PO Box 390
Ticonderoga, NY 12883
Spirit of 76
By the 1700s, both
France and England were laying claim to the frontier
which stretched north and west of the thirteen American
colonies. Rivers like the Hudson and the St. Lawrence,
and large inland bodies of water like Lake George and
Lake Champlain helped to promote trade and
travel throughout this frontier. The British and French
built forts along these waterways to protect their
interests, and Fort Ticonderoga is one of these.
Originally named Fort
Carillon, the fort was built by the French Marquis de
Lotbiniere in 1755. The next four years would see two
British attacks on the fort - one in 1758 and another in
1759. The British force the French to retreat and then
take possession of the fortification, renaming it Fort
Ticonderoga. The fort would remain in British control
until May 10th, 1775, when a small American force under
the command of Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen defeat the
British and take the fort.
From August to
November, 1775, American forces move northward, taking
control of Lake Champlain and defeating British forces at
St. Johns, Chambly and Montreal.
That fall saw Henry
Knox's arrival at Fort Ticonderoga to inventory its
artillery. By March of 1776, Knox's "noble train of
artillery" - fifty-nine guns in all - were
transported by oxen three-hundred miles from Ticonderoga
to Boston where George Washington was conducting a seige
of the British-held town.
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was held by the American forces until July, 1777, when
General Burgoyne and eight-thousand British regulars
traveled south across Lake Champlain and laid seige to
the fort. After ineffective fighting by both sides,
Burgoyne ordered artillery batteries placed atop Mount
Defiance (shown in the
distance behind the howitzer at left). British artillery were soon capable of
bombarding the fort without fear of retaliation by the
American troops. American General St. Clair soon ordered
his garrison to give up the fort and retreat south. The
British pursued and eventually over-ran the American rear
guard, causing it to disperse. Burgoyne followed up this
success with an attack on Fort Edward a month later.
Today the fort
remains much as it did two-hundred years ago. The
barracks which once housed the garrison now display
weapons and artifacts from the 18th century. Living
history demonstrations with music, crafts, muskets and
artillery are common on the weekends, and there is a
restaurant and a museum shop with an incredible selection
of books pertaining to the 18th century. The park is
about four hours north of New York City, and two hours
south of Montreal. Admission is charged.
Last updated November 23rd, 1999