Benedict Arnold Life In The American Revolution


Benedict Arnold: Life In The American Revolution Essay, Research Paper

Benedict Arnold: Life in the American Revolution

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


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)


~?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.

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