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Canadian Campaign

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The first decisive American victory took place at Fort Ticonderoga in May of 1775, when Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold, and a small band of Green Mountain Boys led an early morning raid to capture the fort. The victory provided the Patriots with artillery that would later prove pivotal during the Siege of Boston. Informed that the British planned to capture New York by moving south from Canada, American Patriots turned their focus toward Canada. Canada had been a strategic standpoint for the British, allowing them to launch attacks on New England and New York. In August of 1775 the Continental Congress sent General Philip Schuyler toward Montreal to thwart the British threat while General Washington sent Colonel Benedict Arnold to recruit soldiers in Massachusetts so to march to Quebec. Upon falling ill, Schuyler was replaced by General Richard Montgomery, who proved victorious in the capture of Montreal. Meanwhile, due to desertion and disease, Arnold’s forces were insufficient to take on the heavily fortified walls of Quebec and the 1,800 British troops within. With reinforcement from General Montgomery and the lurking threat of enlistments nearing expiration, Arnold and Montgomery launched an attack amidst a blizzard on December 31st, 1775. The Battle of Quebec was a disaster as Montgomery was killed and a stubborn Arnold refused to admit defeat, setting up camp below the city as he waited for reinforcements. Over the length of several months, support arrived but so did multiple cases of smallpox. By March of 1776 Arnold was ordered to Montreal and by May, American forces at Quebec withdrew to Forts Ticonderoga and Crown Point due to incoming British reinforcements. By October, Arnold had taken the fight to sea with the Battle of Valcour Island. As the British fleet proved overwhelming, the Americans were again forced to retreat.

Battlefields Today
Many battlefields are already preserved and restored to their 18th and 19th Century state. Many are also open to visitors by national, state and local battlefield park organizations. For information on how to visit the site of one of America's early battles, visit our Battlefields Section.