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Interpreting the Evidence

Diary of Samuel Frost, American Revolution, Benedict Arnold's Treason, n.d.

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Revolution and New Nation (1754 - 1820s)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    American Revolution

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    Mid Hudson
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Orderly Book of Samuel Frost, American Revolution, Benedict Arnold's Treason, n.d. in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Diary of Samuel Frost, American Revolution, in which he mentions Benedict Arnold's treason, n.d.
Historical Context
In 1780, near the present day Tappan Zee Bridge, a major spy drama unfolded, changing the course of the American Revolution. General Benedict Arnold secretly attempted to help the British capture the fort at West Point. He had grown resentful of the American Army for not rewarding him for his many military victories. On the night of September 21, Arnold gave British Major John Andre documents detailing the fortifications and troop strengths at West Point. As Andre headed towards the British lines with the documents tucked in his boot, he was captured near Tarrytown on September 23. If he had reached the British command in New York City with the information that Arnold had given them, the British would likely have taken the fort at West Point. West Point was crucial to controlling the Hudson River, a British capture could have changed the outcome of the entire war.
Thirty year old Andre was hanged as a spy on October 2, 1780. Benedict Arnold escaped to New York City, eventually commanding British troops for the remainder of the war. He died in London in 1801.
Essential Question
Who was Benedict Arnold and what role did he play in the Revolutionary War?
Check for Understanding
What happened to Benedict Arnold? What happened to Andre?
Historical Challenges
Using the information from the document create a newspaper article spreading the news about Benedict Arnold, the traitor.
Write a journal entry from the point-of-view of Arnold, Andre or a Patriot soldier that captured Andre. How do you feel? Do you have regrets? What do you think is going to happen to you?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Art- Create a Wanted poster for Benedict Arnold