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fituated on an angle of land, which is surrounded oni three fides by water, and that covered by rocks. : A great part of the fourth fide was covered by a deep morass, and where that fails, the old French line's ftill continued as a defence on the north-west quarter. The Americans strengthened these lines with addi. tional works and a blockhouse. They had other posts with works and blockhouses, on the left, towards Lake George. To the right of the French fines they had also two new blockhouses with other works.
On the eastern shore of the inlet, and opposite to Ticonderoga, the Americans had taken ftill more pains in fortifying a high circular hill to which they gave the name of Mount Independence. On the fummit of this, which is Tableland, they had erected a ftar fort, enclosing a large square 'of barracks, well fortified and supplied with artillery. The foot of the mountain, which on the west fide projected into the water, was strongly entrenched to its edge, and the entrenchment well lined with heavy artillery. A battery about half way up the mount, sustained and eovered thefe lower works.
The Americans, with their usual industry, had joined these two posts by a bridge of communication thrown over the inlet. This was like many other of their performances, a great and most laborious work. The bridge was supported on 22 sunk piers of very large timber, placed at nearly equal distances; the spaces between these were filled with separate floats, each about fifty feet long and twelve feet wide, ftrongly fastened together with chains and rivets, and as effe&tually attached to the funk pillars. On the Lake Champlain fide of the bridge, it was defended
by a boom composed of very large pieces of timber, fastened together by rivetted bolçs and double chains, made of iron an inch and half square. Thus noc only a communication was maintained between these two posts, but all access by water from the northern fide was totally cut off.
It is to be observed, that as the inlet immediately after passing Ticonderoga, assumes a new form, sud. denly widening to a considerable breadth, and becoming navigable to vessels of burden, so from thence it also holds the name of Champlain, although it is not yet properly a part of the lake. On the other hand, the southero gut from Lake George, besides being narrow, is also rendered unnavigable by shal. lows and falls; but on its arrival at Ticonderoga, it is joined by a great body of water on the eastern side, called, in this part, South River, but higher up towards its source, before the junction of the elder branch with the younger, which runs from South Bay, it is known under the appellation of Wood Creek. The confluence of these waters at Ticonde. roga, forms a small bay to the southward of the bridge of communication, and the point of land form. ed by their junction, is composed of a mountain called Sugar Hill.
Notwithstanding the apparent strength of Ticon. sleroga from what we have hitherto seen, it is entirely overlooked, and its works effe&tually commanded by Sugar Hill. This circumstance occafioned a consultation among the Americans as to the fortifying of that Mount; but their works were already far too extensive for their powers of defence, aud would require ten or twelve thousand men to be effe&tually manned. It was likewise hoped, that the difficulty
of access to the Sugar Mount, and the rugged in. equality of its surface, would prevent the enemy from attempting to profit of its situation.
It would be exceedingly difficult from the informa, tion before us, to form any authentic estimate of the number of Americans that were in the actual de fence of these two posts. It appears by the commander in chief, General St. Clair's exculpatory letter to the congress, as well as by the resolutions of the council of war, which accompanies it, that his whole force, including goo militia, who were to quit nim in a few days, was only about 3000 men; that these were ill equipped, and worse armed ; particularly in the article of bayonets, an arm so effential in the defence of lines, that they had not one in ten of their number.This account would seem not only satisfactory but conclusive, if it had not been contradicted by others. In a detail of the transactions of the campaign, trans. mitted by the war office of Massachusetts Bay to the American deputies in France, and for the conveyance of which a light ship was sent out on purpose, they state St. Clair's force at near 5000 men well equipped and armed. It is, however, to be observed, that they talk with great bitterness of the General's con: duct, as he had done in his first letter to congress, with respect to the behaviour of two oftheir regimients. It may also be supposed, that in a statement of their affairs intended to operate upon the sentiments and conduct of a court, from which they already received effential benefits, and looked forward to much great. er, they would rather increase the weight of blame upon an unfortunate officer, than detract from the public opinion of their own conduct and power, by at. tributing weakness to their councils, or inefficacy to their arms.
As the royal army approached to the object of its destination, it advanced with equal caution and order on both sides of the lake, the naval force keeping its station in the centre, until the one had begun to enclose the enemy on the land fide, and the frigates and gun-boats cast anchor just out of carnon-shot from their works. Upon the near approach of the right wing on the Ticondera go Gide, upon the ad of July, the Americans immediately abandoned and set fire 10 their works, block-houses, and faw.mills, towards Lake George, and without fally, interposition, or tlie smallest motion of diversion, permitted Major-General Philips to take possession of the very advantageous post of Mount Hope, which besides commanding their lines in a great and dangerous degree, totally cut off all their communication with that lake. The fame supineness and total want of vigour appeared in every thing on their side, except in the keeping up of an ineffectual roar of cannon, which was so much contemned on the other as not to be once returned.
In the mean while, the royal army proceeded with fuch expedition in the construction of its works, the bringing up of artillery, stores and provisions, and the establishments of its posts and coinmunications, that by the 5th, matters were so far advanced, as to re. quire little more time for compleatly investing the posts on both sides of the lake. Sugar Hill was also examined, and the advantages it presented were so important, though attended with infinite labour and difficulty, from the necessity of making a road o its top through very rough ground, and constructing a level there for a battery, that this arduous task was undertaken, and already far advanced towards its
completion, through the spirit, judgment, and a&tive industry of General Phllips.
In these circumstances, a hasty council was on that day held by the American Generals, to which their principal went, as he informs us, already predetermined as to his conduct. It was represented, that their whole effective numbers were not sufficient to inan one half of the works; that as the whole must be consequently upon constant duty, it would be impof. fible for them to sustain the fatigue for any length of time ; and that as the enemy's batteries were ready to open, and the place would be completely invested on all sides within twenty-four hours, nothing could save the troops but an immediate evacuation of both posts. This determination was unanimously agreed to by the council, and the place was accordingly eva. cuated on that night.
However justly this representation of their condition and circumstance was founded, and however ne. cessary the determination of the council was in ths prefent state of their asiairs, one apparently capital error on the side of the commanders, must strike every common obferver. If their force was not sufficient for the defence of the work, why did they nor form this resolution in time? Why did they not withdraw the troops, artillery, and stores, and demolish the works before the arrival of the enemy? Why did they wait to be nearly surrounded, until their retreat was more ruinous than a surrender under any condi. tions that could be proposed, and little less destructive in the event, than if the works had been carried by florm?
These are questions that time and better information alone can answer, if ever they should clearly anTwer, in favour of the American Generals.