War and Military History

Why is Benedict Arnold important to the revolutionary war?



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To put it quite simply, Benedict Arnold was among the United States first defectors. He was a general for the newly founded Continental Army, but later when British General and Commander-in-Chief in North America, with the help of Major John Andre, plotted with Arnold to surrender West Point, a fort held by the Continental Army at the time. The plot was discovered later, though the fort was never surrendered, and George Washington sneaked men into New York in an attempt to kidnap Arnold. Arnold escaped and became a Brigadier-General for the British, leading a force of 1,600 into Richmond, Virginia in a surprise assault, which he followed by ransacking the outlying land of Richmond. Arnold tried to convince the British to adopt a more aggressive strategy, and after repeated requests for command, Arnold was allowed to lead a force of 1,700 into New London, Connecticut. There, they inflicted an estimated $500,000 worth of damage, though at the cost of 1/4 of the British soldiers. After the war, Arnold and his family moved to England, where he lived for the rest of his life, after being denied various postings he requested.