10 May

Allen's Green Mountain Boys Attack Ticonderoga

If the name "Ethan Allen and His Green Mountain Boys" appeared in the newspapers today, it would look like an advertisement for a group of folk-singers. Ethan Allen performed in the American Revolutionary War in the same way as General George Patton did in World War II. He was the militia commander in Vermont who, loving to take his soldiers on daring sweeps into enemy territory, could not be restrained by superior officers.

As soon as possible after war began in the spring of 1775, Ethan Allen led his leather-stockings to the Lake Champlain area where the British had garrisons at Ticonderoga and Crown Point. These garrisons were supposed to block the route from New York to Montreal, but their defenses had been neglected. The British in Canada had not expected to go to war with their fellow-countrymen south of the border.

When Ethan Allen led his force of 200 men (including Benedict Arnold) to Ticonderoga on May 10, everyone in the fort was asleep. Allen called on it to surrender and finally aroused the commanding officer, who asked him by what authority he was making such a demand. Allen is quoted in history books as having replied: "In the name of the great Jehovah and the Continental Congress." There is a more realistic school of thought which believes his actual words were, "You damned old rat, come down from there."

Crown Point and then Fort St. John fell as easily. The Americans took three British forts in a space of 125 miles without firing a shot. The easy victories encouraged the Americans to believe that Montreal and Quebec could be taken with little opposition. General Arnold persuaded George Washington to adopt that strategy, rather than try to capture Nova Scotia and close off the St. Lawrence to British reinforcements. This was an unfortunate decision for the Americans, because British sea power did relieve Quebec and force the invaders to retreat.


10 May

-1534    Jacques Cartier arrived at Cape Bona Vista, Newfoundland, on his first voyage to Canada.

-1632    Isaac de Razilly was made Lieutenant Governor of Acadia with instructions to drive out the British.

-1746    Admiral La Jonquière sailed from La Rochelle to capture Acadia.

-1783    A large group of United Empire Loyalists arrived at Saint John, New Brunswick (see May 18).

-1796    Edward, Duke of Kent (father of Queen Victoria), was made commander of the garrison at Halifax.

-1844    The capital of Canada was moved from Kingston to Montreal.

-1853    The steamer Genova arrived at Quebec, beginning a regular fourteen day service between Montreal and Liverpool.

-1870    British Columbia delegates left for Ottawa to discuss terms for entering Confederation.

-1886    W. S. Fielding introduced a resolution in the Nova Scotia Legislature asking for an end to Confederation.

-1921    Canada made a preferential tariff agreement with the West Indies.

-1963    Prime Minister Pearson conferred with President Kennedy at Hyannis Port. It was announced that the former home of F. D. Roosevelt on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, would be shared by Canada and the United States for public purposes.