Inside the Vault: Treason in the American Revolution: Benedict Arnold and John André

In September 1780, the discovery of General Benedict Arnold’s plot to surrender West Point to the British was a deeply shocking revelation. Arnold, whose name is now synonymous with the word “traitor,” was once a well-respected American officer responsible for key victories at Fort Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Fort Stanwix, and Saratoga. While Arnold escaped, his contact in the British army, Major John André, was executed as a spy. In the September 9, 2021 session of Inside the Vault, Ron Adkisson, 2012 Kentucky History Teacher of the Year and Ryan Scheb, history educator at Cristo Rey New York High School in New York City, join us as we examine documents relating to Arnold’s treason, André’s execution, and the reactions of American officers.

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented

Use the timestamps below to jump to the topics you want to view

  • Benedict Arnold, John André, and the plot to capture West Point: 2:10–11:11
  • Alexander Scammell to John André, October 2, 1780: 11:12–15:44
  • Remembering John André: 15:45–19:00
  • Thomas Paine to Nathanael Greene, October 17, 1780: 19:01–30:20
  • Proclamation by Brigadier-General Arnold, October 20, 1780: 30:21–47:42
  • William North's Account of the Execution of Major John André, September 18, 1823: 47:43–1:00:13
  • Legacy of Benedict Arnold and John André: 1:00:14–1:02:37