Benedict Arnold’s Legacy: Tales from Lake Champlain

by Richard Watts, Ph.D. Director: Center for Research on Vermont, UVM

Engraving of Arnold, by H.B. Hall, after John Trumbull

Join LCMM Co-Founder and Director Emeritus Arthur B. Cohn for a talk on May 11, 7:30, at Waterman Memorial Lounge, University of Vermont.

In this talk Art Cohn will examine Lake Champlain’s historical connection to the American Revolution and the fighting field-commander Benedict Arnold. The centerpiece of the presentation will be the pivotal 1776 naval contest between Great Britain, at the time the greatest Naval power on earth, and the fledgling United States of America. The American fleet was under the command of the intense, charismatic and flawed General Benedict Arnold when the two fleets met on October 11th, 1776 for a battle that would help define the outcome of the war. The two combatants fought over three days and 70 miles of Lake Champlain. Art will offer new insight into the often-debated question of whether Benedict Arnold was a “Hero or Traitor.”


The talk will follow the Annual Meeting & Dinner of the Center for Research on Vermont. The public is welcome. Information here or at the Center for Research on Vermont.

Archeological Legacy: Art will also discuss the archaeological legacy of this battle for control of strategic Lake Champlain. The talk will present the 1997 discovery of the gunboat Spitfire, Arnold’s last gunboat unaccounted for after the Battle of Valcour Island, and the complex management plan being completed to decide its future. The talk will invite the audience to offer opinions about what should happen to the warship.

Avday_DSC_4133bout Art: Art Cohn has been studying Benedict Arnold for many years and is currently a Research Fellow at the William Clements Library at the University of Michigan examining the Sir Henry Clinton Papers for clues that will increase our understanding of the war and its participants. Founder and first director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, professional diver and tugboat captain, Art has coordinated and participated in Lake Champlain’s archaeological projects for the past three decades. Cohn has a B.A. in sociology from the University of Cincinnati and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.

Sponsored by Special Collections at Bailey-Howe, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum & the Center for Research on Vermont.