Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Pratt Migration-V-Asa in the War-II

Next about Asa's Revolutionary War service from the Jayne Pratt Lovelace book: "Volunteered again April/May 1777; disch. at Mt. Independence near Ticonderoga". 
Mount Independence was the site of Fort Independence, a fort built in 1775 next to Lake Champlain on the Vermont shore directly across from Fort Ticonderoga, on the   New York shore. Fort Ticonderoga had fallen into American hands at thr beginning of the War for Independence and was regarded as an unassailable guardian of the Rebel's northern frontier. The British had tried an invasion from Canada in 1776, but had been thwarted on Lake Champlaign by the herioc efforts of Benedict Arnold * and his men.
The Americans blithely allowed Ticonderoga to become vulnerable by letting its manpower and store of arms and supplies get low. Major General Arthur St.Clair had replaced General Horatio Gates at the fort in June of 1777. His ability to gather intelligence on British General Burgoyne's movements was restrcted by Indian and Loyalist American scouts. Actually, a massive Britsh invasion from the north was underway with British Regulars, German Mercenaries, Canadians, Indians and Loyalists (also called Tories).  Burgoyne's intent was to capture Albany, and with General Howe coming up the Hudson River from the south, to cut the rebelious Colonies in two.
When word did reach Ticonderoga that the British were approaching, General St.Clair believed that a show of force was likley but no real attempt would be made to take the fort. Burgoyne's forces arrived in the waters near Ticonderoga at the end of June and began preparations for a siege. In a decisive stroke, the British dragged cannon to the top of Mt. Defience, a high hill south of the fort that the Ameicans had neither fortified nor defended. From that position the British easily dominated both Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Independence across the lake. Thus during the night of July 5, both American forts were abandonded without a shot being fired. A few  troops were left behind with instructions to put up a brief show of force and then join their comrades in retreat. Those troops were found drunk and asleep the next morning when the British moved in. Not exactly the Americans' finest hour.
In view of what actually happened at Mount Independence, I wonder what Author Lovelace meant by Asa's "discharge"? He had re-enlisted about three months before, presumably at Dublin, and took part in the retreat from Fort Independence on July 5, but as we shall see later, participated in the Battle of Bennington on August 16. My guess is that his unit, being part of the New Hampshire Militia, joined up with other New Hampshire Militia on their way to Bennington after bugging out from Fort Independence.
There is some indication in the literature that the New Hampshire volunteers wanted to go home after the abandonment of Fort Independence. Maybe that explains "Drafted July 1777 for 3 mos", the next entry in Author Lovelace's account
* There is Benedict Arnold again. The last time we encountered him was when he took command at the Battle of Ridgefield where Col. Abraham Gould was killed.
NEXT: The Battle of Bennington.

Emailed Oct. 14

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