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Benedict Arnold Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Benedict Arnold was an American soldier during the Revolution who ended up fighting against his own country for the British. Come learn about Benedict Arnold, how he became a traitor, why there is a statue of his boot without his name, and some other interesting facts about him.

Who was Benedict Arnold?

You've checked out a book from your school library and can't wait to read it. It's about an American soldier who fought against the British army during the Revolution, then spied for them and passed along secret information. But this is no spy novel, it's the real life of Benedict Arnold!

Benedict Arnold
Benedict Arnold

Benedict Arnold was born in Connecticut in 1741. His family ran out of money when he was 13, so he had to get a job instead of going to school. He later became a ship captain and fought in the French and Indian War.

When Benedict was 34, the American Revolution started.

The American Revolution

The American Revolution, the war between the American Colonies (who wanted to form their own country) and Great Britain, began in 1775. Benedict went to fight against the British even though he wasn't even in the military. Afterward, he was given a military position and eventually received promotions. In one battle, Benedict was shot in the leg and was seriously hurt.

In another battle in New York, his horse fell on that same leg and crippled him. There is a statue of just his boot in the Saratoga National Historical Park in New York to honor Benedict's bravery in battle.

If you look at his picture, you might think Benedict Arnold was a calm, dignified man. But he was hard to get along with, hot-headed, and a lot of people really hated him. They accused him of all kinds of things like stealing and failure as a military leader.

Benedict Arnold in uniform
Benedict Arnold in uniform

Congress promoted other military leaders ahead of Benedict and took away his credit for years of service. He was furious because he thought he had done a good job fighting for his country. Congress eventually gave that credit back to him, but he stayed mad.

Becoming a Traitor

Not only was he angry at Congress, he felt insulted and disgraced, and his leg was permanently damaged.

Benedict's first wife died and he later married his second wife, Peggy Shippen. They got in trouble with money because they spent more money than they had. They really needed money and they found a way to get it.

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