Fort Ticonderoga is a large fort built at a strategically important narrows in Lake Champlain where a short traverse gives access to the north end of Lake George. The fort controlled both commonly used trade routes between the English controlled Hudson River Valley and the French controlled Saint Lawrence River Valley. The name Ticonderoga comes from an Iroquois word meaning "the place between two waters".
The French built a fort called Fort Carillon in 1755. The name apparently derives from the musical sounds of a nearby waterfall. In 1758 the British under General Abercombrie staged a frontal attack with 16000 troops and were soundly defeated by 4000 French defenders. This battle gave the fort an (undeserved) reputation for invulnerability.
The 42nd Highland Regiment (the Black Watch) was especially badly mauled in the attack on Fort Carillon, giving rise to a legend involving a Scottish Major Duncan Campbell.
The fort was captured by the British under General Amherst in the following year.
In 1775, a sleeping British garrison of 22 soldiers was taken by surprise by a small force of Americans under Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold, who walked into the fort through an unlocked gate. A single shot was fired -- probably by accident. The colonials obtained a large supply of cannon and powder, much of which was hauled 300 kilometers to Boston where it was used to lay siege to the town.
In 1776, the British returned to Canada and moved down Lake Champlain under General Carlton. A ramshackle fleet of American gunboats delayed the British until winter threatened (see The Battle of Valcour Island), but the attack resumed the next year under General Burgoyne. The British drove the Americans back into the fort, then hauled cannon to the top of undefended Mt. Defiance, which overlooked the fort. The colonials quickly withdrew across the Lake to Fort Independence on the Vermont side of the Lake. They abandonded that also and retreated south in disarray. The rear guard left to delay the British at the Lake Champlain crossing was reportedly too drunk to fire their cannon, and the colonial army was fortunate to withdraw to the Hudson Valley without major losses.
After Burgoyne's defeat at Saratoga, the fort at Ticonderoga became increasingly irrelevant. The British abandoned Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point in 1780.
The fort was restored in 1909 and is maintained as a tourist attraction.
-from the Wikipedia
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