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issuing orders.

Writing to the Continental Congress from Crown
Point, May 29, Arnold says: "Some dispute arising
between Col. Allen and myself prevented my carrying
my order into execution until the 16th." In a letter



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 453

written the same day to the Massachusetts Committee
of Safety, he says: "Colonel Allen has entirely given
up command." Allen was at Crown Point on May 29,
as a letter written that day to the Continental Congress
shows.

As early as May 27 the Massachusetts Congress
alluded to fears expressed by Arnold that attempts were
being made to injure his character, and he was informed
that he would have an opportunity to vindicate his con-
duct. On June 1 the Massachusetts Congress expressed
regret that Arnold should make repeated requests that a
successor should be appointed, assured him that that
body had the greatest confidence in his "fidelity, knowl-
edge, courage, and good conduct," and advised him "at
present" to dismiss the thought of giving up the com-
mand of the Massachusetts forces on Lake Champlain.

On June 4 Allen, with Colonel Easton, wrote a letter
to the Canadians from Ticonderoga and signed himself
"at present the principal commander of this army."
This may have been simply a determination on the part
of Allen to make at least a show of reasserting his right
to command; or it may have been due to a weakening of
Arnold's authority, soon to be entirely overthrown.
About a week later, on the tenth day of June, eighteen
officers at Crown Point, including Colonel Easton, Maj.
Samuel Elmore, of Connecticut, Seth Warner, Remember
Baker, Ira Allen, and others, united in an address to the
Continental Congress regarding affairs, and named
Ethan Allen, Warner and Baker a committee to consult
with Congress. The document concludes as follows:



454 HISTORY OF VERMONT

"Colonel Allen has behaved in this affair (referring
presumably to the capture of Ticonderoga) very singu-
larly remarkable for his courage and must in duty
recommend him to you and to the whole Continent."
This address would seem to indicate that Allen had a
considerable following at that time among the officers
at the Lake Champlain forts.

Arnold wrote to the Continental Congress from Crown
Point on June 13, signing himself as commanding officer.
In his letter he discussed a proposed Canadian expedi-
tion, and added parenthetically and significantly, "no
Green Mountain Boys."

The Massachusetts Congress, on June 14, appointed
a committee consisting of Walter Spooner, Jedediah
Foster, and James Sullivan, to investigate conditions at
Ticonderoga and Crown Point, including Arnold's con-
duct. This committee was given power to discharge
Arnold, if, in its judgment, it was proper to do so.
Evidently charges of a serious nature had been brought
against Arnold to warrant an investigation of his con-
duct with power given to the committee to discharge
him. The provincial Congress had sent Col. Joseph
Henshaw to Hartford instructing him, in the event that
Connecticut had arranged for garrisoning Ticonderoga,
to go to the fort, with orders for Arnold to return to
Massachusetts, settle his account, and be discharged.
Colonel Henshaw learned that Connecticut had sent
Colonel Hinman with a thousand men to hold Ticon-
deroga until New York was ready to relieve him. Hen-
shaw did not go to Ticonderoga himself, however, but



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 455

sent a letter acquainting Arnold with the turn events
had taken.

When Hinman arrived at Ticonderoga Arnold re-
fused to recognize the Connecticut Colonel as his superior
officer. Instead, he transferred the command of Ticon-
deroga to Captain Herrick, from whom Hinman's men
were obliged to take orders. If they refused to submit
they were not permitted to pass to and from the garri-
son. Such was the condition of affairs which the
Massachusetts investigators found upon their arrival at
Lake Champlain. The committee reported, as a result
of its investigations, that a mutiny arose among some
of Arnold's men, "which seemed to be attended with
dangerous symptoms" ; but they were able, with the aid
of Judge Duer, of Charlotte county, to quell it.

Edward Mott, chairman of the Committee of War
which made the plans for the capture of Ticonderoga,
wrote Governor Trumbull, of Connecticut, at some
length regarding this incident. According to his
account the Massachusetts committee went to Crown
Point with orders that Arnold should turn over the com-
mand to Colonel Hinman, which he positively refused
to do. The committee thereupon discharged Arnold
from the service. The refusal to yield the command
to Hinman is corroborated by the committee's report to
the provincial Congress, which says: "Your Commit-
tee informed the said Arnold of their commission, and,
at his request, gave him a copy of their instructions;
upon reading of which he seemed greatly disconcerted,
and declared he would not be second in command to any
person whomsoever."



456 HISTORY OF VERMONT

Mott further reported that the committee were re-
fused the privilege of speaking to Arnold's soldiers ; that
Arnold and some of his men went on board the vessels,
threatening to go to St. Johns and deliver the boats to
the British; that Arnold disbanded all his troops but
those on the vessels ; that those who tried to communicate
with Arnold were ill treated, being fired upon with a
swivel gun and small arms after they came away from
the vessels in a bateau. Later, Mott secured permis-
sion from Colonel Hinman to make an attempt to settle
the difficulty. Colonel Sullivan, of the Massachusetts
committee. Lieutenant Halsey, Judge Duer, Mott, and a
party of men to row the boat, proceeded to Arnold's
vessels, as Mott tells the story, reaching there at eleven
o'clock in the forenoon. On going aboard they were
treated like prisoners, being guarded until evening by
men with fixed bayonets. It is recorded that Colonel
Sullivan "was much insulted while we were on board
the vessels, chiefly by Mr. Brown, one of Colonel Arnold's
Captains." After being released, a report of the indig-
nities inflicted was made to Colonel Hinman, who
ordered Lieutenant Halsey with twenty-five men to re-
turn to the vessels, get what men he could to join him,
and bring one or more vessels to the fort. The next
day the matter was settled.

Arnold resigned his command on June 24. In his
letter of resignation he said that the action of the pro-
vincial Congress in dealing with him was a most dis-
graceful reflection on him and the body of troops he
commanded. Soon after his resignation he returned to
New Haven, Conn.



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 457

It is not strange that Gen. Philip Schuyler was moved,
on July n, to write the Continental Congress concern-
ing this affair as follows: "The unhappy controversy
which has subsisted between the officers at Ticonderoga
relative to the command has, I am informed, thrown
everything into vast confusion. Troops have been dis-
missed, others refuse to serve if this or that man com-
mand. The sloop is without either Captain or pilot, both
of which are dismissed or come away. I shall hurry up
there much sooner than the necessary preparations would
otherwise permit, that I may attempt discipline amongst
them."

From such information as may be obtained it would
appear that Arnold did most of the commanding at both
Ticonderoga and Crown Point after the first few days
following the capture, until the Massachusetts com-
mittee appeared, refitting the captured boats, repairing
barracks, sending one party to the mouth of the
Winooski River, and another toward St. Johns. In all
of Allen's correspondence he appears to have made no
attack upon Arnold; but as much cannot be said for
Arnold, whose letters refer in uncomplimentary terms
to Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, as illustrated
by the remark in a letter to the Massachusetts Com-
mittee of Safety that "Colonel Allen is a proper man to
head his own wild people, but entirely unacquainted with
military service."

There is much to admire in the dashing bravery and
undoubted capacity shown by Benedict Arnold later in
this war. It is also true that his capture of the sloop at
St. Johns displayed skill and courage, and his conduct of



458 HISTORY OF VERMONT

affairs at the Champlain forts during parts of May and
June showed activity and ability of no mean order; but
the Ticonderoga chapter of Arnold's career, taken as
a whole, is a discreditable one. History is able to give,
and will give, the man his just due for his brilliant
exploits at Quebec, in the naval battle on Lake Cham-
plain, and at Saratoga, without the necessity of attempt-
ing to rob Ethan Allen of his well-earned laurels or to
defame the memory of the sturdy pioneers who rallied
to the standard of the Green Mountain leader in the
early days of May, 1775. The history of the Ticon-
deroga expedition shows Arnold's inordinate ambition;
his desire to secure the chief command, and the greatest
glory, no matter how irregular might be the means
employed; a disposition to bear false witness against his
rivals in his letters and reports; and insubordination
when deprived of power that foreshadowed his traitor-
ous conduct at West Point at a later day. These quali-
ties of the man cannot be excused or ignored unless one
prefers to offer an attorney's brief for Arnold, rather
than to present historical facts in an impartial manner.
With the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point,
military operations on Lake Champlain practically were
at a standstill for several months. Soon after the news
of the taking of these forts was received, the Continental
Congress "earnestly recommended" the removal of the
military stores and ordnance to a post to be established
at the southern end of Lake George. This was a propo-
sition showing such an amazing lack of military fore-
sight, and one that aroused such a storm of protest
throughout New England, that it deserves more than



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 459

passing notice ; for it shows very clearly what the people
of that region, at that time, thought of the strategic
importance of Lake Champlain and its fortresses.

As early as May 27, 1775, the Massachusetts Con-
gress informed the Continental Congress that "if that
post (Ticonderoga) is abandoned the whole of Lake
Champlain will be abandoned to Canada, and the com-
mand of the water will amazingly facilitate all such
descents upon these colonies, whether greater or less,
which Administration shall see fit to order. But if that
post should be held by the Colonies, all such attempts for
the destruction of the Colonies may be vastly obstructed,
if not wholly defeated."

On May 29 the Massachusetts Congress sent a letter
to Governor Trumbull, of Connecticut, dealing with the
proposed abandonment of the Champlain forts, which
read in part, as follows : "We cannot conceal from the
General Assembly of your colony that we should be to
the last degree agitated if we really supposed that the
said resolution of the General Congress touching Ticon-
deroga and said posts on Lake Champlain, was their
ultimatum, and that they would not reconsider that reso-
lution. * * *

"The maintaining that post is not only practicable
and, under God, in the power of the colonies, but of
inexpressible necessity for the defence of the Colony of
New York and all the New England colonies. * * *
In the view of a post of observation, we beg leave to
observe that all movements from Canada, intended
against New England or New York, by the way of Lake
Champlain whether by scalping parties or large bodies.



460 HISTORY OF VERMONT

whether in the winter or open seasons of the year, may
ahnost certainly be discovered so seasonably as that the
blow may be generally warded off; whereas, if the post
at William Henry be the only one kept, it is probable
that three-fourths of the attempts on the frontier of
New York and New England by Champlain will never
be known until executed. * * * If we abandon the
post at Ticonderoga the enemy will infallibly seize it;
and in that case, what annoyance can we give Canada
by the way of Champlain by means of a fortified post at
William Henry? * * * We beg leave just to hint
that a fortified station on the easterly side of South
Bay, on Lake Champlain, opposite to Ticonderoga or
Crown Point, or still further on, affords great advantage
for the maintaining of Ticonderoga, and defending the
settlements on the easterly side of Lake Champlain, and
there is artillery enough to spare to other places; and
if we abandon the land between the Lakes George and
Champlain we shall give the enemy an opportunity to
build at or near the points; and by that means we shall
lose the whole of Lake Champlain, and the shipping we
now have on that lake, by which we can command the
whole of it and keep the enemy at a distance of a hun-
dred miles from our English settlements near Otter
Creek, etc. ; but if that fortress should be maintained
we shall have those very settlements to support it, which
will not be half the charge that it would be to maintain
a sufficient number of soldiers so far from their homes.
We have there four or five hundred hardy men with
families, who, if those grounds should be abandoned,
will be driven from their settlements and leave the




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paper.



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 461

Massachusetts and New Hampshire people naked, with-
out any barrier, and exposed to the Canadians and
savages, who will have a place of retreat at the point as
they had almost the whole of the last war. By abandon-
ing this ground we give up an acquisition which cost
immense sums of money, the loss of many lives, and
five campaigns.

"As to the expense of maintaining a fortress at Ticon-
deroga, this colony will not fail to exert themselves to
the utmost of their power."

The Massachusetts committee sent to investigate
afifairs at Ticonderoga and Crown Point during the
Allen-Arnold controversy informed Governor Trumbull,
of Connecticut, that in their opinion "the abandoning the
posts on Lake Champlain would probably prove the
utter ruin of the New England Governments."

A letter from the New Hampshire Congress to the
Continental Congress, dated June 2, says : "A late order
of your respectable Congress for the demolition of the
fortress of Ticonderoga, and removal of the artillery
from thence, has very much damped the expectation of
the people in this colony, arising from the security our
frontiers hoped to receive by the check the Canadians
and savages might receive in any incursion on us by a
good garrison there. * * * Our new settlements
extended on Connecticut River for a hundred miles, are
very defenceless in every respect, and under terrible
apprehensions from the accounts of the warlike prepara-
tions making in Canada against the colony." The letter
then asks that the order be reviewed and counter-
manded. The New York Congress was informed of



462 HISTORY OF VERMONT

the request made, and the statement is made that "we
esteem that fortress (Ticonderoga) to be a place truly
important to the welfare of all these Northern Colonies
in general and to this Colony in particular."

Naturally Ethan Allen was greatly disturbed by the
suggestion that the post which he and his men had taken
should be abandoned, and on May 29 he wrote the Con-
tinental Congress on this subject, saying: "1 am
* * * much surprised that your Honours should
recommend it to me to remove the artillery to the south
end of Lake George, and there to make a stand; the
consequences of which must ruin the frontier settle-
ments, which are extended at least one hundred miles to
the northwest from that place. Probably your Honours
were not informed of those settlements which consist
of several thousand families who are seated in that tract
of country called the New Hampshire Grants.

"The misfortune and real injury to those inhabitants
by making the south end of Lake George the northern-
most point of protection will more fully appear from the
following consideration, namely : It was at the special
request and solicitation of the Governments of the Prov-
ince of the Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut that
those very inhabitants put their lives into the hand of
their Governments, and made those valuable acquisi-
tions for the Colonies. By doing it they have incensed
Governor Carleton and all the ministerial party in Can-
ada against them ; and provided they should, after all
their good service in behalf of their Country, be
neglected and left exposed, they will be of all men most
consummately miserable."



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 463

Allen proceeded to point out the immense advantage
the possession of the lake would give if an aggressive
Canadian policy were pursued, thus "forming the
frontier near the country of the enemy."

Benedict Arnold also addressed the Continental Con-
gress on this important subject, in a letter dated May
29, in which he said: "I must beg leave to observe,
gentlemen, that the reports of Ticonderoga's being
abandoned have thrown the inhabitants here into the
greatest consternation. There are about five hundred
families to the northward of Ticonderoga, who, if it is
evacuated, will be left at the mercy of the King's Troops
and Indians, and who have, part of them, joined the
Army, and cannot now remain neuter, to whom a re-
move would be entire ruin, as they have large families
and no dependence but a promising crop in the ground.
I need not add to this, gentlemen, that Ticonderoga is
the key of this extensive country, and if abandoned,
the enemy, and to continued alarms, which will probably
leaves a very extensive frontier open to the ravages of
cost more than the expense of repairing and garrison-
ing it."

Perhaps the most vigorous of all the protests against
abandoning Ticonderoga was made by Joseph Hawley,
called the "Nestor of the Massachusetts patriots," who,
writing to Joseph Warren from Northampton, June 9,
said: "I heartily wish that every member of our Con-
gress, yea, every inhabitant of the Province, had a true
idea of the infinite importance and consequence of that
station (Ticonderoga). If Britain, while they are in
hostility against New England, hold that post, they will



464 HISTORY OF VERMONT

by means thereof be able to do more to vanquish and
subdue us from that quarter than they will be able to do
in all other parts of the Continent ; yea, more than they
could do in all other parts of the globe. If Britain
should regain and hold that place they will be able soon
to harass and waste by the savages, all the borders of
New England eastward of Hudson River and southwest
of Lake Champlain, and the River St. Lawrence, and
shortly, by the Lake Champlain, to march an army to
Hudson's River to subdue the feeble and sluggish efforts
of the inhabitants on that river, and so connect Mon-
treal and New York; and then New England will be
wholly environed by sea and land, east, west, north and
south. The chain of the Colonies will be irreparably
broken; the whole Province of New York will be fully
taken into the interest of the Administration; and this
very pass of Ticonderoga is the post and spot where all
this mischief may be withstood and arrested; but if that
is relinquished or taken from us, destruction must come
in upon us like a flood.

"I am bold to say (for I can maintain it) that the
General Congress would have not advised to so destruc-
tive a measure if they had recommended and prescribed
that our whole Army, which now invests Boston should
instantly decamp, and march with all the baggage and
artillery to Worcester, and suffer Gage's army to ravage
what part of the country they pleased. Good God!
what could be their plan. If they intend defence, they
must be unacquainted with the geography of the coun-
try, or never adverted to the matter. The design of
seizing that post was gloriously conceived; but to what



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 465

purpose did our forces light there, if they are now to
fly away from there. Certainly to no good purpose, but
to very bad and destructive purposes; for by this step
General Carleton is alarmed. Whereas if the step had
not been taken, his proceedings might have been slow
and with some leisure; but now, if he is worthy of com-
mand, he will exert himself to the utmost and proceed
with dispatch. If we maintain the post, the measure of
taking it was glorious. If we abandon it, the step will
turn out to have been a destructive one."

Congress, heeding the protests that were made, de-
cided to maintain the post at Ticonderoga, overwhelm-
ing evidence of its importance being furnished from
many sources.

In November, 1775, the task of transporting to Bos-
ton, for use in the siege of that town, some of the can-
non captured at Ticonderoga. was assigned to Col.
Henry Knox. The American army before Boston
lacked the heavy ordnance needed and no foundries for
making cannon were available. Late in November
Washington wrote General Schuyler that he was in very
great need of powder, lead, mortars, cannon, and nearly
all kinds of artillery stores, and urged that all that could
be spared from Ticonderoga be sent to him at Boston.

On November 27, Knox, who was at New York,
wrote to Washington "I shall set out by land tomorrow
morning for Ticonderoga, and proceed with the utmost
dispatch, as knowing our whole dependence for cannon
will be from that post." Knox caused forty-two
"exceedingly strong" sleds to be made, and with eighty



466 HISTORY OF VERMONT

yoke of oxen the guns were taken to Lake George, and
thence to Albany. While crossing the Hudson River
on the ice, one of the cannon fell into the stream, but it
was recovered the next day with the assistance of the
people of Albany. The route followed was by way of
Great Barrington, Mass., and Springfield, to Boston.
At the end of ten weeks Knox reached Boston with
fifty-five cannon, and received the congratulations of
General Washington.

An interesting incident of this expedition was the
meeting on a stormy winter night, in a little cabin on the
shore of Lake George, between Knox and a young
British officer who had been taken prisoner at St. Johns.
He was being taken to Lancaster, Pa., to be held for
exchange, and by chance on this night shared, not only
the same cabin, but the same bed with Knox. This
British captive was John Andre. Had Knox been per-
mitted to read what the future held in store for himself
and his companion, he would have learned that later in
this war just begun, there would fall to his lot the sad
duty of sitting as one of the judges at a court martial,
and condemning to death as a spy, implicated in
Arnold's treason, this charming young officer whose con-
versation he found so enjoyable.

Thus it will be seen that the capture of the post of
Ticonderoga made it possible to supply Washington with
the artillery so necessary for conducting a successful
siege. Without the guns from Ticonderoga it is at least
possible that the British would not have been driven
from Boston. Had Washington failed in this enter-



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 467

prise, perhaps the American Revolution would have been
simply an American rebellion. But this possibility con-
stitutes one of the "ifs" of history.



Chapte^r XV
THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN



ONE of the immediate effects of the outbreak of
hostilities between the American colonies and
Great Britain was an easing of the strained rela-
tions that had existed for several years between the
people of the New Hampshire Grants and the colony of
New York. On June 2, 1775, Ethan Allen wrote a long
letter to the New York provincial Congress, advocating
the immediate invasion of Canada, in which he expressed
the belief that he could raise "a small regiment of rang-
ers," chiefly in Albany and Charlotte counties, provided
New York would grant commissions and make the neces-
sary financial arrangements. Realizing, no doubt, the
peculiar position in which he was placed, an outlaw with
a price on his head, asking a place in the military service
of the government that had outlawed him, he added this
paragraph: "Perhaps your honors may think this an
impertinent proposal. It is truly the first favor I ever
asked of the government, and if it be granted I shall be
zealously ambitious to conduct for the best good of my
country and the honor of the government."

In compliance with the recommendation of a council



Online LibraryWalter Hill CrockettVermont, the Green mountain state (Volume 1) → online text (page 29 of 34)