Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fort Ticonderoga

We rested a day at Ticonderoga, New York on Sunday after the 4th. This would have been our twelfth day on the road without a break and it was time. The sun was up, the sky was clear and this is an interesting historical area.
The area is described by the Mohawks as “the place between the great waters”. The great waters being Lake Champlain and Lake George. The neck of land overlooking the only open waterway between these two lakes was strategic in controlling travel between north and south in this area. The French felt that this was meaningful stronghold to control the British from moving into Canada and in 1755 built a fortress atop this peninsula named it Carillon.
The French army outnumber 5 to 1 were successful in holding off more than 10,000 British soldiers at the Battle of Carillon, July 8, 1758. This was the bloodiest day in American history before the Civil War. At the time the French were also engaged in Europe with the 7 year war and were forced to abandon the fort to the British the following year. Before they left they ignited the powder magazine which did considerable damage to one side of the fort. The British controlled the fort for the next 16 years.
On May 10, 1775 Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold and the Green Mountain Boys- marked the first victory of the Revolutionary War by capturing the fort. The story goes that Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold both had the same idea and headed out to the take over the fort separately . On the way they joined forces. Arriving in the dead of night with 84 men they came upon the century who was taken by surprise and whose signal musket was dampened by the wet weather would not fire. The men then walked into the fort without a shot being fired and woke up British commander took him prisoner.
George Washington had the cannons hauled back in a monumental feat to Boston to defeat the British war ships. Many cannons have been returned to Fort Ticonderoga but only one has been positively identified and an original. The Fort has been in and out of disrepair for many years and after the Revolutionary War was deemed by George Washington not to have any significant value militarily to the USA. It was left to ruin until Stephen and Sarah Pell bought it in 1909. Sarah and her Grandson restored much of the fort and left it to the Fort Ticonderoga Association who has overseen this historical educational program.
As you walk through the peaceful woods that surround the fort there is an eeriness that arise from knowing that so many have died on this hill.


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