Doyle: Vermont played major role in quest of American independence

Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Sen. Bill Doyle, R-Washington. He teaches government history at Johnson State College.

When we celebrate the Fourth of July this year, we should remember the contributions made by Vermonters in the fight for independence.

In his “History of Vermont,” Walter Crockett made reference to Ethan Allen and the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. Crockett wrote, “The first surrender of a British fortress in the long struggle for American Independence was made to Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, and in the history of the military affairs of the United State the capture of Ticonderoga hedged the list as the first important aggressive movement in the Revolutionary War.

“The news of its capture by a little band of untrained farmers was evidence to the mother country that the rebellion was a serious matter. The tidings of Allen’s victory cheered every patriot’s heart, and its importance and encouragement to those who sought to throw off the yoke of British oppression could not be overestimated. To the general public, it seemed that if Ticonderoga could be taken, all things were possible.”

Charles Jellison, in “Ethan Allen: Frontier Rebel,” wrote that Ticonderoga, “Must be considered a major military victory, for it drastically altered the power potential in the northern colonies and may very well have meant the difference between success and failure for the Revolutionary cause.” Jellison went on to say that Ticonderoga has often been considered one of the truly decisive strokes of the Revolution. It delayed and complicated British efforts to drive a wedge between New England and other colonies.

Edward Hamilton in his recent book, “Fort Ticonderoga: Key to a Continent” wrote: “Allen’s seizure of the fort was a most daring and courageous act, the first really overt military act of the Revolution. Lexington and Concord had been defensive measures against a British offensive, but here at Ticonderoga the patriots determinedly and with planned intent seized a possession of the British King. This was revolt.”

“Fort Ticonderoga’s immortal guns go to General George Washington … in the winter of 1776 … over hundreds of miles of roadless, trackless, snow-clad mountains and valleys, through thick forest, over ice-covered lakes and rivers … on sledges pulled by oxen …”

In the winter of 1775-76, George Washington, commander in chief of the Continental Army, found himself short of military equipment needed to drive the British out of Boston. Henry Knox, colonel of the artillery, suggested to Washington that captured military supplies from Crown Point and Ticonderoga could be transported to Boston. Washington, in a letter to Knox, wrote the following: “You’re to immediately examine into the state of the artillery of this army, and take an account of the cannon, mortars, shells, lead and ammunition that are wanting. The want to them is so great that no trouble or expense must be spared to obtain.” In December of 1775, Knox removed heavy military equipment from Ticonderoga. He floated the supplies on Lake George, and then transported the equipment by land with 42 sleds and 81 yoke of oxen. When these supplies reached Boston in March of 1776, the British decided to evacuate and Washington’s military strategy prevailed.

The following excerpt was printed in Earle Newton’s “The Vermont Story”: “Fort Ticonderoga’s immortal guns go to General George Washington … in the winter of 1776 … over hundreds of miles of roadless, trackless, snow-clad mountains and valleys, through thick forest, over ice-covered lakes and rivers … on sledges pulled by oxen … in the charge of General Knox and his artillery men in their red-trim regimentals, who deliver the guns at Dorchester Heights. There, roaring down at the enemy, they drive him out of Boston Town.”

The next year, in 1777, Vermonters fought with valor at the Battle of Bennington. Edward Conant said that the battle led to the British surrender of Saratoga, often referred to as one of the decisive battles in the history of the world.

Washington was impressed by the fighting qualities of Vermonters, and was of great assistance to our joining the Union. When we celebrate the Fourth of July this year, we should remember the role of Vermonters in a revolution that changed the course of history.

On Jan. 15, 1777, Vermont declared its independence from Great Britain and New York: “Whereas the Honorable the Continental Congress did, on the 4th day of July last, declare the United Colonies in America to be free and independent of the crown of Great Britain; which declaration we most cordially acquiesce in: And whereas by the said declaration the arbitrary acts of the crown are null and void, in America, consequently a right remains to the people of said Grants to form a government best suited to secure their property, well being and happiness.”

Vermont’s Declaration, influenced by the American Declaration, stated that “we will, at all times, consider ourselves as a free and independent state and the people have an inherent right of ruling.” The Vermont Declaration went on to support the War of Independence.

While Vermont fought with great valor to win American independence, she was not admitted into the Union until 1791, 14 years later, to become the 14th state.

The American Declaration of Independence proved a great example for Vermont to follow.

Comments

  1. timothy price :

    And here we are, about 237 years later, back under the yoke of elite tyranny of international banksters, the UN, NATO, CFR, and all the rest of the NWO folks. This Froth of July Celebration, we should be considering the best way to restore our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the abolition of the Federal Reserve, among other things. Lets think about freedom again.

    Course, impeaching Obama, or simply charging him with War Crimes would be helpful too… and also, the birth-certificate thingy. Never have figured out why everyone else has a single layered paper, and the one issued by the White House is a digital multi-layed construction: clearly NOT one issued by Hawaii. Oh, but nothing to see here. Among the frauds, this is just a hint at Obama’s true character. Unfortunately, Leahy, Welch, and Sanders are in the same league… sigh. Must have been the anthrax threats.

    Hey, crush the F-35 war machine from further militarizing Vermont’s economic base. Once again Vermonters will fight the battle for independence and win. Nothing much left to lose.

    • Tom Haviland :

      Thanks for wrecking a great story

  2. Veer Frost :

    Thank you, Mr. Doyle, for putting the Fourth in vivid historical context. But to the editor: there is no such locution as ‘quest of': we quest FOR something, as in, vtdigger plays a stellar role in our quest for trustworthy news!

  3. Veer Frost :

    ps: OR, you can use the phrase: IN QUEST OF, as in We go in quest of enlightenment but not in quest of rantings. : )

  4. Steve Merrill :

    Once again Sen. Doyle willingly perpetuates a well known lie, easily disproven by reading Gen. Washington’s OWN letters, in repeating Earle Newton’s whopper about “roaring cannon” from his book “The Vermont Story”. A letter from Boston selectmen John Scollay, Timo. Newell, Thos. Marshall, and Samuel Austin to George Washington dated 3-8-1776 outlined a “deal” they had made with British Gen. Robertson, approved by British Gen. Howe, that the troops would leave town “unmolested” as they feared Boston would succumb to “intire destruction” if fired upon by the colonials. This letter can be found in Philander Chases’s “The Papers of George Washington: Revolutionary War Series”, Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1985, 6 volumes, volume 3, page 434, and in same (page 483) Washington wrote to Rhode Island Gov. Nicholas Cooke, 3-17-1776 that the British forces had left that day without a shot being fired from anyone much less a cannonade.
    As an aside, some 100 years later Irish immigrants would make “Evacuation Day” a Massachusetts holiday as a back door way of celebrating St. Patrick’s day due to anti-catholic sentiment at that time.
    There are plenty of miracles from our revolution without making stuff up or repeating known mis-truths as Se. Doyle does annually and is repeated by an unknowing or uninformed press. The truth is out there, one need only to look it up, SM, North Troy.

  5. Steve Merrill :

    Once again Sen. Doyle knowingly repeats a fallacy in quoting Earle Newton’s “The Vermont Story” and the myth of the “roaring cannon” as the very letters to and from George Washington easily disprove. Boston selectmen John Scollay, Timo. Newell, Thos. Marshall, and Samuel Austin on 3-8-1776 wrote to Washington of a “deal” they had made with British Gen. Robertson, approved by Gen. Howe, for the troops to leave the city “unmolested” or they feared it would succumb to “intire destruction”, see Philander D. Chase’s “The Papers of George Washington: Revolutionary War Series, Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1985, 6 volumes, volume 3, pg.434, and on page 483 (same volume) Washington then wrote to Rhode Island Gov. Nicholas Cooke on March 17th that the British had left that day without a shot being fired from anyone much less a cannonade.
    As an aside, some 100 years later “Evacuation Day” was made a holiday as a back door way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day due to anti-catholic sentiment in Massachusetts back then.
    Sen. Doyle should know better, and there’s plenty of miracles and true stories in our war for independence without resorting to myths as easily dis-proven as this one.
    Maybe next year Doyle will ditch the myths, but I doubt it, SM, North Troy.

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