On September 25, 2017, five would-be experiential historians led by writer Hodding Carter will attempt to paddle, pole, and carry their 400-pound bateau ( a replica of an 18th-century, flat-bottomed river boat) up the Kennebec River, through and over bogs, swamps, and rocky carapaces, and then down Quebec's Chaudiere River to retrace Benedict Arnold's 1775 campaign to take Quebec City from the British. It is considered to be one of the greatest and most difficult campaigns on American soil and afterward, Arnold was regaled as America's Hannibal--as in the elephants over the Alps to fight the Romans, that is, not fava beans. Our crew will not only be using the same type of boat but also eating the same type of food and wearing the same type of clothing. Arnold set off with 1100 soldiers and arrived at Quebec seven weeks later with little more than 600 thanks to sickness, death and desertion. The Benedict Arnold Expedition 2017 should take about the same amount of time but they do not plan on losing any member of the team.
They will also be making a documentary about the expedition and Hodding will also be writing about the project.The funds raised here will go toward outfitting everyone in period clothing, purchasing food supplies and safety and communications gear, and traveling back from Quebec after the journey is complete. Hodding has already raised $5000 for building the boat. Any funds raised that exceed the Kickstarter goal will be used toward making the documentary.
Risks and challenges
This is a difficult undertaking given the bateau's weight and that much of the route is upstream and over land. Some days they will only make 1-2 miles although they'll labor all day. Arnold's soldiers resorted to eating the camp dogs, their leather clothing, and even cartridge boxes. Our adventurers will not.
Hodding has spent his entire adult life writing about both the outdoors and history for national magazines and his own books. He has successfully retraced a number of historic expeditions--from the Lewis and Clark expedition to Leif Eriksson's voyage from Greenland to Newfoundland--and does not give up until the project is complete.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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