News & Opinion | July 25, 2018 5:00 am

These Men Are Retracing Benedict Arnold’s Dangerous March to Quebec

Arnold wanted to take Quebec City from the British. These guys just want to survive.

benedict arnold
Illustration showing the escape of American Revolutionary general and traitor Benedict Arnold (1741-1801) as he is rowed across towards the British ship Vulture, on the Hudson River, New York, 1780. (Interim Archives/Getty Images)
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In 1775, traitor Benedict Arnold played a part in trying to take Quebec from the British. The expedition was a daring two-pronged attack with the Continental Army to take the fight for American independence to King George’s troops in Canada. The main prong, led by General Richard Montgomery, would travel the comparatively reasonable route up Lake Champlain and then down the Saint Lawrence River to the fortified ramparts fo Quebec City. Meanwhile, the other prong, which was led by Arnold, would take 1,100 men over the backwoods Native American trade route. If they succeeded, their arrival would be a total secret.

Arnold and his men ultimately spent seven weeks pushing, pulling, dragging and carrying their flat-bottomed boats, each carried with 1,000 pounds of gear. They then headed downstream on the Chaudière, 115 miles of whitewater that empties into the Saint Lawrence near Quebec City, writes Outside Online. Throughout all this, hundreds of soldiers and most of the supplies were lost to desertion and a hurricane. When they arrived, they had to wait for Montgomery’s troops, and the final attack was terrible: the vast majority of American soldiers were wounded or captured.

Though it ended up being a disaster, the journey is still considered one of the greatest American military expeditions of all time. So that’s why four men decided to retrace it. They figured they could do it in 35 days. While it wasn’t quite as disastrous as the expedition in 1775, it was still rough, as the story in Outside Online details.