The burning of the Benedict Arnold Festival sets the traitor on fire

This Connecticut town never forgets a traitor.

Hundreds are expected to gather in New London on Saturday Burning of the Benedict Arnold Festivalin which a papier-mâché figure of the disgraced American revolutionary is set alight to mark the anniversary when Arnold led a group of more than 1,600 British soldiers to burn most of the city in September 1781.

“I like to jokingly refer to it as the original Burning Man festival,” said organizer Derron Wood.

For nearly a century, annual events to burn traitors were held in cities such as New York, Boston and Philadelphia, but were canceled during the Civil War.

Wood, who also serves as artistic director of New London’s Flock Theater, revived the festival in 2013.

It became part of the state Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festivaland returned last year after a pandemic-related break.

Burning of the Benedikt Arnold Festival
An effigy of Arnold, who defected to the British during the American Revolution, is set on fire on the city’s waterfront.

Burning of Benedict Arnold
The Burning of Benedict Arnold Festival is celebrated annually in New London, Connecticut.

“This project and especially the response, the hunger for its return, was huge and the interest in it was huge,” said Victor Chiburis, co-organizer of the festival.

Participants, some dressed in period costume, march with a fife and drum corps on Bank Street in New London toward Waterfront Park, where it is Mayor, Michael E. PasseroHe shouts: “Think of New London” and sets fire to the effigy.

Arnold, a military officer, was appointed by then-General George Washington and given control of West Point, where Washington had his headquarters during the war.

Benedict Arnold
Arnold, who died in 1801 at the age of 60, was from Norwich.
Sepia Times/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

However, it turned out that Arnold, who was from Norwich, was passing information to the British and was planning to hand West Point over to enemy forces.

Arnold carried out the attack on New London a month before the British surrendered at Yorktown, ending major fighting during the Revolution.

With post wires

Caroline Bleakley

Caroline Bleakley is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Caroline Bleakley joined USTimeToday in 2022 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Caroline Bleakley by emailing

Related Articles

Back to top button