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George Washington Warns West Point Prepare for Attack Due to Arnold's Treason, September 27, 1780

Letter from George Washington to the officer commanding at West Point regarding preparing for attack after Benedict Arnold's treason

Letter from George Washington to the officer commanding at West Point regarding preparing for attack after Benedict Arnold's treason

Other, USMA_Washington_Letter
 
Document Description
George Washington warns the officer at West Point to prepare for an attack due to Benedict Arnold's treason,  September 27, 1780.
 
Questions
Why did George Washington write this letter?
Explain the tone he uses in the letter?
Did the officers and soldiers at West Point have need to worry? Why?
 
Resources
Traitor: the Case of Benedict Arnold by Jean Fritz
The Real Benedict Arnold by Jim Murphy
Benedict Arnold from Patriot to Traitor by Pamela Dell
Benedict Arnold American Hero and Traitor by Michael Burgan
 

Historical Context
In 1780, near the present-day Tappan Zee Bridge, a major spy drama unfolded, changing the course of the American Revolution. Major General Benedict Arnold secretly attempted to help the British capture the fort at West Point. He had grown resentful of the American Army for not rewarding him for his many military victories. On the night of September 21, Arnold gave British Major John André documents detailing the fortifications and troop strengths at West Point. As André headed towards the British lines with the documents tucked in his boot he was captured near Tarrytown on September 23. If he had reached the British command in New York City with the information Arnold had given them, the British would likely have taken the fort at West Point. West Point was crucial to controlling the Hudson River, so a British capture could have changed the outcome of the entire war.
Thirty-year-old André was hanged as a spy on October 2, 1780. Benedict Arnold escaped to New York City, eventually commanding British troops for the remainder of the American Revolution. He died in London in 1801.
 
 
Essential Question
Who was Benedict Arnold and what role did he play in the Revolutionary War?