The Mystery of the General Arnold

Co-Authored with Cook and Jannoni

It was so cold, the salt water of the bay froze around it. The unspeakable anguish of those onboard who already knew they were dead men.


The ship lay imprisoned in the sand and, it was so cold, the salt water of the bay froze around it. There was no way for the people onshore to reach the men. Attempts made in vain only added to the unspeakable  anguish of those onboard who already knew they were dead men.

When the storm finally died down and rescuers made their way across the ice  to the wreck, they found the dead frozen in grotesque forms, some clutching ropes, others clutching each other in a death grip.

Survivors who didnt lose limbs from frostbite, lost their peace of mind. A mass grave was dug on Burial Hill for the more than 70 who froze to death. There was no list of their names. Many had been picked up in Boston, before the brig set sail south, and they hadnt been on board long  enough for the captain to log their identities.

The tragedy cast a pall on Plymouth that year. The people who witnessed the scene, who heard the screams, wanted to forget but couldnt.

Years passed, and, somehow, the weight of time buried the tale amid a parade of other wartime stories.

However, when the skeletal remains of a shipwreck emerged from the waters of White Flat in the 1970s, archaeologists and historians unearthed the  story, and sparked a heated debate when they concluded it was the wreck  of the General Arnold. Others were definitive that the ship had  been raised, rechristened and continued to sail the bounding main for  years afterward.

The late George Hanlon, of Plymouth, was among those convinced the wreck was the General Arnold.

And so begins the mystery.

"Sailing at Christmas in 1778 the ship ran into a powerful winter storm and most of the crew froze to death within sight of land. The book uses first hand accounts and reprints of old documents to enhance the horror of the moment."

-Christopher Obert

"This event had to influence the many problems that Washington was having, keeping the troops clothed and fed. The whole aspect of a part of this war occurring on the water, and not on land is greatly over looked in History."


"...this is an horrific recount of that fiery snowstorm that killed many of the men aboard the General Arnold. Out of the 105 crew, only 33 survived. Those following the commander's orders  to pour liquor into their boots kept from freezing. Those who drank the liquor froze to death."


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©2021 Lenny Cavallaro

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