Maj. Gen. Benedict Arnold, V

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Benedict Arnold, V

Also Known As: "The Traitor"
Birthplace: Norwich, Colony of Connecticut, British America
Death: June 14, 1801 (60)
London, Middlesex, England
Place of Burial: St. Mary's Church, Battersea, London, Middlesex, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Benedict Arnold, lV and Hannah Arnold
Husband of Margaret Arnold and Margaret Arnold
Ex-partner of Mother of John Sage
Father of Capt. Benedict Arnold, VI; Lt. Richard Arnold; Henry Arnold; Lt. Edward Shippen Arnold; Lt.-Gen. James Robertson Arnold and 4 others
Brother of Fenner Arnold
Half brother of Hannah King

Occupation: Notorous American Revolution General, Traitor
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Maj. Gen. Benedict Arnold, V


Benedict Arnold (January 14, 1741 [O.S. January 3, 1740] – June 14, 1801) was a general during the American Revolutionary War who fought heroically for the American Continental Army—then defected to the enemy in 1780. He had George Washington's fullest confidence, and Washington gave him command of the fortifications at West Point, New York. Arnold planned to surrender them to British forces, but in September 1780 the plot was discovered and Arnold escaped with minutes to spare. His name quickly became a byword in the United States for treason and betrayal because he betrayed his countrymen by leading the British army in battle against the men whom he once commanded.

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 his forces burned much of New London, Connecticut to the ground and slaughtered surrendering forces after the Battle of Groton Heights—just a few miles downriver from the town where he had grown up. In the winter of 1782, he and Peggy moved to London. He was well received by King George III and the Tories but frowned upon by the Whigs and most Army officers. In 1787, he moved to Canada to a merchant business with his sons Richard and Henry. He was extremely unpopular there and returned to London permanently in 1791.


Benedict Arnold was born a British subject, the second of six children of Benedict Arnold (1683–1761) and Hannah Waterman King in Norwich, Connecticut Colony on January 14, 1741. He was named after his great-grandfather Benedict Arnold, an early governor of the Colony of Rhode Island, as were his father and grandfather and an older brother who died in infancy. Only Benedict and his sister Hannah survived to adulthood; his other siblings succumbed to yellow fever in childhood.

His 1st wife was Margaret Mansfield (m. 1767; d. 1775). They had three sons, all of whom later served in the British Army:

  • Benedict Arnold (1768–1795) (Captain, British Army in Jamaica)
  • Richard Arnold (1769–1847) (Lieutenant, Loyalist American Legion cavalry)
  • Henry Arnold (1772–1826) (Lieutenant, Loyalist American Legion cavalry)

His 2nd wife, married in 1779, was Peggy Shippen, with whom he raised a family also active in the British Army:

  • Edward Shippen Arnold (1780–1813) (Lieutenant, British Army in India – see Bengal Army)
  • James Robertson Arnold (1781–1854) (Lieutenant General, Royal Engineers)
  • George Arnold (1787–1828) (Lieutenant Colonel, 2nd (or 7th) Bengal Cavalry)
  • Sophia Matilda Arnold (1785–1828) (married Colonel Pownall Phipps)
  • William Fitch Arnold (1794–1846) (Captain, 9th Queen's Royal Lancers)


In January 1801, Benedict Arnold's health began to decline. He had suffered from gout since 1775, and the condition attacked his unwounded leg to the point where he was unable to go to sea. The other leg ached constantly, and he walked only with a cane. His physicians diagnosed him as having dropsy, and a visit to the countryside only temporarily improved his condition. He died after four days of delirium on June 14, 1801, at the age of 60. Legend has it that, when he was on his deathbed, he said, "Let me die in this old uniform in which I fought my battles. May God forgive me for ever having put on another," but this story may be apocryphal. Arnold was buried at St. Mary's Church, Battersea in London, England. As a result of a clerical error in the parish records, his remains were removed to an unmarked mass grave during church renovations a century later. His funeral procession boasted "seven mourning coaches and four state carriages"; the funeral was without military honors.

Benedict Arnold left a small estate, reduced in size by his debts, which Peggy undertook to clear. Among his bequests were considerable gifts to one John Sage, perhaps an illegitimate son or grandson.


Infamy in the United States

Benedict Arnold's contributions to American independence are largely underrepresented in popular culture, while his name became synonymous with traitor, in the 19th century. The demonization of Arnold began immediately after his betrayal became public. Biblical themes were often invoked; Benjamin Franklin wrote that "Judas sold only one man, Arnold three millions", and Alexander Scammell described Arnold's actions as "black as hell".

In his home town of Norwich someone scrawled the word "Traitor" next to his record of birth at City Hall. Additionally, the gravestones of all but his mother were destroyed.

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Maj. Gen. Benedict Arnold, V's Timeline

January 14, 1741
Norwich, Colony of Connecticut, British America
February 14, 1768
New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut
August 22, 1769
Water Street, New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut Colony
September 19, 1772
Water Street, New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut Colony
March 19, 1780
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
August 28, 1781
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
July 28, 1785
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
April 14, 1786
Saint John, St. John County, New Brunswick, British North America