The Two Faces of
One of the ablest, bravest and
most talented field officers in
the Continental Army.
One of the most notorious
traitors in the history of world.
-Led the expedition to take over Fort Ticonderoga in
1775...without a fight.
-That mission got cannons for the Americans which helped them
take Boston without a fight.
BUT....Ethan Allen got the glory for that campaign.
-Led a brilliant invasion of Quebec that would have succeeded in
making Canada the 14th colony.
BUT....the other General involved blundered and decided to
invade Montreal, giving Quebec time to prepare for and defeat
Saratoga - Turning point of the war.
The Americans stopped a British attempt to cut New England
off from New York
Arnold almost single-handedly led the Americans to victory over
the British in a spectacular display of battlefield skill.
Horatio Gates, Arnold's superior who spent most of the battle
surrounding himself desperately-needed troops and arguing
Independence with a captured British officer, was awarded the
title "Hero of Saratoga" by the Continental Congress.
Gates overstated his own role and made little to no mention of
Arnold in his official report of the battle. Arnold was stripped of
field command and given a non-combat post in Philadelphia.
Arnold's career in the Continental Army
-Was accused by Congress of embezzlement (taking Congress'
money) and made to pay part of it back.
-Was wounded twice in the leg, nearly killed at Quebec, and
spent most of his own family fortune to pay for his own unit.
-His victory at Saratoga convinced the French to help the
Americans against Britain, which would eventually lead to an
-Was consistently passed over for promotion by Congress while
men of lesser ability were promoted and given commands they
were unfit for (Example: Gates).
Arnold's Personal life...
While in Philadelphia at the age of 39, he met, courted and
married Peggy Shippen, the beautiful 18 year-old daughter of a
Loyalist judge. The new Mrs. Arnold had expensive tastes.
Arnold quickly went into debt.
Shippen's circle of friends included several people who devised a
plan, with Arnold, to help the British gain control of West Point,
NY: a heavily-defended American fort blocking British access to
the Hudson River.
Working with British spy, Major John Andre, Arnold agreed to get
command of the fort, and surrender it to the British for a
commission in the British Army, a yearly pension and 20,000
Benedict Arnold - Traitor
Arnold gained command of the fort through his friend George
Just before the Arnold could surrender the fort to the British,
Washington showed up for a surprise inspection.
Arnold fled down river to New York, where the British were still
Arnold was given the rank of General and given command of a
shoddy unit of Loyalist soldiers.
After the war, he went to England where he died in 1801. On his
tombstone, Arnold is called "An American Patriot."