If the name “Ethan Allen and His Green Mountain Boys” appeared in newspapers today, it would look like an advertisement for a group of folk-singers. Ethan Allen performed in the American Revolutionary War in the same way as General George Patton did in World War II. He was the militia commander in Vermont who, loving to take his soldiers on daring sweeps into enemy territory, could not be restrained by superior officers.
As soon as possible after war began in the Spring of 1775, Ethan Allen led his leather-stockings to the Lake Champlain area where the British had garrisons at Ticonderoga and Crown Point. These garrisons were supposed block the route from New York to Montreal, but their defences had been neglected. The British in Canada had not expected to go to war with their fellow-countrymen south of the border.
When Ethan Allen led his force of 200 men (including Benedict Arnold) to Ticonderoga on May 10, everyone in the fort was asleep. Allen called on it to surrender and finally aroused the commanding officer, who asked him by what authority he was making such a demand. Allen is quoted in history books as having replied, “In the name of the great Jehovah and the Continental Congress.” There is a more realistic school of thought which believes his real words were, “You damned old rat, come down from there!”
Crown Point and then Fort St. John fell as easily. The Americans took three British Forts in a space of 125 miles without firing a shot. The easy victories encouraged the Americans to believe that Montreal and Quebec could be taken with little opposition. General Arnold persuaded George Washington to adopt that strategy, and not try to capture Nova Scotia and close off the St. Lawrence to British reinforcements. This was an unfortunate decision for the Americans, because British sea power did relieve Quebec and force the invaders to retreat.
Amazing, right? To read more about today’s post, I suggest visiting History.com, and The Battle of Ticonderoga from Hobart High School (I think), Military History at About.com by Kennedy Hickman, Willard Sterne Randall wrote an interesting piece at Historynet.com, and finally EyeWitness to History. A new blog I just learned about also covers this is Sandiateaparty. And another great blog I suggest you visit, is Un Current Events .
And for physical books, I suggest Encyclopedia of the American Revolution, and also Ethan Allen: Frontier Rebel, and finally General Sir Guy Carleton, Lord Dorchester: Soldier-statesman of early British Canada.