Historical question regarding combat with muzzleloading rifles

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FlinterNick

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I’m not sure if it’s as black and white as to say Arnold made war on his own kind. He was born a British citizen in a British colony. As for Washington he took the oath to the King in the militia, probably more than once, but disregarded that oath later when it suited him. Yet he’s not remembered as an oath-breaking traitor, probably because he won.
I don’t think its anymore clearer for Arnold, he took up arms against the very men he commanded and fought side by side with, what every value of principal he held so dearly was easily (and cheaply) bought for his treachery.

All you have to do is look at his post war actions, his lobbying to have his expenses covered were even denied by the Crown who said he had no ability to substantiate the claims, the very same treatment that was given to him by Congress and the Continentals. Arnold had always claimed to have been mistreated by Congress and the Army, well they certainly had reasonable cause to do so, in short he was scheming liar and both the Americans and British knew it.

He was really led by his mercenary nature, what ever true values of patriotism and liberty he held on to were lost sometime after 1776 after Quebec.

In the end Arnold was neither British or American, a man without a home or an identity. Even his trophy wife was contemptuous of him.

Had Washington not placed Arnold in command of Philadelphia, things would have been far different, Arnold may have assumed command of the Southern Army after Gate’s failure At Camden, that’s how close he was really to becoming a true hero.
 

TFoley

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And still, when we look at the historical record, Arnold's defense of the northern American Campaign and defeat of the British Armies is one of the reasons that the American Colonial Revolution succeeded.
Isn't that why his memorial statue just depicts a booted leg? The one part of him that was not a traitor?

1618589736815.png

Erected 1887 By
JOHN WATTS de PEYSTER
Brev: Maj: Gen: S.N.Y.
2nd V. Pres't Saratoga Mon't Ass't'n:
In memory of
the "most brilliant soldier" of the
Continental Army
who was desperately wounded
on this spot the sally port of
BURGOYNES GREAT WESTERN REDOUBT
7th October, 1777
winning for his countrymen
the decisive battle of the
American Revolution
and for himself the rank of
Major General.

Arnold suffered what he considered a series of slights and insults by the Continental Congress in the months and years following Saratoga, as the Revolutionary War continued. He also opposed treaties that brought French military assistance to the Americans. The wounded Arnold began negotiations with British agents that culminated in his changing sides in September 1780. As part of these negotiations, Arnold attempted unsuccessfully to hand his American command, the key fortification of West Point, over to the British.

This attempt failed because of the capture of Major John André. Following the overall failure of the treasonous operation, Arnold escaped to the British lines. As a reward for turning his coat, Arnold was paid £6,000 and commissioned as a brigadier general in the King's troops. For the rest of the war he headed raiding parties that probed Continental Congress-controlled territories and tried to do damage.

Based on one of these raids, an apocryphal story that has circulated in various versions states:

When Benedict Arnold was leading the forces of the King against his former compatriots in Virginia, among his prisoners was a certain plucky and witty officer, who, in answer to Arnold's question, "What will the Americans do with me if they catch me?" replied, "They will cut off the leg which was wounded when you were fighting so gloriously for the cause of liberty, and bury it with the honors of war, and hang the rest of your body on a gibbet."
Benedict Arnold is not mentioned by name on the Boot Monument; the monument thus serves as a form of damnatio memoriae.

Odd wording that, since they were ALL Americans, even then.
 
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Rató:rats

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I don’t think its anymore clearer for Arnold, he took up arms against the very men he commanded and fought side by side with, what every value of principal he held so dearly was easily (and cheaply) bought for his treachery.

All you have to do is look at his post war actions, his lobbying to have his expenses covered were even denied by the Crown who said he had no ability to substantiate the claims, the very same treatment that was given to him by Congress and the Continentals. Arnold had always claimed to have been mistreated by Congress and the Army, well they certainly had reasonable cause to do so, in short he was scheming liar and both the Americans and British knew it.

He was really led by his mercenary nature, what ever true values of patriotism and liberty he held on to were lost sometime after 1776 after Quebec.

In the end Arnold was neither British or American, a man without a home or an identity. Even his trophy wife was contemptuous of him.

Had Washington not placed Arnold in command of Philadelphia, things would have been far different, Arnold may have assumed command of the Southern Army after Gate’s failure At Camden, that’s how close he was really to becoming a true hero.
I’ll certainly defer to and respect your greater knowledge of the issue. I’ll only add that Arnold joined the Connecticut militia in 1757 when he was 16 and fought alongside and under redcoats in the lake George theatre so wouldn’t he be “fighting against his own kind” as patriot/rebel?
 

FlinterNick

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I’ll certainly defer to and respect your greater knowledge of the issue. I’ll only add that Arnold joined the Connecticut militia in 1757 when he was 16 and fought alongside and under redcoats in the lake George theatre so wouldn’t he be “fighting against his own kind” as patriot/rebel?
I forget the term used for colonists that jumped sides often, to me Arnold doesn’t really fit that characterization.

Anyone before 1775 saw service in the provisional forces or militia, I don’t think that really defines them as Pro-British, once the revolution had begun, Arnold took it upon himself to fight for his home in the Connecticut militia. From Day 1 he searched for glory with Ticonderoga and Allen and then again in Quebec and afterwards. I don’t think you can find many that Arnold didn’t offend or piss off.

As far as what is he a traitor of, America or the British/England, the answer is what ever side Arnold benefited from the most. Early in the War, he rose to Colonel quickly and then brigadier general, he then used his rank to profiter in Montreal, he had wagon loads of looted goods He intended to sell on his associated privateers, and later on in Philadelphia Which was where he was caught in the act. His conduct was poor for a high ranking general, the guy simply thought he could do what ever he wanted to do.

I think blaming others for miss treating Arnold or insulting him leading into Arnold’s treason is only an excuse given by those who admire Arnold’s service in 1775-1778.
 

stephenprops1

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I’m not sure if it’s as black and white as to say Arnold made war on his own kind. He was born a British citizen in a British colony. As for Washington he took the oath to the King in the militia, probably more than once, but disregarded that oath later when it suited him. Yet he’s not remembered as an oath-breaking traitor, probably because he won.
The winner's write the history.
 

tenngun

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I forget the term used for colonists that jumped sides often, to me Arnold doesn’t really fit that characterization.

Anyone before 1775 saw service in the provisional forces or militia, I don’t think that really defines them as Pro-British, once the revolution had begun, Arnold took it upon himself to fight for his home in the Connecticut militia. From Day 1 he searched for glory with Ticonderoga and Allen and then again in Quebec and afterwards. I don’t think you can find many that Arnold didn’t offend or piss off.

As far as what is he a traitor of, America or the British/England, the answer is what ever side Arnold benefited from the most. Early in the War, he rose to Colonel quickly and then brigadier general, he then used his rank to profiter in Montreal, he had wagon loads of looted goods He intended to sell on his associated privateers, and later on in Philadelphia Which was where he was caught in the act. His conduct was poor for a high ranking general, the guy simply thought he could do what ever he wanted to do.

I think blaming others for miss treating Arnold or insulting him leading into Arnold’s treason is only an excuse given by those who admire Arnold’s service in 1775-1778.
I’m don’t want to be an Arnold defender here. Lots of people were mistreated by the new government then. Unless your a history nerd you may have no idea who Green was. He is rarely mentioned in an historic context. And never got the recognition he deserved then or now.
I never heard of William Johnsons in school. It wasn’t until I read Ekert that I heard of him and the part he played.
Had it not been for Arnold’s treason he would likely be a footnote known only to nerds today.
Arnold had a right to complain about his mistreatment, not a right to treason.
Read any history of any civil war, and the Revolution was fought in this country very much brother against brother, you will find Arnold.
Jumping ship two or more times is a feature of such wars.
Look at the Napoleonic wars. Spain was neutral, Spain was French,Spain was English, from where blows the wind?
During WW two Americans first came under French fire in the western theater.
Too, just a few years after the war, in the lifetime of men who fought to establish our country, Americans freely swore allegiance to the new Mexican government in order to get land in Texas. Then just a few years passed till they betrayed their oaths to Mexico.
 

springfield art

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Something I have been pondering is how it they fought with rifles back in the day. I know from experience with my rifle I can get two maybe three shots without cleaning. One time I did an experiment to see how many shots I could fire without cleaning. By shot number three the barrel was so fouled the bullet stuck halfway down the barrel and refused to move. Ended up having to use the ball puller.

With my personal experience I can't fathom how they fought with rifles effectively after the first shot. I doubt they had the luxury of cleaning the barrel In the heat of battle. How were they able to effectively use their rifles back in the day? I was using a gun ment for hunting. Could it be that a rifle meant for combat had looser tolerances inside the bore allowing for more fouling? We're Rifleman deployed in cover to allow them to service their weapons? I have many questions. I'm sure someone here has the answers and then some.
Know, what, that's a great question. I've a feeling many pondered this, and I guess that's why they had bayonets and swords! I did harmless re-enacting with blanks, and same questions come up. There's a report somewhere compiled by military personnel that studied the pick-up muskets after the Gettysburg battle; amazing how many were clogged, over-loaded, etc. I think you've started an interesting thread!
 

Crow-Feather

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Something I have been pondering is how it they fought with rifles back in the day. I know from experience with my rifle I can get two maybe three shots without cleaning. One time I did an experiment to see how many shots I could fire without cleaning. By shot number three the barrel was so fouled the bullet stuck halfway down the barrel and refused to move. Ended up having to use the ball puller.

With my personal experience I can't fathom how they fought with rifles effectively after the first shot. I doubt they had the luxury of cleaning the barrel In the heat of battle. How were they able to effectively use their rifles back in the day? I was using a gun ment for hunting. Could it be that a rifle meant for combat had looser tolerances inside the bore allowing for more fouling? We're Rifleman deployed in cover to allow them to service their weapons? I have many questions. I'm sure someone here has the answers and then some.
Never put oil down the bore. Oil and heat leave a byproduct guaranteed to stop a PRB by the 5th shot. Use t/c bore butter or some other bore protection after cleaning.
 

BV

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Americans simply had no procedures, And relied upon their own personalized skills. This was a major blunder by the British too, as they had experienced first hand on various occasions in the F&I War and early American conflicts in the Carolinas what American frontiersmen were capable of.
This is a proud tradition still alive in the U.S. military. I remember reading an interview with a Soviet General after the cold war in which he said it was very difficult to plan to fight the U.S. because they felt no obligation to follow their own doctrine and didn't read their manuals.
 

stephenprops1

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I’m don’t want to be an Arnold defender here. Lots of people were mistreated by the new government then. Unless your a history nerd you may have no idea who Green was. He is rarely mentioned in an historic context. And never got the recognition he deserved then or now.
I never heard of William Johnsons in school. It wasn’t until I read Ekert that I heard of him and the part he played.
Had it not been for Arnold’s treason he would likely be a footnote known only to nerds today.
Arnold had a right to complain about his mistreatment, not a right to treason.
Read any history of any civil war, and the Revolution was fought in this country very much brother against brother, you will find Arnold.
Jumping ship two or more times is a feature of such wars.
Look at the Napoleonic wars. Spain was neutral, Spain was French,Spain was English, from where blows the wind?
During WW two Americans first came under French fire in the western theater.
Too, just a few years after the war, in the lifetime of men who fought to establish our country, Americans freely swore allegiance to the new Mexican government in order to get land in Texas. Then just a few years passed till they betrayed their oaths to Mexico.
Regarding American colonists in Mexico--- It was Mexico that first violated the Constitution of 1824. They had given the colonist some rights when they immigrated to Mexico, at Mexico's invitation. Then Mexican leaders (Santa Anna) thought they had too many Gringos and violated their own constitution. That was what initiated rebellion. ---- However, I agree with you. history is not black and white. There are many shades of gray.
 

Wolfman0125

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It is rather funny that Benedict Arnold’s very name is a synonym for Treacherous Deceit yet most people cannot tell you anything about him or why. His name is like Judas Iscariot. Today he would be a mercenary. Yet, even so he was principled to himself, thinking he was doing what he thought was right. Why work for someone who doesn’t appreciate your talents and hard work. You go work for the competition. How many of us have been a Benedict Arnold in that situation? I’m sure in his own mind, that was precisely how he saw it. As simple as that. In a job scenario it is a new career path and opportunity. In the business of war, we call it treason, and an enemy of the state. In politics, it is being a turncoat or a sellout. In Religion it is being a convert. In changing countries it is immigration and expatriation. War was Arnold’s Livelyhood. To him he merely quit his job and found a better opportunity with a competitor. I’m not defending the man here, just saying I believe that this was his mindset.
 

FlinterNick

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Regarding American colonists in Mexico--- It was Mexico that first violated the Constitution of 1824. They had given the colonist some rights when they immigrated to Mexico, at Mexico's invitation. Then Mexican leaders (Santa Anna) thought they had too many Gringos and violated their own constitution. That was what initiated rebellion. ---- However, I agree with you. history is not black and white. There are many shades of gray.
The Texans were not given many equitable options by Santa Anna, he wanted the out plain and simple. The massacres at Goliad and Alamo were done purposely to push the Americans out of Texas. Contracts were reneged against and rights were withdrawn. I don’t know many in the 18th century that woudn’t have put up a dog fight over that kind of tyranny.

Santa Anna was later quoted in Washington with President Jackson that he made his choices out territorial integrity, he wasn’t wrong as the borders were challenged a decade latter in the Mexican American War, what Santa Anna failed to realize was that his country was just to weak to take on any type of professional army.
 

FlinterNick

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It is rather funny that Benedict Arnold’s very name is a synonym for Treacherous Deceit yet most people cannot tell you anything about him or why. His name is like Judas Iscariot. Today he would be a mercenary. Yet, even so he was principled to himself, thinking he was doing what he thought was right. Why work for someone who doesn’t appreciate your talents and hard work. You go work for the competition. How many of us have been a Benedict Arnold in that situation? I’m sure in his own mind, that was precisely how he saw it. As simple as that. In a job scenario it is a new career path and opportunity. In the business of war, we call it treason, and an enemy of the state. In politics, it is being a turncoat or a sellout. In Religion it is being a convert. In changing countries it is immigration and expatriation. War was Arnold’s Livelyhood. To him he merely quit his job and found a better opportunity with a competitor. I’m not defending the man here, just saying I believe that this was his mindset.
Arnold was passed up for promotion for good reasons, a few to name were his poor professional conduct, he disobeyed orders on more than one occasion, and he was caught Looting in Montreal. He was not trusted at all by his camp, Moses Hazen, David Wooster were a few who contested Schyler for his conduct, fortunately for Arnold Schuyler Was for the most part derelict of command due to poor health.

Why work with someone who doesn’t appreciate your hard work and talent?
Does everyone have this choice in the military ? Or even in their professional lives. You don’t everything you desire at times and you must still work with others you’re contemptuous of. Do you think Washington liked working for Congress ? Do you think Washington appreciated those in Congress that supported Charles’s Lee or Horatio Gates as the commander and chief? No, and Washington was still subordinate to Congress’s wishes.

Many Generals were mistreated by Congress; lets not forget Congress was powerless, they had no money and had very loose authority amongst the 13 colonies/states, they pretty much had to beg for support from the upper classes.

Yes, Arnold was a mercenary plain and simple. Even then he could have found opportunities in the new nation, many think he was just a soldier, he was actually a fairly good businessman before the War in shipping. Post war shipping was one of the Most lucrative ventures.
 

Wolfman0125

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I agree he could have done many things. He was a traitor and no excuse for what he did. I’m just saying that from Arnold’s perspective, I’m sure he felt justified in his actions from perceived grievances. It is a slippery slope when employees become disgruntled and run amok. Like going postal. Arnold’s actions would be considered terrorism by today’s standards like that Army officer Nidal guy down at Fort Hood Texas. You have to wonder why he wasn’t reigned in before hand.

I would like to find out more about Napoleon Bonaparte. I recently found out through DNA testing that Napoleon was my Ancestor. I don’t know much about him other than he was a self proclaimed emperor of France. vain of character, short in stature, brilliant tactician, and met his Waterloo.
 

FlinterNick

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I agree he could have done many things. He was a traitor and no excuse for what he did. I’m just saying that from Arnold’s perspective, I’m sure he felt justified in his actions from perceived grievances. It is a slippery slope when employees become disgruntled and run amok. Like going postal. Arnold’s actions would be considered terrorism by today’s standards like that Army officer Nidal guy down at Fort Hood Texas. You have to wonder why he wasn’t reigned in before hand.

I would like to find out more about Napoleon Bonaparte. I recently found out through DNA testing that Napoleon was my Ancestor. I don’t know much about him other than he was a self proclaimed emperor of France. vain of character, short in stature, brilliant tactician, and met his Waterloo.
In the end his justifications were done so mostly out of concern of his personal finances. Arnold got himself into trouble with the Shippen Family, he took on a lifestyle he couldn’t afford and he burried himself so deep in debt even the British refused to bail him out For his servIces.

In cases of fraud you have the following, 1. Opportunity, 2. Justification and 3. Rationalization. Arnold‘s finances promoted all three.
 

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