New York State Regent for the Daughters of the American Revolution Denise Doring VanBuren presents a $2,000 check to Tom Hughes, manager of Crown Point State Historic Site, on behalf of the site’s friends group. The money will be used for a bronze historic marker that will note Crown Point as the beginning of the “Knox Trail,” also known as the artillery trail.
Crown Point is finally getting credit for its role in a key Revolutionary War event.
The New York State Daughters of the American Revolution have donated $2,000 for a bronze historic marker to be erected at the Crown Point State Historic Site. The marker, to be placed by the Friends of Crown Point State Historic Site, will note Crown Point as the beginning of the “Knox Trail,” also known as the artillery trail.
“It is a pleasure for me to present our $2,000 contribution that we would like Friends of Crown Point State Historic Site to use to erect a historic marker, to complete the artillery (Knox) trail by noting the capture at Crown Point of 111 artillery pieces,” said Denise Doring VanBuren, New York State DAR Regent. “We are truly delighted to have this opportunity to support your important work in telling this chapter in America’s story.”
In 1775, Gen. George Washington arrived in Boston, taking command of the army. There he met and developed a friendship with Col. Henry Knox, an expert on colonial artillery. Knox suggested to Washington that 50 cannon captured by American forces at Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga, be brought to Boston. Using barges, bateaux and oxen-driven sleds, Knox led the march to deliver the artillery.
In March 1776, Washington seized Dorchester Heights outside Boston and Knox placed the cannon in position there. Realizing the threat of an impending American bombardment, the British withdrew from the city. The next day triumphant Americans claimed the city.
“While just about everyone knows that on May 10, 1775, Benedict Arnold, Ethan Allen and 83 Green Mountain Boys captured Ticonderoga and its 78 pieces of heavy artillery, few know that the very next day 100 Green Mountain Boys, led by Seth Warner, likewise liberated nearby Crown Point from British control,” Mathew Anderson, president of the Friends of Crown Point State Historic Site, said. “On May 15, Allen and Arnold arrived at Crown Point and ordered militiamen to inventory and salvage materials that survived a 1773 fire. The greatest prize — 111 cannon, of which 65 were immediately usable — were inventoried at Crown Point, along with tons of cannon balls and musket balls.”
Twenty-nine of the 59 cannon transported from Lake Champlain to South Boston that winter originated at Crown Point.
“Shortly before Henry Knox arrived at Ticonderoga in December to move heavy cannon a great distance, patriots prepared for his arrival by selecting 29 cannon at Crown Point to be hauled to Ticonderoga where they would join 30 cannon picked from among those already there,” Anderson said. “Upon arrival, troops serving under Henry Knox undertook the grueling task of moving the captured cannon.
“So when one considers that very nearly half of the artillery pieces hauled from Lake Champlain forts to South Boston came from Crown Point, one realizes that the actual starting point of the historic artillery (Knox) trail is Crown Point, even though there is no bronze marker placed there yet to declare that fact,” Anderson said.
This spring DAR members from the Hudson Valley region visited the Crown Point State Historic Site.
“They came to see the point from which Hudson Valley troops, commanded by Gens. Richard Montgomery and Philip Schuyler, departed to invade British Canada,” Anderson said. “After several victories, the army from eastern New York was joined in Canada by Benedict Arnold’s force, which had marched through the forests of Maine for an attack on Québec City. That assault failed. Montgomery was killed, Arnold wounded and the Americans were forced to retreat.”
While visiting Crown Point, the DAR members learned of the site’s role in the delivery of artillery to Boston in 1775-76. They decided to donate the money for a historic marker to note the event.
“The elected trustees of Friends of Crown Point State Historic Site are delighted to accept this very generous designated gift and are eager to use it to pay for a new bronze marker that, when erected at Crown Point, will at last complete the famous 1775 – 1776 artillery trail,” Anderson said.
The non-profit Friends of Crown Point State Historic Site was incorporated by the Regents of the State of New York in 1985. The friends group, working closely with site management, provides support of the site’s mission to preserve its history and to serve the visiting public. For more information go online at www.FriendsOfCrownPoint.org