IntroductionDuring the American Revolutionary War Benedict Arnold was a skilled General who early in the war fought bravely for the Continental Army; he even suffered a severe wound to his leg fighting the British at Quebec. He was trusted by the Continental Army's commander and Chief General George Washington and eventually rose to the rank of Major General. However Benedict Arnold would end up betraying George Washington and America's fight for independence and in fact would end up fighting for the British. The interesting list of facts below explains how this famous general turned traitor and the reasons why he betrayed his country.
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Benedict Arnold Early Years Facts
- He was born on January 14th of 1741 in Norwich, Connecticut.
- Early in his life he settled in New Haven, Connecticut where he eventually became involved in a partnership that purchased trading ships and traded with the West Indies.
- In 1767 he married Margaret Mansfield; they had three sons together.
- As the British began to tighten its hold on the American colonist and passed acts such as the Sugar Act, that financially hurt colonial merchants, Arnold joined the Sons of Liberty; the group that would become famous for fighting British control over the American colonies.
Benedict Arnold as a Loyal Patriot Facts
- When the American Revolutionary War began Arnold became captain in the militia he would eventually rise in rank to Major General.
- In 1778 he was appointed military commander of Philadelphia Pennsylvania after the British abandoned the city.
- In Philadelphia he accumulated a lot of personal debt and at the same time was accused numerous times of corruption; using his military position for personal financial gain. He was never found guilty but did receive an official, although mild, reprimand from General George Washington in April of 1780.
- In 1779, While military commander of Philadelphia, he married Margaret Shippen; his first wife had died 4 years earlier. She was a Loyalist who had developed ways of contacting British military commanders.
Benedict Arnold Traitor Facts
- Sometime after his second marriage in 1779 General Benedict Arnold became a traitor. He began providing the British with important military information such as troop locations in exchange for money. His treason was probably due the combination of being married to a British loyalist, being hopelessly in debt, and feeling mistreated by the Continental Congress.
- In the summer of 1780 General Arnold developed a plan to hand over the military base in West Point, New York to the British. In August of 1780 he had persuaded George Washington to put him in command of the base with the intention of surrendering it to the British for a large sum of money. As commander he began to weaken the forts defenses.
- The scheme to surrender West Point fell apart in September of 1780 when a spy was captured with documents describing the plan. Arnold managed to escape capture by fleeing to the British lines.
- After his treason was found out he spent the rest of the war as a British soldier fighting against George Washington and the Continental Army.
Benedict Arnold after the American Revolution
- In 1781, with the decisive defeat of British General Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown Virginia, Benedict Arnold escaped to England with his family.
- In England he tried to find work in the British military but was unable to do so.
- He died on June 14th of 1801 in London England.
- To this day, in the United States, Benedict Arnold's name is synonymous with the word traitor.