Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Arnold's Expeditionary Force

On September 20, 1975, history came to life for Governor Dummer Academy (GDA) students who witnessed the 200th anniversary reenactment of General Benedict Arnold’s 1775 march to Quebec, Canada. Arnold, a general in the American Continental Army, had been dispatched with several hundred soldiers to Canada to counter British plans for staging troops. The march preceded Arnold’s infamous switch from American Continental Army General to British Empire Loyalist. The 1975 reenactment took participants through the GDA campus to Newburyport, where they were then able to sail to Canada. The 1976 Milestone recorded the event with photographs and expository text (seen below).

“On the afternoon of September 20, 1775, a force of about 400 soldiers under the command of General Benedict Arnold marched through land owned by Dummer Academy on their way to Quebec. Their mission was to help wrestle Canada from the British to prevent its use as a staging ground for the Redcoats. They started this venture in Cambridge. On September 20, 1975, the same venture was taken and the troops marched past the academy as they had done 200 years ago.

There were Indians as well as an important courier under capture. Although historically there were no Indians to interrupt the march, a few diehards decided to “ambush” the troops. There were shots exchanged and reloading was hurriedly carried out.

There were a few women as well as men in the march. They all marched past the Old Red School House which was standing 200 years ago and [they] saw the same things. After moving on into Newburyport, they embarked by ship to Kennebec. From there they marched to Quebec thereby completing the entire march as it occurred 200 years ago.”