Benedict Arnold V (January 14 1741 – June 14 1801) was an American military officer who served during the Revolutionary War. He fought with distinction for the American Continental Army, rising to the rank of major general, before defecting to the British side of the conflict in 1780. General George Washington had given him his fullest trust and placed him in command of West Point, New York. Arnold planned to surrender the fort to British forces, but the plot was discovered in September 1780 and he fled to the British lines. Arnold received a commission as a brigadier general in the British Army, commanding the American Legion in the later part of the conflict. Arnold's name quickly became a byword in the United States for treason and betrayal because he led the British army in battle against the very men whom he had once commanded.
- Neglected by Congress below; pinched with every want here; distressed with the small-pox; want of Generals and discipline in our Army — which may rather be called a great rabble — our late unhappy retreat from Quebec, and loss of the Cedars; our credit and reputation lost, and great part of the country; and a powerful foreign enemy advancing upon us; are so many difficulties we cannot surmount them. My whole thoughts are now bent on making a safe retreat out of this country; however, I hope we shall not be obliged to leave it until we have had one bout more for the honour of America. I think we can make a stand at Isle-aux-Noix, and keep the Lake this summer from an invasion that way. We have little to fear; but I am heartily chagrined to think we have ldst in one month all the immortal Montgomery was a whole campaign in gaining, together with our credit, and many men and an amazing sum of money. The commissioners this day leave us, as our good fortune has long since; but as Miss, like most other Misses, is fickle, and often changes, I still hope for her favors again; and that we shall have the pleasure of dying or living happy together.
- Letter to General Horatio Gates (31 May 1776) published in The Life of Benedict Arnold : His Patriotism and His Treason (1880) by Isaac Newton Arnold, p. 96
- We have but very indifferent men in general. Great part of those who ship for seamen know very little of the matter.
- The drafts from the regiments at Ticonderoga are a miserable set; indeed the men on board the fleet, in general, are not equal to half their number of good men.
- We have a wretched motley crew, in the fleet; the marines the refuse of every regiment, and the seamen, few of them, ever wet with salt water.
- What do you think would be my fate if my misguided countrymen were to take me prisoner?
- Reportedly asked to a captured captain from the Colonial Army, as quoted in The Picturesque Hudson (1915) by Clifton Johnson; the captain is said to have replied, "They would cut off the leg that was wounded at Saratoga and bury it with the honors of war, and the rest of you they would hang on a gibbet."
- Let me die in this old uniform in which I fought my battles. May God forgive me for ever having put on another.
- Unverified, but reportedly said by Arnold on his deathbed in 1801, requesting to wear the uniform of the Colonial Army from before his defection to the British, as quoted in The Picturesque Hudson (1915) by Clifton Johnson
Quotes about ArnoldEdit
- Compounding the agony was the treason of Benedict Arnold, who conspired to sell the plans of West Point- the crucial fortress in Washington's Hudson Highlands defense system- to the British. While some believed the conspiracy's failure afforded, as Greene said, "the most convincing proofs that the liberties of America are the object of divine protection," others wondered whether the cause would survive. If Arnold, who served so nobly at Quebec, at Valcour Island, and during the Saratoga campaign, had lost all sense of honor and patriotism, how many others might follow his treasonous path?
- Allan R. Millett, Peter Maslowski, and William B. Feis, For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States From 1607 to 2012 (2012), p. 67
- Biographical sketch by a contemporary, reflecting American sentiment towards Arnold
- Some details from ushistory.org
- Benedict Arnold's Portraits
- Usahistory site includes details on Arnold's escape
- Resort located on Arnold's trail to Quebec City
- The original proclamation accusing Benedict Arnold of High Treason from the Pennsylvania Archives
- Virtual Tour of burial site - Stained glass
- New York Times article (1894)
- Benedict Arnold Letters
- Arnold's Treason from Thrilling Incidents in American History