1741-1801. Arnold was a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He is best known for his attempt to surrender the American fort at West Point, NY, to the British, thus splitting the colonies in half. Arnold was opposed to the colonists' alliance with France. He defected to the British Army. Before this his contributions to victory for the Colonies was crucial, with his defense of Lake Champlain against the British in 1776, delaying the British attempt to split the Colonies in half, and laying the ground work for victory the following year in the Battle of Saratoga, in which he was the Colonies' field leader. A prime reason for his defection was the lack of credit he got from the Continental Congress for his major contributions.