Saturday, August 19, 2017

Famous Freemason: Before Treachery, There Was Valor

General Benedict Arnold
"Let me die in this old uniform in which I fought my battles.  May God forgive me for ever having put on another."

~Benedict Arnold

On October 11, 1776, during the American Revolution, a British fleet engaged and after considerable effort finally defeated fifteen American gunboats under the command of Brigadier General Benedict Arnold at the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain, New York. Although nearly all of Arnold's ship were destroyed, it took the British more than two days to subdue Arnold's naval force.  The delay of the British fleet gave the Patriot ground forces adequate time to prepare a crucial defense of New York.  General Arnold was willing to make that sacrifice in order to buy that time the defense forces needed to protect New York.

It was four years later, when Benedict Arnold, as commander of West Point, agreed to surrender West Point to the British for $20,000. The plot was discovered after British spy John Andr√© was captured, forcing Arnold to flee to British protection, where he joined in their fight against the country that he once so valiantly served. No one understands all the reasons that lead this once valiant solider and trusted General under George Washington to such a shameless act of treachery, but his name has since become synonymous with the word "traitor" in America.

He paid for his crime for the rest of his life--never able to return to the United States, the country he had once loved.  He was a Mason- a member of Hiram Lodge No. 1 in New Haven, Connecticut.  His name was expunged from the rolls after his act of treason, and in many Masonic Lodges, for many years, his name was not to be uttered in open lodge.  He was never accepted or trusted by the British.

He died in London in 1801.

~Todd E. Creason

Based on a piece previously published October 11, 2011

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