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On this day, September 21, 1780, a meeting was held between two high ranking military men that resulted in one of them being demoted from Major General to Brigadier General. It's not a desirable happening even under normal circumstances, but when you change sides in order to get a demotion, it doesn't do a great deal for your reputation as an up-and comer.
That's what happened when a certain Major General Arnold of the Continental Army became Brigadier General Arnold of the British Army.
It all unfolded when Benedict Arnold, a hero to many (including a rather influential guy named George Washington), decided that the chart of his career path wasn't steep enough on the upside while the chart of his net worth was sliding off the bottom of the graph paper. And as if that wasn't bad enough, a few days later the chart of his legacy prospects looked the same as the post 1929 Dow Jones Industrial Average. His stock never recovered, but enough of the market analogies.
The meeting was of the secret variety, at least that's what it was supposed to be, but one of the participants, a certain Major John Andre of the British army, was captured on his way back from the negotiations with the minutes of the meeting still in his briefcase. It was a mistake that resulted in the shortening of his life due to the lengthening of his neck.
For his part, Arnold had to paddle his ass down the Hudson River at a high rate of speed to avoid the same fate. He narrowly avoided capture by his former employers and was subsequently put in charge of a brigade of British soldiers and awarded a pension £360. He also got a lump sum of over £6,000 in payment for his treachery. Who says crime doesn't pay?
In the end his name became synonymous with the word "traitor," at least on this side of the pond. He didn't do too well on the other side either, because after all, even a red coat never really trusts a turn coat.