Benedict Arnold Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1740 – 1801 *** Full Name: Benedict Arnold *** Occupation: General during the American Revolutionary War *** Date of Birth: Benedict Arnold was born on January 3rd 1740 *** Place of Birth: Benedict Arnold was born in Norwich, Connecticut, USA *** Family background: His father was Benedict Arnold and his mother Hannah Waterman King. His father was a businessman of considerable success *** Early life and childhood: Benedict Arnold grew up as the second of six siblings but only he and his sister Hannah survived childhood, all of his other siblings, two brothers and two sisters died of yellow fever *** Education: Benedict Arnold went to a private school when he was ten years old in Canterbury. It had been intended he would attend Yale University but after so many deaths in his family, his father began drinking and the family fortunes disappeared as did his further education ***
Benedict Arnold Fact 1: Benedict Arnold was born on January 3rd 1740 and during the 18th century period in history when France and America both went through revolutions and the Industrial Revolution began in Britain.
Benedict Arnold Fact 2: As a direct result of his father’s drinking problem, he was unable to teach his son about the mercantile business. Fortunately family members on his mother’s side were able to step in and secure an apprenticeship for him with her cousins, Daniel and Joshua Lathrop. They owned a successful apothecary and general merchandise business and Benedict Arnold spent seven years with the brothers learning his trade.
Benedict Arnold Fact 3: By 1755 the French were causing huge difficulties and Benedict Arnold tried to enlist in the local militia but his mother was against his joining and refused her permission.
Benedict Arnold Fact 4: Two years later, at seventeen years of age, he was able to enlist in the Connecticut militia which was heading for Albany and Lake George. Word received was that the current siege had ended disastrously and his company turned back and was disbanded.
Benedict Arnold Fact 5: After that Benedict Arnold turned his hand to building a business within the pharmaceutical trade and bookselling.
Benedict Arnold Fact 6: With hard work Benedict Arnold’s business was successful, so much so, he was able to repurchase the family home and for a substantial profit sold it one year later, enabling him, in partnership with Adam Babcock, to invest their profit into three trading ships establishing profitable trade links with the West Indies.
Benedict Arnold Fact 7: In 1767 Benedict Arnold married Margaret Mansfield and together they had three sons.
Benedict Arnold Fact 8: As a Captain in the Connecticut militia Benedict Arnold’s early forays into battle would begin in the mission to seize Fort Ticonderoga, which was a success. Granted permission by George Washington himself, Benedict Arnold arranged a second mission to attack Quebec City.
Benedict Arnold Fact 9: Following a very harrowing journey with many men turning back and nearly as many dying on route Benedict Arnold’s participation was short lived as he received an injury that saw his leg shattered and his position there was handed to another. Although Benedict Arnold acquitted himself well serving his country there were times he felt he was unjustly overlooked for promotions.
Benedict Arnold Fact 10: Having had his resignation personally refused by Washington he was sent north to Fort Edward. Benedict Arnold was injured once again at the Battle of Saratoga and forbid the surgeons to amputate, instead he was left with his leg was set as best it could be, nevertheless it was shorter by 2 inches than his right leg.
Benedict Arnold Fact 11: After several months recovering he returned to the army at Valley Forge where he took part in the first recorded Oath of Allegiance. His restoration to his command seniority felt very much too little too late and seemed to come more as a reaction to his injury rather than the carrying out of his duty. Benedict Arnold Fact 14: Benedict Arnold was given command of West Point. His plan was that once installed in his new command he would surrender West Point to the British. His plot was exposed, and he managed to escape but his accomplice, John Andre was captured and was later hanged.
Benedict Arnold Fact 12: Benedict Arnold became very disillusioned with the Continental Congress, both militarily and political. Benedict Arnold's first wife had died at the outset of the American Revolution. He made the acquaintance of Peggy Shippen, the daughter of a Loyalist sympathizer whom he would eventually marry, and his loyalties began to change.
Benedict Arnold Fact 13: Previously courted by a British Major, Peggy and her friends had various methods in place for communicating with their British friends. Having become utterly pessimistic of the outcome of the war, coupled with his treatment within the military, not to mention the financial support he had also made to the war effort Benedict Arnold began to plot against the Continentals.
Benedict Arnold Fact 15: Benedict Arnold would be forever perceived as a turncoat and traitor, by both the Americans and the British. He joined the British army but his advice and his abilities were often overlooked.
Benedict Arnold Fact 16: Benedict Arnold and his family took up residence in England for a time but returned across the Atlantic to New Brunswick to set up trade passages with the West Indies. But Benedict Arnold found it difficult to find a place to settle and returned once again to England.
Benedict Arnold Fact 17: On June the 14th 1801, aged sixty years, Benedict Arnold died in London, England. His body was laid to rest at St Mary’s Church in Battersea, London, England.
Benedict Arnold Influence & Legacy: Of several possible commemorations to Benedict Arnold, one particular one can be found at Saratoga which says ‘In memory of the most brilliant soldier of the Continental army, who was desperately wounded on this spot, winning for his country the decisive battle of the American Revolution, and for himself the rank of Major General.’