Benedict Arnold's Expedition To Quebec - Planning


Arnold, who had hoped to lead the invasion, decided to pursue a different approach to Quebec. He went to Cambridge, Massachusetts in early August 1775, and approached George Washington with the idea of a second eastern invasion force aimed at Quebec City. Washington approved of the idea in principle, but sent a message to General Schuyler on August 20 to ensure his support of the endeavor, since the two forces would need to coordinate their efforts.

Arnold's plan called for the expedition to sail from Newburyport, Massachusetts along the coast and then up the Kennebec River to Fort Western (now Augusta, Maine). From there, they would use shallow-draft river boats called bateaux to continue up the Kennebec River, cross the height of land to Lake Mégantic, and descend the Chaudière River to Quebec. Arnold expected to cover the 180 miles (290 km) from Fort Western to Quebec in 20 days, despite the fact that little was known about the route. Arnold had acquired a map (copy pictured at left) and journal made by British military engineer John Montresor in 1760 and 1761, but Montresor's descriptions of the route were not very detailed, and Arnold did not know that the map contained some inaccuracies or that some details had been deliberately removed or obscured.

Washington introduced Arnold to Reuben Colburn, a boat builder from Gardinerston, Maine, who was in Cambridge at the time. Colburn offered his services, and Arnold requested detailed information about the route, including potential British naval threats, Indian sentiment, useful supply opportunities, and an estimate of how long it would take to construct bateaux sufficient for the contemplated force. Colburn left for Maine on August 21 to fulfill these requests. Colburn asked Samuel Goodwin, the local surveyor in Gardinerston, to provide maps for Arnold. Goodwin, who was known to have Loyalist sympathies, provided maps that were inaccurate in the routes, distances and other important features they described.

On September 2, Washington received a letter from General Schuyler in reply to his August 20 message. Schuyler agreed with the suggested plan, and Washington and Arnold immediately began to raise troops and place orders for supplies.

Read more about this topic:  Benedict Arnold's Expedition To Quebec

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