Benedict Arnold has fascinated Americans for two centuries. One of the Continental Army’s most accomplished generals defected to the British Army for money and revenge. He oversaw military operations in Virginia during 1781 and turned over command to Lord Cornwallis when Cornwallis reached Yorktown. Arnold departed the scene to avoid any proximity to Gen. George Washington, who wanted him caught alive and hanged for treason. Historian Stephen Brumwell’s new research into Arnold’s life has yielded the latest study of America’s most famous traitor. Turncoat: Benedict Arnold and the Crisis of American Liberty provides a fresh perspective on Arnold’s personality and his sense of honor. In this excerpt, Brumwell examines the extent of Peggy Shippen Arnold’s influence on her husband’s decision to change sides.
— Courtesy of the Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia