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Ft. Ticonderoga and the Royal Savage

Pam Hawley Marlin  June 2014

Fort Ticonderoga, formerly Fort Carillon, is a large 18th-century fort built by the French near the south end of Lake Champlain in upstate New York. Built during the French and Indian War, construction began in 1755 and lasted for the next four years. The Fort was of strategic importance during the 18th-century colonial conflicts between Great Britain and France, and again played a role during the American Revolutionary War. In 1775, the Fort was captured by Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen.

I was particularly interested in visiting Ft. Ticonderoga because of it's close proximity to Lake Champlain where Captain David Hawley, commander of The Royal Savage, fought alongside Benedict Arnold during the Battle of Valcour Island during the Revolutionary War. The Battle of Valcour Island was a critical strategic victory for Benedict Arnold as it prevented an invasion from the north in 1776. It is also considered America's first naval battle.

Our trip started with a scenic ride on the Fort Ticonderoga Ferry at historic Larrabee's Point. The ferry takes you on a seven minute ride from Shoreham, Vermont, to just south of the Fort Ticonderoga entrance across Lake Champlain.

The entrance to the Fort.

Inside the Fort.

The Fort overlooks beautiful Lake Champlain.

In the fall of 1777 after the defeat of the British army at Saratoga, the British evacuated Ticonderoga largely destroying its fortifications and structures. In 1785 the Fort became property of the State of New York. In 1820, the Fort and its 546-acre garrison grounds were purchased by a successful New York merchant William Ferris Pell who began the legacy of the Pell family’s preservation of the site. In 1909 the Pell family began the restoration of the Fort into the museum it is today.

Remnants of the original fort is evident in the light, cream colored mortar. The darker mortar indicates the newer, rebuilt part of the Fort

Inside the museum.

The gun carriage recovered from Benedict Arnold's flagship, The Royal Savage, which was led by Captain David Hawley.

Photo depicts the images of Captain Seth Warner, Captain David Hawley (the image in the middle), Commander Benedict Arnold and the ships used in the Battle of Valcour Island, considered America's first naval battle.

A closer view of the drawing of Captain David Hawley.

This drawing shows The Royal Savage as the flagship of the American fleet that fought against the British at Valcour Island.

A model of the ship.