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Present Appearance of Mount Independence. Graves of Soldiers. Vandalism. Money-digging.
ber now covers it, except where the parades were. The trees are chiefly maple, some of them twenty inches in diameter. There are about two hundred of them on the mount, large enough for the extraction of sap for sugar. The young shoots never sprang up where the old parades were, and they present bald spots, bearing only stinted vegetation. During the summer and autumn of 1776 the Americans were diligent in fortifying this spot. They erected a picketed fort and several batteries, dug many wells, and constructed nearly three hundred houses for the use of the soldiers. The remains of these are scattered in all directions upon the mount; and the foundation walls of the hospital, just commenced when the evacuation in 1777 took place, are now nearly as perfect as when first laid. Narrow ditches, indicating the line of pickets on the north part of the mount, and running in various directions and at every angle, are distinctly seen; and the remains of the “horseshoe battery,” on the extreme north end, are very prominent. Near this battery is a flint quarry, which seems to have been well known and used by the Indians, for arrow-heads in every stage of manufacture, from the almost unshapen flint to the perfect weapon, are found there, I was told, in abundance. Toward the close of 1776 a fatal epidemic prevailed in the garrison there, called the “camp distemper,” and the graves of the victims are thickly strewn among the trees. At one time the deaths were so numerous that it was found impossible to dig a grave for each, and the spot was shown to me where fourteen bodies were deposited in a single broad grave, about daylight one morning. Among the hundreds of these mounds of the dead, scattered over the mount, there was only one individualized by an inscribed stone. The rude monument is a rough limestone, and the inscription, “M. Richardson Stoddard,” appeared as if carved with the point of a bayonet. The tenant was probably an officer of militia from a town formerly named Stoddard, in Vermont. Already some Vandal visitor had broken off a “relic” from its diminutive bulk, and ere this some patriotic antiquary has doubtless slipped the whole stone into his pocket, and secured a legacy of rare value for his wondering children' A propensity to appropriate to private use a fragment of public monuments, and a pitiful ambition, allied in kind to that of the Ephesian incendiary, to associate one's name by pencil or penknife inscription with places of public resort, have already greatly marred and disfigured a large proportion of our few monuments, and can not be too severely condemned. Charity, that “covereth the multitude of sins,” has not a mantle broad enough to hide this iniquity, for none but heartless knaves or brainless fools would thus deface even the meanest grave-stone in a church-yard. Wolfe's monument on the Plains of Abraham, and the monuments at Red Bank and Paoli, bear mournful testimony of this barbarism which is abroad. At various times Mount Independence, as well as Crown Point and other localities in the neighborhood of Lake Champlain, has been scarred by money-diggers. In 1815 a company came hither from Northern Vermont, to search for military treasures which wise seers and the divining rod declared were buried there. The chief of the party, entertaining misgivings on his arrival as to the success of money-digging, purchased land in the neighborhood, and while his more credulous companions were digging deep into the mount, he was plowing deep into his land. He raised grain and esculent roots—they raised gravel and worthless clay. When their patience and money were exhausted, they shouldered their picks and departed for Western New York. He remained, became a thrifty farmer, and, by the unerring divining rod of industry, found the treasure. Credulous people still dig at these localities, and several pits were pointed out to me which had been recently excavated."
* Three or four years ago the white wife of a negro dreamed three times—the cabalistic number—that at a certain place on Mount Independence immense treasures were buried when the Americans evacuated that post. They were, doubtless, the identical silver balls which calumny asserted Burgoyne fired into St. Clair's camp as the price of treason. The negro procured aid, and a pure white dog to watch them while digging. A moonlight night was the chosen time. The secret leaked into the ears of some boys, and set their mischievous wits at work. A large pumpkin was emptied of its seeds, and staring eyes, wide nos
Return to Sholes's. Darkness on the Lake. View from Sholes's Landing.
Darkness came on, and the rain pattered upon the leaves before we descended to the shore; and by the time we were fairly out upon the lake our destined haven was invisible. The wind was fresh and the waters rough. One of the ladies guided the helm, but her bright eyes could not discern the distant shore, and her nautical skill was unavailing. The son of Mr. S., anticipating such a dilemma, discharged a small swivel at the landing, and by its beacon flash we were safely guided until we came within the rays of the candles at the house. Wet and weary, we supped and retired early, to resume our journey in the morning.
WIEw FRoM Sholes's LANDING."
trils, and grinning teeth were cut out of the rind, and a lighted candle was placed within the sphere. This hideous head, with its fiery eyes and nostrils, was placed on the caput of a bold boy, who marched up to the pit where the money-diggers were at work. The dog first discovered the grinning specter, and, with a loud yell, leaped from the cavity and ran for life. The men followed, leaving pick, spade, hat, and coat behind, quite sure that the “gentleman in black” was close upon their heels; and they have ever since believed that he guards the treasures, and sometimes takes an evening stroll on Mount Independence.
* This is a view from Chipman's Point, or Sholes's Landing, looking north. The high ridge on the right, in the distance, is Mount Independence. The higher and more distant hill on the left, over the cedar, is Mount Defiance, and the elevation beyond is Mount Hope. Fort Ticonderoga is on the other side of Mount Independence, in a line with the highest part.
Fort St. Frederic. Distant View of Crown Point.
Chimney Point. First Settlement by the French.
“The green earth sends its incense up from every mountain shrine,
LIGHT mist was upon the water when we departed from Sholes's, but a gentle breeze swept it off to the hills as we turned the point of Mount Independence and entered the broader expanse near Ticonderoga. We caught a last glimpse of the gray ruins as our boat sped by, and before nine o'clock we landed at Chimney Point, opposite Crown Point, where the lake is only half a mile wide." Here the French established their first settlement on Lake Champlain, in 1731, and commenced the cultivation of the grains of the country. They erected a stone wind-mill in the neighborhood, which was garrisoned and used as a fort during the wars with the English colonies. When Professor Kalm, the Swedish naturalist and traveler, during his botanical tour through New York and Canada in 1749, visited this settlement, five or six cannons were mounted in the mill. The place was then called Wind-mill Point.” The same year in which the French settled at Chimney Point, they built a strong fort
upon the shore opposite, and called it Fort St. Frederic, in honor of Frederic Maurepas, the then Secretary of State. It was a starwork, in the form of a pentagon, with bastions at the angles, and surrounded by a ditch walled in with stone. Kalm says there was a considerable settlement around the fort, and pleasant, cultivated gardens adorned the rude dwellings. There was a neat little
CHIMNEY Point LANDING."
gave the name of Chimney Point to the bold promontory.
church within the ramparts, and every thing betokened a smiling future for a happy and prosperous colony. But the rude clangor of war disturbed their repose a few years afterward; the thunder of British artillery frightened them away, and they retired to the north end of the lake. For many years the chimneys of their deserted dwellings on the eastern shore were standing, and
*Chimney Point is in the southwestern corner of Addison town, Vermont, and is the proper landing-place for those who desire to visit the ruins of Crown Point fortress, on the opposite side of the lake. * From Kalm's account it appears probable that the wind-mill was upon the shore opposite, at the point
where now may be seen the ruins of what is called the Grenadiers' Battery. He says it was “within one or two musket-shots of Fort St. Frederic,” a fortification immediately on the shore opposite Chimney Point.
* This view is taken from the green in front of the inn at Chimney Point, looking west-southwest. The first land seen across the lake is Crown Point, with the remaining barracks and other works of the fortress, and the dwellings and outhouses of Mr. Baker, a resident farmer. Beyond the point is Bulwaggy Bay, a broad, deep estuary much wider than the lake at Chimney Point. Beyond the bay, and rising from its western shore, is Bulwaggy Mountain, varying in perpendicular height from four to nine hundred feet, and distant from the fort between one and two miles. A little to the right of the larger tree on the shore is the
- Visit to Crown Point. Description of the Fortress. Its present Appearance.
Anxious to leave in the evening boat for Burlington, we sent our light baggage to the inn, and immediately crossed over to Crown Point on a horse-boat, the only ferry vessel there. Mr. Baker, an aged resident and farmer upon the point, kindly guided us over the remains of the military works in the vicinity, where we passed between three and four hours. We first visited old Fort St. Frederic, the senior fortress in chronological order. It is upon the steep bank of the lake, and the remains of its bomb-proof covered way, oven, and magazine can still be traced; the form of its ramparts is indicated by a broken line of mounds. The average width of the peninsula of Crown Point is one mile, and the principal works are upon its highest part, near the northern end. The peninsula is made up of dark limestone, covered quite slightly with earth. This physical characteristic lent strength to the post, for an enemy could not approach it by parallels or regular advances, but must make an open assault. St. Frederic, standing close by the water, lacked this advantage; and the French, feeling their comparative weakness, exercised the valor of prudence, and abandoned it on the approach of the English and provincials under General Amherst, in 1759, and retired to the Isle Aux Noix," in the Sorel. The British commander took immediate possession, but the works were so dilapidated that, instead of repairing them, he at once began the erection of a new and extensive fortress about two hundred yards southwest of it, and upon - o, more commanding . . . . . . . . . ground. The ram- parts were about twenty-five feet thick, and nearly the same in height, of solid masonry. The curtains varied in length from fiftytwo to one hundred yards, and the whole circuit, measuring along the ramparts, and including the bastions, was eight hundred and fifty-three yards, a trifle less than half a mile. A broad ditch cut out of solid limestone surrounded it. The fragments taken from the excavation were used to construct the reveting, and the four rows of barracks erected within. On the north was a gate, and from the northeastern bastion was a covered way leading to the lake, Within this bastion a well, nearly eight feet in diameter and ninety feet deep, was sunk, from which the garrison was supplied with water. This fortress was never entirely finished, although the British government spent nearly ten millions of dollars upon it and its outworks. Its construction was a part of the grand plan dePLAN of the ForT. vised by Pitt to crush French power in America, and hence, for
site of Fort St. Frederic, and at the edge of the circle on the left, along the same shore, is the locality of the Grenadiers' Battery. The wharf and bridge in the foreground form the steam-boat and ferry landing at Chimney Point. * This is pronounced O Noo-ah.
* There were four large buildings used for barracks within the fort, the walls or chimneys of which were built of limestone. One of them has been entirely removed, and another, two hundred and eighty-seven feet long, is almost demolished. Portions of it are seen on the left, in the foreground of the picture. The walls of the other two—one, one hundred and ninety-two, and the other two hundred and sixteen feet long, and two stories high—are quite perfect, and one of them was roofed and inhabited until within two or three years. At each end, and between these barracks, are seen the remains of the ramparts. The view is from the northwestern angle of the fort, a little south of the remains of the western range of barracks, and looking southeast. The hills in the distance are the Green Mountains on the left, and the nearer range called Snake Mountain, on the right.
Erplanation of the Plan.—A, B, C, the barracks; D, the well; the black line denotes the ramparts, with its parapet; the white space next to it the ditch, and the shaded part outside, the covered way, banquette, and glacis.
Proposed Attack on the French at Isle Aux Noir. Approach of Winter. Appearance of Crown Point. Inscriptions.
this as well as for every other part of the service here, the most extraordinary efforts were made, and pecuniary means were freely lavished." Amherst constructed several small vessels at Crown Point, and, leaving a garrison to defend the partly finished fort, embarked with the rest of his troops, and sailed down the lake, to attack the French in their new position in the Sorel. Storm after storm arose upon the lake, and greatly endangered the safety of his men and munitions in the frail vessels. The season being considerably advanced, he abandoned the design, and resolved not to risk the snow-storms that would soon ensue, and the general barrenness of food and forage that now october 2, prevailed in an enemy's country. So he returned to Crown Point, and went into ** winter-quarters. The works at Crown Point are much better preserved than those at Ticonderoga, and the present owner of the ground, with a resolution which bespeaks his taste and patriotism, will not allow a stone to be removed. The view here given is from the parapet near the end of the southeastern range of barracks, where the flag-staff was, looking down the lake northwest. At the foot of the hills on the lake shore, toward the left, is Cedar Point, at the entrance of Bulwaggy Bay, and a little north of it is the vilChown Point. lage of Port Henry, the location of the works of a large iron company, composed chiefly of Bostonians. There is a ferry between this place and Chimney Point, the boats touching at Crown Point. In the gable wall of the nearest barracks in the view are two inscribed stones, faced smooth where the inscription is carved. One bears the initials “G. R.,” George Rex or King ; the rude form of an anchor, a mark peculiar to Great Britain, and placed upon her cannon-balls and other military articles; and the date of the construction of the fortress, “ 1759.” The other stone has the initial “G.” without the R., the monogram of Amherst, the anchor, and a number of rectangular and diagonal lines of inexplicable meaning. The deep well, already alluded to, is close by the covered way that leads to the lake, and a few rods northeast from the eastern range of barracks. It was nearly filled with rubbish, and almost hidden from view by the weeds and shrubbery upon its margin. I was informed that a general impression prevailed in the vicinity, about twenty-five years ago, that this deep well was the depository of vast treasures, which were cast into it by the French for conceal
* For the campaign of 1759 the Legislature of New York authorized the levy of two thousand six hundred and eighty men, and issued the sum of five hundred thousand dollars in bills of credit, bearing interest, and redeemable in 1768 by the proceeds of an annual tax.