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Thrilling Incidents In American History

• Title
• Preface

Revolutionary War
• Opening Of The Revolution
• The Boston Massacre
• Affair of the Sloop Liberty
• Affair of the Gaspee
• The Tea Riot
• The Boston Port Bill
• The First Continental Congress-Consequent Parliamentary proceedings
• Organization of the Minute-Men
• Patrick Henry-Second Provincial Congress-First Military Enterprise
• Battles of Lexington and Concord
• Battle of Bunker's Hill
• Capture of Ticonderoga
• Second Continental Congress-Washington's Appointment
• Siege of Boston
• Incidents at the Evacuation of Boston
• Burning of Falmouth
• Arnold's Expedition to Quebec
• Siege of Quebec, and Death of Montgomery
• Scenes at Quebec during the Siege
• Expedition against Charleston
• The Declaration of Independence
• The Battle of Long Island
• Washington's Retreat through New Jersey-Capture of General Lee
• Battle of Trenton
• Battle of Princeton
• Capture of General Prescott
• Battle of Brandywine
• Battle of Germantown
• Battle of Red-Bank
• Attack on Fort Mifflin-Retirement of the Army to Valley Forge
• Battle of Bennington
• Murder of Miss M'Crea
• Battle of Stillwater
• Battle of Bemis' Heights, and Retreat of Burgoyne
• Capture of Forts Clinton and Montgomery
• Surrender of Burgoyne
• The Treaty with France
• Attack on Savannah, and Death of Pulaski
• Storming of Stony Point
• General Sullivan's Campaign against the Mohawks
• Tarleton's Quarters
• Battle of Camden, and Death of De Kalb
• Arnold's Treason
• The Loss of the Randolph
• The British Prison-Ships
• Capture of the Serapis
• Putnam's Feat at Horseneck
• Battle of Eutaw Springs
• Wayne's Charge at Green Spring
• Capture of the General Monk
• The Mutinies
• Battle of the Cowpens
• Capture of New London
• Massacre of Wyoming
• Surrender of Cornwallis

War With France
• Capture of L'Insurgente
• The Constellation and Vengeance

War With Tripoli
• Burning of the Philadelphia
• Bombardment of Tripoli
• Loss of the Intrepid
• Expedition of General Eaton

Second War With England
• Battle of Tippecanoe
• Capture of the Guerriere
• Tragical Affair of an Indian Chief
• Battle and Massacre at the River Raisin
• Captain Holmes's Expedition
• Capture of the Caledonia and Detroit
• The Wasp and Frolic
• Gallant Conduct of Lieutenant Allen at the Capture of the Macedonian
• Capture and Destruction of the Java
• Siege of Fort Meigs
• Capture of York, and Death of General Pike
• Defence of Sackett's Harbour
• Defence of Fort Stephenson
• Battle of Lake Erie
• Battle of the Thames
• Gallant Action of Commodore Chauncey under the guns of Kingston Citadel
• The Sacking of Hampton
• Capture of the Peacock
• Massacre at Fort Mimms
• Surrender of Weatherford
• Battle of Niagara
• BattIe of New Orleans

War With Mexico
• Battle of Palo Alto
• Battle of Resaca de la Palma
• Capture of Monterey
• Battle in the Streets of Monterey
• Thrilling Scenes in the Battle of Buena Vista
• Bombardment of Vera Cruz
• Battle of Cerro Gordo
• Battles of Contreras and Churubusco
• Storming of Chapultepec

Ruins of Ticonderoga
Ruins of Ticonderoga.


HE necessity of securing Ticonderoga was early attended to by many in New England; but some Connecticut gentlemen were first in attempting the measure. Secrecy was essential to success; and delay might be dangerous. There was no waiting to consult the Continental Congress; beside, it would not have been safe to have communicated the scheme to that body, as it was known there would be individuals in it on whose fidelity the Americans could not rely.

Messrs. Deane, Wooster, Parsons, and others undertook the affair. Tiley applied to the assembly for a loan, which was furnished, to the amount of about eighteen hundred dollars, on which they gave bonds to be accountable. General Gage had set the example of attempting to seize upon military stores, and by so doing had commenced hostilities; so that retaliation appeared more than warrantable, even an act of self-defence.

The expedition went on with rapidity. Several militia captains pushed forward to Salisbury to acquaint Messrs. Blagdens with the design, and to procure their assistance. One was ill, the other joined in the proposed manoeuvre. After a little deliberation, they concluded upon spending no time in obtaining men; but, having provided a sufficient quantity of powder and ban, set off on horseback for Bennington to engage Colonel Anen. They conferred with him upon their arrival; and then remained with others to bake bread, and prepare other necessaries, while the colonel went on to raise the men who were wanting, and who were to meet the managers at Castleton. While these were on their way to the place of ren- dezvous, they were met by a countryman, apparently an undesigning honest travener, but who was eithel himself well-skilled a,nd a principal, or had been well-tutored by some one or other, that had either suspected or gained knowledge of the expedition, and meant to render it abortive. They addressed him, "From whence came you?" "From Ty; left it yesterday," at such an hour. "Has the garrison received any reinforcement?" "Yes; I saw them; there were a number of artillery men and other soldiers." "What are they doing? Are they making fascines?" "Don't know what fascines are. They are tying up sticks and brush in bundles, and putting them where the walls are down." Mr. Samuel Blagden put many ensnaring questions about the dress and trimmings of the men, &c. The answers tended to confirm the man's story. The company was staggered; and it being debated in council, whether they should not return, as they had no cannon, it was determined by a majority of one only to proceed.

At Castleton they met Colonel Allen with his men, and altogether made two hundred and seventy persons; two hundred and thirty of them were Green Mountain boys, so naned from their residing within the limits of the Green Mountains, as the Hampshire grants are denominated, from the range of green mountains that runs through them. They are a brave hardy generation, chiefly settlers from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Sentries were placed immediately on all the roads, to prevent any intenigence being carried to Ticonderoga.

After the junction at Castleton, Colonel Arnold arrived, with only a single servant. The day after his getting to Cambridge with his volunteer company, he attended on the Massachusetts committee of safety, and reported that there were at Ticonderoga, eighty pleces of heavy cannon, twenty of brass from four to eighteen-pounders, ten or a dozen mortars, a number of small arms, and considerable stores; and that the fort was in a ruinous condition, and as he supposed garrisoned by about forty men. Upon this the committee, on the 3d of May, appointed him a colonel of four hundred men, whom he was to enlist and march for the reduction of Ticonderoga. The colonel was known only to Mr. Blagden. A council was called; his powers were examined; and at length it was agreed, that he should be admitted to join and act with them, that so the public might be benefited. It was settled, however, that Colonel Allen should have the supreme command, and Colonel Arnold was to be his assistant: with which the latter appeared satisfied, as he had no right by his commission, either to command or interfere with the others, who were not only out of the Massachusetts line, but the subjects of another colony. The names of the leaders, besides what have been mentioned, were Messrs. Motte, Phelps, (two brothers) Bigelow, Bull, and Nichols, beside Colonels Easton, Brown, and Warner, and Captain Dickinson.

After it had been determined in a council to set off the next morning early for "Ty," and some of the managers had retired, a second council was beld, and it was concluded to proceed that very night, leaving Messrs. Blagden, Bigelow, and Nichols, with a party of men, thirty in all, officers included, to march early in the morning for Skeensborough, and secure Major Skeen, his negroes and tenants. This council might have been occasioned by the return of Captain Noah Phelps, who the day before, having disguised himself, entered the fort in the character of a countryman wanting to be shaved. In hunting for a barber, he observed everything critically, asked a number of rustic questions, affected great ignorance, and passed unsuspected. Before night he withdrew, came and joined his party, and in the morning guided them to the place of destination.

Surprise at Ticonderoga
Surprise at Ticonderoga.

Colonel Allen, with his two hundred and thirty Green Mountain boys, arrived at Lake Champlain, and opposite to Ticonderoga, on the 9th, at night. Boats were procured, with difficulty, when he and Colonel Arnold crossed over with eighty-three men, and landed near the garrison. Here a gispute took place between the colonels; the latter became assuming, and swore he would go in first; the other swore he should n,pt. The gentlemen present interposed,. and the matter was accommodated, upon the footing that both should go in together. They advanced alongside of each other, Colonel Allen on the right hand of Colonel Arnold, and entered the port leading to the fort, in the gray of the morning, (May 10.) A sentry snapped his fusee at Colonel Allen, and then retreated through the covered way to the parade; the main body of Americans followed, and immediately drew up. Captain De la Place, the commander, was surprised abed in his room. He was ordered to give up the fort; upon his asking by what authority, Colonel Allen replied, " I demand it in the name of the great Jehovah, and the Continental Congress." The Congress knew nothing' of the matter, and did not commence their existence till some hours after. When they began their session, they chose the Honourable Peyton Randolph president, and Mr. Charles Thomson secretary, each with a unanimous voice; and having agreed "That the Reverend Mr. Duche he requested to open the Congress with prayers tomorrow morning," and appointed a committee to acquaint him with their request, adjourned till the next day. Had Captain De la Place been upon the parade with his men, he could have made no effectual resistance. The fort was out of repair, and he had but about thirty effectives. Could he have gained timely intelligence, he might have procured a reinforcement from St. John's.

After Colonel Allen had landed, the boats were sent back for the remainder of the men under Colonel Seth Warren; but the place was surprised before he could get over. Immediately upon his joining the successful party, he was sent off to take possession of Crown Point, where a sergeant and twelve men performed garrison duty; but the greatest acquisition was that of more than a hundred pieces of cannon. The complete command of Lake Cham- plain was of high importance to the Americans, and could not be effected without their getting possession of a sloop-of-war lying at St. John's, at the foot of the lake. It was determined to man and arm a schooner lying at South Bay, and that Colonel Arnold should command her; and that Colonel Allen should command the batteaux, a name generally affixed to boats of a particular construction, calculated for navigating the lakes and rivers, and drawing but little water, though heavily laden. The wind being fresh from the south, the schooner outsailed the batteaux, and Colonel Arnold surprised the sloop. The wind shifting suddenly to the north, and blowing fresh, in about an hour's time Colonel Arnold sailed with the prize and schooner for Ticonderoga, and met Colonel Allen with his party.

The surprise of Skeensborough was so conducted that the negroes were all sec,ured, and Major Skeen, the son, taken while out shooting, and his strong stone house possessed, and the pass completely gained, without any bloodshed, the same as at Ticonderoga. Had the major received the least intimation, the attempt must have miscarried; for he had about fifty tenants near at hand, besides eight negroes and twelve workmen.

Colonel Allen soon left Ticonderoga under the command of Colonel Arnold, with a number of men, who agreed to remain in garrison.

When the news of Ticonderoga's being taken reached the Continental Congress, they earnestly recommended it to the committees of the cities and counties of New York and Albany, immediately to cause the cannon and stores to be removed from thence to the south end of Lake George; but that an exact inventory should be taken of them, "in order that they may be safely returned, when the restoration of the former harmony between Great Britain and these colonies, so ardently wished for by the latter, shall render it prudent, and consistent with the overruling law of self-preservation." Whatever may have been the drift of a few in Congress, that body wIshed to keep the door open for an accommodation. This was apparent in the advice they gave the New Yorkers, three days before the preceding recommendation. The city and county of New York applied to them for information how to conduct towards the troops expected there. The Congress resolved, "That it be recommended, for the present, to the inhabitants of New York, that if the troops which are expected should arrive, the said colony act on the defensive, so I long as may be consistent with their safety and security; that the troops be permitted to remain in the barracks, so long- as they behave peaceably and quietly, but that they be not suffered to erect fortifications, or take any steps for cutting off the communication between the town and country; and that if they commit hostilities or invade private property, the inhabitants should defend themselves and their property, and repel force by force; that the warlike stores be removed from the town; that places of retreat, in case of necessity, be provided for the women and children of New York; and that a sufficient number of men be embodied, and kept in constant readiness for protecting the inhabitants from insult and injury."