Page images

Present Appearance of Fort Ticonderoga and Vicinity. The Bakery. Grenadiers' Battery.

went down behind Mount Defiance I made the preceding sketch, which may be relied upon as a faithful portraiture of the present features of Fort Ticonderoga. The view is from the remains of the counterscarp, near the southern range of barracks, looking northward. The barracks or quarters for the officers and soldiers were very substantially built of limestone, two stories high, and formed a quadrangle. The space within was the parade. Upon the good authority of his brother, our venerable guide pointed out the various localities of interest, and, having no doubt as to the correctness of his information, I shall accord it as truth. The most distinct and best-preserved building seen in the sketch is the one in which the commandant of the garrison was asleep when Allen and his men entered the fort. On the left of the group of figures in the fore-ground is the passage leading from the covered way into the parade, through which the provincials passed. The two lines of forty men each were drawn up along the range of buildings, the remains of which are seen on the right and left of the picture. The most distant building was the officers' quarters. A wooden piazza, or sort of balcony, extended along the second story, and was reached from the ground by a flight of stairs at the left end. The first door in the second story, on the left, was the entrance to Delaplace's apartment. It was up those rickety steps, with young Beman at his side, that Colonel Allen ascended; and at that door he thundered with his sword-hilt, confronted the astonished captain, and demanded his surrender. Between the ruined walls on the extreme left is seen Mount Defiance, and on the right is Mount Hope. The distant wall in the direction of Mount Hope is a part of the ramparts or out-works, and the woods beyond it mark the location of the remains of the “French lines,” the mounds and ditches of which are still very conspicuous. Near the southeastern angle of the range of barracks is the bakery; it is an under-ground arched room, and was beneath the glacis, perfectly bomb-proof, and protected from all danger from without. This room is very well preserved, as the annexed sketch of it testifies; but the entrance steps are much broken, and the passage is so filled with rubbish that a descent into it is difficult. It is about twelve feet wide and thirty long. On the right is a window, and at the end were a fire-place and chimney, now in ruins. . On either side of the fire-place are the ovens, ten feet deep. We had no light to explore them, but they seemed to be in good condition. This bakery and the ovens are the best-preserved portions of the fortress. For more than half a century the walls of the fort have been common spoil for all who chose to avail themselves of such a convenient quarry; and the proximity of the lake affords rare facility for builders to carry off the plunder. The guide informed me that sixty-four years ago he assisted in the labor of loading a vessel with bricks and stones taken from the fort, to build an earthen-ware factory on Missisqui Bay, the eastern fork of the lower end of Lake Champlain. Year after year the ruins thus dwindle, and, unless government shall prohibit the robbery, this venerable landmark of history will soon have no abiding-place among us. The foundation is almost a bare rock, earthed sufficient to give sustenance to mullens, rag-weed, and stinted grass only, so that the plowshare can have no effect; but desecrating avarice, with its wicked broom, may sweep the bare rock still barer, for the site is a glorious one for a summer hotel for invalids. I shall, doubtless, receive posthumous laudation for this suggestion from the money-getter who here shall erect the colonnade, sell cooked fish and flavored ices, and coin wealth by the magic of the fiddle-string. On the point of the promontory, just above the steam-boat landing, are the remains of the “Grenadiers' Battery,” a strong redoubt built of earth and stone. It was constructed by the French, and enlarged by the English. It commanded the narrow part of the lake, between that point and Mount Independence, and covered the bridge, which was made by the Americans, extending across to the latter eminence. The bridge was supported by



The floating Bridge. View of the Ruins by Moonlight. - The old Patriot, his Memories and Hopes.

twenty-two sunken piers of large timber, at nearly equal distances; the space between was made of separate floats, each about fifty feet long and twelve feet wide, strongly fastened together by chains and rivets, and also fastened to the sunken piers. Before this bridge was a boom, made of very large pieces of timber, fastened together by riveted bolts and chains of iron, an inch and a half square." There was a battery at the foot of Mount Independence, which covered that end of the bridge; another half way up the hill; and upon the table-land summit was a star fort well picketed. Here, strongly stationed, the Americans held undisputed possession from the 10th of May, 1775, until the 5th of July, 1777, when they were dislodged by Burgoyne, who began to plant a battery upon Sugar Hill, or Mount Defiance. This event we shall consider presently. I went up in the evening to view the solitary ruins by moonlight, and sat upon the green sward of the old esplanade near the magazine. All was hushed, and association, with its busy pencil, wrought many a startling picture. The broken ruins around me, the lofty hills adjacent, the quiet lake at my feet, all fading into chaos as the evening shadows came on, were in consonance with the gravity of thought induced by the place and its traditions.

“The darkening woods, the fading trees,
. The grasshopper's last feeble sound,
The flowers just waken'd by the breeze,
All leave the stillness more profound.
The twilight takes a deeper shade,
The dusky pathways blacker grow,
And silence reigns in glen and glade—
All, all is mute below.”
MILLER's Evening HYMN.

So smoothly ran the current of thought, that I was almost dreaming, when a footstep startled me. It was that of the old patriot, who came and sat beside me. He always spends the pleasant moonlight evenings here, for he has no companions of the present, and the sight of the old walls kept sluggish memory awake to the recollections of the light and love of other days. “I am alone in the world,” he said, “poor and friendless; none for me to care for, and none to care for me. Father, mother, brothers, sisters, wife, and children have all passed away, and the busy world has forgotten me. I have been for almost eighty years a toiler for bread for myself and loved ones, yet I have never lacked for comforts. I can say with David, “Once I was young, but now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread.’ I began to feel my strength giving way last spring, and looked fearfully toward the poor-house, when I heard that the old man who lived here, to show visitors about, was dead, and so I came down to take his place and die also.” He brushed away a tear with his hard and shriveled hand, and, with a more cheerful tone, talked of his future prospects. How true it is that blessed

“Hope springs immortal in the human breast,”

for this poor, friendless, aged man had bright visions of a better earthly condition even in the midst of his poverty and loneliness. He took me to an opening in the broken wall, which fronted a small room near the spot where the provincials entered, and with a low voice, as if afraid some rival might hear his business plans, explained how he intended, another year, to clear away the rubbish, cover the room over with boards and brush, arrange a sleepingplace in the rear, erect a rude counter in front, and there, during the summer, sell cakes, beer, and fruit to visitors. Here I saw my fancied hotel in embryo. He estimated the cash capital necessary for the enterprise at eight dollars, which sum he hoped to save from his season's earnings, for the French woman who gave him food and shelter charged him but a trifling weekly sum for his comforts. He calculated upon large profits and extensive sales, and hoped, if no opposition marred his plans, to make enough to keep him comfortable through

'Burgoyne's Narrative, Appendix, p. xxx.

Trip to Mount Defiance. Ascent of the Mountain. An English Major and Provincial subaltern.

life. He entertained me more than an hour with a relation of his own and his father's adventures, and it was late in the evening when I bade him a final adieu. “God bless you, my son,” he said, as he grasped my hand at parting. “We may never meet here again, but I hope we may in heaven!” August 2, Early the next morning I started for Mount Defiance in company with an En1848. glish gentleman, a resident of Boston. We rode to the “lower village,” or Ticonderoga, where we left our ladies to return by the same stage, while we climbed the rugged heights. We hired a horse and vehicle, and a lad to drive, who professed to know all about the route to the foot of the mountain. We soon found that he was bewildered; and, unwilling to waste time by losing the way, we employed an aged resident near the western slope to pilot us to the top of the eminence. He was exceedingly garrulous, and boasted, with much self-gratulation, of having assisted in dragging a heavy six pounder up to the top of the mountain, five years ago, for the purpose of celebrating the “glorious Fourth” on the very spot where Burgoyne planted his cannon sixty-six years before. We followed him along a devious cattle-path that skirted a deep ravine, until we came to a spring that bubbled up from beneath a huge shelving rock whose face was smooth and mossy. The trickling of the water through the crevices within, by which the fountain below was supplied, could be distinctly heard. From a cup of maple-leaves we took a cool draught, rested a moment, and then pursued our toilsome journey. Our guide, professing to know every rock and tree in the mountain, now left the cattlepath for a “shorter cut,” but we soon wished ourselves back again in the beaten track. The old man was evidently “out of his reckoning,” but had too much “grit” to acknowledge it. For nearly an hour we followed him through thickets tangled with vines, over the trunks of huge trees leveled by the wind, and across a dry morass covered with brakes and wire-grass shoulder high, where every trill of the grasshopper sounded to our suspicious and vigilant ears like the warning of a rattle-snake, until at length we were confronted by a wall of huge broken rocks, almost perpendicular, and at least fifty feet high. It seemed to extend north and south indefinitely, and we almost despaired of scaling it. The guide insisted upon the profundity of his knowledge of the route, and we, being unable to contradict his positive assertions that he was in the right way, followed him up the precipice. It was a toilsome and dangerous ascent, but fortunately the sun was yet eastward of meridian, and we were in shadow. We at last reached a broad ledge near the summit, where, exhausted, we sat down and regaled ourselves with some mulberries which we had gathered by the way. A large wolf-dog, belonging to our guide, had managed to follow his master, and seemed quite as weary as ourselves when he reached us. Another scramble of about twenty minutes, over broken rocks and ledges like a giant's stair-case, brought us upon the bold, rocky summit of the mountain. The view from this lofty hill is one of great interest and beauty, including almost every variety of natural scenery, and a region abounding with historical

His father was a lieutenant in the English service, and belonged to the Connecticut troops that were with Amherst when he took Ticonderoga. While the English had possession of that post, before seizing Crown Point, he was much annoyed by a swaggering English major, who boasted that no American in the country could lay him upon his back. Lieutenant Rice accepted the general challenge. For twenty minutes it was doubtful who the successful wrestler would be. Rice was the more agile of the two, and, by a dexterous movement, tripped his adversary and brought him upon his back. The burly major was greatly nettled, and declared the act unfair and unmanly. Rice made a rejoinder, and hard words passed, which ended in a challenge from the major for a duel. It was accepted, and the place and time of meeting were appointed. But the fact having reached the ears of Amherst, he interposed his persuasion. The Englishman was resolved on fighting, and would listen to no remonstrance until Amherst touched his national and military pride. “Consider,” he said, “how glorious is our conquest. We have taken this strong fortress without shedding one drop of blood. Shall Britons be such savages, that, when they can not spill the blood of enemies, they will shed that of each other?” The appeal had the desired effect, and the parties sealed their reconciliation and pledged new friendship over a glass of grog. They then tried their strength again. The major was prostrated in an instant by a fair exertion of superior strength, and from that hour he was Rice's warmest friend. The major's name was Church. He was a lieutenant colonel under Prevost, and was killed at Savannah on the 16th of September, 1779.

View from the Top of Mount Defiance. Mount Independence, Ticonderoga, the Lake, and the Green Mountains.

associations. The fore-ground of the picture represents the spot whereon Burgoyne began the erection of a battery; and a shallow hole, drilled for the purpose of making fastenings

for the cannon, may still be seen. The sheet of water toward the left is the outlet of Lake George, where it joins Lake Champlain, which sweeps around the promontory in the middle ground, whereon Fort Ticonderoga is situated. Gray, like the almost bald rock on which they stand, the ruins were scarcely discernible from that height, and the Pavilion appeared like a small white spot among the green foliage that embowers it. On the point which the steam-boat is approaching is the Grenadiers' Battery already mentioned, and on the extreme right is seen a portion of Mount Independence at the mouth of East Creek. This eminence is in Vermont—Mount Defiance and Fort Ticonderoga are in New York. The point beyond the small vessel with a white sail is the spot whence the Americans under Allen and Arnold crossed the lake to attack the fort; and between Mount Independence and the Grenadiers' Battery is the place where the bridge was erected. The lake here is quite narrow, and, sweeping in serpentine curves around the two points, it flows northward on the left, and expands gradually into a sheet of water several miles wide. The hills seen in the far distance are the Green Mountains of Vermont, between which lofty range and the lake is a beautifully diversified and fertile agricultural country twelve miles wide, a portion of the famous New Hampshire Grants. From this height the eye takes in a range along the lake of more than thirty miles, and a more beautiful rural panorama can not often be found. Let us retreat to the cool shadow of the shrubbery on the left, for the summer sun is at meridian ; and, while gathering new strength to make our toilsome descent, let us open again the volume of history, and read the page on which are recorded the stirring events that were enacted within, the range of our vision.


Crown Point and Ticonderoga invested by Burgoyne. Material of his Army. Weakness of the Garrison at Ticonderoga

Lieutenant-general Burgoyne, with a strong and well-appointed army of more than seven thousand men," including Indians, came up Lake Champlain and appeared before Crown Point on the 27th of June. The few Americans in garrison there abandoned the fort and retreated to Ticonderoga. The British quietly took possession, and, after establishing a magazine, hospital, and stores there, proceeded to invest Ticonderoga on the 30th. Some light infantry, grenadiers, Canadians, and Indians, with ten pieces of light artillery, under Brigadier-general Fraser, were encamped on the west side of the lake, at the mouth of Putnam's Creek. These moved up the shore to Four Mile Point, so called from being that distance from Ticonderoga. The German reserve, consisting of the chasseurs, light infantry, and grenadiers, under Lieutenant-colonel Breyman, were moved at the same time along the eastern shore, while the remainder of the army, under the immediate command of Burgoyne himself, were on board the Royal George and Inflexible frigates and several gun-boats, which moved up the lake between the two strong wings on land. The land force halted, and the naval force was anchored just beyond cannon-shot from the American works. Major-general Arthur St. Clair" was in command of the American garrison at Ticonderoga, a post of honor which Schuyler had offered to Gates. He found the garrison only about two thousand strong; and so much were the stores reduced, that he was afraid to make any considerable addition to his force from the militia who were coming in from the east, until a replenishment of provisions could be effected. Had the garrison been well supplied with stores, six or eight thousand men might have been collected there before the arrival of the enemy.

* The day when the British army encamped before Ticonderoga (July 1st), the troops consisted of British, rank and file, three thousand seven hundred and twenty-four; Germans, rank and file, three thousand and sixteen; Canadians and provincials about two hundred and fifty, and Indians about four hundred, making a total of seven thousand four hundred and ninety.

* Arthur St. Clair was a native of Edinburgh, in Scotland. He was born in 1734, and came to America with Admiral Boscawen in 1755. He served in Canada in 1759 and 1760, as a lieutenant under General Wolfe, and, after the peace of 1763, was appointed to the command of Fort Ligonier, in Pennsylvania. In January, 1776, he was appointed a colonel in the Continental army, and was ordered to raise a regiment destined for service in Canada. Within six weeks from his appointment his regiment was on its march. He was appointed a brigadier in August of that year, and was an active participant in the engagements at Trenton and Princeton. In February, 1777, he received the appointment of major general, and on the 5th of June was ordered by General Schuyler to the command of Ticonderoga. He reached that post on the 12th, and found a garrison of two thousand men, badly equipped and very short of ammunition and stores. He was obliged to evacuate the post on the 5th of July following. In 1780 he was ordered to Rhode Island, but circumstances prevented him from going thither. When the allied armies marched toward Virginia, in 1781, to attack Cornwallis, St. Clair was directed to remain at Philadelphia with the recruits of the Pennsylvania line, for the protection of Congress. He was, however, soon afterward allowed to join the army, and reached Yorktown during the siege. From Yorktown he was sent with a considerable force to join Greene, which he did at Jacksonville, near Savannah. He resided in Pennsylvania after the peace; was elected to Congress in 1786, and was president of that body in 1787. Upon the erection of the Northwestern Territory into a government in 1788, he was appointed governor, which office he held until 1802. when Ohio was admitted as a state into the Union, and he declined an election to the post he had held. His military operations within his territory against the Indians were disastrous, and when he retired from office he was almost ruined in fortune. He made unsuccessful applications to Congress for the payment of certain claims, and finally died almost penniless, at Laurel Hill, near Philadelphia, August 31st, 1818, aged 84 years.

« PreviousContinue »