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Ticonderoga in the Revolutionary War

When, in 1775, it became apparent that war was inevitable, the importance of the strong fortresses of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, on Lake Champlain, and their possession, became subjects of earnest consultation among patriots. The subject was talked of in the Connecticut legislature after the affair at Lexington, and several gentlemen formed the bold design of attempting their capture by surprise. With this view, about forty volunteers set out for Bennington to engage the cooperation of Ethan Allen, a native of Connecticut, and the leader of the GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS. He readily seconded their views. They had been joined at Pittsfield, Massachusetts, by Colonels Easton and Brown, with about forty followers. Allen was chosen the leader after the whole party reached Castleton, at twilight, on May 7. Colonel Easton was chosen to be Allen's lieutenant, and Seth Warner, of the Green Mountain Boys, was made third in command. At Castleton Colonel Arnold joined the party. He had heard the project spoken of in Connecticut just as he was about to start for Cambridge. He proposed the enterprise to the Massachusetts committee of safety, and was commissioned a colonel by the Provincial Congress, and furnished with means and authority to raise not more than 400 men in western Massachusetts and lead them against the forts. On reaching Stockbridge, he was disappointed in learning that another expedition was on the way. He hastened to join it, and claimed the right to the chief command by virtue of his commission. It was emphatically refused. He acquiesced, but with a bad grace.

On the evening of the 9th they were on the shore of Lake Champlain, opposite Ticonderoga, and at dawn the next morning the officers and eighty men were on the beach a few rods from the fortress, sheltered by a bluff. A boy familiar with the fort was their guide. Following him, they ascended stealthily to the sally-port, where a sentinel snapped his musket and retreated into the fort, closely followed by the invaders, who quickly penetrated to the parade. With a tremendous shout the New Englanders awakened the sleeping garrison, while Allen ascended the outer staircase of the barracks to the chamber of the commander (Captain Delaplace), and beating the door with the handle of his sword, cried out with his loud voice, " I demand an instant surrender!" The captain rushed to the door, followed by his trembling wife. He knew Allen, and recognized him. " Your errand ?" demanded the commander. Pointing to his men, Allen said, "I order you to surrender." "By what authority do you demand it?" inquired Delaplace. "By the authority of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!" answered Allen, with emphasis, at the same time flourishing his broadsword over the head of the terrified commander. Delaplace surrendered the fort and its dependencies, and a large quantity of precisely such munitions of war as the colonists needed - 120 iron cannon, fifty swivels, two mortars, a howitzer, a coehorn, a large quantity of ammunition and other stores, and a warehouse full of naval munitions, with forty-eight men, women, and children, who were sent to Hartford. Two days afterwards Colonel Seth Warner made an easy conquest of Crown Point.