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setts, not exceeding four hundred men, and furnished him with money and means. Arnold had enlisted but a few officers and men when he heard of the expedition from Connecticut being on the march. He instantly hurried on with one attendant to overtake it, leaving his few recruits to follow, as best they could: in this way he reached Castleton just after the council of war.
Producing the colonel's commission received from the Massachusetts committee of safety, he now aspired to the supreme command. His claims were disregarded by the Green Mountain Boys; they would follow no leader but Ethan Allen. As they formed the majority of the party, Arnold was fain to acquiesce, and serve as a volunteer, with the rank, but not the command of colonel.
The party arrived at Shoreham, opposite Ticonderoga, on the night of the 9th of May. The detachment sent in quest of boats had failed to arrive. There were a few boats at hand, with which the transportation was commenced. It was slow work; the night wore away; day was about to break, and but eightythree men, with Allen and Arnold, had crossed. Should they wait for the residue, day would dawn, the garrison wake, and their enterprise might fail. Allen drew up his men, addressed them in his own emphatic style, and announced his intention to make a dash at the fort, without waiting for more force. "It is a desperate attempt," said he, "and I ask no man to go against his will. I will take the lead, and be the first to advance. You that are willing to follow, poise your firelocks." Not a firelock but was poised.
They mounted the hill briskly, but in silence, guided by a boy from the neighborhood. The day dawned as Allen arrived at a sally-port. A sentry pulled trigger on him, but his piece missed fire. He retreated through a covered way. Allen and his men followed. Another sentry thrust at Easton with his bayonet, but was struck down by Allen, and begged for quarter. It was granted on condition of his leading the way instantly to the quarter of the commandant, Captain Delaplace, who was yet in bed. Being arrived there, Allen thundered at the door, and demanded a surrender of the fort. By this time his followers had formed into two lines on the parade-ground, and given three hearty cheers. The commandant appeared at his door half-dressed, '' the frightened face of his pretty wife peering over his shoulder." He gazed at Allen in bewildered astonishment. "By whose authority do you act?" exclaimed he. "In the name of the Ciconderoga and Crown point 139
great Jehovah, and the Continental Congress!" replied Allen, with a flourish of his sword, and an oath which we do not care to subjoin.
There was no disputing the point. The garrison, like the commander, had been startled from sleep, and made prisoners as they rushed forth in their confusion. A surrender accordingly took place. The captain, and fortyeight men, which composed his garrison, were sent prisoners to Hartford in Connecticut. A great supply of military and naval stores, so important in the present crisis, was found in the fortress.
Colonel Seth Warner, who had brought over the residue of the party from Shoreham, was now sent with a detachment against Crown Point, which surrendered on the 12th of May, without firing a gun; the whole garrison being a sergeant and twelve men. Here were taken upward of a hundred cannon.
Arnold now insisted vehemently on his right to command Ticonderoga; being, as he said, the only officer invested with legal authority. His claims had again to yield to the superior popularity of Ethan Allen, to whom the Connecticut committee, which had accompanied the enterprise, gave an instrument in writing, investing him with the command of the fortress and its dependencies, until he should re ceive the orders of the Connecticut Assembly, or the Continental Congress. Arnold, while forced to acquiesce, sent a protest, and a statement of his grievances to the Massachusetts Legislature. In the meantime, his chagrin was appeased by a new project. The detachment originally sent to seize upon boats at Skenesborough, arrived with a schooner, and several bateaux. It was immediately concerted between Allen and Arnold to cruise in them down the lake, and surprise St. John's, on the Sorel River, the frontier post of Canada. The schooner was accordingly armed with cannon from the fort. Arnold, who had been a seaman in his youth, took command of her, while Allen and his Green Mountain Boys embarked in the bateaux.
Arnold outsailed the other craft, and arriving at St. John's, surprised and made prisoners of a sergeant and twelve men; captured a king's sloop of seventy tons, with two brass six-pounders and seven men; took four bateaux, destroyed several others, and then, learning that troops were on the way from Montreal and Chamblee, spread all his sails to a favoring breeze, and swept up the lake with his prizes and prisoners, and some valuable stores, which he had secured.
He had not sailed far when he met Ethan
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Allen and the bateaux. Salutes were exchanged; cannon on one side, musketry on the other. Allen boarded the sloop, learnt from Arnold the particulars of his success, and determined to push on, take possession of St. John's and garrison it with one hundred of his Green Mountain Boys. He was foiled in the attempt by the superior force which had arrived; so he returned to his station at Ticonderoga.
Thus a partisan band, unpractised in the art of war, had, by a series of daring exploits, and almost without the loss of a man, won for the patriots the command of Lakes George and Champlain, and thrown open the great highway to Canada.