Benedict Arnold
Duncan, Age 13, Easton, CT

Many people believe that Benedict Arnold was a horrible person and the worst traitor in American history.  He gave American forts to the British Army. However, he was also the hero at Ft. Ticonderoga, Valcour Island and Saratoga, and led the first American fleet of ships. Should he be viewed as a war hero, a traitor, or both?

Arnold was born in New Haven, CT in the 1700's and was raised in Norwich, CT. During his childhood Connecticut was part of England. He always wanted to be part of the army and his wish was granted when the American Revolution started. He became a general and led a group of Americans called "The Green Mountain Boys" along with Colonel Ethan Allen in a surprise attack on the British at Ft. Ticonderoga. They won and occupied the fort when the British fled.

Benedict Arnold also led the first, and poor, American fleet that was founded in Whitehall, NY into the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain. Arnold's boat, the small but sturdy gunboat "Philadelphia", sank during this battle against the British. It was later raised from the bottom of Lake Champlain and is now in the Smithsonian Institute. It is the oldest American fighting vessel.

Arnold was also a hero during the battles at Saratoga, NY. He was wounded and had to be hospitalized. The surgeons even almost had to cut off his leg.  The British eventually retreated, leaving the Americans with a victory at Saratoga.

Of course, most people know Benedict Arnold as the most famous traitor in American history. He gave up the forts at West Point to the British and joined forces with them. Why did he do this? Arnold became very unhappy with the way he was being treated and he was not being paid. Some say his English-born wife talked him into it. In any event, he and his wife spent the rest of their lives in England, a long way from Norwich, CT.

In conclusion, to say that Benedict Arnold was a traitor is only half of his story. He was a great American Revolutionary war hero before joining the British and we should remember his battles when he was fighting with the Americans. As you can see, Benedict Arnold was both a war hero and a traitor.

Home | Read | WriteCopyright | Privacy

This page was last updated on April 27, 2007 by the KIWW Webmaster.