Benedict ArnoldBARNOLD, Benedict (1741-1801). The name Benedict Arnold has become a synonym for a traitor to one's country. In the first years of the American Revolution, however, Arnold was a brilliant and dashing general, highly respected for his service to the patriot cause (see Revolution, American). Benedict Arnold was born on Jan. 14, 1741, in Norwich, Conn. His father, Benedict, was a well-to-do landowner. His mother was Hannah King Waterman Arnold. While a boy, young Arnold twice ran away to join the colonial troops fighting in the French and Indian War. When he was 21 he settled in New Haven. In time he became a prosperous merchant and a captain in the Connecticut militia. He married Margaret Mansfield in 1767. They had three sons. Arnold played a gallant part in the American Revolution and became a major general in 1777. His wife had died in 1775. Early in 1779 he married Margaret Shippen, by whom he had four sons and one daughter. Arnold lived lavishly and soon found himself badly pressed for money.