William Brassier’s 1762 map of Lake Champlain shows
the expanse of Lake Champlain, extending from Quebec
to Crown Point. The British believed that if they
controlled the Champlain Valley, they could cut off
New England and New York from the other colonies.
Courtesy of David Rumsey
Historical Map Collection,
Control of Lake Champlain was a crucial
military objective during the Revolutionary
War. The British strategy was to unite
their Canadian forces with those in New York.
If they succeeded they would cut off New
York and New England from the other
colonies. The Champlain Valley was
the site of several bloody encounters.
Settlers in this no man’s land
fled their homes for the duration
of the war, fearful of the British
and their Iroquois Indian allies.
The British had several victories
but the Americans fought hard
and delayed their advance south.
These delays allowed the American
armies to regroup. When the British
were defeated at Bennington and
again at Saratoga, they gave up
their plan to control Lake Champlain.
This was a turning point in the
war, as it allowed the Continental
Army to turn southward and convinced
France to enter the war as an ally
of the Americans.
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