The 1780 Carleton Raid devastated the present-day New York State counties of Saratoga, Warren, and Washington. It was known as the “Great Burning” because many of the structures along the “Old Military Road” south of Fort George at the southern end of Lake George were destroyed.
British Maj. Christopher Carleton’s raid was part of a larger strategy that played out across upstate New York and Vermont. Together with Carleton’s raiders, Sir John Johnson swept across the Schoharie and Mohawk Valleys, Col. John Munro attacked Ballston Spa, and Lt. Richard Houghton raided Royalton, Vermont during the autumn of 1780.
While Carleton’s raid has been largely overshadowed by Johnson’s march through the Mohawk Valley, the young officer’s exploits played an integral part in the Crown’s overall strategy in 1780. Maj. Carleton and Lt. John Enys, both of the 29th Regiment of Foot, left descriptions of their travel and actions taken during the 1780 expedition.
Historian Bruce Venter will host “New York’s Frontier on Fire: Major Christopher Carleton’s Raid in 1780,” a bus tour set for Friday, September 23rd from 8 am to 5 pm.
This tour will shed new light on Carleton’s operations and give attendees a better understanding of the simultaneous operations against American frontier settlements and posts.
The tour will then go through Fort Anne to pick up Carleton’s original route, approaching from the west passing the sites of Philip Skene’s sawmill, blockhouse and the falls as depicted in Thomas Anburey’s Journal through America. The military actions taken before, during, and immediately after the surrender of Fort Anne will be discussed.
The tour will continue south along the Old Military Road to where Carleton decided to bypass Fort Edward to burn unprotected structures in the town of Kingsbury. Carleton’s main force camped for the evening at Wing’s Tavern next to Wing’s Falls (present-day Glens Falls.) From Wing’s Tavern, Carleton sent out raiders to burn the Queensbury District and another party to burn as far as Saratoga (present-day Schuylerville.)
The tour will then travel along Carleton’s route on the Old Military Road toward Fort George, stopping at the site of Fort Amherst, a post used during both French and Indian War and the American Revolution. As it continue to Lake George, the bus will stop at the site of the “second massacre” at Bloody Pond. Fort George was the final objective of the raid. Attendees will tour the ruins of Fort George and visit the new Visitors Interpretation Center created by the Lake George Battlefield Park Alliance as a museum with help from the NYS Dept. of Environment Conservation.
Carleton retreated up the western side of Lake George and the tour follow his route back to Fort Ticonderoga, pointing out sites along the way associated with Carleton’s command.
Registration is $135.00 cash or check, $141 with credit card. To register call Bruce Venter at (703) 785-4373 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here.
Map of Carleton’s Raid provided.