Episode 098

The Battle of Lake Champlain

In one of our most requested episodes we see a pivotal victory for the Americans via a naval battle on Lake Champlain and the nearby town of Plattsburgh

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  • Justin

    Well Done. If you have an opportunity I would highly recommend the book “The Final Invasion: Plattsburgh, the War of 1812’s Most Decisive Battle by David Fitz-Enz,”
    Col Fitz-Enz uncovers some dramatic original source material which shows that English objectives for the war were the acquisition of the northern waterways and the creation of a native American buffer state…hence the reason why the battle hardened troops were sent to the northern campaign…because the mid atlantic campaign and southern assaults were little more than a diversionary tactic to force the American’s to draw the majority if their forces out of the northern states. The British had no desire for long term conquest of the lower states. The one major monkey wrench in their plans was the military and logistical brilliance of Thomas Macdonough.

    Much is to be said about Thomas Macdonough’s choice of Vergennes as his location for the ship building on Otter Creek. At 7 miles up the Creek, the falls basin was a protected location for the winter and perfect area to expand the fleet. The falls at Vergennes were a great industrial power source with forges, furnaces and mills…as well as large stands of Oak nearby.

    Also the naval battle of Cumberland Bay on September 11th, while dramatic and decisive, was the last of several battles in the chess match for control of the lake and the logistical corridor that would be required by the British to execute their military objectives in the war. The battle of Fort Cassin May 14th 1814 was a great example of earlier critical engagements. The British knew full well what the Americans were up to in Vergennes thanks to their spies in Vermont. The battle of Fort Cassin was the British attempt to trap Macdonough’s armada on Otter Creek by sinking barges loaded with rocks at the mouth of the creek and was thwarted by the guns at the hastily constructed earthin fort and the dramatic scramble of troops to the area and Macdonough’s effort to sail his force up the creek and engage the British…. all very fascinating stuff and many of the details mostly lost on American historical military scholars. The engagement at Cassin was very important because the British knew if they could trap Macdonough in the creek they would be unstoppable with their far superior land force.
    anyway…good podcast.

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