The New Student's Reference Work/Arnold, Benedict
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Ar'nold, Benedict, a brilliant and dashing American general, but a traitor to his country. He was born in Norwich, Conn., January 14, 1741. Reckless and fond of adventure, he ran away from home when fifteen years old, and joined the American forces in the French and Indian War but soon deserted. On the breaking out of the Revolutionary War, he helped Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys to capture Fort Ticonderoga; took a gallant part in the disastrous siege of Quebec, where he was wounded and for his bravery was made a brigadier-general; and handled with skill a flotilla in the battle of Valcour Island. Arnold had a violent temper, and when, in 1777, five of his inferiors in rank were made major-generals, he was very angry, but kept on fighting in the colonial cause showing his usual skill and bravery in the battle of Ridgefield, where his conduct gained him the rank of major-general, and in the battle of Saratoga, where his horse was killed under him and he himself was severely wounded. Disabled by his wound, he spent much of the winter of 1777-78 in the hospital at Albany, and the next spring was placed in command of Philadelphia. Here he met Major André, with whom he formed an acquaintance which ended disastrously for both. In 1780 Arnold, at his own request, was given command of West Point on the Hudson, one of the most important points in the colonies, which he traitorously agreed to betray into the hands of the British. After his secret interview with André, and the capture of that officer, Arnold fled to the British army, in which he was given a command. In the latter part of the war he led an attack against his native state, and when peace was declared, went to London, where he lived in obscurity until his death on June 14, 1801.