Peggy Shippen - Wife of Benedict Arnold

Peggy Shippen-Wife of Benedict Arnold

Margaret (Peggy) Shippen was nearly nineteen years old when she married Benedict Arnold. 

Some historians suggest that Peggy encouraged her much-older husband in his traitorous scheme. Others claim that she was an innocent, pulled into a future outside America because of what her husband, on his own, did to betray his country.

From a wealthy Loyalist family, Peggy met the future spy, Major John André, when the Redcoats occupied her home town of Philadelphia. Legend says that she and André once dated, but that has never been proved. 

Arnold, brave on the battlefield and unafraid to lead his men into heavy fighting, once told a fellow patriot leader that:

...his courage was acquired, and that he was a coward till he was fifteen years old.” (See The Traitor and the Spy, by James Thomas Flexner, at page 3.)  

No one could see a cowardly streak as Benedict led his men to victory in various battles, like that at Saratoga. But ... Benedict was also interested in self-promotion, allowing personal feelings to get the better of him when he felt wronged for whatever reason.

It may have been such a character trait which led Arnold down a treasonous path.

Peggy was married to Benedict for twenty-two years. They had five children together, and their letters suggest they deeply loved each other. 

Protective of her husband, until the end, Mrs. Arnold outlived the former Patriot general. 

According to Flexner’s account, however, there is some evidence of her feelings for (and emotional attachment to) John André. She reportedly kept a lock of Andre's hair until the day she died.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 10, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Dec 10, 2016

Media Credits

Painting of Peggy Shippen Arnold (and daughter) by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830). 

Image online, courtesy the U.S. National Archives.


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Peggy Shippen - Wife of Benedict Arnold" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 10, 2016. Jul 16, 2018.
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