Fw:TODAY IN HISTORY ~~ 21 SEPTEMBER 1779
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----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, September 21, 2012 10:12 AM
Subject: TODAY IN HISTORY ~~ 21 SEPTEMBER
21 Sep 1779 ~ Benedict Arnold Commits Treason
On this day in 1780, during the American Revolution, American General
Benedict Arnoldmeets with British Major John Andre to discuss handing over
West Point to the British, in return for the promise of a large sum of money
and a high position in the British army. The plot was foiled and Arnold, a
former American hero, became synonymous with the word "traitor."
Arnold was born into a well-respected family in Norwich, Connecticut, on
January 14, 1741. He apprenticed with an apothecary and was a member of the
militia during the French and Indian War (1754-1763). He later became a
successful trader and joined the Continental Army when the Revolutionary War
broke out between Great Britain and its 13 American colonies in 1775. When
the war ended in 1883, the colonies had won their independence from Britain
and formed a new nation, the United States.
During the war, Benedict Arnold proved himself a brave and skillful leader,
helping Ethan Allen's troops capture Fort Ticonderoga in 1775 and then
participating in the unsuccessful attack on British Quebec later that year,
which earned him a promotion to brigadier general. Arnold distinguished
himself in campaigns at Lake Champlain, Ridgefield and Saratoga, and gained
the support of George Washington. However, Arnold had enemies within the
military and in 1777, five men of lesser rank were promoted over him. Over
the course of the next few years, Arnold married for a second time and he
and his new wife lived a lavish lifestyle in Philadelphia, accumulating
substantial debt. The debt and the resentment Arnold felt over not being
promoted faster were motivating factors in his choice to become a turncoat.
In 1780, Arnold was given command of West Point, an American fort on the
Hudson River in New York (and future home of the U.S. military academy,
established in 1802). Arnold contacted Sir Henry Clinton, head of the
British forces, and proposed handing over West Point and his men. On
September 21 of that year, Arnold met with Major John Andre and made his
traitorous pact. However, the conspiracy was uncovered and Andre was
captured and executed. Arnold, the former American patriot, fled to the
enemy side and went on to lead British troops in Virginia and Connecticut.
He later moved to England, though he never received all of what he'd been
promised by the British. He died in London on June 14, 1801.
21 Sep : 1779 ~ Spaniards Capture Baton Rouge
On this day in 1779, the Louisiana governor and Spanish military officer
Bernardo de Galvez, with the aide of American troops and militia volunteers,
captures the British post and garrison at Baton Rouge, located in what was
then British-controlled West Florida.
In a cunning and brilliant move, de Galvez included in the terms of the
British surrender of Baton Rouge that the British also surrender Fort
Panmure at Natchez to Spanish control. Defeated and on the verge of utter
annihilation, the British had no other choice but to accept the terms.
The Spanish capture of Baton Rouge and Fort Panmure ended British control of
the Mississippi Valley and opened the Mississippi River to a Spanish supply
line-running from the Gulf of Mexico to the Ohio Valley--that greatly
benefited the American cause. De Galvez was then able to lay siege to the
British-occupied city of Pensacola, Florida, in the spring of 1781, which
ended in a British surrender on May 8.
Spain never officially signed an alliance with the American revolutionaries,
as King Charles III was hesitant about the precedent he might be setting by
encouraging the population of another empire to overthrow their monarch.
However, Spain also wanted to regain Gibraltar in the Mediterranean from the
British and solidify control of its North American holdings, so it
allied itself to France in the international war against Britain. Spain
regained West Florida during the fighting and East Florida, which it
exchanged for the Bahamas, in the final peace. Though Gibraltar remained in
British control, Spain also won all the land surrounding the Gulf of Mexico.