Valcour Island

3930 U.S. 9, Plattsburgh, NY

Battle of Valcour Island

Date of Battle: October 11, 1776

The Battle

British General Guy Carleton builds a fleet at the northern end of Lake Champlain, with the intent of sailing down and recapturing Fort Ticonderoga. General Benedict Arnold builds a smaller fleet to stop the British. When Carleton sails down the lake, Arnold hides his fleet behind Valcour Island, then appears behind the British fleet where he has the advantage. The two fleets fight for hours as the Americans hold up rather well.

By nightfall, the Americans are trapped and out of ammunition. Arnold sails his fleet through the British fleet at night and makes his escape. The next morning, the British are shocked to find the American fleet has vanished. They eventually spot and catch up with the Americans after a day of searching. Arnold manages to beach most of his fleet and makes his escape on foot.

By the time the British reach Fort Ticonderoga, it begins to snow. Carlton judges that it is too late in the season to begin a siege. He withdraws back to the northern end of Lake Champlain.

Visiting the Battle Site

Valcour Island is one of six islands in the Lake Champlain Islands Complex which encompasses approximately 1,162 acres of Adirondack Forest Preserve land. Valcour Island can be reached from the Peru Boat Launch near Plattsburgh, NY.

Address of Peru Boat Launch: 3930 U.S. 9, Plattsburgh, NY

A monument commemorating the battle, originally erected in 1928 along the shore of Lake Champlain, now sits along the north side of the boat launch just east of the parking lot.

Check the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau web site for information on tours to Valcour Island.

→ Have you been here? Do you have suggestions for others who are passionate about history and want to make the most of their visit, or recommendations for things nearby that every history lover should see?  Please send them in and we may add them to this page.

Contributor: This list of major Revolutionary War Battles and descriptions was written by Michael Troy, the creator and host of the American Revolution Podcast, who selected these sites and described the battles.

Photo:  Valcour Battle by Dunott licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Editor: Creation of this trip, including additional research on visiting these historic sites by Donna Keesling, editor at The History List.

Updated April 8, 2022

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