Capture of Fort Ticonderoga

Capture of Fort Ticonderoga

Ethan Allen wrote a narrative about his war experiences. From this account, we learn about the fall of Fort Ticonderoga—a crucial development for the Patriots, not just for strategic reasons but also for boosting their morale. 

When Allen and Benedict Arnold (who was not-yet a traitor) reached the doors of the fort where the Redcoats stored some of their armament and ammunition, what did they see? Who greeted them?

The garrison being asleep, except the sentries, we gave three huzzas, which greatly surprised them.

One of the sentries made a pass at one of my officers with a charged bayonet, and slightly wounded him. My first thought was to kill him with my sword; but, in an instant, I altered the design and fury of the blow to a slight cut on the side of the head, upon which he dropped his gun, and asked quarter, which I readily granted him, and demanded of him the place where the commanding officer kept; he showed me a pair of stairs in the front of a barrack, on the west part of the garrison, which led up to a second story in said barrack, to which I immediately repaired, and ordered the commander, Captain de la Place, to come forth instantly, or I would sacrifice the whole garrison; at which the Captain came immediately to the door, with his breeches in his hand, when I ordered him to deliver me the fort instantly; he asked me by what authority I demanded it: I answered him, "In the name of the great Jehovah and the Continental Congress."

Did the Americans really have the authority of the Continental Congress to storm the garrison, take whatever they decided to take and then maintain control of Ticonderoga?

The authority of the Congress being very little known at the time, he [William De la Place, British commander of the fort] began to speak again; but I interrupted him, and with drawn sword over his head again demanded an immediate surrender of the garrison, with which he then complied, and ordered his men to be forthwith paraded without arms, as he had given up the garrison.

The Patriots, according to Allen (later a British prisoner after he unsuccessfully attempted to capture Montreal), took control of significant weapons: 

...about one hundred pieces of cannon, one thirteen-inch mortar, and a number of swivels.

Some of the arsenal’s weapons would later be used to threaten British ships in Boston Harbor.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Feb 17, 2019

Media Credits

Image, Capture of Fort Ticonderoga: Ethan Allen and Captain William De la Place.

Engraving from a painting by Alonzo Chappel (1828–1887).

U.S. National Archives, image 111-SC-94758.

Quoted passages from, A Narrative of Col. Ethan Allen's Captivity (originally published in 1795).


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"Capture of Fort Ticonderoga" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Feb 17, 2019.
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