As this is the Fourth of July holiday here in the United States of
America, I thought to write a divergence centred around one of my
country's greatest heroes...
Increasingly offended by the Continental Congress and those of his
Revolutionaries who didn't like him (and he didn't like them), and
irked in some small degree by the fact that there weren't even
feelers out, to see if the British would accept a peace. (The
British, in 1778, offered to satisfy all the Revolutionaries'
demands - except for outright independence).
Benedict Arnold, trusted by George Washington, would eventually come to betray the Revolution.
But what if he hadn't?
By 1779, Arnold's wife had become the one who smoothed ruffled
feathers - who encouraged a more and more hesitant Benedict to
continue with the British correspondence.
I offer this possibility -- that Arnold's wife dies in early 1779,
and without her intercession, Benedict Arnold grows even more
impatient with the Briton he was working with (a man by the name of Andre).
Now, he probably wouldn't completely sunder all ties to the British -- after all, it's a resource he can use.
What he might do is to let the British forces under Clinton
think that he, Benedict Arnold, is still working for and with
them...only to lead them into a trap. A potentially major victory
for the Revolutionaries that the Continental Congress will be forced
to admit, "Yeah, that was a nice job," and will reinforce Washington's trust in Arnold.
While Clinton winds up with nothing to show for his efforts.
Sadly, in terms of long-term effects, Arnold will still be not
liked by a great many of his countrymen -- being a hero doesn't
stop one from having political enemies, and Arnold's personality
wouldn't necessarily help any.
He might get re-married, or maybe not.
My guess - Arnold ends up with a historical record like Hamilton's:
rife with foes and financial woes, but ultimately celebrated - at least
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!