“Judas sold only one man, Arnold three million” – Benjamin Franklin
The treachery of Benedict Arnold is well-known in the story of the American Revolution. The story of a prominent American patriot who sells military secrets to the British, gets caught, and is able to escape and join the British Army. Yet, what is not as well known is why Arnold did it and how he was able to escape capture once Washington knew about his treason. Evidence has shown that Arnold’s wife, Margaret (Peggy) Shippen, the daughter of a family with loyalist tendencies here in Philadelphia, was actually the driving force behind his treason. She helped him make the decision to switch sides by introducing him to her friend, Major John Andre.
Scholars have pointed to the fact that when Washington arrived at Arnold’s house, Shippen threw herself into hysterics and subsequently pretended to have no idea where her husband was located. Her one flaw was that after the whole ordeal she bragged to a “friend” about her exploits and how it provided time for her husband’s escape. That “friend” was Aaron Burr’s wife, Theodosia Prevost, who had been married to a British officer prior to marrying Burr.