Fort Ticonderoga Acquires Significant Papers

A donation of four important manuscripts describing the American attack on Mount Independence on September 18, 1777 was recently made to the Fort Ticonderoga Museum. The collection of four letters was drafted by American Brigadier General Jonathan Warner and relate to Colonel John Brown’s raid on Ticonderoga. The donation was discovered and organized by Dr. Gary M. Milan and made possible by the generous support of George and Kathy Jones.

After the American army at Ticonderoga was forced to evacuate with the approach of the British army under General John Burgoyne in July 1777, Burgoyne left a small force of British and German soldiers to garrison Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence as the bulk of his army pursued the American army southward. In mid September two 500-men forces were ordered to test the defenses of the two posts and on September 18, the forces converged on the sleeping garrisons.

These documents detail the actions around Mount Independence offering on-the-spot reports of the engagement. The beginning of the skirmish near Mt. Independence is described “Our advanc’d party met with a small piquet guard of the Enemy’s about 1 mile from their lines who after the first fire retired leaving around them a few tents, blankets, packs, &c”. A few minutes later “We…heard a brisk firing from Ticonderoga side… It is supposed by many that Colo Brown has got possession of the Batteries upon the large Mountain call’d Mount Defiance.” These documents shed new light on the only time that the two posts were directly fired upon in battle and the last military engagement to occur at Fort Ticonderoga in its final months as an active military post.

Illustration: Jonathan Warner by Joseph Blackburn.

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