Court-Martial of American Soldier Benedict Arnold
About the court-martial of American soldier Benedict Arnold history and information of the act in the Revolutionary War.
BENEDICT ARNOLD (1741-1801)
In his early 30s, Arnold gave up his successful commercial pursuits to enter the military service of America's Revolutionary Army. He was a brilliant strategist and covered himself with battlefield glory at Ticonderoga, Quebec, and Saratoga. A national hero, Arnold was put in command of the Philadelphia area in 1778 by George Washington. Here Arnold's extravagant living and arrogant acts set in motion a series of events that led to his requesting a court-martial on December 23, 1779.
The Court-Martial. The trial took place in Norris's Tavern in Morristown, N.J. Major General Howe and his court officers were the judges. Gen. Joseph Reed and Timothy Mat-lack, president and secretary, respectively, of the Pennsylvania State Council, were the accusers.
Arnold was charged with issuing a military pass to Robert Shewell, a businessman of alleged Tory sympathies; of closing Philadelphia shops to the public, while buying from them for himself; of imposing menial chores on the sons of free men; and of using State wagons to transport private property.
In conducting his own eloquent defense, Arnold had the 1st 3 charges set aside. On the 4th charge, the court recommended that Arnold receive a reprimand from his commander-in-chief. Washington wrote to Arnold saying that he considered "the affair of the wagons to be imprudent and improper." This gentle wrist slap so wounded Arnold's pride, it sent him into a hell of black despair that culminated in an attempt to betray his country.
Significance. The court-martial of Benedict Arnold, inspired by rivalry and jealousy, pointed up the need for objective reform in the military court-martial system.
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