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Short Rounds

Offspring of the Arch-Traitor: The Children of Benedict Arnold

Hardly needing an introduction, Benedict Arnold (1741-1801), probably the best American tactician in the Revolutionary War, had eleven children, of whom nine survived to adulthood, eight sons and a daughter. Married twice, he had three sons with his first wife, Margaret Mansfield Arnold (1745-1775), four and a daughter with his second, Peggy Shippen Arnold (1760-1804), the charming and seductive Philadelphia Tory who played an important role in his treason, and one son born illegitimately.

After his treason, Arnold and his family adhered to the Crown. Surprisingly, most of his children had military ties.

  • Benedict Arnold, VI, (1768-1795) served in the Royal Artillery, rising to captain; wounded fighting the Trelawney Maroons in Jamaica, he died of gangrene.

  • Richard Arnold (1769-1847), served for a time as a lieutenant in the British Army, later settling in Canada

  • Henry Arnold (1772-1826), by some accounts also served in the British Army, and later lived for a time in Canada before returning to settle in New York.

  • Edward Shippen Arnold (1780-1831) served as paymaster of the 6th Bengal Cavalry, and died of disease in Dinajpur, Bengal.

  • James Robertson Arnold (1781-1854), named after British Maj. Gen. James Robertson, military governor of New York from 1779 to 1783, had a long career in the Royal Engineers, taking part in the Egyptian Campaign of 1800-1801, and later served many years in the West Indies and Canada, supervised construction of the naval base at Bermuda and improved the defenses of Halifax, before retiring as a lieutenant general and aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria. He has descendants in Britain.

  • George Arnold (1784-1828), served in the Indian Army, rising to lieutenant colonel of the 2nd Bengal Cavalry before dying of disease while on active duty.

  • Sophia Matilda Arnold (1785-1828), married Col. Pownall Phipps, of the Indian Army, whom she met through her brother Edward. They had several children; of sons surviving to adulthood, Constantine Edward Phipps was a second lieutenant in the 60th Rifles (“Royal Americans”) when he died of disease at 22, while George William Phipps became a clergyman.

  • John Sage Arnold (1786-1831), the illegitimate son, unknown until named in his father’s will, lived quietly in Canada, where he has numerous descendants.

  • William Fitch Arnold (1794-1828), served in the 19th Lancers, rising to captain. He had six children, of whom all four daughters married clergymen. His eldest son became a clergyman and left numerous offspring, while his second son William Trail Arnold was killed in action at 28 during the siege of Sebastopol in 1855 while serving as a captain of the 4th Foot. 

Of Benedict Arnold’s immediate offspring who lived to adulthood, seven saw military service, as did also some of their children. While none seem to have inherited his brilliance as a soldier, all seem to have performed their duties honorably, which is more than can be said for dear old dad.

 

Religious Preferences of the "All Americans," 1918

On Aug. 25, 1917 the 82nd Division was activated in the U.S. Army. Formed at Camp Gordon, Georgia, the men were initially mostly draftees from Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. But in October, most of the enlisted men were transferred to fill out other divisions. They were replaced by newly drafted men from Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. Although the bulk of the troops were from these states, there was a heavy seasoning of men from all across the country, including Alvin York, from Tennessee, and as a result, the division adopted the now famous red shoulder sleeve insignia with the "AA" in gold on a circle of blue. 

In January of 1918, while still in training, a survey was taken of the religious preferences of the troops. 

PreferencePercent
Baptist 11.1
Christian * 1.0
Episcopalian4.7
Greek Orthodox1.2
Jewish 7.3
Lutheran 4.4
Methodist 4.2
No Response 17.7
Other **1.0
Presbyterian5.5
Roman Catholic41.9
* This response included those who offered no denominational preference. ** Includes 24 who described themselves as atheists and 6 more who claimed to be pagans.

These figures were considerably different than the religious profile of the country as a whole. At the time, the vast majority of Americans identified themselves as some variety of Protestant, while Catholics were hardly 25 percent and Jews and Greek Orthodox together hardly 2 percent. The higher than normal figures for Catholics, Jews, and Greek Orthodox can be attributed to the fact that many of the division’s personnel were drawn from areas where immigrants and the children of immigrants figured large in the population, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey.

The 82nd Division began shipping out in April of 1918. By the end of May, the division artillery had landed in France, while the balance of the troops were in England. By June 1st, the whole division had concentrated in France, near Abbeville, in the British sector.

The division entered the line for the first time in late June, occupying a quiet sector near Toul sector, supported by a French division. It later took part in the Battle of St. Mihiel (Sept. 12-18), and on October 6th jumped into the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne, until withdrawn at the end of the month. The Armistice found the division in the rear. 

The 82nd Division returned to the U.S. in the Spring of 1919. In the course of the war it had suffered 1,298 men killed in action or dead of wounds, 6,248 men wounded, and 139 men captured.

 

 

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