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The Traitor's Homecoming (Hardback)

Benedict Arnold's Raid on New London, Connecticut, September 4-13, 1781

Military > Pre-WWI > American History > American Revolution

Imprint: Savas Beatie
Pages: 372
Illustrations: 40 images, 12 maps
ISBN: 9781611216981
Published: 1st July 2024


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Almost everyone is familiar with the name of at least one Revolutionary War battle. Some, like Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, and Yorktown are nearly household names. Others are less well known but readily recognized when mentioned. An engagement in a New England colony during the war’s sixth year, commanded by one of history’s most famous military names, is not among them. Matthew E. Reardon has set out to rectify that oversight with the publication of The Traitor’s Homecoming: Benedict Arnold’s Raid on New London, Connecticut, September 4-13, 1781.By 1781, Britian was at risk of losing the colonies. The combined Franco-American armies of Gens. George Washington and Jean-Baptiste comte de Rochambeau spent much of that August deceiving British General Sir Henry Clinton into believing they were moving on him to lay siege against to New York City. In fact, they were moving south toward Yorktown, Virginia, in a bid to trap Lord Cornwallis’ army against the sea. Clinton, meanwhile, dispatched former American general Benedict Arnold across Long Island Sound to attack New London, hoping the move would derail reinforcements and supplies headed toward the city.Situated in southeastern Connecticut, New London was the center of the state’s naval activities. State and continental vessels were constructed within its harbor, which doubled as a haven for American privateers. Arnold landed on September 6 and, in a textbook operation, defeated local militia, took possession of the town, harbor, and forts, and set New London’s waterfront ablaze. But that is not how it is remembered. The state government’s vicious propaganda campaign against the British and Arnold, who was already infamous for his treachery, created a narrative of partial truths, myths and legends that persist to this day. The true story, however, is much more than the bloody fighting and “massacre” at Fort Griswold.The Traitor’s Homecoming utilizes dozens of newly discovered British and American primary sources to weave together a balanced military study of an often forgotten and misunderstood campaign. Indeed, Reardon achieves a major reinterpretation of the battle while dismantling its myths. Thirteen original maps and numerous illustrations and modern photographs flesh out this groundbreaking study.

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