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bridge beyond Concord, made a point of receiv. CHAP. III. ing the first fire. It is probable, that the orders 1775. given by general Gage prohibited the detach. ment under lieutenant colonel Smith, from attacking the provincials, unless previously assaulted by them; but it seems almost certain that such orders, if given, were disobeyed.
The provincial congress, desirous of mani. festing the necessity under which the militia had acted, transmitted to their agents, the depositions which had been taken relative to the late action, with a letter to the inhabitants of Great Britain, stating that hostilities had been commenced against them, and detailing the circumstances which had attended that event.
But they did not confine themselves to ad- Vote of dresses. They immediately passed a vote for setts for raising thirteen thousand six hundred men in Massachussetts, to be commanded by general Ward, and for calling on New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, for their respective quotas of troops, so as to complete an army of thirty thousand men for the common defence. They also authorized the receivergeneral to borrow one hundred thousand pounds on the credit of the colony, and to issue securities for the repayment thereof with an interest of six per cent.
The neighbouring colonies hastened to furnish the men required of them; and, in the mean time, such numbers voluntarily assembled VOL. 11.
CHAP. III. that many were dismissed in consequence of a 1775. defect of means to subsist them in the field.
The king's troops were now themselves closely blocked up in the peninsula of Boston, and their communication with the country. entirely cut off.
On receiving intelligence of the battle of Lexington, the people of the city and province of New York, appeared to hesitate no longer, The general spirit of the colonies obtained there also the ascendency. Yet the royal party remained very formidable, and it was deemed advisable to march a body of Connecticut troops into the neighbourhood, with the ostensible purpose of protecting the town against some British regiments daily expected from Ireland, but with the real design of encouraging and strengthening their friends.
About the same time, that active spirit which, at the commencement of hostilities, seemed, in so remarkable a degree, to have pervaded New England, manifested itself in an expedition of considerable merit.
The possession of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, and the command of lakes George and Champlain, were objects of essential importance in the approaching conflict. It was well known that these posts were very weakly de. fended, and it was believed that the feeble garrisons remaining in them, were the less to be dreaded, because they were in a state of
perfect security, entirely unapprehensive of an CHAP. III. attack from any quarter whatever. Under these 1775. impressions, some gentlemen of Connecticut, at the head of whom were messrs. Deane, Wooster, and Parsons, formed the bold design of seizing these fortresses by surprise; and borrowed, on their individual credit, a small sum of money from the legislature of the colony, to enable them to carry on the enterprise. As success depended absolutely on secrecy and dispatch, it was determined not to encounter the delay, and danger of discovery, which would attend their waiting to receive the sanction of congress: and it was deemed most advisable to proceed immediately with a sufficient quantity of ammunition, in the confidence that the number of men, necessary for the expedi. tion, might be raised with more advantage, among the hardy mountaineers inhabiting the country that bordered on the lakes. For this purpose, about forty volunteers set out from Connecticut towards Bennington, where the authors of the expedition proposed meeting with colonel Ethan Allen, and engaging him to head their enterprise, and to raise the men, which would be required to aid them in its execution.
Colonel Allen very readily entered into their views, and engaged to meet them with the requisite number of men, at Castleton, whither they . were to repair as soon as the necessary prepa.
CHAP. III. rations could be made. At this place about 1775. two hundred and seventy men assembled, who
were joined by colonel Arnold. This officer had marched to Boston with a body of Connec. ticut troops, immediately after the battle of Lexington; and without having had the slightest communication with those who had undertaken the enterprise, had engaged the committee of safety of Massachussetts to autho. rize him to raise four hundred men for the same object. He joined colonel Allen, with whom he was associated in the command, and they reached lake Champlain opposite to Ticonderoga in the night of the ninth of May. With some difficulty boats were obtained sufficient for the transportation of the troops; and both Allen and Arnold embarked with the first body, consisting of eighty-three men, who effected their landing without being discovered. They immediately marched against the fort, which was completely surprised, and surrendered without firing a single gun. The garrison con. sisting of only forty four rank and file, commanded by a captain and one lieutenant, was incapable of making any resistance.
Ticonderoga having fallen, colonel Seth Warren was detached to take possession of Crown Point, where a serjeant and twelve men performed garrison duty. This service was immediately executed, and the place was taken without opposition.
At Crown Point, as well as at Ticonderoga, CHAP. III. military stores fell into the hands of the Ame. 1775. ricans, of very considerable value to them in their present situation. The pass at Skenesborough was seized at the same time by a detachment of the volunteers from Connecticut.
To complete the objects of the expedition, it was necessary to obtain the command of the lakes, which could be effected only by seizing a sloop of war lying at St. Johns. This service was effected by Arnold, who, having manned and armed for the purpose a schooner found in south bay, surprised the sloop, and took possession of it without opposition.
Thus by the enterprise of a few individuals, and without the loss of a single man, were acquired the very important posts of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, with the command of the lakes on which they stand. Nor was it among the smallest of the advantages attending the expedition, that the success with which it was crowned, tended to raise still higher the confidence which the Americans felt in themselves.
Intelligence of the capture of Ticonderoga Meeting of was immediately communicated by an express to congress, then just assembled at Philadelphia; and the resolution entered into in consequence of that event, furnishes strong evidence of the solicitude felt by that body, to exone- May 18. rate the government in the opinion of the people