Engraving of Arnold, by H.B. Hall, after John Trumbull
General Arnold Wounded in Attack on Hessian Redoubt
On October 19th 1777, General Arnold urged General Gates who was the Commander of the American Continental Army, to attack General Burgoyne at dawn on the morning after the first battle of Saratoga (Bemis Heights). At this point Burgoyne troops were only 2 miles away from the American lines. Unfortunately, General Gates would not concede to Arnold’s brash plan. This stems from an earlier event on October 7th 1777, when Burgoyne advanced his troops on the American lines commanded by Colonel Morgan. After a severe battle and many hours, Colonel Morgan was able to deflect the British army, except for a strong disciplined company of German Hessians. In the confusion of battle, General Arnold who was known for his courage on the battle field charged in the head of his troops into the firm German lines. A violent struggle broke out and General Arnold’s horse was shot out from underneath him . This gave Arnold a severe wound. This hard charge didn’t last long and the German Hessian broke lines and fled into their entrenchments. After this brief engagement, General Gates recalled the wounded Arnold and his troops and commented, “Lest he should do something rash.” The battle ended at twilight and General Gates received the honor for this victory. Burgoyne retreated his whole army some distance north of the entrenchment’s. In this remarkable battle, General Arnold was the only officer to receive a wound. Arnold’s personality didn’t afford him recognition for his rash ideas on the battle field, but Washington knew and understood why his Army needed men such as Arnold if they were to win.