Resource for Historians, Educators, Students and Visitors since 1997
The Battle of Lake Champlain
The simple monument is easy to miss. And even if the traveler happens upon it, the few simple words really do little to convey the events that took place here. VALCOUR ISLAND...
Scene of the first phase of the dramatic Battle of Lake Champlain at Valcour Island
Take a look at the photo of the monument- in the distance is the
island of Valcour. It is close, and yet here, within this space took place a desperate struggle between some 15 American warships and a much larger British fleet. These were the warships of the the new American navy, built a short time before in the southernmost reaches of the lake at a place known then as Skenesborough, today's
Whitehall, New York.
The significance of this delaying action was best summed up by Admiral Alfred Mahan in his "War of American Independence" when he wrote..."The little American navy on Champlain was wiped out: but never had any force, big or small, lived to better purpose nor died more gloriously, for it had saved the Lake for that year.*"
*Note: Most modern-day historians agree with A.T. Mahan's assessment of Arnold's actions on the lake. For another viewpoint- one that actually calls Arnold's actions "foolhardy" and blames Carleton (and the falls on the Richelieu) for the delay in taking Ticonderoga rather than crediting Benedict Arnold and the action at Valcour Island, see:
Guy Carleton versus Benedict Arnold: The Campaign of 1776 in Canada and on Lake Champlain by Paul David Nelson. July 1976-New York History. Volume LVII. Number 3. Cooperstown, New York: Quarterly Journal of The New York State Historical Association.
Last modified: 11/10/2012
Help Support This Site.
Visit our Book
Terms of Service and Disclaimer of Liability
The historical information on this web site is provided as a public service by James P. Millard. I have attempted to be as accurate as possible in my presentation of this historical material. However, I make no claims, guarantees or promises about the accuracy, currency, or completeness of the information provided. In no event shall the publisher; James P. Millard, be liable for any errors or omissions with respect to any information on this site. Material submitted by guest contributors and published on the site is the property of the contributor and may be removed at any time at my discretion or upon request of the contributor. This website occasionally provides links to sites of other organizations maintained by third parties. These links do not constitute an endorsement of the content, viewpoint, accuracy, opinions, policies, products, services, or accessibility of that website. Links to third-party websites are provided as a public service and convenience to users of our site; James P. Millard/America’s Historic Lakes does not control, endorse or recommend the content on sites we may link to. Once connected to another website, you are subject to the terms and conditions of that website.