The Travels of Tug 44

Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain

Fort Ticonderoga was built in 1755 by the French to defend against a British invasion. During the French & Indian War, the British laid seige to the fort and took it. The photo shows the view from the water.

This photo was taken from the top of Mount Defiance, some 2 miles away. In the Revolutionary War, the fort was taken by the Americans, led by Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys.

Later in the Revolutionary War, the British hauled cannon up the supposedly impassible nearby Mt. Defiance and took the fort without a shot fired. This is the view from that spot, Vermont is across the Lake, and that's the Green Mountains in the background.

While touring the fort, we had left Tug 44 riding at anchor below the guns. Did we select the wrong spot?

The fort displays an amazing amount of military power. This is a mortar, a very short range cannon that was used to lob an explosive shell about a foot in diameter over the walls.

For a bit longer range, these howitzers were used. They were used for a high lob over the walls, much as the mortars were.

That's a row of 24 pounders, they were used for long range ship-killing and had a range of about 3 miles. They fired a 6" cast iron ball.

The fort has a constant program of events depicting military life of the time. Here, an "Indian" demonstrates a black-powder rifle. Later the Indian told me he was actually Italian, but who cares? It was fun anyway. There is also a fife & drum unit, and many craftsmen working in the shops.

A look at the courtyard inside the fort with the barracks and workshops.

Inside the barracks are a large number of fascinating displays showing military life and the tools and weapons used in those days.

I'd seen the fort many times as a kid, but this was the first trip we'd made via boat. Following one of the guidebooks, we anchored in the "sheltered anchorage" directly below the fort. We got tossed all nite long and got a severe pounding. In the morning we inflated our blow-up-doll dingy, and had great difficulty getting into it as it collapsed and partially sunk, getting us both very very wet. We rowed to the guidebook's non-existent dock by shoveling 10 tons of seaweed with our paddles, then sunk to our knees in mud on the shore. After we walked across an open field we came up behind the sign that said "Do Not Enter - Artillery Practice Field" and hurried up the endless stairway. Naturally the gate at the top was locked, so we did an "Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys" re-enactment and scaled the fence just as they did. Good gawd!

2012 update: Some years later, a very nice dock was built right next to the Ticonderoga Ferry landing, and it's just a 50 yard walk to the front gate of the Fort.

see the Fort Ticonderoga website at:

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