Addison County was "a nest of the greatest rebels in that part of the country," when British forces led by Major Christopher Carleton invaded the area, determined to eliminate any possible supplies for rebel troops.
Carleton's 21-day expedition of 350 soldiers and 100 Indians, supported by naval vessels on the lake, proudly tallied up their success: crops destroyed, livestock slaughtered, barns and homesteads burned-nearly 100 structures and enough supplies to feed 12,000 men for four months.
Last weekend, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum's "Rabble in Arms" weekend offered an insider's look at the experiences of British and Rebel combatants, and an average frontier family, during these volatile years of the American Revolution. With the defeat of Gen. Burgoyne at Saratoga in 1777, the British feared a possible American counter-offensive from the Champlain Valley into Canada, and the following year Major Christopher Carleton, nephew of Canada's Gov. -Gen. Sir Guy Carleton, led the invasion known as "Carleton's Raids," targeting homesteads in Addison County Vermont.
To recreate these dramatic events, some of the reenactors took British roles, and even LCMM's venerable gunboat Philadelphia II was transformed into the captured American gunboat Jersey, carrying British troops.
On Saturday, the British troops made landfall and establish a foothold at the museum's North Harbor, defended by local militia.
A "homestead" was raided and put to the torch on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, the public met the reenactors of both camps, before the final skirmish with the departing British troops.