Located on a strategic point of land that controls the waterways linking Montreal and New York City, Fort Ticonderoga is often called “America’s Fort.” It would be difficult to find a spot on this continent that has been fought over more fiercely, by more nations, and over a longer period of time, than this rocky peninsula on the eastern fringe of the Adirondack Mountains north of Albany, New York.
Ticonderoga’s recorded history began with a 1609 clash between warriors of the powerful Iroquois Confederacy and other Native Americans allied with French explorer Samuel de Champlain. For more than two centuries, French, Dutch, British, American and Native American powers struggled to control this important sliver of land.
During the 1750s, Fort Ticonderoga played a key role in the Seven Years’ War, a global conflict that began in western Pennsylvania and is often known as the French and Indian War. British and American colonial troops suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of a smaller French garrison on July 9, 1758--the bloodiest single-day battle in American history until Antietam (September 17, 1862). Many of the young soldiers who fought that day would play prominent roles in the War of American Independence, including future American generals Charles Lee and Israel Putnam, British general Thomas Gage, the French military engineer Jean-Nicolas Desandrouin and Native American leaders Akiatonharónkwen (Joseph Louis Cook) and Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant).
Within weeks of the April 19, 1775, Battles of Lexington and Concord, American forces under Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured the small British garrison of Fort Ticonderoga. In an epic mid-winter campaign, Americans under Henry Knox moved more than sixty tons of artillery and other badly needed supplies from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston. This impressive firepower forced British commander William Howe to abandon the occupied town in March 1776.
Fort Ticonderoga played an important role in the northern campaigns of 1776 and 1777. In addition to the restored fort, education center and impressive exhibits of original objects, art and manuscripts, visitors to this region today can visit other historic sites that preserve and interpret the colonial and revolutionary era history of the Champlain Valley, including Crown Point State Historic Site and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.