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THE CAPTURE OF FORT TICONDEROGA
BY WASHINGTON IRVING (ADAPTED)
SOME bold spirits in Connecticut conceived the project of
surprising the old forts of Ticonderoga and Crown Point,
already famous in the French War. Their situation on Lake
Champlain gave them the command of the main route into
Canada so that the possession of them would be all-important
in case of hostilities. They were feebly
garrisoned and negligently guarded, and abundantly furnished
with artillery and military stores so needed by the patriot
At this juncture Ethan Allen stepped forward, a patriot, and
volunteered with his "Green Mountain Boys." He was well
fitted for the enterprise. During the border warfare over
the New Hampshire Grants, he and his lieutenants had been
outlawed by the Legislature of New York and rewards offered
for their apprehension. He and his associates had armed
themselves, set New York at defiance, and had sworn they
would be the death of any one who should try to arrest them.
 Thus Ethan Allen had become a kind of Robin Hood among the
mountains. His experience as a frontier champion, his
robustness of mind and body, and his fearless spirit made
him a most desirable leader in the expedition against Fort
Ticonderoga. Therefore he was appointed at the head of the
Accompanied by Benjamin Arnold and two other officers, Allen
and his party of soldiers who had been enlisted from several
States, set out and arrived at Shoreham, opposite Fort
Ticonderoga on the shore of Lake Champlain. They reached the
place at night-time. There were only a few boats on hand,
but the transfer of men began immediately. It was slow work.
The night wore away; day was about to break, and but eighty-
three men, with Allen and Arnold, had crossed. Should they
wait for the rest to cross over, 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 of making 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
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 an officer 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
quarters of the commandant, Captain Delaplace, who was yet
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 the 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 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
commandant, had been startled from sleep, and made prisoners
as they rushed forth in their confusion. A surrender
 place. The captain and forty-eight men who composed his
garrison were sent prisoners to Hartford, in Connecticut.
And thus without the loss of a single man, one of the
important forts, commanding the main route into Canada, fell
into the hands of the patriots.