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Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend

Significant Others: A Sneak Peek at the Woman Behind Benedict Arnold’s Betrayal

Fri Feb 23 2024
American RevolutionBenedict ArnoldPeggy ShiponTreason


The episode explores the story of Peggy Shipon, the wife of Benedict Arnold, and her significant role in his decision to defect to the British side during the American Revolution. Peggy acted as a go-between and negotiator, keeping the negotiations alive. The episode delves into court-martial proceedings against Arnold, Washington's response, and the tense times at West Point.


Peggy Shipon's Influence

Peggy Shipon played a crucial role in Benedict Arnold's decision to join the British side. She became the driving force behind his defection and acted as a go-between and negotiator.

Washington's Response

General Washington publicly criticized Arnold's conduct and declared it reprehensible. He felt obligated to condemn Arnold's actions, even though he would have preferred to commend him for his previous services.


  1. Introduction
  2. Peggy Shipon's Involvement
  3. Court-Martial Proceedings
  4. Washington's Response
  5. Arnold's Plan
  6. Arnold's Price
  7. Washington's Decision
  8. Arnold's Reaction
  9. Tense Times at West Point


00:00 - 01:19

  • The podcast "Significant Others" is written and hosted by Liza Pal Brian, the significant other of the podcast's main host, Brian.
  • The podcast explores the stories of people who played significant roles in history, sometimes in good ways and sometimes in bad ways.
  • One episode focuses on Peggy Shipon, who was married to Benedict Arnold and played a crucial role in his decision to turn against his country.

Peggy Shipon's Involvement

01:25 - 02:41

  • Peggy Shipon became the driving force behind Benedict Arnold's decision to join the British.
  • She acted as a go-between and negotiator, keeping the negotiations alive.
  • Despite being a 20-year-old mother, Peggy played a significant role while her husband embarked on a risky plan.

Court-Martial Proceedings

02:42 - 03:02

  • Arnold believed that the court-martial proceedings would result in a slap on the wrist or even a full acquittal.
  • He paid to have the court record printed and circulated, thinking he had been exonerated.
  • However, the court recommended a reprimand from General Washington.

Washington's Response

03:02 - 03:44

  • Washington publicly chastised Arnold and declared his conduct reprehensible.
  • He wanted to bestow commendations on Arnold but felt obligated to condemn his actions.
  • Washington's public criticism deeply affected Arnold.

Arnold's Plan

03:45 - 04:30

  • Arnold proposed a new position for himself and underestimated Washington's influence.
  • Washington not only reprimanded Arnold but also denied him an exciting new job.
  • This further fueled Arnold's determination to defect to the British side.

Arnold's Price

04:52 - 05:20

  • Arnold offered to weaken West Point and deliver it to the British for 20,000 pounds.
  • He wanted full financial restitution for everything the war had cost him.
  • Peggy played a crucial role in the negotiations with General Clinton.

Washington's Decision

05:21 - 06:15

  • Initially, Washington considered giving Arnold command of West Point.
  • However, he realized he needed Arnold's strategic gifts on the battlefield.
  • Instead, Washington put Arnold in charge of the entire left wing of the army.

Arnold's Reaction

06:15 - 06:47

  • When offered the position, Arnold appeared fallen and angry.
  • He rejected the appointment and insisted on holding down the fort at West Point.
  • Peggy's reaction to the news was dramatic, including fits of hysteria and fainting.

Tense Times at West Point

08:02 - 08:17

  • Arnold's treasonous activities caused tension at West Point.
  • The couple was surrounded by patriots who closely monitored their behavior.
  • Espionage activities were heating up during this time.