“Benedict Arnold: Triumph and Treason,” in Biography (A&E Television Networks), 45:56 mins.
On an early September morning in 1780 Major General Arnold gave vital information to a British officer to help in the attack of West Point. Arnold was seen as an American hero and a great leader until this day. His name is engraved in Americans as the definition of treason.
The Arnold family immigrated to New England in 1651. His predecessors helped settle the state of Rhode Island. Arnold’s father became a barrel maker and started a family. In 1730 he moved to Norwich, CT. Of the six children they he had only two survived. Benedict was born on 14 January 1741 and named after his deceased brother. He was very competitive growing up and became a leader amongst his peers. He went on numerous trips with his father to the Caribbean and became proficient in sailing and navigating. His mother raised him with strict puritan beliefs and instilled respect for women in him. At 10 he was sent to the best school for his education which didn’t last long because his father was becoming a drunk and the family went broke. Arnold then sought an apprenticeship at a local retail store where he learned trading.
In 1756, Britain and France began fighting over control of North America. Arnold ran away twice to get in on the action and was called back by his mother. The day before he was supposed to go to battle in the French and Indian War he received a message that his mother had yellow fever and he returned to her. Soon after she died and Arnold’s father fell deeper into alcoholism. Arnold’s father died as well and because of the shame of his alcoholism Arnold moved to New Haven in 1762.
In New Haven Arnold opened a drug store and sold goods from his trips to London. Arnold became a successful trader due to the apprenticeship and knowledge gained from his father. He made voyages hauling livestock, liquor, and raw materials to Britain and returned with finished...