Benedict Arnold was born in Norwich, Conn., 14 January 1741. At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, he served in the Connecticut Militia, captured Fort Ticonderoga in 1775, and was promoted to Brigadier General in 1776. After he played an important part in the pivotal battle of Saratoga in 1777, Arnold was promoted again to Major General. In 1780, while commanding West Point, he became disgruntled with the patriot cause and conspired to turn over his fort to the British. His complicity discovered, Arnold fled, and soon became a Brigadier in the British Army. He led raids on Virginia and Connecticut during the remainder of the war, and afterward retired to Canada. General Arnold died in London, England, 14 June 1801.
During 1776, the Marine Committee of Congress and its agents purchased a number of small craft, among them a ship named General Arnold. This small schooner was a packet used by the Congress to carry dispatches, etc., to Europe. She was in service at the end of 1778 when she returned to Boston from Bordeaux. She was commanded by John Ayers of Massachusetts and the Continental Navy.