Revolutionary War Continental Major General. The son of Benedict Arnold and Hannah Waterman King, Benedict Jr was schooled in Canterbury, Connecticut. Financial problems at home forced his return to Connecticut, and eventually he established an Apothecary business after serving an apprenticeship with his cousins, Daniel and Joshua Lathrop. He established an Apothecary in New Haven, Connecticut. with his sister, Hannah. In 1767, he married Margaret Mansfield, and together they had 3 sons; she died in 1775. In 1775, he was a Captain in the Governor's Second Company of Guards, and he immediately took them to capture Fort Ticonderoga. His small unit met up with Colonel Ethan Allen and joined forces to capture Fort Ticonderoga. Initially, he billed the Continental Congress for his expenses, and it took nearly 2 years to pay him. In the meantime, George Washington had promoted him to Colonel, and he was given command of an expedition to sieze Canada from British control. This expedition failed at Montreal, however, Arnold's superior leadership was noted. Despite the failure of the Canada Expedition, Washington had Arnold promoted to Brigadier General. His hot temper caused many arguments with fellow officers, and even though he routed the British Army at Danbury, CT, winning promotion to Major General, his disenchantment with the American Revolution was growing. In 1777, he sided with General Schuyler in a dispute between Schuyler and General Horatio Gates. Two months later, at the American victory at Saratoga, General Gates ignored Arnold's accomplishments to help win the victory. Arnold broke his leg at Freeman's Farm during the battle, and Gate's intense dislike of him almost caused him to resign. Washington had him recalled, to be with him at Valley Forge, and when Philadelphia was recaptured, Arnold was named Commandant of the city. While in Philadelphia, Arnold met and married Peggy Shippen, a young 19 year old Loyalist; they later had 5 children. She put her husband in contact with Major John Andre, chief of intelligence for British General Henry Clinton. In correspondence, Arnold offered Clinton the strategic fort of West Point, along with 20,000 American soldiers, in exchange for a British commission and 10,000 pounds. When Major John Andre was captured and this was reported to Arnold, he realized that his treason would soon be discovered, and he immediately defected to the British. The British gave Arnold the 10,000 pounds, a commission as a Brigadier General, a pension when he retired, and land in Canada. Even though Arnold served the British Army well, they never trusted him. After the war, he moved to London, but could find no job. He entered the shipping business in Canada, but the Tories there disliked him, so he returned to London, where he died in 1801, virtually unknown, and penniless.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson