Benedict Arnold, a hero of the Revolutionary War was an American who is remembered not for his courage and skills of war, but as a traitor in the U.S. He held the post of a general during the War of 1775 – 1783 but switched sides and fought for the British.
Fact 1 Early Life of the American Hero
Benedict Arnold was born in Norwich, Connecticut in the year 1741, 14th of January. His father was a merchant and his mother was a rich widow before she married Arnold’s father. His father’s nature was not good and so he had to leave school when he was only 13 years old. Poor financial conditions prompted him to work and he learnt to be an apothecary. He was energetic and ambitious and was eager to do something and joined the military during the French and Indian War in 1754 – 1763. He started trading with Canada and the West Indies and then in 1767 when he had established himself as a successful trader, he married Margaret Mansfield in New Haven, Connecticut. But his wife passed away after 8 years in 1775 leaving behind 3 children.
Benedict Arnold worked as a pharmacist and a bookseller and in 1764 formed a partnership with Adam Babcock. They established trade relations with the West Indies. Fearless as he was, he could not hold himself and joined the Continental Army in 1775 when Revolutionary War broke out between the 13 American Colonies and Great Britain. Along with others he captured the British garrison at Fort Ticonderoga. During the War, he severely wounded his leg.
Fact3 The Undaunted American Hero
As soon as Arnold got back his strength at the end of 1776, he rejoined the army and played an important role in curbing a British attack from Canada into New York. His calculations were proved accurate and as he had already made arrangements to meet the British fleet down Lake Champlain, near Valor Bay. His performance held the cause of Patriotism higher from great disaster.
Fact 4 What led to his change of attitude
Benedict Arnold had given his best for his country. But he felt that his heroic services were not being recognized and so he resigned in 1777 from the Continental Army. However, on the requests of George Washington, he rejoined the army to defend Central New York from an invasion of the British Forces in the fall of 1777. Enmity among the generals became worse especially General Horatio Gates who relieved him from his position. Arnold defied Gates and attacked the British line and defeated them and thus moved the Americans to further victory. The country was nearing independence. But again Gates humiliated Arnold and took all the credits of success in the war. Arnold injured the same leg that he had injured in the War at Quebec and became incapable of taking active field command. So he assumed the office of military governor of Philadelphia in 1778. It was at this time that his attitude towards his country changed.
Fact 5 The Change
He was a man of anger and frustration took him to the path of treason. He passed information about American troops to the British in exchange of money as by this time he was in need of money. He even agreed to give the important post at New York, the West Point to the English for ten thousand pounds. But he was not successful and proved a traitor because the British spy Major John Andrew showed all documents sent by Arnold. Benedict escaped to the British territories. The rest of his life he fought for the British against his own countrymen, the Americans. He passed away in 1781 in London on 14th June 1801.