VALCOUR BAY2 - History

VALCOUR BAY2 - History

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Journal of Lieutenant James Hadden of the Royal Artillery.

About the 5th of October [1776] everything being ready, a fleet, consisting of one ship, two schooners, one radeau, one gondolas and 22 gun boats, proceeded from St. Johns up the Sorel River to the entrance of Lake Champlain at the Isle aux Noix, 15 miles from St. Johns....

The10th October the fleet proceeded to the southern end of Isle au Mot on the eastern side of Lake Champlain, which afterwards widens very considerably, to about l z or 1 5 miles in many places. The 11th October the army arrived at Point au Fer under Gen. Burgoyne, and early in the morning the fleet proceeded under Gen. Carleton and Captain Pringle of the Navy.

A large deeachment of savages under Major Carlton also moved with the fleet in their canoes, which were very regularly ranged. These canoes are made of the birch bark, and some of them brought 1500 miles down the country, several of which would contain 3o people. The savages paddle them across the lakes and down the rivers with great dexterity, and being very light they are carried across any breaks in the water communication; they land every night, most of which they dance and sing. In wet weather they prop up one side and lay under the canoe.

About I l o'clock this morning one of the enemies vessels was discovered and immediately pursued into a bay on the eastern shore of the lake, where the rest of their fleet was found at an anchor in the form of a crescent between Valcour Island and the continent. Their fleet consisted of 3 row "allies, 2 schooners, 2 sloops and 8 gondolas, carrying in all go guns. That of the British carried only 87 pieces of ordnance, including 8 howitzers. The pursuit of this vessel was without order or regularity; the wind being fair to go down the lake enables us to overtake the vessel before she could (by tacks) get in to the rest of their fleet, but lost to us the opportunity of going in at the upper end of the island and attacking the whole at once. The vessel, which proved to be the Royal Savage taken by them from St. John's last year, carrying 14 guns, was run on shore and most of the men escaped on to Valcour Island, in effecting which they were fired upon by the gun boats. This firing at one object drew us all in a cluster, and four of the enemies vessels getting under weigh to support the Royal Savage fired upon the boats with success. An order was therefore given by the commanding officer for the boats to form across the bay: this was soon effected, tho' under the enemies whole fire and unsupported, all the King's vessels having dropped too far to leeward. This unequal combat was maintained for two hours without any aid, when the Carlton schooner of 14 guns 6 pairs got into the bay and immediately received the enemies whole fire which was continued without intermission for about an hour, when the boats of the fleet towed her off, and left the gun boats to maintain the conflict. This was done till the boats had expended their ammunition, when they were withdrawn. .

The boats were now formed between the vessels of the British fleet, just without the enemies shot, being withdrawn a little before sunset and the Royal Savage blown up: this last was an unnecessary measure as she might at a more leisure moment have been got off, or at all events her stores saved, and in her present position no use could be made of her by the ene ny, night coming on and a determination to make a general attack early next morning.

The Rebels having no land force, the savages took post on the main and Valcour Island; thus being upon both flanks they were able to annoy them in the working of their guns; this had the effect of now and then obliging the I Rebels to turn a gun that way, which danger the savages avoided by getting behind trees.

The boats having received a small supply of ammunition were unaccountably ordered to anchor under cover of a small island without the opening of the bay.

The enemy, finding their force diminished and the rest so severely handled by little more than i/3 the British fleet, determined to withdraw towards Crown Point, and passing through our fleet about lo o'clock at night effected it undiscovered; this the former position of the gun boats would probably have prevented. All the enemies vessels used oars and on this occasion they were muffled. This retreat did great honor to Gen. Arnold, who acted as admiral to the Rebel fleet on this occasion. The wind changing prevented the success of his attempt and, making but little way in the night, they were scarcely out of sight when their retreat was discovered at day break. The British fleet stood after them, and gained ground considerably till the violence of the wind and a great swell obliged both fleets to anchor. Towards evening the weather was more moderate and the fleet proceeded, the boats using their oars to make head against the wind. The Rebel vessels, gaining little way when under sail from the violence of a contrary wind and thinking we were at an anchor, remained so all night, and though the British fleet gained but little by a contrary conduct, that little enabled them to overtake the enemy next day when the wind proved fair. Our ship and schooners being better sailers first came up with the Rebel fleet and retarding their movements till the whole were in sight. Three of the stern-most vessels struck their coulours, in one of which was Brig. Gen. Waterbury, their second in command. Arnold ran his own vessel and 5 others on shore and set fire to them. The three foremost only escaped to Tyconderoga; as did Gen. Arnold with most of the crew's of the burnt vessels.

Batemans Bay

Batemans Bay is a town on the South Coast region of the state of New South Wales, Australia. Batemans Bay is administered by the Eurobodalla Shire council and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council. The town is situated on land traditionally occupied by the Walbunja people from the Yuin nation, on the shores of an estuary formed where the Clyde River meets the southern Pacific Ocean.

  • 11,294 (2016 census) [1]
  • 16,485 (2018) [2]
  • 280 km (174 mi) SSW of Sydney
  • 762 km (473 mi) ENE of Melbourne
  • 151 km (94 mi) ESE of Canberra

Batemans Bay is located on the Princes Highway (Highway 1) about 280 kilometres (170 mi) from Sydney and 760 km (470 mi) from Melbourne. Canberra is located about 151 km (94 mi) to the west of Batemans Bay, via the Kings Highway. At the 2016 census, Batemans Bay had a population of 11,294. [1] A larger urban area surrounding Batemans Bay also including Long Beach, Maloneys Beach and the coastal fringe extending south to Rosedale had a population of 16,485 [2] at June 2018.

It is the closest seaside town to Canberra, making Batemans Bay a popular holiday destination for residents of Australia's national capital. Geologically, it is situated in the far southern reaches of the Sydney Basin. [4] Batemans Bay is also a popular retiree haven, but has begun to attract young families seeking affordable housing and a relaxed seaside lifestyle. Other local industries include oyster farming, forestry, eco-tourism and retail services.

The Bay Area history of Corn Nuts, America's most controversial snack

Corn Nuts, the crunchy corn snack still found in convenience stores today, were created in 1936 in Oakland by Albert Holloway.

Photo illustration: SFGATE/ Kraft Heinz

If you bring up Corn Nuts in a conversation, most people will immediately bring up the salty snack&rsquos texture.

As my dad says, &ldquoCorn Nuts? Those will break your teeth.&rdquo

Some fear the drastic dental implications of their hearty crunch others crave it. Most associate Corn Nuts with road trip gas station stops or third-grade soccer practice. But what most don&rsquot know is that the polarizing snack originated right here in Oakland.

I stumbled across the Corn Nuts origin story while scrolling idly through a Bay Area history Facebook group. While Native Americans have been making parched corn for millennia, it was a man named Albert Holloway who is credited with creating the Corn Nuts business as we know it in 1936.

It all started in Bay Area taverns. Prohibition had just lifted, and pubgoers needed something salty to snack on while they downed their pints. A man named Olin Huntington created a toasted corn product called Brown Jug and sold it to bars, which handed it out to patrons for free. The toasted corn was legendarily so popular, especially with children, that kids were often caught dashing into taverns to grab handfuls.

But shortly thereafter, California passed a law making it illegal to give away food at bars, spelling disaster for Brown Jug&rsquos business model. Huntington, admitting defeat, sold the company to Holloway, an enterprising early investor who had his own ideas for the future of toasted corn.

In a small storefront in downtown Oakland, Holloway got to work washing and cooking corn. He packaged the snack into 1-ounce bags, which he sold to schools and stores across the Bay Area for five cents. Quickly, the snack became a hit. But one thing wasn&rsquot quite right: the name.

Soon after taking over, Albert changed the name to Corn Nuts &mdash inspired, in legend, by overhearing a comment from a cranky tavern patron complaining, &ldquoWhy don&rsquot they have any more of those corn-nut things in this joint?"

In 1957, left to right, Ken Fish, Ted Stensig, Albert Holloway, Mort Duck, Jim Bible and Maurice Holloway are photographed at the Corn Nuts plant on Pearmain Street in Oakland.

Photo illustration: SFGATE/ Kraft Heinz

There&rsquos only so much one can find out about Corn Nuts from the internet, so I reached out to the Kraft Heinz Company for an interview. Kraft Heinz acquired Corn Nuts in 2015 after a merger with Nabisco Holdings, which purchased Corn Nuts from the Holloway family back in 1997 (while originally stylized &ldquoCornnuts&rdquo or &ldquoCornNuts,&rdquo under Kraft Heinz the name is now stylized &ldquoCorn Nuts"). Kraft Heinz, however, would not give me an interview. So I set about tracking down the Holloways.

Albert Holloway&rsquos two sons, Maurice and Rich, took over the Corn Nuts company in 1959. Maurice died in 2017, and I couldn&rsquot find a way to contact Rich, so I reached out to Annette Holloway, one of Maurice&rsquos children. Naturally, I asked her if she ate a lot of Corn Nuts growing up in San Francisco.

&ldquoWe always had some around the house,&rdquo she recalled. &ldquoWe would always give them out at Halloween.&rdquo

Corn Nuts is no longer owned by the Holloway family, and Annette has never worked in the snack food business (she&rsquos a psychologist), but she&rsquos well-versed in the family lore.

&ldquoMy grandfather was quite a character,&rdquo she told me. &ldquo. His father was an evangelical Christian preacher, and a &lsquospare the rod, spoil the child&rsquo kind of guy, and so my grandfather ran away when he was quite young &mdash 11 or 12, something like that &mdash and shipped out as a cabin boy on a banana boat. And he was shipwrecked on some Caribbean island.&rdquo

This also sounded too wild to be true, but sure enough, an old Corn Nuts pamphlet from 1986 corroborated everything she said.

After being stranded on the island for six months, Albert finally got picked up by a passing ship, and returned home to his family in Cincinnati, the pamphlet said. But shortly after, he ran away again &mdash this time, to go be a cowboy on his older brother&rsquos horse ranch in western Nebraska.

Eventually, Albert ended up in California, where he began training horses for officers on the post at the Presidio in Monterey. But in 1935, a fire at the Oakland Auditorium brought his equestrian career to a devastating end.

&ldquoThere was a horrible barn fire, and all the horses died,&rdquo said Annette. &ldquoHe closed up his stable. It sort of broke his heart.&rdquo

But next, of course, came Corn Nuts.

In the late 1940s, left to right, Richard, Albert and Maurice Holloway pose on Easter Sunday.

Courtesy of Annette Holloway

The toasted corn snack&rsquos catchier new name was officially trademarked in 1949, just after Albert opened a brand new processing plant at 10229 Pearmain St. in East Oakland.

&ldquoThe smell would be in the entire immediate area,&rdquo recalled Michael Landry, a former resident of the neighborhood who I found in the aforementioned Bay Area history Facebook group. &ldquoIt was sort of a roasted nut smell. That's the best description I personally can think of. It was a strong smell at times, but never overwhelming and at times rather pleasant.&rdquo

While the company had achieved modest success with its original product, Albert wasn&rsquot satisfied. One morning in 1938, he was reading the funnies in the Oakland Tribune when a Ripley&rsquos Believe It or Not-style cartoon about a gigantic breed of corn caught his eye. Grown exclusively in Cusco, Peru, the kernels were as big as a thumbnail. Albert&rsquos imagination ran wild: What if Corn Nuts were giant?

Albert attempted to import Cuzco corn from Peru, but unfortunately, his timing collided with the start of World War II. His hopes of giant Corn Nuts were dashed &mdash Peru cut off all exports.

After the war, however, importing Cuzco corn was back on the table. Corn Nuts took the leap, launching a new king-sized variety for adults. Supply was still limited, though, so Albert began attempting to grow Peruvian corn in the United States. This was a far more difficult task than he first anticipated: without Peru&rsquos high altitude and consistent year-round temperatures, growing the corn was impossible, according to the 2005 book &ldquoThe Greatest Thing Since Sliced Cheese.&rdquo

Undeterred, Albert began working with engineers to crossbreed a hybrid Peruvian and domestic corn variety that would grow in the U.S. When Albert&rsquos sons took over Corn Nuts, Maurice established an in-house research and development staff to develop hybrids, and Rich oversaw the company&rsquos agricultural operations in California. By 1965, they&rsquod done it: Corn Nuts planted its first hybrid corn crop in Salinas Valley.

Today, Corn Nuts aren&rsquot as comically large anymore. While the product&rsquos unique size had once been its selling point, eventually, the company realized that to expand its scope beyond a regional West Coast snack, they had to figure out how to make Corn Nuts softer (yes, they really used to be crunchier).

As a byproduct, the kernels got smaller &mdash which it turns out people were okay with if it meant not cracking a molar.

In the year 2021, you might expect Corn Nuts to have a snarky social media presence spearheaded by some wisecracking 20-year-old intern. When I first looked them up on Twitter, my expectations were immediately rewarded: the brand&rsquos pinned tweet was the word &ldquoNUT&rdquo spelled out in huge block letters with peanut emojis. It had 76,300 retweets.

Scrolling down further, I was delighted to find more gems:

&ldquoYea sorry I didn&rsquot respond for a month I was being corn,&rdquo tweeted Corn Nuts last June.

&ldquoit&rsquos always &lsquowyd&rsquo never &lsquoI filled the bathtub with nuts,&rsquo&rdquo tweeted Corn Nuts in May 2020.

But upon further investigation, I realized the account hadn&rsquot tweeted at all since November 2020. So I asked Kraft Heinz what happened. Had the social media manager fallen into a tub of Corn Nuts?

&ldquoWith regard to our social channels, we&rsquove been taking a step back to reevaluate the marketing strategy for Corn Nuts snacks,&rdquo associate director of marketing Patrick Horbas told me via email.

VALCOUR BAY2 - History

USS Valcour (AVP-55) History


Navy presence was embodied in the "little white fleet" of USS Duxbury Bay (AVP-38), USS GREENWICH BAY (AVP 41) and USS VALCOUR (AVP 55) - former seaplane tenders - which rotated duties as flagship for Commander- Middle East Force and his staff. All three ships were painted white to counter the region's extreme heat. The flagship served as the primary protocol platform of the United States throughout the region. Accompanied by one or two other rotationally deployed warships, the Middle East Force (MIDEASTFOR) provided the initial U.S. military response to any crisis in the region, as well as humanitarian and emergency assistance.

For the next 20 years, three or four ships at a time were assigned to MIDEASTFOR - generally a command ship and two or three small combatants such as destroyers or frigates. Because temperatures in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea and Indian Ocean reached as high as 130 degrees, the non-air-conditioned ships rotated every few months - a practice still followed today, with the exception of the single forward-deployed command ship.

A BIT OF HISTORY : ". 1962 - USS Valcour (AVP-55) provides medical care to a merchant seaman from tanker SS Manhattan in the Persian Gulf. " [17NOV2003]

A BIT OF HISTORY : ". Tender Rejoins The Fleet - Page 12 - Naval Aviation News - December 1951. " WebSite: [25JUL2004]

Circa Unknown
Can you identify the Month and or Year?

A BIT OF HISTORY : ". USS Valcour (AVP-55, later AGF-1), 1946-1977. " [17NOV2003]

USS Valcour, a 1,766-ton Barnegat class small seaplane tender, was built at Houghton, Washington, and was commissioned in July 1946. After shakedown training at San Diego, she proceeded to the East Coast in September 1946 for duty with the Atlantic Fleet. She then operated out of Norfolk, Va. Quonset Point, R.I. Cristobal, Canal Zone and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba tending seaplanes through mid-1949.

Designated flagship for Commander, Middle East Force, Valcour departed Norfolk in August 1949 for the first of sixteen deployments to the Middle East. She returned to Norfolk in March 1950 and conducted a second tour as Middle East Force flagship between September 1950 and March 1951. In May 1951, while departing Norfolk for independent ship exercises, she suffered a steering casualty and veered across the bow of the collier Thomas Tracey. The ensuing collision ruptured an aviation gasoline fuel tank and started a raging fire that took the lives of 36 men. After a major firefighting and salvage operation, she was brought back into port the following day. Valcour then underwent an extensive overhaul, during which air conditioning was installed and her 5"/38 gun was removed to compensate for the added weight.

Between 1952 and 1965 Valcour deployed every year to the Middle East as one of a trio of ships that served alternately as flagship for Commander Middle East Force. Through 1961 Valcour followed a highly predictable schedule, departing Norfolk in January, relieving USS Duxbury Bay (AVP-38) upon arrival on station, being relieved by USS Greenwich Bay (AVP-41), and returning to Norfolk in August. Highlights of this service included the boarding, salvage, and return to its crew of the burning and abandoned Italian tanker Argea Prima in May 1955 and a visit to the Seychelles Islands in 1960. She was the first U. S. Navy ship to call there in 48 years. In around 1960 Valcour received some conspicuous equipment upgrades, including a tripod mast with a newer air search radar and a tall communications antenna which, with its deckhouse, replaced the quadruple 40mm gun mount on her fantail. She completed her fifteenth Middle East cruise in March 1965.

In a 1965 force realignment, Valcour's two running mates were ordered decommissioned and Valcour was selected to be the sole Middle East flagship. As such, she was reclassified AGF-1 in December 1965 and departed the United States for her new home port of Bahrain in April 1966. Though designated the permanent Middle East Force flagship in 1971, in January 1972 she was selected for inactivation. After relief as flagship by La Salle (AGF-3), in November 1972 she arrived in Norfolk following transits of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Valcour was decommissioned in January 1973. In March her stripped hulk was towed to Solomons Island, Md., where it was used by the Naval Ordnance Laboratory for electromagnetic pulse experiments. She was sold for scrap in June 1977.

Displacement 1,776
Length 310'9'
Beam 41'2"
Draw 11'11"
Speed 18.5 k
Complement 367
Armament 1 5", 8 40mm, 8 20mm, 2 rkt
Class Barnegat

Valcour (AVP-55) was laid down on 21 December 1942 at Houghton, Wash., by the Lake Washington Shipyard, launched on 5 June 1943, and sponsored by Mrs. H. C. Davis, the wife of Capt. H. C. Davis, the intelligence officer for the 13th Naval District. Valco ur was taken to the Puget Sound Navy Yard for completion, but the heavy load of war-damage repairs conducted by that yard meant that her construction assumed a lower priority than the repair of combatant vessels. As a result, Valcour was not completed unt il well after World War II ended. She was commissioned at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (the former Puget Sound Navy Yard) on 5 July 1946, Comdr. Barnet T. Talbott in command.

Ordered to the Atlantic Fleet upon completion of her shakedown (conducted between 9 August and 9 September off San Diego) Valcour transited the Panama Canal between 17 and 21 September and reached the New York Naval Shipyard on 26 September for postshake down availability. Valcour subsequently operated out of Norfolk, Va. Quonset Point, R.I. Cristobal, Canal Zone and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba tending seaplanes of the Fleet Air Wings, Atlantic, through mid-1949.

Having received orders designating her as flagship for the Commander, Middle Eastern Force (ComMidEastFor), Valcour departed Norfolk on 29 August 1949 steamed across the Atlantic and the Mediterranean stopped at Gilbraltar and at Golfe Juan France tra nsited the Suez Canal and arrived at Aden, a British protectorate, on 24 September. Over the months that ensued, Valcour touched at ports on the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf (Bahrein, Kuwait Ras Al Mishab, Basra Ras Tanura, Muscat Bombay India Colomb o, Ceylon, and Karachi, Pakistan). She returned to Norfolk on 6 March 1950 (via Aden Suez, Pireaus, Greece Sfax, Tunisia, and Gibraltar). Late in the summer (after a period of leave, upkeep, and training) the seaplane tender returned to the Middle East f or her second tour as ComMidEastFor flagship which lasted from 5 September 1950 to 15 March 1951.

On the morning of 14 May 1951, two months after she returned to Norfolk, Valcour headed out to sea for independent ship exercises. While passing the collier SS Thomas Tracy off Cape Henry, Va., she suffered a steering casualty and power failure. As Valco ur veered sharply across the path of the oncoming collier, she sounded warning signals. Thomas Tracy attempted to make an emergency turn to starboard but her bow soon plowed into the seaplane tender's starboard side, rupturing an aviation gas fuel tank.

An intense fire soon broke out and, fed by the hightest aviation gas, spread rapidly. To make matters worse, water began flooding into the ship's ruptured hull. Although fire and rescue parties on board went to work immediately, the gasoline-fed inferno forced many of the tender's crew to leap overboard into the swirling currents of Hampton Roads to escape the flames that soon enveloped Valcour's starboard side. The situation at that point looked so severe that Capt. Eugene Tatom, the tender's commanding officer, gave the order to abandon ship.

Thomas Tracy, meanwhile, fared better. Fires in that ship were largely confined to the forward hold and she suffered no injuries to her crew she managed to return to Newport News with her cargo (10,000 tons of coal) intact. Valcour, on the other hand, b ecame the object of exhaustive salvage operations. Rescue ships including the submarine rescue ship Sunbird (ASR-15) and the Coast Guard tug Cherokee (WAT-165) sped to the scene of the tragedy. Fire and rescue parties (in some cases forced to utilize gas masks) succeeded in bringing the blaze under control but not before 11 men had died, and 16 more had been injured. Another 25 were listed as "missing."

Towed back to Norfolk (reaching port at 0200 on the 15th) Valcour underwent an extensive overhaul over the ensuing months. During those repairs, improvements were made in shipboard habitability (airconditioning was installed) and the removal of her singl e-mount 5-inch gun forward gave the ship a silhouette unique for ships in her class. The reconstruction task was finally completed on 4 December 1951

Valcour rotated yearly between the United States and the Middle East over the next 15 years, conducting yearly deployments as one of the trio of ships in her class that served alternately as flagship for Com MidEastFor. There were several highlights to t he ship's lengthy Middle East deployments. In July of 1953, during the ship's fourth cruise, Valcour aided a damaged cargo vessel in the Indian Ocean and then escorted her through a violent typhoon to Bombay, India. In May 1955, men from Valcour boarded t he blazing and abandoned Italian tanker Argea Prima at the entrance to the Persian Gulf, even though the ship at the time was laden with a cargo of 72,000 barrels of crude oil and proceeded to control the fires. Once the seaplane tender's fire and rescue party had performed their salvage operation, Argea Prima's crew reboarded the ship and she continued her voyage. Later, Valcour received a plaque from the owners of the tanker in appreciation of the assistance rendered to their ship.

Valcour performed her duties so efficiently that the Chief of Naval Operations congratulated ComMidEastFor for her outstanding contribution to good foreign relations and for her enhancement of the prestige of the United States. The ship was also adjudged the outstanding seaplane tender in the Atlantic Fleet in 1957 and was awarded the Battle Readiness and Excellence Plaque and the Navy "E" in recognition of the accomplishment. During Valcour's 1960 cruise, she became the first American ship in 48 years t o visit the Seychelles Islands, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. In 1963, Valcour earned her second Navy "E".

In between her deployments to the Middle East Valcour conducted local operations out of Little Creek, Va. Guantanamo Bay and Kingston, Jamaica. In 1965, the ship qualified as a "blue nose" by crossing the Arctic Circle during operations in the Norwegia n Sea.

She completed her 15th cruise on 13 March 1965 and soon thereafter was selected to continue those duties on a permanent basis. She was reclassified as a miscellaneous command flagship, AGF-1, on 15 December 1965 and departed the United States for the Mid dle East on 18 April 1966 for her 16th MidEastFor cruise.

Valcour's mission was that of command post, living facility, and communications center for ComMidEastFor and his staff of 15 officers. Demonstrating American interest and good will in that area of the globe, Valcour distributed textbooks, medicine, cloth ing, and domestic machinery (such as sewing machines, etc.) to the needy, under the auspices of Project "Handclasp." Men from Valcour helped to promote good relations in the countries visited by assisting in the construction of orphanages and schools by participating in public functions and by entertaining dignitaries military representatives, and civilians. In addition while watching merchant shipping lanes, Valcour stood ready to rescue stricken ships and to evacuate Americans during internal crises.

Homeported at Bahrain (an independent sheikdom in the Persian Gulf) since 1965, Valcour became the permanent flagship for ComMidEastFor in 1971. Relieved as flagship by La Salle (LPD-3) in the spring of 1972, Valcour returned to Norfolk, Va., via Colombo Singapore Naval Seaplane Base Brisbane, Australia Wellington, N.Z. Tahiti, Panama, and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. After four days at the last-named port, she arrived at Norfolk on 11 November, completing the 18,132-mile voyage from the Middle East.

After being stripped of all usable gear over the ensuing months, Valcour was decommissioned on 15 January 1973 and shifted to the Inactive Ship Facility at Portsmouth, Va., so that she could be prepared for service as a test-bed for electromagnetic tests held under the auspices of the Naval Ordnance Laboratory (NOL), White Oak, Md. Her name was struck from the Navy list simultaneously with her decommissioning. Towed from Norfolk to Solomons Island, Md. branch of NOL the following March, she soon thereaft er began her service as a test ship for the EMPRESS (Electromagnetic Pulse Radiation Environment Simulation for Ships) facility. The erstwhile seaplane tender and command ship was sold by the Navy in May 1977.

American Revolution Podcast

Most of the summer of 1776 focused on New York City. That was where Britain sent the bulk of its troops and that’s where most of the fighting took place. As I discussed a few episodes back, Britain also sent a large contingent to Canada to secure that area. When General Johnny Burgoyne arrived with 8000 regulars in the spring, General Guy Carlton did not even wait for the entire force to arrive before he brought his forces out of Quebec and chased the Americans out of Canada entirely.

But at the Quebec border, the offensive came to a halt. The British could not easily transport their navy from the St. Lawrence River onto Lake Champlain. General Benedict Arnold had built up a fleet of Continental ships on the lake. Carleton did not want to challenge Arnold’s fleet until he could do so with overwhelming force.

Battle of Valcour Island (from Wikimedia)
As I discussed back in Episode 106, Burgoyne, who had led the reinforcements from Britain to Canada, did not share Carlton’s reluctance to attack. Burgoyne grew frustrated sitting around all summer waiting for something to happen. He spent most of the summer bad mouthing his superior to everyone he knew back in London.

But if the two top British generals in Canada did not get along, that was nothing compared to the infighting on the American side. General Philip Schuyler still commanded the northern army in New York. Congress had sent General Horatio Gates to command the army in Canada. But now that the Americans in Canada had retreated back to New York, both generals spent most of the summer fighting over who was really in charge. Schuyler was the senior officer, but Gates had received an independent command.

The junior officers also continued their own infighting. General Arnold had spent most of the war making enemies of just about all the other officers he met. Over the summer, he had gotten into the tussle over the court martial of Colonel Moses Hazen, which resulted in the court seeking permission to arrest Arnold for his expression of contempt for the court.

Gates refused to allow any such arrest because, the British were going to attack any day and Arnold was their best battlefield commander. Next, Arnold had to fight to take back his command of the fleet after Schuyler had given command to Colonel Jacobus Wynkoop. That fight led to Gates again backing Arnold and arresting Wynkoop. So by the end of the summer of 1776, Arnold was once again in command of the fleet on Lake Champlain and ready to face the enemy.

British General Carleton came from the same school of leadership as General William Howe in New York: take your time, don’t do anything risky, wait until you are in a position to overwhelm the enemy so there can be only one outcome. While Howe used the late summer and fall of 1776 to nudge Washington’s army slowly out of New York, Carleton got an even later start. His fleet did not leave St. Jean until October 4. But when it did, Carleton was well prepared to defeat any Continental resistance on the lake.

The Thunderer (from JAR)
Carlton’s delay was the result of assembling a fleet of about 25 warships, either built at St. Jean or broken into pieces at Three Rivers, and then hand carried and reassembled at St. Jean. The largest, the Thunderer was more of a floating battery, about 500 feet long. Its six 12 pounder cannons alone made her the equal of any American ship on the lake, but Thunderer also had six 24 pounders as well as howitzers, meaning no other ship came close to her firepower. Because the ship was so large and unwieldy, the presumed purpose was to float down to the forts at Crown Point and Ticonderoga to use as part of a siege.

Carlton had other ships ready for a full scale naval battle on Lake Champlain. The Inflexible had sixteen 12 pounders and two 9 pounders. The Carleton had twelve 6 pounders and the Maria, named after Carleton’s wife had fourteen 6 pounders. They also built a gondola called the Loyal Convert with six 9 pounders and a single 24 pounder. In addition, the fleet included several smaller row ships with a single cannon mounted on the bow. At least ten of these smaller ships had been built in Britain and sent across the Atlantic as kits to be reassembled on the lake.

In addition to the twenty-five warships armed with cannon, the fleet included troop transports as well as several hundred Indian canoes. Most of the regulars remained behind, waiting until the fleet cleared the lake. But the fleet did take about one thousand regulars, as well as hundreds of Canadian militia and Indians prepared to do battle with any land forces they met along the shores.

To counter the British fleet, the Continentals had assembled and built their own fleet. The largest ships were the Royal Savage and the Enterprise, which Arnold had captured on the lake a year earlier. They also had built the Revenge, the Liberty, and the Lee. Most of these were armed with six or four pounder cannon, although the Lee had one 12 pounder. Size really mattered with these cannons since the goal was to rip large holes in the enemy ships to sink them. Larger cannon made bigger holes. They could also usually be fired from a greater distance.

The Americans put most of their heaviest guns on four large row gallies, the Trumbull, the Washington, the Congress, and the Gates, all of which had one or two 18 pounders, as well as a few 12 pounders and some smaller cannon. In battle, these could be rowed into position easier than a sailing vessel, hopefully getting in some successful shots before the enemy could get into position to return fire. The disadvantage of these gallies is that they required a lot of men to row them and were much slower in open water, meaning the enemy would have an easier time overtaking them. The Continental navy rounded out its fleet with eight smaller gunboats: the Philadelphia, the New York, the New Jersey, the Connecticut, the Providence, the New Haven, the Spitfire, and the Boston. Like the gallies, each had to be rowed. Each had at least one 9 or 12 pounder as well as a few smaller cannon.

With the superior force, better trained crews, and far more resources, Carleton felt confident he could move down Lake Champlain, encounter the American fleet at any point of their choosing, defeat them and continue on down to Fort Ticonderoga at the southern tip of the lake. He expected Arnold to confront his fleet at Cumberland point, one of the narrowest places on the lake, where the smaller Continental fleet would be at less of a disadvantage.

Map showing battle location (from Wikimedia)
Gates ordered Arnold to keep his fleet between Fort Ticonderoga and Carleton’s fleet and do his best to put up a defense. The expected outcome to be eventually falling back to Fort Ticonderoga. There, backed by the fort’s guns, they could put up a final defense against the fleet.

Arnold thought those were stupid orders, but did not bother to fight about it. Instead, he just ignored orders and implemented his own plan. He knew that Carlton was too cautious to move until the winds were in his favor, and that Carlton would not leave an enemy fleet in his rear while proceeding down to Fort Ticonderoga. Arnold wanted to lure Carlton into a fight at a point where the Americans would have the greatest advantage.

Valcour Island was a small island just off the west coast of Lake Champlain, just below Cumberland point. The point of entry from the northern part of the island into the narrow water between the island and the western shore was too full of rocks and debris for most of the large British ships to enter. Therefore, they would need to sail around the east to the southern part of the island and then tack north into Valcour Bay. Since Carlton would have waited to set sail until he had a steady northerly wind to carry him down the lake, the wind would be against him as he sailed back up into Valcour Bay to meet Arnold’s fleet.

Arnold chained his ships together in an arc inside the bay. That way, all his ships could concentrate fire on the British ships entering the bay, which they would have to do one or two at a time and against the wind. That would give Arnold’s fleet time to demolish each ship as it entered without having to face the entire British fleet at once.

The plan actually seemed to work reasonably well. As expected, Carlton waited for good weather and a favorable northerly wind before proceeding south on October 10. That night, the British fleet lay at anchor just a few miles north of Valcour Island.

There is some dispute as to what actually happened. Carlton, of course, issued a formal report after the battle. But a year later, several of his subordinate officers wrote An Open Letter to Captain Pringle published in London that greatly contradicted many of the facts as Carlton presented them, and also accused Carlton of cowardice. The three officers who filed this report were upset that Carlton had assumed command of the fleet, rather than allowing Burgoyne that honor. They were also upset that Carlton had appointed Captain Thomas Pringle as fleet commander over the three of them who had seniority. Therefore their anti-Carlton bias might have been as strong as Carleton’s bias to paint a picture that put himself in the best possible light.

American ships at Valcour Island (from Wikimedia)
Carlton said he had no idea that the American fleet was in Valcour Bay. He fully expected to find them at Cumberland point. When he did not, he continued to sail south taking advantage of a strong northerly wind that morning, sailing past Valcour Island and down the lake. The report by the dissenting officers said that he did know about the American fleet. While Carleton had sidelined Burgoyne on Lake Champlain, Burgoyne had sent light infantry down the coast of the lake looking for the enemy. They reported back that they spotted the fleet near Valcour Island on October 9. The Open Letter said that Carlton knew about this and refused to act on the intelligence.

The truth is likely that there was some report of the enemy in the area two days earlier. But Carlton, after not finding the enemy where he expected, simply assumed they were in full retreat down the lake as fast as they could go. There is no evidence that Carlton received intelligence specifically showing the enemy’s exact position behind Valcour Island. So Carleton let every ship sail at full speed in down the lake.

The Inflexible and Thunderer were far down the lake past the Island when Arnold began to fear that the fleet might just sail past him entirely. This might have been a good thing since then Arnold could have come down on the British fleet from the rear, taking out the troop transports before the warships could turn around and defend them. But Arnold wanted the fleet to attack him in Valcour Bay. By late morning, as the fleet was moving south, Arnold ordered the Royal Savage and three of the row gallies to move south toward an intercept with the British fleet.

Guy Carleton (from Wikimedia)
As soon as the British spotted his ships, Arnold ordered them to turn around and return to the line. He had gotten the attention of the British fleet and knew they would sail into his defensive lines now. But while the row gallies could return to the American lines, the Royal Savage had trouble tacking against the wind. The inexperienced crew was unable to get back to the lines as British gunboats surrounded and bombarded her, taking out most of her sails. The British Inflexible soon came within range and used its heavy artillery to destroy the hull and rigging. Soon the Royal Savage crashed into the coast of Valcour Island where the surviving crew abandoned ship and escaped into the island. Some made their way back to the fleet, others would be captured by Indians who Carlton deployed on the island later that day.

A British boarding party was able to capture the Royal Savage and began using the cannon on the stranded ship to fire on the American fleet. But the Americans soon focused their fire and forced the British to abandon the sinking ship. Instead, they burned it down to its water line later that evening. Although Arnold had not been aboard the ship that day, he did have his personal property and papers aboard ship, the loss of which would come to haunt him later.

The Royal Savage went down quickly in early fighting, giving hope to the British that this would be an easy fight. The first British gunboats sailed into Valcour Bay along with the Carleton, and that is the ship Carleton, not to be confused with the Maria, where General Carleton was aboard. As the ship Carleton entered Arnold’s trap, all the American ships concentrated their fire. The Carleton’s commander, a young Lieutenant named James Dacres took a hit in the head and was knocked unconscious. At first the crew thought he had been killed, and were about to throw his body overboard, as was customary at the time. Fortunately for Dacres, an alert midshipman named Edward Pellew, realized Dacres was still alive and prevented him from being thrown overboard. Years later, both Dacres and Pellew would become British admirals fighting in the Napoleonic wars. Pellew is known better by his later title, Admiral Lord Exmouth.

The Royal Savage (from JAR)
The Carlton was in danger of sinking or being captured. With its rigging shot away, it could not even sail away from battle. Midshipman Pellew had to climb into the rigging and while under fire, kick at a sail to get it to unfurl properly. With the assistance of British gunboats, the Carlton eventually retreated from the line of fire and escaped with heavy damage.

Overall, Arnold’s plan was working well. The British fleet could not attack him en masse. His American gunners, despite little experience, effectively hit the few ships that made it into the bay. The British Thunderer and Loyal Convert were too far downwind to make it back in time for battle at all that day. The large square rigged Inflexible was not able to get into the Bay where it could effectively fire on the Americans.

With the Carlton out of commission, that left only the Maria and the smaller British gunships. The Maria was not the largest ship in the fleet, but it was one of the fastest, and had the fleet commander Captain Pringle and General Carlton aboard. As the Maria approached the bay, an American cannonball passed over the deck nearly taking off Carlton’s head. Reportedly, Carlton simply turned to a colleague, Dr. Knox, standing next to him and also almost killed by the same ball, and asked him “Well doctor, how do you like a sea battle?” But that shot was enough for Captain Pringle to order the ship to pull back and drop anchor, where the commanders could observe the fight from a safe distance. This later resulted in charges of cowardice against Pringle.

Carlton ordered his Indians to land on Valcour Island and along the New York coast as well. From there, the Indians fired on the American ships with muskets. The fire was mostly distracting for a few ships closest to shore. Arnold had prepared for such an eventuality by building wooden breastworks on the ships to shield the men from musket fire.

A few Indians attempted to row out to the ships and board them. But effective use of swivel guns quickly dissuaded them from those attempts. Mostly the Indians on shore prevented the Americans from any attempts to abandon ship and make their way overland back to Fort Ticonderoga.

Battle at Valcour Island (from British Battles)
Throughout the day, both the enemy and his own men observed General Arnold in the thick of the fighting, moving from cannon to cannon to direct fire.

By late in the day, the Inflexible finally got itself within range of the American ships. With its superior firepower, it did some damage, but also took considerable fire from the Americans. Before long, dusk ended the fighting, after about seven hours of battle. Many of the American ships were running out of ammunition, as were many of the smaller British gunships.

Overall Arnold’s plan worked well. He had forced the British to attack him with only a few ships at a time, and against the wind. But Carlton’s advantage in numbers of ships, men, guns, and ammunition made it virtually impossible that the Americans would destroy or capture the British fleet entirely.

When the second day began, Arnold would no longer have the element of surprise. He remained trapped in Valcour Bay. Escape to the north was impossible given the rocks and impediments. Even if the American fleet could get through to the north, it would still be trapped between the British fleet and the British rear where 7000 British regulars were there to meet them. Carlton’s fleet blocked a southern escape. Hundreds of Indians patrolled the forests on both Valcour Island and the mainland, preventing Arnold from simply scuttling his ships and attempting an escape overland.

To the British, and probably to most American officers, it looked like Arnold’s choices the following morning were surrender, burn the ships and surrender, or fight it out as the British fleet crushed the Americans. Any of these results would be reasonable. Arnold’s fleet has served its purpose. It had delayed the British attack on Fort Ticonderoga for nearly the entire 1776 fighting season. If the British captured the fleet, it would mean a few hundred prisoners, about the same as when the British captured Montgomery and Arnold’s attack force at Quebec nine months earlier. It was an acceptable sacrifice for keeping 12,000 British and allies from taking the Hudson Valley and linking up with British forces in New York City that year.

Despite his position though, Arnold was not ready to surrender yet. That night, at a council of war, he revealed his plan to escape from the British fleet.

Next Week, Arnold attempts to escape from the British fleet.

Previous Episode 109: Great fire of NY & Hanging Nathan Hale

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Barbieri, Michael "The Battle of Valcour Island" Journal of the American Revolution, Jan. 2, 2014:

Barbieri, Michael "The Fate of the Royal Savage" Journal of the American Revolution, May 2, 2014:

Gadue, Michael "The Thunderer, British Floating Gun Battery on Lake Champlain" Journal of the American Revolution, April 4, 2019:

Gadue, Michael "The Liberty, First American Warship Among Many Firsts" Journal of the American Revolution, June 10, 2019:

Pippenger, C.E. "Recently Discovered Letters Shed New Light on the Battle of Valcour Island" Journal of the American Revolution, Oct. 11, 2016: battle-valcour-island

Seelinger, Matthew Buying Time: The Battle of Valcour Island, 2014:

Hubbard, Timothy W. "Battle at Valcour Island: Benedict Arnold As Hero" American Heritage Magazine, Vol. 17, Issue 6, Oct. 1966:

C-Span: author James Arnold discusses his book, Benedict Arnold’s Navy (2006):

Benedict Arnold's Legacy: Tales from Lake Champlain, Center for Research on Vermont (2016):

Free eBooks
(from unless noted)

Hill, George Benedict Arnold: A Biography, Boston: E.O. Libby & Co. 1858.

Kingsford, William The History of Canada, Vol. 6, Toronto: Roswell & Hutchinson, 1887.

Books Worth Buying
(links to unless otherwise noted)*

Fleming, Thomas 1776: Year of Illusions, W.W. Norton & Co., 1975.

Hatch, Robert Thrust for Canada, Houghton-Mifflin, 1979.

Randall, Willard Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor, William Morrow & Co. 1990.

Valcour Island Overview

Valcour Island has 1,000 acres of public land managed by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Presently known as “Valcour Island Primitive Area,” the shallow soils, rock outcrops, low boggy areas, rockledge shoreline, small sandy bays, dense forest, and overgrown pasture speak to the diversity of Valcour. Undoubtedly of national historic significance, the island is also extremely important to wildlife. On the island is a great blue heron rookery and osprey and peregrine falcon nesting sites. Rare flora and a great diversity of other wildlife may also be found. NYSDEC rules for camping and hiking can be found at:

Recommended anchorages at Valcour Island include Spoon Bay, Bluff Point (north and south), Smuggler Harbor, and Sloop Cove.

The Clinton County Historical Association’s guide to the “Valcour Island Heritage Trail,” created by Kevin Kelley, inspired and supported by the research of Roger Harwood, provides the history of the island:

Valcour Island reflects the history of Lake Champlain. First documented by Samuel de Champlain in 1609, the island was part of New France until 1763. The French named it Isle de Valcours, or Island of Pines. One of the most important naval battles of the American Revolution raged on the waters between the island and the NY shoreline. In 1776, Benedict Arnold led a flotilla of American gunboats that stopped a British invasion fleet from dividing New England from the other newly created states.

Valcour Island was witness to the War of 1812 Battle of Plattsburgh on September 11, 1814, but remained a quiet place for most of the 19th century. Records indi­cate that the island was parceled into three sections by 1849 and used for grazing and cultivation. By 1870, Orren Shipman of Colchester, Vermont, had purchased the titles of two parcels. He sold a portion of Bluff Point, on the western side of the island to the federal government for a lighthouse, which was constructed in 1874. That year, Shipman also sold property to the Dawn Valcour Agricul­tural and Horticultural Association, a utopian community that failed.

Lake Champlain’s cool breezes made Valcour a popular place for escaping the heat of the cities in the ear­ly 20th century. Camp Penn, a summer camp for boys, operated on the island from 1906 to 1918. By the 1920s, cottages and cabins ringed the island. For the next few generations, dozens of families vacationed here.

The State of New York began buying camp properties on Valcour in the early 1960s with the intent of establishing a park. Early plans included public beaches, marinas, picnic areas, an 18-hole golf course and a giant movie screen for boaters to watch conservation films. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) owned the 1,100-acre island entirely in 1980 and local activists worked to get it included within the Adirondack Park “blue line,” which prevented the proposed park developments.

Of the numerous buildings that existed on the Valcour Island, only the lighthouse and the Seton House remain. This guide will help you visit the locations of those long-gone structures and envision what life on the island was like. The NYSDEC maintains trails and campsites along the perimeter of the island, so the hiking is relatively easy.”

Paddling experts Cathy Frank and Margaret Holden describe their paddling experience at Valcour Island in their book, A Kayaker’s Guide to Lake Champlain:

“With some trepidation we leave the protection of Crab and head south, back to Valcour. With the wind a little more behind us than abeam, crossing back to Valcour is faster and easier than was the trip over. Still, we are greatly relieved once we get back to Valcour and around to its leeward side. We have earned our lunch, and we stop at the first point of land on the east, just north of Spoon Bay. Climbing out of our kayaks onto some slippery underwater rocks, we find a long, flat, rocky ledge where we stretch out and relax our tired muscles while enjoying a clear view of Grand Isle, South Hero, Providence Island, and the Green Mountains to the east. This place is seductive. Out of the wind, it is a perfect day …

Valcour Island, owned by the State of New York and part of the Adirondack Park, has primitive campsites, many of which are located in protected harbors. It literally has a safe harbor for every wind direction. On the east side, pebble beaches buttressed by rocky cliffs and clear water provide a boaters’ and campers’ paradise. Lots of boats anchor in its many harbors, and the campsites, available on a first-come, first-served basis, are almost always full. Unfortunately, like all good Champlain Islands, it also has its share of lush poison ivy and mosquitoes. Arrive prepared.

We take our time on the east shore, going in and out of each cove and cranny, paddling around every rock that can be remotely called an island, seeing who can find the most unique and interesting spot…

Before we know it, we are back on the New York shore. It is hard not to be overwhelmed when under the spell of Valcour Island.”

The “Valcour Island Heritage Trail Guide” offers the following trip tips to the island. Before you begin, please remember these simple rules:

Brief Historical Background

During the colonial period, the inland waterways of the Champlain and Hudson valleys provided a transportation route that was vital to the security of the northern colonies. From the beginning of the Revolutionary War it was recognized that British control of the waterways would be disastrous to New England , effectively cutting them off from their fellow colonies to the West and South.

In the summer of 1776, aware of an imminent British naval incursion from Canada , American military leaders appointed Brig. Gen. Benedict Arnold to oversee the construction and deployment of a small fleet of armed vessels. Within two months his men had assembled 13 craft from the vast New York forests. In addition, the fleet included four larger British vessels captured the previous year. Eight of the new craft were &ldquogondolas,&rdquo or gunboats. At 54 feet long, these were flat-bottomed craft, propelled by either sails or oars, and armed with up to 3 cannon. Each gunboat was manned by approximately 43 men.

The lack of experienced sailors forced Arnold to man his ships with soldiers who volunteered or were drafted from the infantry regiments serving in the Northern Army. It was from a company commanded by Westford&rsquos Capt. Joshua Parker, Col. Jonathan Reed&rsquos militia regiment, that Lt. Rogers, Sgt. Holden and his cousin, Sartell, of Groton were detached. They were assigned to the New York , the final gunboat to be built.

An anecdote from Hodgman&rsquos History of Westford describes the scene as a group of 12 Westford soldiers departed for Ft. Ticonderoga that year: &ldquo&hellipone of them, Thomas Rogers, refused to stand up when [the Rev.] Mr. Thaxter spoke to them, &hellipof the twelve all returned but Rogers.&rdquo

The British military, under the command of General Sir Guy Carleton, constructed their own fleet on the upper lake. In contrast to Arnold &rsquos navy, Carleton&rsquos was manned by experienced seamen, and outgunned Arnold by two-to-one.

By October of 1776, Arnold had completed his small navy. Knowing his limitations, he decided to let the British bring the fight to him, in the waters of his choosing. On the morning of October 11 th , Carleton sailed south to find 15 vessels of Arnold &rsquos fleet lined up in the protected waters behind Valcour Island . Although restricting his possibilities for retreat, Arnold understood that this would give his men their best chance by forcing the British to engage by sailing against the wind into relatively confined waters.

A five-hour battle ensued. As the crew of the New York fired her guns, a terrible accident occurred. A cannon exploded, killing Lt. Rogers and injuring Sgt. Holden in the right arm and side. By the end of the battle, New York &rsquos only remaining officer was her captain.

The setting sun ended the day&rsquos contest. For the Americans, 60 were killed or injured, two ships were lost, and 75% of their ammunition was expended. The British suffered significant, though fewer losses, but were confident of victory the following day. Fully aware of his low odds of success, Arnold had other plans. Amidst the fog of that night, while the British burned one of the captured American ships, Arnold organized his boats and made &ldquoa very fortunate escape&rdquo toward the safety of Ft. Ticonderoga . By their &ldquogreat mortification&rdquo the British awoke to find the Americans gone.

The following day Arnold abandoned two severely damaged gunboats as Carleton&rsquos forces pursued. Finally, on October 13 th , the British caught up with what remained of the American flotilla. After a two hour running fight Arnold chose to abandon and destroy five damaged vessels and save his men by traveling overland to the protection of American held forts. Of the fifteen vessels to engage the British at Valcour, only four successfully escaped to safety of Fort Ticonderoga . Of the eight gunboats, only one was able to retreat to safety: The New York .

The looming winter caused the British to suspend their campaign until the following spring. While the Battle of Valcour Island was a clear British victory, the delay in the British advance caused by the construction of Arnold&rsquos fleet provided sufficient time for the Americans to gather the means to win decisively at Saratoga the following year, eliminating the British threat from the north.

Sunday on Valcour Island, Lighthouse Tours Set For July

The Clinton County Historical Association will host “Sunday on Valcour Island” on Sunday, July 14th, 2019.

The day include tours of the historic Bluff Point Lighthouse on Valcour Island. The trip requires the physical ability to disembark and board from the island’s natural landing, walking on uneven surfaces over rough terrain and climbing stairs. [Read more…] about Sunday on Valcour Island, Lighthouse Tours Set For July

Valcour Island

The waters surrounding Valcour Island in Lake Champlain were the scene of the Battle of Valcour, an important naval battle during the Revolutionary War. Here in October 1776, a small colonial fleet under the command of Benedict Arnold engaged the British fleet, helping to delay their advance into the colonies. The historic importance of Valcour Bay has been recognized by its listing as a National Historic Landmark.

During the late 19th century, the island was briefly home to a fledgling “free-love” colony called the Dawn Valcour Community and, in 1874, a lighthouse was built on the island to guide ships along the lake.

The island is now part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve but the lighthouse is managed by the Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA) and has just undergone extensive restoration. The island also has a fascinating natural history and is home to the largest Great Blue Heron rookery on Lake Champlain. We will travel by boat to Valcour Island for a four-mile interpretive hike with AARCH staff and naturalist David Thomas-Train. AARCH has also been granted special permission to enter the lighthouse.

The tour begins at 9:30 a.m. and ends around 3:30 p.m.

FEE: $50 for AARCH and CCHA members and $55 for non-members

Please note that this tour includes a short boat ride plus a four-mile interpretive hike over rough trails and difficult terrain.

In the Ring and Field

As the 19th Century drew to a close, the descendants of Sailor and Canton had become quite numerous, as did the names ascribed to them, which included the Brown Winchester, the Otter Dog, the Newfoundland Duck Dog and the Red Chester Ducking Dog. In 1887, a group of “Chesapeake Ducking Dog” enthusiasts convened at the Poultry and Fancier Association Show in Baltimore to agree that the Sailor and Canton strains should be considered one breed, albeit divided into three “classes” to accommodate their differences of color and coat: otter dogs, which were a “tawny sedge” in color and had short, wavy hair and the curly-hair and straight-hair versions, which were red-brown. By this time, Canton’s black coat was no longer part of the breed even today, that color along with the rear dewclaws that were found on both dogs are disqualifications in the Chesapeake Bay Retriever standard.

A year later, in 1888, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club – the first retriever to receive this formal acknowledgment. In 1918, a more unified vision of the breed – with a short, hard, double coat that tended to wave on the shoulder, neck, back and loins, and those yellow and amber eyes passed down by Sailor – was accepted by the AKC as the Chesapeake Water Dog.

Today, more than a century later, the breed’s name still retains mention of the watershed with which it is so indelibly linked. (In truth, the whole of Maryland lays claim to the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, having named it the official state dog in 1964.) And once Sailor and Canton’s many generations of offspring adapted to their new home, they stayed true to their purpose: Unlike so many other Sporting breeds, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers do not have a schism between conformation and performance: The contenders you see in the ring are those you’ll find in the field. And these bird-obsessed dogs assuredly wouldn’t want it any other way.

Watch the video: Battle of Valcour Bay