Benedict Arnold's Navy: The Ragtag Fleet That Lost the Battle of Lake Champlain but Won the American Revolution

Front Cover
McGraw Hill Professional, May 12, 2006 - History - 416 pages

An epic story of one man’s devotion to the American cause

In October 1776, four years before Benedict Arnold’s treasonous attempt to hand control of the Hudson River to the British, his patch-work fleet on Lake Champlain was all that stood between British forces and a swift end to the American rebellion.

Benedict Arnold’s Navy is the dramatic chronicle of that desperate battle and of the extraordinary events that occurred on the American Revolution’s critical northern front. Written with captivating narrative vitality, this landmark book shows how Benedict Arnold’s fearless leadership against staggering odds in a northern wilderness secured for America the independence that he would later try to betray.

Praise for James L. Nelson:

"James Nelson is a master both of his period and of the English language."
--Patrick O'Brian, author of Master and Commander

"James L. Nelson tells this story with clarity and literary skill and with such ease and order that the reader feels he is attending a dissertation on history given by a consummate lecturer."
--Ron Berthel, Associated Press, on Reign of Iron: The Story of the First Battling Ironclads, winner of the American Library Association’s 2004 Award for Best Military History

"It is, by far, the best Civil War novel I’ve read; reeking of battle, duty, heroism and tragedy. It’s a triumph of imagination and good, taut writing . . . "
--Bernard Cornwell on Glory in the Name, winner of the W. Y. Boyd Literary Award


What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - setnahkt - LibraryThing

Both the title and the subtitle (“The Ragtag Fleet that Lost the Battle of Lake Champlain but Won the American Revolution”) are misleading; although a good part of the book does cover Arnold’s command ... Read full review


Photos and illustrations
Turning Points
Notes on Sources

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 28 - I now propose to advance before you, and in person conduct you through the wicketgate ; for we must this morning either quit our pretensions to valor or possess ourselves of this fortress in a few minutes ; and inasmuch as it is a desperate attempt which none but the bravest of men dare undertake, I do not urge it on any contrary to his will. You that will undertake voluntarily, poise your firelocks.
Page 9 - But lest some unlucky event should happen unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the room that I this day declare, with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.
Page 51 - Resolved, That a general be appointed to command all the Continental forces raised, or to be raised, for the defence of American liberty.
Page 8 - French. You say to your soldier, "Do this" and he doeth it. But I am obliged to say, " This is the reason why you ought to do that,
Page 13 - Sevier, my editor, whose sharp eye and unflagging encouragement helped to improve the novel be / have always thought Hudson's River the most proper part of the whole continent for opening vigorous operations.
Page 175 - It is true, payment has been promised from time to time ; yet they look upon such promises as vague, their labor and property lost, and the Congress or United Colonies bankrupt. And in a more material point, they have not seen sufficient force in the country to protect them.
Page 47 - be taken of all such cannon and stores, in order " that they may be safely returned, when the " restoration of the former harmony between " Great Britain and her colonies, so ardently " wished for by the latter, shall render it prudent " and consistent with the overruling law of self
Page 32 - I ordered him to deliver to me the fort instantly ; he asked me by what authority I demanded it: I answered him, "In the name of the great Jehovah, and the Continental Congress.
Page 76 - I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country...

About the author (2006)

James L. Nelson, a former sailing vessel seaman and boatswain, is the author of two series of novels about the great sailing navies: Revolution at Sea and Brethren of the Coast. His most recent novel is Glory in the Name: A Novel of the Confederate Navy. He also wrote the nonfiction title Reign of Iron:The Story of the First Battling Ironclads.

Bibliographic information