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Douchebag Battle Royale
Aaron Burr vs. Benedict Arnold
Aaron Burr was not a patient man.
He joined the Continental Army in 1775 a few months after Lexington and Concord only to cool his heels at the siege of Boston, where all he had to do all day was stare at the redcoats, who were just as busy staring back at him. He volunteered to join the American force being sent to attack British-held Quebec, which meant walking through three hundred fifty miles of Maine wilderness (and sometimes crawling). The march was grueling, rations were low, and the weather was terrible, but Burr slogged on and joined in the attack on the city that resulted in the death of the expedition’s commander, General Montgomery.
America’s first traitor, Benedict Arnold, now in command, attempted a strategy where he would lay a siege and starve out the British. This almost worked, except that the Americans themselves were starving. Being more than a bit of a douchebag himself, and tapping into the bold unscrupulousness that would come in handy years later in selling out his country, Arnold decided to demand the surrender of the British garrison. He picked Captain Aaron Burr to deliver the message.
Burr, tapping into the self-serving skepticism that would come in handy years later in switching political sides to get himself elected to the Senate and the Vice Presidency, refused to carry the message. Burr fancied himself a decent military strategist, but it didn’t take a genius to know the British, with all the food and shelter they had, held the upper hand. Intelligence reports also suggested a British fleet was on the way to relieve them.
Demanding their surrender was ludicrous, and Burr correctly anticipated that the American officer who delivered the message would be laughed at and derided by the redcoats. “Get someone else,” he told Benedict Arnold, crossed his arms, and sat down in the snow, wondering if he should eat the general’s horse or something.
The fleet arrived and the Americans went back home. Burr decided he had had enough of Benedict Arnold and planned a visit home himself. Arnold refused to allow him to go, saying it was tantamount to desertion. Burr told him that his boat was leaving the next morning and that if Arnold wanted to stop him, well, he should bring some extra guys with him.
Burr left the next morning. No one tried to stop him.