On the day of May 10, 1775 a man named Ethan Allen and
his Green Mountain Boys seized and captured Fort Ticonderoga from the British.
You might ask yourself, "Who was Ethan Allen and who were the Green
Mountain Boys?" Ethan Allen was a man that stood up for Vermont and made
sure that it became an independent state. Without Allen we might only have 49
states. The Green Mountain Boys were a militia of about 300 men, trained by
Allen himself. Although the GMB weren't really an army, they fought for their
freedom and their pride.
Ethan Allen was born in Litchfield Connecticut on
January 21, 1738. In 1751 he served briefly in the French and Indian War, then
he settled in Vermont. While in Vermont, New Hampshire granted land to people in
the west. Later the British said that the land belonged to New York. In 1770,
New York also said that land in Vermont was no good unless the land was bought
from them. From this, Allen and Seth Warner decided to create the Green Mountain
Boys. With the GMB they did all they could to gain independence for Vermont.
With the help of colonial Benedict Arnold, the capture
of Lake Champlain (Fort Ticonderoga) was an easy success. Arnold had an army of
83 men and Allen, of course, had his 300 GMB. Their armies had little trouble
obtaining cannons and other weapons from British troops. By 11:00 PM on May 10,
1775 the British surrendered and Vermont was on its way of gaining its
Around 1775, settlers believed that Canada should
belong to them, not France. Their beliefs led Allen to seize Montreal, Canada.
Allen led his men across a river about a mile south of Longueil Parish. The
river was treacherous, but Allen went on. By dawn they reached the other side.
Crossing the river might have been good news, but little did they know that
Montreal got news that Americans had arrived and were going on their way to
seize them. Montreal prepared and in the end Allen surrendered with only
thirty-eight men still standing brave to fight.
Captured by Montreal, Allen sat in jail for three
years. On May 6, 1778 he was released. Allen chose to repay George Washington
for getting him out of jail. For about a year Allen served Washington. Later he
wrote a book that contained many important parts of his captivity in Canada. He
called it, A Narrative of Colonial Ethan Allen's Captivity. In his later
life, he settled in Burlington, Vermont. Today, there stands a statue of Ethan
Allen, which represents Vermont in Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.
1) Martin, James Kirby. "Ethan Allen." World
Book Encyclopedia, 1995.
2) Hoyt, Edwin P. The Damdeft Yankees: Ethan Allen and
His Clan. Stephen Greene, 1976.
3) Jellison, Charles A. Ethan Allen: Frontier Rebel.
Syracuse Univ. Pr., 1983. First published in 1969.
ALLEN, Ethan, soldier, born in Litchfield, Connecticut, l0 Jan., 1737; died in Burlington, Vermont, 13 Feb., 1789. In early life he removed to Bennington, Vermont, which at that time was disputed territory, known as the New
Hampshire grants, claimed by the colonies of New York and New Hampshire. In 1770 he was appointed agent to represent the settlers at Albany, where litigation on the claims was pending. A decision adverse to them was rendered, and resistance to the New York authorities followed.
Allen was made colonel of an armed force known as the "Green Mountain
Boys," raised in order to protect holders of land granted by New Hampshire. He was declared an outlaw, and £150 was offered for his capture by Gov. Tryon, of New York. When hostilities with Great Britain began, after the
Green Mountain Boys had proved their patriotism and efficiency by the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, the continental congress granted them the same pay that was received by the soldiers of the continental army, and, after consulting Gen.
Schuyler, recommended to the New York convention that they should be employed in the army to be raised in
defense of America under such officers as they (the Green Mountain
Boys ) should choose.
Allen and Warner went where the New York assembly was in session, and requested an audience. Many members objected to holding a public conference with proclaimed felons. Yet there was a large majority in favor of admitting Ethan Allen to the floor of the house, on the motion of Capt. Sears. The assembly resolved, in accordance with the recommendation of congress, that a regiment of
Green Mountain Boys should be raised, not to exceed 500 men; and Allen, in a letter of thanks to the assembly, pledged his word that they would reciprocate the favor by boldly hazarding their lives in tile common cause of America. In seizing the British fortresses the
Green Mountain Boys forestalled the action of congress, who ordered
Arnold to raise troops for the purpose; but before that a force was collected at Castleton, Vermont, and placed under the command of Allen. At daybreak, May 10, he effected the capture of the entire British
forces, who were called upon to surrender "in the name of the great Jehovah and of the continental congress."
The subsequent capture of Skenesborugh and of Crown Point by forces detached from Allen's command placed valuable military stores at
the disposal of the Americans, and gave them the mastery of Lake Champlain. The invasion of Canada was proposed by Allen to the New York authorities, but was rejected. He then joined Gen. Schuyler's forces as a volunteer, and was sent to Canada on several secret
missions to ascertain the views of the Canadians. While on his last trip he was met by Col. Brown, and a joint expedition for the capture of Montreal was proposed and eagerly accepted.
The project proved unsuccessful, and Allen was captured on 25 Sept. and sent as a prisoner to England. He was very cruelly treated at first, and for a time was confined in Pendennis
Castle, near Falmouth; then he was sent to Halifax, N. S., and later to New York, where, 6 May, 1778, he was exchanged for Col. Campbell. On his return to Vermont he was placed in command of the state militia, and he further received from congress the commission of lieutenant-colonel in the continental army.
An unsuccessful attempt to bribe him was made by the British, through Beverly Robinson, for his influence toward effecting a union between Vermont and Canada; and, by temporizing with this offer, he was able to prevent any active demonstration by the British in that part of the country. Toward the close of the war he settled in Bennington, and subsequently in Burlington. He was a member of the state legislature, and also a special delegate to congress, where he ultimately succeeded in obtaining the recognition of Vermont as an independent state.
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