Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

Although militia. George Washington was gathering an

Although he was a skillful leader throughout the revolution, General Benedict Arnold is best known as the man who betrayed his country. After reading more about him, one has to wonder if the betrayal was solely one-sided.Youth and familyBenedict Arnold was born on January 14, 1741, in Norwich, Connecticut. He was one of eleven children. His mother had been a wealthy widow before marrying Benedict’s father, who was a merchant. However, Arnold’s father did not manage the family’s money well, and they were broke when Arnold was thirteen. He was forced to leave school and earned an apprenticeship as an apothecary, a position similar to that of a modern-day pharmacist. As a young man, Arnold had a reputation for having tons of energy and was not afraid to take risks. Although he became very successful as an apothecary and merchant, he felt like he lived under his father’s poor reputation as a drunk and unreliable business man. He was quick to take offense to challenges and insults; he was very confrontational to his peers. He was a passionate patriot who loved his country so he volunteered for the French and Indian War. But at eighteen he deserted the army in order to be with his mother, who was dying. In the 1760s, he traded with Canada and the West Indies. He was a merchant and a sea captain. He took his hot-headed nature to sea with him, fighting at least two duels while on trading voyages. He was a successfull as a trader. In 1767, he married Margaret Mansfield. Sadly, she passed away in 1775 while he was in combat.Joining the RevolutionArnold heard of the battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts in April 1775. Upon hearing of these events, he set out as the head of a company of Connecticut militia. George Washington was gathering an army to fight the British forces there. Although he marched to Massachusetts without military orders to do so, Arnold was soon given an official mission. His first military engagement was the attack the next month on Fort Ticonderoga in northeastern New York, but Arnold got little of the credit for this success. Arnold’s second assignment was with an expedition against Canada. By land and water and in snow and storms, he reached Quebec, Canada, in early November. His force assaulted Quebec on December 31, but the attack failed; He lost two naval battles on the lake in October 1776, but he had effectively delayed the British in moving further south toward the U.S. In the same month Congress made Arnold a brigadier general (an army officer above a colonel). Somewhere during this time he met Peggy Shippen. An affluent daughter of a Philadelphia loyalist. They both wished to be together but Peggy’s father disapproved of Arnold because he did not have a lot of money and he did not like radical patriots.Betrayal Joseph Reed was a delegate in congress but stepped down to help the attorney general prosecute suspected loyalists for treason. He was unsuccessful in all but two cases. Benedict Arnold thought that Reed was wrong in prosecuting so many people from their own country and protested, connecting with other loyalists. This made Reed even angrier and put Benedict Arnold on his radar. So in response Reed launched an investigation on Arnold. This initial invention succumbed to nothing in the end. Reed’s hatred grew more as he lost the trial, and continued to keep tabs on Arnold. Arnold continued to feel pressure from his new wife Peggy to increase their social status, to keep a revenue stream to keep her happy, and to provide for their family. The combination of ally of the pressures social,political and economic led Arnold to a belief he must align himself with offers that were being put forth by the British government.Though Arnold was a war hero for the Americans, Arnold never received the recognition he thought he deserved. In 1779, he entered into secret negotiations with the British, agreeing to turn over the U.S. post at West Point in return for money and a command in the British army. The plot was discovered, but Arnold escaped to British lines. His name has since become synonymous with the word “traitor.”


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