Benedict Arnold (1741-1801) was born in Norwich, Connecticut and was apprenticed to an apothecary at the age of 13. He served briefly in Connecticut and New York militias during the French & Indian War, but never took part in any military actions. After the war he successfully continued the apothecary profession and also worked as a book seller. He is also known to have been an active smuggler of sugar and rum.
At the beginning of the American Revolution Arnold served as a captain in the Connecticut militia. After the Battles of Lexington and Concord, Arnold proposed to the Massachusetts Committee of Safety a plan for the capture of Fort Ticonderoga. The Committee commissioned Arnold colonel and ordered him to enlist up to 400 men to carry out the expedition. Arnold quickly learned that another group headed by Ethan Allen had formed to capture the Fort and he quickly raced north to meet up with the unit. After some tense negotiations Arnold and Allen agreed to share command of the expedition and successfully captured the Fort on May 10, 1775.
In the fall of 1775 Arnold led the failed attempt to capture Québec. The following summer he directed the construction of a fleet of small ships on Lake Champlain. Under Arnold’s command the fleet engaged the British fleet in Valcour Bay near the western shore of the lake in mid October. Although Arnold’s fleet was defeated, its presence on the lake stalled British plans to invade New York for another year.
General Benedict Arnold distinguished himself at the Battles of Saratoga in the fall of 1777 and was severely wounded in his left leg.