Benedict Arnold (1741–1801), whose name is now synonymous with the word “traitor,” was born in Norwich, Connecticut. After militia service in the French and Indian War, Arnold achieved some success as a local merchant and shipowner. In December 1774,  he was elected captain of a Connecticut militia unit, the Governor’s Second Company of Guards. Arnold, along with Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys (a Vermont militia) captured Fort Ticonderoga, New York in May 1775. During 1777, Arnold was assigned to the Northern Army in upstate New York, where he led a militia unit that successfully ended the siege of Fort Stanwix; he also became one of the heroes of the Second Battle of Saratoga, during which he received a musket wound in the thigh. Arnold was accused of using his position for personal gain. Though acquitted of most charges, his resentment, coupled with the need for money to keep up his lavish lifestyle, led Arnold to plot (in 1779–1780) to turn over American-held positions around West Point, New York, to the British. In 1780, the conspiracy was uncovered and Arnold’s British contact, Major John Andre, was captured and hanged. Arnold then defected to the British side and served with them for the rest of the war. He lived out the remainder of his life in exile in Britain and Canada. He died in London in 1801.

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