An American Revolutionary War memorial to Major General Benedict Arnold donated by Civil War General John Watts DePeyster is located within Saratoga National Historical Park, New York. Although it commemorates Arnold’s service at the Battles of Saratoga in the Continental Army, his name is not recorded. Arnold’s name became synonymous with “traitor” soon after his betrayal and defection to the British in 1870. The monument therefore serves as a form of ‘damnatio memoriae’: a condemnation of memory where a person is removed from official accounts.
The monument is in the form of a gravestone with a sculpture consisting of the barrel of a cannon from which hangs an epaulette with two stars, a laurel and a boot. It is a symbol of Arnold’s wounded foot during the Battle of Quebec. Further wounds were received at the Battle of Ridgefield when his horse was shot out from under him and at Saratoga when a severe leg wound ended his career as a fighting soldier.
The inscription on the reverse of the gravestone reads,
Erected 1887 By
JOHN WATTS de PEYSTER
Brev: Maj: Gen: S.N.Y.
2nd V. Pres’t Saratoga Mon’t Ass’t’n:
In memory of
the “most brilliant soldier” of the
who was desperately wounded
on this spot the sally port of
BURGOYNES GREAT WESTERN REDOUBT
7th October, 1777
winning for his countrymen
the decisive battle of the
and for himself the rank of