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West Point, New York

The long trough of land which runs 384 miles from New York to Montreal, consisting of the Hudson River Valley, Lakes George and Champlain and the Richelieu River Valley, is without doubt the most vital of American natural highways and its importance has been recognized from the earliest days of American history. The French in the days when the lilies of France waved over half of the American continent sent their war parties down this depression to prey upon the English settlements, and hence came about the building of Ticonderoga at the northern entrance to the long march. The American colonists years afterward, when they had need to defend the southern mouth of the valley, fortified West Point and its neighboring points and crags, their first cover being taken at Peekskill some three or four miles south of West Point. It will be remembered that in 1777 came about that menacing campaign in the Hudson in which the British from the south under Sir Henry Clinton and in the north under General Burgoyne attempted a juncture of forces at Albany, the intention being to divide the American colonies along the line of the historic Hudson Valley and then to reduce each half at leisure while the British fleet prevented any efforts at union by way of the seacoast. Burgoyne surrendered in October of that year at Saratoga, which is roughly half way between Lake George and Albany, but to Sir Henry Clinton, whose campaign was one of disaster to the Americans, a few moments may be given in profitable speculation. The American forces opposed to Clinton on the lower...

Historic and Quaint Forts of North America

Historic and Quaint Forts of North America. An account of the most famous fortifications of North America is, in realty, a cross section of the military history of the continent; and whatever ingenuity there may be in this method of presenting the conspicuous deeds of valor of the American people will, it may be hoped, add interest to the following pages.

Forts Trumbull and Griswold

The sunny waters of the Thames at New London, Connecticut, present a smiling aspect, and from the high flagstaff of trig little Fort Trumbull the stars and stripes float gaily. Across the river on the hill above the little town of Groton is the State reservation containing the remains of Fort Griswold, with rough zigzag paths approaching the summit of the hill. Adjacent to Fort Griswold is the stone monument which commemorates the Fort Griswold massacre. Many sunny years will not wipe out the memory of the bloody deeds of that violent hour. Fort Trumbull is situated one mile from the mouth of the Thames River and one mile and a half below the little city of New London, with whose history it is associated. A modest work of substantial construction, it covers only thirteen acres and is so restricted for living space that it cannot accommodate a full garrison within its walls. Fort Griswold is a work of far more ancient and rougher construction. It is not garrisoned today and has not been garrisoned for many years, though in the fighting days of the two forts it was the more important of the two places. The little village of New London is a favored watering place for many in summer and its safe and accessible harbor has made it desirable as a haven for the storage of summer light craft during the winter months. These same considerations hold true of Groton on the other side of the river. Thousands of visitors every summer go over the historic defenses of Fort Griswold or gaze upon the equally historic site...

Fort Ticonderoga

One could desire to be at the bold promontory of Ticonderoga in 1609, when the virgin woodside gazed anxiously at Samuel Champlain, that intrepid French adventurer, as he fired his bellmouthed musket against the mystified Iroquois. The echoes of the discharge of this ancient firearm were seldom allowed to die in these wildernesses until the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, until the complete ascendency of white man over red had been established. Standing upon the ramparts of the old fort one may today easily imagine himself in a virgin forest world. Civilization has set her hand upon Lake Champlain, but her work is not obtrusively near to the fort. The hills to the rear are still wooded; the waters, to front and sides, are clear; and the same blue bends over all. The immediate surroundings are little different from those in which Champlain fought his opera bouffe fight and inaugurated the long struggle between red men and white in this part of the world. We must remember that in 1609 the French had already taken hold of New France. They had a querulous, contumacious baby of a colony on the Saint Lawrence at Quebec and to this point came many curious red men. With some of these red men the French had formed alliance. One tribe of these allies had seen the thunderous cannon and guns of the French and had suggested that these weapons be taken out and turned upon some of the ancient enemies of that tribe. The idea had appealed to Champlain as eminently a clever one, and with eleven other Frenchmen armed with arquebuses and...

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