American Heritage: Leadership problem never resolvedPublished 7:52pm Wednesday, July 18, 2012
“Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.” (Thomas Jefferson found in his papers after his death)
Ethan Allen was chosen by Connecticut Gov. Jonathan Trumball to prepare a group of men for the attack on Fort Ticonderoga. Allen gathered a group together, known as the Green Mountain Boys, for the job of overtaking the fort.
Not only was Ethan Allan chosen by the governor of Connecticut, but the Massachusetts Committee of Safety chose Benedict Arnold for the same job.
Arnold brought his army of 400 men to Castleton, Vt., where the Green Mountain Boys were already assembled. Arnold determined that he would take over command of this maneuver. However, the Green Mountain Boys did not like this plan.
This problem of leadership was never resolved. But the surprise attack went on as planned. On May 10, the attack was made on the fort, without the British expecting a thing. Actually, the gate of the fort was open. The guard on the gate was sleeping. There were only 42 men within the fort to defend it. During the attack, not even one shot was fired.
It is interesting that when the British officers were told to surrender by Ethan Allen, they asked by whose authority Allen was acting. His answer was, as some recalled, “In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress.”
The raid was successful. The colonists acquired a great bounty in their victory. They captured six mortars, along with a large supply of cannon balls, flints and powder. Along with all of this, 78 cannons were also captured. Benedict Arnold did not get any recognition, however, for the victory. Ethan Allen got the credit for the overall effort and victory. The result was that Arnold became angry. Fort Ticonderoga was now the colonists’ fort for the next two years until it was abandoned by Arthur St. Clair.