reported that a decisive progress of the action on that which Arnold exclaimed, "by God I will soon put an end to it," and clapping spurs to his horse, galloped off at full speed; Col. Lewis immediately observed to general Gates"you had better order him back, the action is going well, he may by some rash act do mischief." I was instantly dispatched, overtook, and remanded Arnold to camp. This battle then, was fought by the general concert and zealous cooperation of the corps engaged, and was sustained more by individual Kurds than military discipline, for it will be seen by reference to the return of killed and wounded, that Col. cooks Regiment of the Connecticut militia, suffered more than any other, except the intrepid Cilley's; in the course of the day prisoners were made on both sides. We had three officers and 20 privates taken, and we captured upwards of and hundred of the enemy.
Baltis is offline  
Old April 7th, 2013, 10:22 AM   #23

Baltis's Avatar
Goat Whisperer
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Texas
Posts: 3,005
Blog Entries: 30
Quote from General Poor


Since we now have a couple of quotes throwing water on the idea of Arnold participating at the 1st Freeman's Farm, I think the time has come to give the Arnold fans some fuel. Also, I think the last post was pretty lengthy and here is a shorter one. As is readily apparent, this eyewitness account suffers from its own admission of being heresay. The other problem here apparently comes from Poor's handwriting as noone seems able to positively identify the actual source Poor is quoting. Nonetheless, this quote has provided some wonderful fuel for Arnold biographers.


Quote from General Poor - September 20, 1777

"Arnold rushed into the thickest of the fight with his usual recklessness, and at times acted like a madman. I did not see him once, but S [Colonel Scammell?] told me this morning that he did not seem inclined to lead alone, but as a prominent object among the enemy should present itself, he would seize the rifle-gun and take deliberate aim."
Baltis is offline  
Old April 7th, 2013, 12:47 PM   #24

Baltis's Avatar
Goat Whisperer
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Texas
Posts: 3,005
Blog Entries: 30
Captain Ezekiel Wakefield of Dearborn's Light Infantry


More food for the Arnold fans. This later in life account from Captain Wakefield is probably the best evidence in existence that Arnold may, in fact, have fought at the front lines on September 19th.


Recollections of Ezekiel Wakefield


“I shall never forget the opening scene of the first day’s conflict. The riflemen and light infantry were ordered to clear the woods of Indians. Arnold rode up, and with his sword pointing to the enemy emerging from the woods into an opening partially cleared, covered with stumps and fallen timber, addressing Morgan, he said, “Colonel Morgan, you and I have seen too many redskins to be deceived by that garb of paint and feathers; they are asses in lion’s skins, Canadians and Tories; let your riflemen cure them of their borrowed plumes.”

“And so they did; for in less than fifteen minutes the “Wagon Boy,” with his Virginia riflemen, sent the painted devils with a howl back to the British lines. Morgan was in his glory, catching the inspiration of Arnold, as he thrilled his men; when he hurled them against the enemy, he astonished the English and Germans with the deadly fire of his rifles.”

“Nothing could exceed the bravery of Arnold on this day; he seemed the very genius of war. Infuriated by the conflict and maddened by Gates’ refusal to send reinforcements, which he repeatedly called for, and knowing he was meeting the brunt of the battle, he seemed inspired with the fury of a demon.”

[i][i] The Spirit of Seventy-Six, editors Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris, 581 – statement taken from the Recollections of Captain E. Wakefield of the American Army quoted in Chaplain Smith and the Baptists, Guild, 213

Last edited by Baltis; April 7th, 2013 at 01:04 PM.
Baltis is offline  
Old April 7th, 2013, 05:04 PM   #25

Baltis's Avatar
Goat Whisperer
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Texas
Posts: 3,005
Blog Entries: 30
Richard Varick to P Schuyler, 22 September 1777


Here is an often used quote to bolster the pro-Arnold position. The item is often criticized for some obvious reasons. It doesn't really say that Arnold did anything specific except direct troop movements from the rear. Otherwise, the firmly states the opinion that he deserves the credit. Pretty much the same problem with Arnold's own letter. He only claims credit is due because his division fought and not because he claims any specific actions. Of course the other problem with this piece is its very source. Richard Varick was a friend of Schuyler who was working as an aide to Arnold. His hatred of Gates well documented.


Nevertheless, here it is:


Colonel Richard Varick didn't really describe the action but he did indicate that Arnold deserved "all the credit of the action on the 19th, for he was ordering out troops to it, while the other (Gates) was in Dr. Pott's tent backbiting his neighbours."[i]

[i] Varick to Schuyler, September 22, 1777
Baltis is offline  
Old April 8th, 2013, 04:07 AM   #26
Lecturer
 
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 487

Henry Livingston in a letter to Schuyler on 9/23
“The reason of the present disagreement between two old cronies is simply this: Arnold is you friend.”

Schuyler wrote it was Gates who precipitated the falling out because he would be indebted to Arnold “for the glory he may acquire by victory...Perhaps he is so sure of success that he does not wish (arnold) to come in for a share of it.

Livingston in a letter to Schuyler. “Arnold cannot think of leaving the camp.
General Arnold’s intention to quit. . . has caused great uneasiness among the soldiers”

Two days later (9/26) he wrote, every line officer, except Lincon, has signed a petition to Arnold, “requestion him not to quit the service at this critical moment. . .It gives me pleasure to inform you that General Arnold intends to stay, thought, no accommodation has taken place”

from
Benedict Arnold, patriot and traitor, W S Randall

Last edited by yakmatt; April 8th, 2013 at 04:09 AM.
yakmatt is offline  
Old April 8th, 2013, 11:53 AM   #27

Baltis's Avatar
Goat Whisperer
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Texas
Posts: 3,005
Blog Entries: 30

Henry Livingston was Arnold's aide and well known to despise Gates. His suggestion that Arnold and Gates argument as being simply that Arnold is a friend of Schuyler's holds little weight. IMO. Arnold and Gates had worked well together and been past friends prior to the Freeman's Farm problem. Schuyler's reply is just a snipe at Gates more reflective of Schuyler's hurt feelings than anything else. Although, I find it interesting in that he is correct that Gates had a plan he was confident in and Arnold was trying desperately to change that plan into a more risky one where Arnold would be hero.

Your additions are in fact well made and the book by Randall is among those I have reviewed for the secondary sources section of the threads. I also have a couple of quotes from young Henry Livingston upcoming along with a differing opinion from Henry's uncle. (at least I think it is Henry's uncle.)
Baltis is offline  
Old April 8th, 2013, 12:11 PM   #28
.
 
Joined: Sep 2012
From: Valles Marineris, Mars
Posts: 4,835

So far only one person voted?
Gorge123 is offline  
Old April 8th, 2013, 12:47 PM   #29

Tuthmosis III's Avatar
His Royal Travesty
 
Joined: Oct 2011
From: the middle ground
Posts: 2,613
Blog Entries: 3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorge123 View Post
So far only one person voted?
The rest of us are conducting an investigation of historical sources...
Tuthmosis III is offline  
Old April 8th, 2013, 02:30 PM   #30

Baltis's Avatar
Goat Whisperer
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Texas
Posts: 3,005
Blog Entries: 30
Colonel Henry Brockholst Livingston to General Schuyler


This is one of two letters that are also part of Yakmatt's addition above. This letter is written on the 23rd after Arnold's confrontation with Gates. Apparently young Henry witnessed the event. Henry is aide to Arnold and known as a young hothead involved in a duel with (I think, Wilkinson, or is it Varick?) somebody. In any event, you will see what can only be described as unabashed hero worship for Arnold.



Col. Henry Brockholst Livingston to General Schuyler
23 September 1777

I am much distressed at general Arnold's determination to retire from the Army at this important crisis. His presence was never more necessary. He is the life and soul of the troops. Believe me, Sir, to him and to him alone is due the honor of our late victory. Whenever share his superiors may claim they are entitled to none. He enjoys the confidence and affection of officers and soldiers. They would, to a man, follow him to conquest or death. His absence will dishearten them to such a degree as to render them of but little service.

The difference between him and Mr. Gates has arisen to too great a height to admit of a compromise. I have, for some time past, observe the great coolness and, in many instances, even disrespect with which Gen. Arnold has been treated at headquarters. His proposals have been rejected with marks of indignity, his own orders have frequently been contravened, and himself set in a ridiculous light by those of the commander in chief. His remonstrances, on those occasions, have been termed presumptuous. In short he has pocketed many insults for the sake of his country, which a man of less pride would have resented.

The repeated indignities he received at length roused his spirit and determined him again to remonstrate. He waited on Mr. Gates in person last evening. Matters were alter catered in a very high strain. Both were warm, the latter rather passionate and very assuming. Towards the end of the debate Mr. Gates told Arnold," he did not know of his being a Maj. Gen. He had sent his resignation to Congress. He had never given him the command of any division of the Army. Gen. Lincoln would be here in a day or two, that then he should have no occasion for him, and would give him a pass to go to Philadelphia, whenever he chose it."

Arnold spirit could not brook this usage. He returned to his quarters, represented what had passed in a letter to Mr. Gates and requested his permission to go to Philadelphia. This morning, in answer to his letter, he received a permit, by way of a letter directed to Mr. Hancock. He sent this back and requested one in proper form, which was complied with. Tomorrow he will set out for Albany.

The reason of the present disagreement between two old cronies is simply this-Arnold is your friend. I shall attend the general down. Chagrining as it may be for me to leave the Army at a time when an opportunity is offering for every young fellow to distinguish himself, I can no longer submit to the command of a man whom I abhor from my very soul. This conduct is disgusting to everyone but his flatterers and dependence, among whom are some who profess to be your friends. A cloud is gathering and may ere long burst on his head.
Baltis is offline  
Reply

  Historum > World History Forum > American History

Tags
1st, 1st freeman's farm, arnold, benedict arnold, farm, freeman, role, saratoga


Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Defending Freeman's thesis: suppression of the Greek intellectual tradition Kookaburra Jack Ancient History 86 July 11th, 2013 01:34 PM
Philip Freeman Alcibiades History Book Reviews 1 January 26th, 2011 07:48 AM
Animal Farm Scourge History in Films and on Television 9 August 30th, 2009 09:06 AM
Do we need a new farm system for elitism? coberst Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology 3 August 25th, 2009 01:54 AM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.