Fort Ticonderoga was a strategic fort in Northern New York on Lake Champlain that was captured by American Revolutionaries in 1775. It’s loss in 1777 was a major blow to the war effort during the American Revolution, resulting in court-marshals of the commanding officers.
The British army, led by General John Burgoyne, began its attack on the Fort in July 1777. The Americans, under the command of General Arthur St. Clair, were outnumbered and outgunned. Burgoyne’s forces surrounded the fort and began shelling it from the north.
On July 5, 1777, Burgoyne’s forces captured Mount Defiance, a hill that overlooked the fort. This gave them the high ground, and the Americans were forced to evacuate the fort. The Americans withdrew to the south, and the British took control of Fort Ticonderoga.
The fall of Fort Ticonderoga was a significant setback because it opened up the Hudson River Valley – including Albany – to the British. The Revolutionaries were able to retreat and regroup slowing the British at the battles of Fort Ann, Hubbarton and Bennington, VT before meeting them decisively at the Battles of Saratoga where Burgoyne surrendered in October 1777.
The Ticonderoga Historical Society will present a free public program on Friday, August 4 at 7 pm at the Hancock House Museum at 6 Moses Circle in Ticonderoga, NY on the fall of Fort Ticonderoga.
“The Taking of Ticonderoga 1777; A Non-Battle” will be presented by Brian O’Connor. “Fort Ticonderoga earned a reputation as the Gibraltar of America in the French and Indian War,” said O’Connor. “Yet it fell easily to Burgoyne’s army during the American Revolution. Arthur St. Clair’s American defenders were relatively numerous and spoiling for a fight, but an evacuation was planned even before the British threatened the fort with cannon on Mt. Defiance.”
The talk will include a look at the aftermath of the defeat, including the court martials of the commanding officers.
O’Connor, a former history professor, currently serves as Director of Libraries at North Country Community College. The program will be held in the museum’s program room.
Reservations may be made by calling the Hancock House at 518-585-7868 or via e-mail to email@example.com.
Illustrations, from above: Fort Ticonderoga (Carl Heilman II photo provided by Fort Ticonderoga); and a map of the 1777 Saratoga Campaign.