Benedict Arnold
No
other American is remembered quite the same as Benedict Arnold. He was a brave
soldier, a patriot- and a traitor. Benedict was born in Norwich, Connecticut, on

January 14, 1741. When he was 14 years old, Benedict ran away from home to fight
in the French and Indian War, but he was brought back by his mother, who
apparently was driven insane later in her life. If I had a son like Benedict, I
might have gone insane too! After his mother insisted that he return home, he
ran away for a second time. After he was finished playing boy hero for awhile,
he learned the apothecary (pharmacy) trade and then in 1762, he opened a book
and drug store in New Haven. Benedict was also involved with trade in the West

Indies. By 1774, he was one of the wealthiest citizens in New Haven. It\'s a good
thing that he had money, because he was one of those people who like to ride
around in their Mercedes and wear expensive clothes, even if he couldn\'t afford
them. Benedict then got hooked up with the sheriff\'s daughter Margaret

Mansfield, and they hit it off. They decided to get married in 1774. But this
marriage was short lived because the next year Margaret caught a disease and
died. When the Revolutionary War began that year Arnold was already an
experienced soldier. He had helped Ethan Allen capture Fort Ticonderoga. Then

Benedict came up with a great idea to capture Quebec. This idea failed, but

Benedict had already proven his bravery. He was then commissioned as a colonel
in the patriot forces. He was one of General George Washington\'s most trusted
officers. Benedict led his troops to the siege of Boston and Valcour Island and
proved once again to be a bold and skilled officer. At the battle of Valcour

Island he was wounded severely in his leg. His bravery won him the respect of
many people. He was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. Arnold felt that
his services were not properly rewarded. In 1777, Congress promoted five
officers, who were junior to Benedict, to major general. Only a personal plea
from General George Washington kept him from resigning. He did receive a delayed
promotion to major general, but he was still angered that he was not promoted to
a rank above the junior officers promoted earlier. Then to top things off, a
fellow officer charged Arnold with misconduct, but Congress found the charges
groundless and dismissed them. In late 1777, Benedict fought at Saratoga. Before
the final battle Arnold quarreled with his superior, General Horatio Gates, and
was relieved of his command. Despite his relief of command, Benedict led his
troops into battle. He charged from place to place, rallying Americans and was
again wounded in the leg. He received much of the credit for this American
victory. In 1778 Benedict married Peggy Shippen, the daughter of a wealthy

Loyalist when he was assigned to military commander of Philadelphia. Life in

Philadelphia was pleasant but very costly. Before he knew it, Arnold was deeply
in debt. In 1779 he was charged with using his position for personal profit and
charged with using the soldiers in his command as personal servants. A court
martial cleared him of most of the charges, but had General Washington reprimand
him. Washington issued the reprimand, but softened it with the promise of a high
promotion in the future. But Arnold had already sold his services to the

British. Since May of 1779 he had been supplying them with valuable military
information. He did this because he was still upset with the Continental

Congress for not giving him the promotions that he thought he deserved. He was
also very desperate for money because of his extravagant lifestyle. In 1780

Benedict was given command of the fort at West Point in New York. He decided
that he would give this strategic post to the British. In return he was to be
made brigadier general in the British Army. He was also promised money. On

September 21, Benedict met with Major John Andre of the British army to discuss
and arrange the details. Two days later, Andre was captured when he attempted to
return to the British lines. Some American soldiers stopped and searched him and
found incriminating papers hidden in his stockings and the plot was revealed.

Andre was executed as a spy. Arnold learned this news in time for him to escape.

He fled to a British ship that took him down the Hudson River