Benedict Arnold


     On January 14, 1741, Benedict

Arnold was born in Norwich, Connecticut. (B Arnold) Arnold’s father, also
named Benedict, had a drinking problem and his mother Hannah often worried. (B

Arnold) Arnold received his schooling at Canterbury. (B Arnold) While away at
school, a few of Arnold’s siblings passed away from Yellow Fever. (B Arnold)

Arnold was a troublesome kid that would try just about anything. (B Arnold) As a
rebellious 14-year-old boy, he ran away from home to fight in the French and

Indian War. (B Arnold) Later, Benedict Arnold deserted and returned home through
the wilderness alone to work with his cousins. (B Arnold) The army had excused
him without penalty because of his tender, young age. In 1762, when Benedict was
just twenty-one years old, he went to New Haven, Connecticut where he managed a
book and drug store and carried on trade with the West Indies. (B Arnold) In

1767, he married Margaret Mansfield, a daughter of a sheriff of New Haven

County. (B Arnold) They had three sons together. (B Arnold) When the

Revolutionary War was just beginning to break out, Benedict Arnold became a
prosperous ship owner, merchant, and trader. (Lake Champlain) Within days,

Arnold became very interested in the war once again and joined the American

Army. All of the battles Arnold commanded over showed immense courage and
bravery, but he was soon known as America’s greatest traitor due to his
betrayal of the American’s. As the Revolutionary War broke out, Benedict

Arnold decided to volunteer to head over 1,000 men up to Maine. (Lake Champlain)

He asked for additional men from his companies to join the army. Arnold then
became a captain in the Connecticut Militia. General George Washington had his
favorites, which Arnold was among the very few. (Macks 118) So, Benedict Arnold
was sent on a infernal 500 mile march to Maine by Washington also known as

"The Rock". (Macks 72, 118) There, he met up with General Richard

Montgomery. (Macks 72) The relentless Benedict Arnold and only about fifty
percent of his original soldiers made it to the St. Lawrence River where they
met up with General Montgomery. (Macks 72) Their plan was to attack the British

Army by surprise in Quebec City, Canada. (Lake Champlain and Macks 72) Both

Montgomery and Arnold arranged to start on the lofty mountain sides of Quebec. (Macks

72) Arnold and his soldiers found themselves trapped by the British. A member of
the British Army shot a musket ball directly towards Arnold’s leg. (Macks 73)

His leg was badly broken and he had to be taken to a hospital bed almost a mile
away from the attack. (Macks 73) The courageous and brave Arnold relentlessly
hollered orders from his bed, as his hard working troopers were overthrown by
the British Army. (Macks 73) The attack had lasted fifty days and the secret
journey resulted in a catastrophe for the volunteer soldiers who marched away.
(Lake Champlain) The conditions were horrendous. It was said that almost fifty
percent of the men froze, starved, and even made broth for nourishment by
boiling leather from their shoes. (Lake Champlain) Forty, of the fifty percent
of the worn out men died before returning home. (Lake Champlain) During this
time, Arnold had tremendous leadership and courage in those woods. Many people
believed that they would have all perished if it were not for dauntless and
extraordinary field general-ship. (Lake Champlain) The Massachusetts Committee
of Safety became suspicious of Arnold’s behavior and conduct. Benedict was fed
up so he resigned his commission at Crown Point, New York. (M. Flynn) While

Benedict was on his way back to Connecticut, he first dropped by Albany, New

York where he talked with the commander of the Northern Army, Major General

Philip Schuyler. (M. Flynn) Arnold tried to persuade the General into letting
him invade Quebec. Arnold understood that he would later face consequences with
the Massachusetts Committee because of his actions, but he prepared himself. (M.

Flynn) Benedict came up with a petition and accumulated over 500 signatures from

Northern New Yorkers. (M. Flynn) The petition showed the American’s
appreciation of his accomplishments and good deeds. (M. Flynn) The petition soon
became useless. Arnold’s wife had been sick with an illness for quite some
time. (B Arnold) The news soon made it to him that Margaret had passed away. (M.

Flynn) Arnold proceeded back to New Haven to bury his wife and sort through her
belongings. (M. Flynn) He soon returned to the same spot, but this time he had a
new method of taking control of Quebec. (M. Flynn) Arnold met with General

Washington once again and informed him of his plan to invade Quebec City for the
second time. Both Arnold and General Philip Schuyler, a well-educated man from
the upper class, would take different routes up to Canada. (M. Flynn) Arnold
would go up the Kennebec River into northwest Maine and would then travel
through the woods, while Schuyler would head directly north. (M. Flynn)

Washington thought Arnold’s plan was brilliant and told him to go ahead with
it but under two conditions. (M. Flynn) First, Arnold had to talk to the

Massachusetts Committee of Safety in regards to previous accusations. Second,

Benedict had to obtain General Schuyler’s permission to accompany him on the
invasion. (M. Flynn) Once these two circumstances were met, Arnold would become
a colonel and serve in the Continental Army. (M. Flynn) After meeting with the

Massachusetts Committee of Safety, Arnold was dismissed of any errors. (M.

Flynn) While patiently waiting for Schuylers decision, Washington ordered Arnold
to stay on campus until the word came through. Arnold didn’t bother to listen
to anything Washington had to say so he left for a close-by journey to

Watertown. (M. Flynn) He soon found out that General Philip Schuyler would be
setting out to attack Montreal on August 30. (M. Flynn) Arnold was overjoyed
with the news. Colonel Arnold and General Washington validated sixteen thousand
men on September 2, 1775 before heading off to Canada. (M. Flynn) Arnold ended
up choosing a little under one thousand men to take with him on the attack. (M.

Flynn) Washington had additionally added three hundred more soldiers from

Pennsylvania and Virginia to proceed with Arnold. (M. Flynn) Arnold carefully
followed a map to the mouth of the Kennebec River. He soon realized that the map
had been altered by British authorities before it had been printed. (M. Flynn)

Arnold also found out that the man he chose to replicate the map was an
undercover Tory. (M. Flynn) The man had changed the map around even more and
handed them out to all of Arnold’s men. (M. Flynn) Now, Arnold was facing an
extra two hundred and twenty miles to march. The weather soon became horrendous.

There were raging rainstorms and strong winds, almost like a hurricane. (M.

Flynn) Part of Arnold’s men backed out and returned home with most of the

Army’s food. (M. Flynn) The left over men were subdued to eating tree bark,
leather from their shoes, Newfoundlander dogs, and anything that could be
digested. (M. Flynn) The men were spread out and it was difficult for Arnold to
keep count. (M. Flynn) The first men to arrive at the St. Lawrence River in

Quebec were only a week and a half late, even with the extra miles added on. (M.

Flynn) Montreal ended up surrendering to General Richard Montgomery on November

13th. (M. Flynn) Montgomery had replaced Schuyler for an unknown reason. (M.

Flynn) The British were completely aware of Arnold’s plan to attack Quebec
once again. (M. Flynn) Arnold had written General Schuyler a letter updating
about the soldiers advancements. (M. Flynn) Benedict gave the letter to a well
trusted Indian so he could bring it to Schuyler. (M. Flynn) The Indian betrayed

Arnold and Schuyler’s trust by handing over the letter to the British.

That’s how Arnold’s plan was discovered by the enemies. (M. Flynn) On New

Year’s Eve, in the middle of a snowstorm, Montgomery and Arnold started their
attack on Quebec City. (M. Flynn) Within minutes, the British were alerted. (M.

Flynn) Montgomery was killed by a cannon ball. (M. Flynn) Without a leader,

Montgomery’s forces headed off. Arnold was quickly made Brigadier General by

Congress and Washington’s approval. (M. Flynn) An additional two thousand and
five hundred soldiers were sent up due to the low number of men left. (M. Flynn)

About two hundred and ninety men were taken hostage as prisoners, thirty-five
were hurt, and fifty had died. (M. Flynn) A new British Army from England
disembarked and ended the invasion. (M. Flynn) The war was successful. Arnold
was the head of the evacuation of Montreal. Arnold was the last person to leave
the Canadian border to head down south. (M. Flynn) Benedict’s return back to
the colonies with his soldiers started in June of 1776. (M. Flynn) Arnold
discovered exactly how much his home country had changed since he was away. For
example, Virginia became independent and his church had been arrested because
they were British spies. (M. Flynn) The war has ended. American’s said,

"Arnold showed himself as the most enterprising man among the rebels". (M.

Flynn) Arnold was determined to fight near Valcour Island, which is comfortably
up against the shoreline of New York. (Lake Champlain) In June of 1776, while
the Battle of Valcour Island just began, Arnold had hurt himself badly. (Lake

Champlain) Despite his pain, Arnold managed to lead his soldiers the rest of the
way to Lake Champlain. (Lake Champlain) July 7, 1776, Benedict and his men
headed to Lake Champlain. (Lake Champlain) They found refuge at the southern end
of the lake. It turned out that Arnold led his men into the exact spot they
wanted to be in, which was Fort Amherst on Crown Point. (Lake Champlain) They
were all glad that the their travels were over. Benedict and his soldiers rowed
just about one hundred miles to reach their destination. (Lake Champlain) It was
a long and stressful journey. While Arnold had previously fought in Canada, he
picked up strategies to win wars just by watching every little move of the

British soldiers. (Lake Champlain) The British were powerful and compelling.

Arnold knew there was no possible way to defeat the Northern Army, at least not
in 1776. He told his fellow officers that the only thing America could hope for
was to delay the Northern Army. (Lake Champlain) Arnold’s ongoing energy and
positive enthusiasm kept his men on their toes. (Lake Champlain) A tiny group of
fifteen boats finally formed by late September. Arnold urged, prayed, badgered,
and pleaded to Washington to put together a navy of about five hundred men.
(Lake Champlain) Arnold did not care whether the men were unskilled or
half-naked, he was desperate. (Lake Champlain) Washington approved Arnold’s
needs, he sent the boats up north. Arnold sailed the boats on the Richelieu

River, which was near a British preparation site. (Lake Champlain) Arnold
ordered his men to fire the cannons to let the British know they were there.
(Lake Champlain) Although Arnold lost the Lake Champlain battle, he never gave
up. He alone created a far reaching "victory" for his country. (Lake

Champlain) In 1776, Benedict Arnold was associated with a number of different
summer battles. (B Arnold) These battles were involving any kinds of war, they
were legal matters. (B Arnold) Arnold was taken to court for stealing goods from
numerous stores in Montreal after a battle. (B Arnold) In Arnold’s defense, he
accused Officer Hazen of not taking command. After that, Arnold felt as if he
was the one who had to take control. (B Arnold) Hazen was brought into the
court. Arnold and Hazen started a vicious argument that became hot. (B Arnold)

The court was in favor of the officer and they demanded Arnold to apologize to

Hazen. Arnold was furious and refused to apologize to anybody. (B Arnold) To get
revenge, Arnold decided to challenge the court. In retaliation, the court
demanded to arrest Arnold. (B Arnold) On Lake Champlain in New York State, was
an important place during the Revolutionary War. (Kenneth 65) It was an easy
access route by water for the invasion of Canada. (Kenneth 65) A group of

Americans put together an expedition to take over Fort Ticonderoga. (Kenneth 65)

The group included Ethan Allen, a Vermont colonial leader and Benedict Arnold, a
colonel from Connecticut. (Kenneth 65) Arnold trained his own militia force for
the capture of the fort. (Kenneth 65) Arnold and Allen met up in Bennington. (B

Arnold) Arnold accompanied Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, also known
as Vermont soldiers, before heading off to Fort Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775.
(Kenneth 65) Benedict Arnold shared the command with Allen. Allen and Arnold led
the Green Mountain Boys in a surprise attack. (Kenneth 65) The capture was
successful. Not a single person from Arnold and Allen’s troops had died while
taking over the fort. The Green Mountain Boys celebrated their victory by
breaking into rum stores and getting drunk. (B Arnold) The Green Mountain Boys
and Allen basically ignored Arnold during and after the capture of Fort

Ticonderoga. (B Arnold) Benedict went to Colonel Easton to complain about the
way he was treated. The two ended up in an argument and nothing was ever solved.
(B Arnold) Arnold was even spotted spending time with the officers from the
other side instead of his fellow soldiers. (B Arnold) Soon enough, Arnold
eventually gained some status by his knowledge about sailing ships. (B Arnold)

Easton returned from Massachusetts where he went to announce the capture of Fort

Ticonderoga. (B Arnold) At this time, Allen and Benedict were making a plan to
invade Quebec City, Canada. (B Arnold) While in Massachusetts, Colonel Easton
had just about destroyed any knowledge about Arnold’s participation in the
capture. (B Arnold) Arnold was furious and once again the two engaged in an
argument which further resulted in a physical fight. (B Arnold) The British
recaptured the fort in 1777, but abandoned it in 1780. The fort was left behind
because the British gave up hope of using the invasion route in later years.
(Kenneth 65) At Saratoga National Historic Park in Stillwater, New York, rests a
monument to Benedict Arnold’s leg. (BA’s Leg) The monument sits on the exact
spot of where Benedict was knocked down and wounded when the Battle of

Freeman’s Farm was in progress. (BA’s Leg) Benedict Arnold’s leg was
pinned beneath his own horse. His leg was extremely wounded and bled immensely.
(BA’s Leg) Although Arnold’s leg was badly broken, it survived the battle.
(BA’s Leg) While being appointed to command over the city of Philadelphia in

1778, Arnold met a young woman named Peggy Shippen. (B Arnold and Macks 118)

Peggy was a society girl and the daughter of an important Tory. (Macks 118) She
had three daughters by her husband Edward Shippen who was a judge. (B Arnold)

Soon enough, Arnold and Peggy began to have a close relationship. (B Arnold) The
two were inseparable and Arnold asked Peggy for her hand in marriage. Peggy was
only eighteen years old and Benedict was thirty-eight years old when they tied
the knot. (B Arnold) Both were beginning their second marriage. (Macks 118)

Arnold began to receive high social status after marrying into the Shippen
family. (B Arnold) That’s what Arnold had longed for his entire life. He and
his wife lived generously and extravagantly, and Arnold drew criticism for
living beyond his means. (Macks 118) Benedict found himself in debt most of the
time and was on the look out for scams that would entitle him money to spoil his
wife. (Macks 118) Only Arnold knew the two lived beyond what they could afford
and Benedict soon realized that his new social status was too difficult to pay
for. (B Arnold) Arnold was involved in some risky business involving him using
government supplies for his own needs. (B Arnold) Congress always kept a close
eye on Arnold because he had been accused of numerous accusations previous to
his marriage. (B Arnold) The executive council of Pennsylvania accused Benedict
of Tory leanings and of using military soldiers as his own personal servants. (Macks

118) He was soon brought to a marital court where he was found guilty on two
different charges. (B Arnold) He was guilty of issuing a pass to a ship he later
invested money in and for using government owned wagons for his own personal
use. (B Arnold) The court ended up dismissing him without any wrongdoing, but he
was scolded for using poor judgment by General Washington. (Macks 118) Soon,

Arnold became enraged and irritated with his own country. He thought he deserved
to be recognized for his money, rank, and glory. (Macks 118) Only a year and a
half after Arnold’s heroic courage at Saratoga, he offered his services to the

British Army. (BA’s Leg) Arnold convinced General George Washington to give
him command over West Point, a fierce American fort in which he was soon to take
over. (Macks 118 and BA’s Leg) The West Point fort guards the Hudson River,
which is north of New York City. (Macks 118 and BA’s Leg) In May of 1779,

Arnold became in command of West Point, but he worked out a plan to surrender
the fort to the British general, Sir Henry Clinton. Benedict had arranged to
hand over the keys to West Point. (BA’s Leg) He had been corresponding with
the British for almost sixteen months. In September of 1780, a group of thieves
trapped a traveler in the woods right outside of West Point. (Macks 119)

American forces captured the man. He was turned over to the American Army where
his true identity was revealed. (Macks 119) The "traveler" turned out to be

Major John Andr?,
who was part of the British Army. (Macks 119) He was Benedict Arnold’s
connection with the British. (BA’s Leg) The scandalous scheme was quickly
detected. (BA’s Leg) The American’s found a map and many letters in his
boot. (Macks 119 and BA’s Leg) The letters that were found, implicated

Benedict. (BA’s Leg) Arnold’s scheme to surrender West Point was fully
uncovered. (Macks 119) Before General Washington could arrest, then later
capture and kill Arnold for being a traitor, he escaped from the American’s
and went to New York City where he became a Brigadier general in the British

Army. (Macks 119 and BA’s Leg) The British sent a frigate called "Vulture"
so he could disappear without harm. (BA’s Leg) A frigate is a fast, medium
sized sailing war ship of the eighteenth century. Soon after his escape, Arnold
began to conquer British forces. Arnold demanded 20,000 pounds from the British
for the losses he suffered in joining them. He received only 6,315 pounds. Now a

British officer, he led his new men on expeditions that burned Richmond,

Virginia and New London, Connecticut, his native state. (BA’s Leg) Thankfully,

West Point was saved. The British agent, Major John Andr?, was soon hanged by the

American Army. (Macks 120 and BA’s Leg) The British lost the battle and Arnold
became dismayed at the mistake of switching sides. (BA’s Leg) The once great

Benedict Arnold, was referred to as a "businessman turned ruthless, ambitious
soldier". (Macks 70) Arnold was recognized kindly by King George III when he
went to England in 1781, but others there looked down upon him. In 1797, the

British government granted him 13,400 acres in Canada. The land was of little
use to him. Benedict spent most of his remaining years as a merchant in the West

India trade, just like he had once done. His second wife Peggy was faithful to
him through all of his troubles. Arnold’s wife was considered an innocent
person throughout Arnold’s betrayal. (B Arnold) People believed that Peggy
indeed played an extremely important role in knowing what was going on with her
husband and the British. (B Arnold) Peggy had been close friends with Major John

Andr? before she met Arnold. (B Arnold) It was said that during the winter of

1777 and 1778, the young woman held many parties in her Philadelphia home. (B

Arnold) By this time, Peggy had made many friends. Her parties and balls were
strictly for people of high status. Lots of British officers and Tories
attended. (B Arnold) It was thought that she may have encouraged him to become a
traitor but it is not a proven fact. In Benedict Arnold’s last days he was
burdened with debt, became discouraged, and was basically distrusted by most
people. Arnold soon passed away in England in 1801. (BA’s Leg) He left behind
a total of eight children. (B Arnold) Five of the children were from Peggy’s
first marriage and the other three were from his first marriage to Margaret. (B

Arnold) His four sons then became members of the British military. America now
has their first despicable traitor! (Macks 120)

Bibliography

"The

Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution." Online. May 1775.

28 Feb. 2000. . ~"Benedict Arnold." Online. 19 March 2000. . ~"Benedict

Arnold’s Leg." Online. 7 March 2000. . ~"Benedict Arnold on Lake

Champlain. The Battle of Valcour Island." Online. 7 March 2000. . ~Flynn, J.

Michael. "Benedict Arnold: The Traitor Who Saved America." Online. 18 March

2000. . ~Kenneth, Dave C. "Say You Want a Revolution." Don’t Know Much

About History. U.S.A: Avon Books, 1995. ~Mack, Stan. "Redcoats and

Guerrillas." Real Life American Revolution. USA: Avon Books, 1994.