Benedict arnold. copy of engraving by h. b. hall after john trumbull, published 1879., 1931   1932   nara   532921
Benedict arnold. copy of engraving by h. b. hall after john trumbull, published 1879., 1931   1932   nara   532921
General Benedict Arnold
(1741-1801)

Died aged c. 60

Benedict Arnold (January 14, 1741 [O.S. January 3, 1740] – June 14, 1801) was a general during the American Revolutionary War who originally fought for the American Continental Army but defected to the British Army. While a general on the American side, he obtained command of the fortifications at West Point, New York (future site of the U.S. Military Academy after 1802), overlooking the cliffs at the Hudson River (upriver from British-occupied New York City), and planned to surrender it to the British forces. The plan was exposed in September 1780, and he was commissioned into the British Army as a brigadier general. Benedict Arnold was born in Connecticut and was a merchant operating ships on the Atlantic Ocean when the war broke out in 1775. He joined the growing army outside Boston and distinguished himself through acts of intelligence and bravery. His actions included the Capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775, defensive and delaying tactics at the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain in 1776 (allowing American forces time to prepare New York's defenses), the Battle of Ridgefield, Connecticut (after which he was promoted to major general), operations in relief of the Siege of Fort Stanwix, and key actions during the pivotal Battles of Saratoga in 1777, in which he suffered leg injuries that ended his combat career for several years. Despite Benedict Arnold's successes, he was passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress, while other officers claimed credit for some of his accomplishments. Adversaries in military and political circles brought charges of corruption or other malfeasance, but most often he was acquitted in formal inquiries. Congress investigated his accounts and found that he was indebted to Congress after having spent much of his own money on the war effort. Arnold was frustrated and bitter at this, as well as with the alliance with France and the failure of Congress to accept Britain's 1778 proposal to grant full self-governance in the colonies. He decided to change sides and opened secret negotiations with the British. In July 1780, he was awarded command of West Point. Arnold's scheme was to surrender the fort to the British, but it was exposed when American forces captured British Major John André carrying papers which revealed the plot. Upon learning of André's capture, Arnold fled down the Hudson River to the British sloop-of-war Vulture, narrowly avoiding capture by the forces of George Washington, who had been alerted to the plot. Benedict Arnold received a commission as a brigadier general in the British Army, an annual pension of £360, and a lump sum of over £6,000. He led British forces on raids in Virginia and against New London and Groton, Connecticut before the war effectively ended with the American victory at Yorktown. In the winter of 1782, Arnold moved to London with his second wife Margaret "Peggy" Shippen Arnold. He was well received by King George III and the Tories, but frowned upon by the Whigs. In 1787, he returned to the merchant business with his sons Richard and Henry in Saint John, New Brunswick. He returned to London to settle permanently in 1791, where he died ten years later. The name, "Benedict Arnold", quickly became a byword in the United States for treason or betrayal because he betrayed his countrymen by leading the British army in battle against the men whom he once commanded. His earlier legacy is recalled in the ambiguous nature of some of the memorials that have been placed in his honor.

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Commemorated on 3 plaques

Photo of Benedict Arnold black plaque
Nick Harrison on Flickr
Photo of Benedict Arnold plaque
Magicpiano on Wikimedia Commons
Photo of Benedict Arnold bronze plaque
Billy Hathorn on Wikimedia Commons

Major General Benedict Arnold, American patriot resided here from 1796 until his death June 14, 1801

62 Gloucester Place, London, United Kingdom where he lived

To commemorate Col. Benedict Arnold's expedition to Quebec in 1775

?, Mercer, ME, United States where he was (1775)

An expedition under Colonel Benedict Arnold for the capture of Quebec marched from this place in September 1775. To record and honor the service of its members who took part in this effort towards American independence

Fort Western, Augusta, ME, United States where he was (1775)