Royal Savage, Benedict Arnold’s flagship, is shown run aground and burning, while British ships fire on her (watercolor by unknown artist, ca. 1925)
Continental Brigadier General Benedict Arnold and his 17-ship flotilla were defeated after three long and separate actions at the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain when they engaged 25 ships under British Captain Thomas Pringle.
The Continental Army had retreated from Quebec to Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Crown Point in June 1776 after British forces in Canada were reinforced. They Americans then spent the summer of 1776 strengthening those forts, and building additional ships to augment the small American fleet already on the lake under the command of Arnold.
The British had a 9,000 man army in Canada but needed to build a fleet to move it on the lake. By early October, the British fleet, which significantly outgunned the American fleet, was ready to launch their offensive.
Battle of Valcour Island: October 11, 1776
On October 11, 1776 Arnold lured the superior British fleet into the straight between Valcour Island and the New York mainland where their maneuverability was limited. Although Arnold’s makeshift fleet was defeated, the battle delayed the British advance and caused it to fall back into winter quarters.
The British fleet and army withdrew from Lake Champlain on October 20, 1776 and returned to Canada for the winter. It was nearly a year before the British advance was renewed.
Split Rock Mountain has more than eleven miles of marked trails. They are laid out in a rough figure-eight, with the main access near the center. Most of the trails follow old roads; one allows snowmobiles, which are infrequent.
Lake Champlain has a long history of being a major smuggling route between the U.S. and Canada. From the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 through Prohibition and beyond smugglers have used this natural water highway to try to avoid government taxes, tariffs and embargoes.
U.S Revenue Cutter, Pickering
Smugglers moved contraband both north and south to markets hungry for products that were in short supply, banned or too expensive. Early smuggling operations after the wars included the infamous Black Snake Affairin which two people were killed and resulted in the execution of one of the smugglers.
This video presentation of ‘Whiskey on the Lake’ from the Milton, VT Historical Society deals with more recent events as Dr. Scott McLaughlin tells how Lake Champlain was important thoroughfare for smugglers during the Prohibition era.
The Champlain Valley is one of the most historically rich regions of the country. Fort Ticonderoga, Saratoga, Fort William Henry, Crown Point, Plattsburgh, Bennington and Valcour Island all lie along the ancient warpath that is the Champlain Corridor. In this lively and informative new travel guide to historic places and events, the author leads you to each venue, describing the events and their long-lasting impact. Adventure awaits you with Guns over the Champlain Valley.
The Crown Point/Chimney Point peninsulas on Lake Champlain are some of the most historic places in the area. Long recognized as places of strategic importance on this waterway through the wilderness, each side of the lake was inhabited and fortified from earliest times. Chimney Point was the site of Fort de Pieux, a simple wooden stockade built by the French; and is now the site of a historic brick tavern owned by the State of Vermont and operated as Chimney Point Historic Site.
Opposite Chimney Point, across the great steel bridge, is Crown Point. This historic location was the site of an important French fort, St. Frederic; and an enormous British Fortress, known simply as ‘His Majesty’s Fort at Crown Point’. It was not known as Fort Crown Point, nor was it called Fort Amherst, as some early sources claim. The Crown Point peninsula played a critical role in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. The ruins there are maintained by the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The park is known as Crown Point State Historic Site. The park includes the ruins of both fortresses, a number of important redoubts, and the beautiful Champlain Memorial Lighthouse on the site of the earlier Grenadier’s Redoubt.
Any visit to the historic lakes should include a trip to this remarkably historic and beautiful site.
This 128-page softcover book features stunning historical images from the archives of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and other regional collections, and includes chapters on Patriotic Sites and Celebrations; Commerce in the Canal Era; The Age of Steam; Crossing Lake Champlain; Recreational Boating; Summer and Summer Folk; Hunting and Fishing; and Winter. ‘Lake Champlain’ tells the story of this historic, busy commercial corridor and recreational destination.