This past week, April 19 in fact, was the anniversary of Shot Heard Round the World, i.e. the beginning of the American Revolution. They say no one knows who fired the first shot but I think they do and they’re just not telling. The American Revolution is extremely fascinating to me. So many untold stories. I marvel at the battles that took place. At the tactical mistakes made. The arrogance and inability to adapt by the British military. The fact that several officers of the Continental Army were former British officers. They resented rabble, undisciplined, uneducated, officers like George Washington and Benedict Arnold. Most notably was Gen. Horatio Gates who did his best to undermine everything George Washington did. General Gates led the battle of Saratoga. He feared, so it is said, Benedict Arnold would outshine him in the battle so he ordered him to stay in camp. Arnold disobeyed the order and led his men to ultimately take the win for the battle of Saratoga.
Washington and Arnold had very similar early lives. In my opinion they were both brilliant tacticians and military officers and loved the infant country they were fighting for. So why, how, did Arnold go astray? There are lots of theories. Many history books depict Arnold as arrogant and selfish. He was. Guess what? So was Washington. Arnold wasn’t quiet about what he thought, what he wanted. Washington was. I think he knew how to play the game of politics before it was even called that.
But what I think really did Arnold in was Peggy Shippen. Yup. Yet another general getting into trouble because of his privates.
For a long time it was thought that Peggy was taken in by Arnold and forced to help in his treachery. But the last 30 or 40 years things have come to light that make it seem as though Peggy was an accomplice. In fact, encouraged Arnold. My own opinion is that she was an agent of the British. Why do I think this? Because a long period of time before she became involved with Arnold she and a British officer, Maj. Andre, were romantically linked. Hmmmm. All very interesting. BTW the above picture of her was done by Maj. Andre.
Some military and political historians credit Arnold’s treachery with actually turning the war around. The colonists were at their lowest point. Hearing of Arnold’s dirty deeds rallied them. I mean, go figure. Americans, what can you say?I so wish my historical author sisters would write about these times. Maybe when one of them has a free weekend they can write about it. (That’s a joke.)
AMC network has a series called TURN about the Revolutionary war and does present some of these characters. Doesn’t an historical romantic suspense sound interesting? I’ll write it, if someone will do all the research for me. Any takers?