Benedict Arnold V
(January 14, 1741 [O.S.
January 3, 1740] – June 14, 1801) was a general
during the American Revolutionary War
who first fought for the American Continental Army
but switched sides to the British Empire
in 1780. He distinguished himself early in the war through acts of cunning and bravery. His many successful actions included the Capture of Fort Ticonderoga
in 1775, successful defensive and delaying tactics while losing the Battle of Valcour Island
on Lake Champlain
in 1776, the Battle of Ridgefield
(after which he was promoted to Major General), and the pivotal Battles of Saratoga
in 1777, in which he suffered leg injuries that effectively ended his combat career for several years.
In spite of his success, Arnold was passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress while other general officers took credit for his many accomplishments. Charges of corruption were brought by political adversaries, and Congress investigated his accounts, finding he owed it money after he had spent much of his own money on the war effort. Frustrated, bitter, and strongly opposed to the new American alliance with France, Arnold decided to change sides in 1779. In July 1780, he sought and obtained command of West Point in order to surrender it to the British. Arnold's scheme was exposed when American forces captured British Major John André carrying papers that revealed the plot. Upon learning of André's capture, Benedict Arnold escaped down the Hudson River to the British sloop-of-war Vulture, narrowly avoiding capture by the forces of General Washington, who was arriving the same day to inspect West Point and to meet and dine with Arnold.
Arnold received a commission as a brigadier general in the British Army, and led British forces at Blanford, Virginia, and Groton, Connecticut, before the war effectively came to an end with the Siege of 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 entered into mercantile business with his sons Richard and Henry in Saint John, New Brunswick, but returned to London to settle permanently in 1791, where he died ten years later.