|Benedict Arnold sketch from Lossing|
In the meantime, Arnold was awaiting authority from the Continental Congress to proceed with a plan he had drawn up to attack Canada. On June 15th, 1775, Arnold sent an aide to Philadelphia to outline his plans. But, on that very day George Washington was appointed as Commander in Chief of the new American Army by that Congress and it would be months before Washington could turn his attention to Arnold and his plans to invade Canada. Washington's first priority was to hasten to Cambridge and take command of the army besieging Boston.
|Enterprise - Arnold's flagship|
The Committee of Safety was receiving reports from a number of sources to include an account of the taking of Ticonderoga by Ethan Allen which only further increased their apprehension over the whole Ticonderoga affair. On June 12th, acting on a recommendation from the Committee of Safety, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress decided to send a an investigative committee to Ticonderoga with authority to review how Arnold had executed his commission and to give him such orders as they deemed necessary. The committee consisted of Walter Spooner, Jedediah Foster, and James Sullivan. In addition, Arnold was to turn over his command to an officer appointed by Connecticut and the three members of the special investigative committee were authorized to decide if Arnold should remain in the employ of Massachusetts and could discharge him and order him to return to Massachusetts and render an account of his actions.
|James Sullivan - Member Spooner Committee, later Governor of Massachusetts|
That night Arnold retired to his cabin and drafted a long letter to the Committee. He expressed his outrage in the manner in which he had been treated, stating, among other grievances, that the whole manner in which the committee had acted was "a most disgraceful reflection on him and the body of troops he commands " and was "a sufficient inducement to resign." Arnold ended the letter by offering his resignation because of the failure of Massachusetts to discharge its obligations honorably to him as well as to his men. The Congress had failed him and his men by only furnishing L100 to keep his army in the field for two months. He had advanced the army L1000 out of his own fortune and had borrowed money on his own word to pay his men when it became necessary. This had put him in a terrible financial bind.
|Jedediah Foster home outside of Worcester|
Benedict Arnold then took the only action he thought he could. On June 24th, 1775, six weeks after taking Fort Ticonderoga, he disbanded his regiment and resigned his Massachusetts commission. Arnold now only wanted to go home to Connecticut, straighten out his financial affairs, and then proceed to Massachusetts to clear his name.
He was soon to discover, however, that three days prior to his confrontation with the Spooner committee, on June 19th 1775, his wife of eight years, Peggy Mansfield, had died, leaving him a widower with three young sons.
To be continued