A Battle Worth Remembering!

The Battle of Valcour Island
Lake Champlain
October 11-12,  1776

See below a map of Valcour Island with diagram of the sea battle

January 22nd 2016


Believe it or not ~  How many of you history buffs knows about this battle and where Valor Island is? Well, just ask me!  My history lessons started early back in the 1950’s when I was a camper and horseback riding instructor at Brow Ledge Camp near Mallet’s Bay north of Burlington, Vermont. Since I have a mind like a trap, I remember a canoe trip across Lake Champlain where we spent the night, camping out, cooking over a campfire and enjoying the stories about the famous Rev War battle that was once fought there.I never  dreamed that I would be recalling this memory to tell you about it!

Who knew that this battle was fought by the motley crews of America’s first Navy, small as it was. It was assembled by General Benedict Arnold in the fall of 1776. I have written of the importance of the North-South Corridor which must be defended at all costs.  That is the water corridor running from the St. Lawrence River on the north through Lake Champlain, past Fort Ticonderoga and into Lake George and the Hudson, New York City.

Whomever owns this passageway controls the east coast and the land to the west as well. The British knew this and wanted desperately to control this waterway as a result. George Washington knew it as well. He sent Arnold north to thwart the British in October of 1776. The war had just barely begun. Washington was n the run, being chased out of New York by the British.

Brigadier General Benedict Arnold was ordered to put a halt to  British General Sir Guy Carleton southward advance. The result was the inland sea battle of Valcour, a tiny island near the west shore of Lake Champlain. Arnold was given a makeshift small army of castoffs to build, outfit and sail the small fleet that mid October.  A short, fierce battle ensued. The American rebels lost 11 ships, 80 killed/wounded while the British lost 3 vessels with 40 casualties. Yet, the it touted as an American win since Arnold outwitted the Brits putting a sudden end to the battle and sending the redcoats north before their ships were halted by the ice.

book cover front
To learn more about Benedict Arnold, enjoy reading pp 83-85 in my book:
Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant
A French General’s Role in the American Revolution


1779 Spain Commits Open Alliance to the American Rebels!

January 1st 20161

Below is a portrait of Bernardo de Galvez

unsung Hero of the American Revolution

Bernardo de Gálvez


Learn more from the following quote from my book:


Finally, Spain was ready to enter into an agreement with France and the United States against their common foe. At Spain’s request, the Bourbon book cover frontcousins agreed to launch a joint invasion of Britain since Spain believed that the direct attack would be a quick one and that she would not suffer severe financial losses at home or in her colonies.

Spain reiterated her above-stated objectives, and the two countries signed the Franco-Spanish Alliance (also called the Treaty of Aranjuez) on April 12, 1779. Spain declared war on England. The one hundred twenty-one French and Spanish ships of the line sent in preparation for an invasion into British coastal waters greatly outnumbered the ninety British ships.

Meanwhile, in the lower Mississippi valley, “the Spanish governor of Louisiana, Bernardo de Gálvez (1746–86; the city of Galveston is named after him)” proved to be one of the war’s most successful generals.

In a series of brilliant campaigns from 1779 to 1781, he cleared the lower Mississippi valley and gulf coast of British troops, winning his greatest victory at the siege of Pensacola. These heroic efforts by the Spanish forces were crucial to the success of the American insurgents.

Vive l’Espagne!      Long Live Spain!!