From ‘Excellent Officer’ to ‘Little Consequence’

The Deterioration of Gates and Arnold’s Relationship at Saratoga


  • Doug Allen


Benedict Arnold is not remembered primarily for his contributions at the Battle of Saratoga. He is better known for his infamous defection and betrayal of the American cause. Arnold’s legacy is so inseparably linked with his treachery that his name has become synonymous with betrayal. Arnold’s betrayal, however, is more complex than commonly remembered. Arnold’s betrayal developed from a series slights ranging from seniority and rank issues between Arnold and the Continental Congress to personal envy issues between Arnold and Horatio Gates. Ultimately, Arnold’s own superiors, like Gates, pushed him over the edge towards treason. Though Arnold and Gates began the war as friends, by the Battle of Saratoga in 1777 Arnold and Gates were engaged in a feud that contributed to Arnold’s infamous betrayal.