Benedict Arnold was born in Norwich, Connecticut, January 14, 1741. Arnold was born the last of six children to Benedict Arnold III (1683-1761) and Hannah Waterman King. He was named after his great-grandfather Benedict Arnold, an early governor of the Colony of Rhode Island, and his brother, Benedict IV, who died in infancy before Benedict Arnold V was born. Only Benedict and his sister Hannah survived to adulthood; his other siblings succumbed to yellow fever in childhood. Through his maternal grandmother, Arnold was a descendant of John Lothropp, an ancestor of at least four Presidents of the United States. The Arnold family was well off until Benedict Arnold III made several bad business deals that plunged the family into debt and became an alcoholic, forcing his son to withdraw from school at age 14 because the family could not afford the expense. At age 15, Arnold enlisted in the Connecticut militia. The militia marched to Albany to oppose the French invasion from Canada at the Battle of Fort William Henry. However he never engaged in battle during the battle because the British suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the French. The British surrendered on the conditions that they could evacuate the fort under safe conduct and could keep their weapons. However, the Indian allies of the French, who had been promised scalps, arms, and booty, attacked and massacred several hundred of the British soldiers. The French could not or did not stop the Indians. This event may have created an abiding hatred for the French in a young and impressionable Arnold that influenced his actions later in life. Arnold's mother, to whom he was very close, died in 1759. Arnold took on the responsibility of supporting his ailing father and younger sister. His father's alcoholism worsened after the death of his wife. He died in 1761. In 1762, Arnold established himself in business as a pharmacist and bookseller in New Haven, Connecticut. The oppressive taxes...
Bibliography: Brandt, Clare – The Man in the Mirror: The Life of Benedict Arnold (1st Ed.; New York: Random House Inc., 1994)
Benedict Arnold: Revolutionary Major General. 1 April 2008
Martin, James K. (1991) “Arnold, Benedict” World Book Encyclopedia 1991 Edition
Mitchell, Broadus – The Price of Independence: A Realistic View of the American Revolution
(1st Ed.; New York: Oxford University Printing)
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