Benedict Arnold is the most well known traitor of the American Revolutionary War. He would have been famous for his successful military actions, if he had not turned spy for the British. Arnold was born on January 14, 1741 in Norwich, Connecticut. In his early years, Benedict joined the army many times, yet always deserted his position. He was apprenticed to a pharmacist and later opened his own store. Arnold became very wealthy and was able to send merchant ships to Canada and the West Indies.
When the war broke out between the colonies and England, Arnold, then captain of militia, thought that this was his chance to be famous, distinguished, and respected. After the Battle of Lexington and Concord, Benedict coerced authorities there into appointing him colonel. In exchange he promised to enlist and train men to capture Fort Ticonderoga. When he learned that Ethan Allen already made plans to do the same, Arnold demanded Allen to turn over command to him. Allen forcibly refused, but allowed him to come along. Arnold commanded troops and took the British garrison at St. Johns, Canada a few day following Allen's victory. Arnold and General Richard Montgomery led a failing attack on Quebec in December of 1775. Arnold was badly wounded and Montgomery was killed. After he recovered, he was promoted to brigadier general and for the rest of the year, with a fleet of boats, battled British gunboats on Lake Champlain.
After a victorious assault on British soldiers in the spring of 1777, Arnold was promoted to major general on May 2, 1777, yet he was angry. Five generals were appointed before him and he was furious that he was of lower rank to them. Arnold fought in the Battles of Saratoga and although records credit General Gates for the win, it was really Benedict who claimed the victory. General Washington gave Arnold seniority over the five other generals as a reward for his actions.
In June of 1778, Arnold was given command of Philadelphia. The British had left and the city returned to normalcy. Following his marriage, he fell heavily into debt. About this time, Arnold started meeting with British officials. They bargained and negotiated and finally the British convinced him to become a traitor. Arnold was court-martialed in January of 1780, but was not for treason. He was found guilty of using his office to obtain money, yet his punishment was light. The British paid him 20,000 pounds in exchange for him to surrender West Point, New York. The plot fell apart when the British go-between was captured and hung. Arnold escaped and sought refuge with British forces, who appointed him brigadier general. For the remainder of the war, he led attacks on his former associates in New England. Afterwards he lived in Canada and England. Benedict Arnold died on June 14, 1801.