September 21, 1780
During the American Revolution, few generals in the Continental Army were as distinguished as Benedict Arnold. At the outbreak of war, Arnold attacked Fort Ticonderoga, securing weapons for the war effort. His horse was shot from under him at Ridgefield, he took a bullet in the foot at Quebec, and he was shot in the thigh at Saratoga. But as the war pressed on and Arnold suffered professional slights — both real and imagined — the once-valiant general grew disillusioned with the cause. With debts piling up and ambitions stymied, Arnold began exploring other options.
On September 21, 1780, Arnold betrayed America by meeting with British Major John André and plotting the fall of West Point in New York, a fortress along the Hudson River that was under Arnold’s command. Two days later, André was captured and Arnold’s treason exposed. When George Washington arrived at West Point on September 24, Arnold was gone. His name soon became synonymous with “traitor,” but Americans never forgot his earlier feats. Today, in Saratoga, New York, a small memorial stands “in memory of the most brilliant soldier of the Continental Army who was desperately wounded… winning the decisive battle of the American Revolution.”