The General was originally the lead Sentinel involved in the assault on Zion at the end of the Machine War, his efforts were halted by the sacrifice of Neo which resulted in the Truce which ended the conflict. Since the beginning of the peace, the General (AKA General David Beatts), as he has become known, has called together all Sentinels loyal to him to a fortress known as "Stalingrad" from which they broadcast a pirate signal to download themselves into the Matrix. His self appointed mission is to re-ignite the war between Zion and the Machines through a variety of complicated schemes, while simultaneously avoiding the attempts of the system to delete him and his forces.
Through a series of failures and miscalculations, the General eventually becomes a tool of the Merovingian and the military leader of his forces in the Real World. It is through the assistance of the General that the Merovingian discovers the nature of the Machines' dependence on human beings to fuel their power plants, as well as uncovering the nature of the Oligarchy and the biological interface program.