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Benedict Arnold - From Hero to Traitor

Major General Arnold, commander of American forces at West Point, was on the verge of giving the New York fort to the colonists' adversaries - the British Redcoats - in September of 1780. 

A superb leader in many respects, Benedict Arnold was highly respected until he "turned coat."  Injured at the battle of Saratoga, he was a colonial hero.  Had he died in that battle, Americans would remember him as a Revolutionary-War legend.  Why did he switch to the side he had previously opposed?

Arnold was one of six children, but only two survived.  He was born in January of 1741 and soon became a very competitive young lad who was particularly close to his mother, Hannah.

When Arnold's father began to drink heavily, the family incurred debts and Benedict had to leave the prestigious school he was attending.  His mother, thereafter, arranged an apprenticeship for her son.  He would work with a highly respected druggist who ran a large store on the road between Boston and New York. 

When the French and Indian War began, Benedict dreamed of joining the battle.  As soon as he was allowed to do so, however, he received bad news:  His mother was gravely ill with yellow fever. 

Risking punishment for desertion, which was execution in those days, Arnold left his unit - without permission - to be with his mother during the end of her life.  He buried her in the same cemetery where she had already buried most of her children.

Now on his own, Benedict Arnold would have to find his own way.


Media Credits

Clip from the A&E Biography on Benedict Arnold, "Triumph and Treason," which aired in 1995.  Online, courtesy YouTube.

 

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"Benedict Arnold - From Hero to Traitor" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Dec 17, 2017.
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