Two hundred and fifty years ago, Major Robert Rogers and his rangers launched a daring wilderness raid against an enemy village, but paid a steep price
A dozen miles north of the British fort of Crown Point on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, amid the buttonbush, bulrush, and cattail wetlands that crowded Otter Creek’s delta, Maj. Robert Rogers glassed down the lake for the lateen sails of a patrolling enemy French sloop or schooner. Pulled into hiding within the marsh lay 17 whaleboats, each bearing eight oars and provisions for a month. It was Saturday, September 15, 1759, in the midst of the French and Indian War, the titanic struggle between the French and British empires for dominion over North America.
The largest army ever assembled in North America at the time attacked the French at New York’s Fort Carillon . . . with disastrous results
By early morning of July 5, 1758, more than a thousand Albany-built bateaux, whaleboats, and three radeaux—cumbersome barges known as “floating castles”—crowded the calm waters of New York’s Lake George in orderly columns.
It started with jaunty confidence and skirling bagpipes. Five days later it had turned into one of the bloodiest and most futile battles ever fought on American soil.
At Ticonderoga, Lake George spills its waters northward into Lake Champlain, and for over a century whoever controlled the narrows there controlled the gateway to a continent.
As the fourth ice age of the Pleistocene epoch receded some eleven thousand years ago, an almost impenetrable forest of oak, elm, birch, maple, and pine trees sprang up between the coast of New England and the shores of the Mississippi.