Benedict Arnold  

Hiram Lodge No. 1, New Haven, CT (expelled 1781)

Benedict Arnold V (January 14, 1741 [O.S. January 3, 1740][1][2] – June 14, 1801) originally fought for American independence from the British Empire as a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War until he obtained command of the American fort at West Point, New York and, switching sides, plotted unsuccessfully to surrender it to the British.

Arnold was considered by many to be the best general and most accomplished leader in the Continental Army. In fact, without Arnold's earlier contributions to the American cause, the American Revolution might well have been lost; but after he switched sides, his name, like those of several other prominent traitors throughout history, has become a byword for treason in the United States.

Arnold distinguished himself early in the war through acts of cunning and bravery. His many successful campaigns included the Capture of Fort Ticonderoga (1775), victory at the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain in 1776, the battles of Danbury and Ridgefield in Connecticut (after which he was promoted to Major General), and the Battle of Saratoga in 1777.

In spite of his success, Arnold was passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress while other general officers took credit for his many accomplishments.[5] As his personal debts mounted, Congress investigated his accounts, and charges of corruption were brought by political adversaries. Frustrated, bitter, disaffected by the assaults on his honor and strongly opposed to the new American alliance with France, Arnold changed sides. In July 1780, he sought and obtained command of West Point in order to surrender it to the British. Arnold's scheme was detected when American forces captured British Major John André carrying papers that revealed Arnold's plan.

Upon learning of André's capture, Benedict Arnold escaped down the Hudson River to the British sloop-of-war Vulture, narrowly avoiding capture by the forces of General Washington who had departed for West Point immediately upon learning of Arnold's plan. Arnold received a commission as a Brigadier General in the British Army, a good annual pension of £360, and a lump sum of about 17 times that amount.

In the winter of 1782, Arnold left the army and moved to London with his second wife, Margaret "Peggy" Shippen Arnold. He was well received by the King and the Tories but frowned upon by the Whigs. In 1787 he entered into mercantile business with his sons Richard and Henry in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, but returned to London to settle permanently in 1791.