The wild and suspenseful story of one of the most crucial and least known campaigns of the Revolutionary War
"Vividly written... In novelistic prose, Kelly conveys the starkness of close-quarter naval warfare." —The Wall Street Journal
"Few know of the valor and courage of Benedict Arnold... With such a dramatic main character, the story of the Battle of Valcour is finally seen as one of the most exciting and important of the American Revolution." —Tom Clavin author of Dodge City
During the summer of 1776, a British incursion from Canada loomed. In response, citizen soldiers of the newly independent nation mounted a heroic defense. Patriots constructed a small fleet of gunboats on Lake Champlain in northern New York and confronted the Royal Navy in a desperate three-day battle near Valcour Island. Their effort surprised the arrogant British and forced the enemy to call off their invasion.
Jack Kelly's Valcour is a story of people. The northern campaign of 1776 was led by the underrated general Philip Schuyler (Hamilton's father-in-law), the ambitious former British officer Horatio Gates, and the notorious Benedict Arnold. An experienced sea captain, Arnold devised a brilliant strategy that confounded his slow-witted opponents.
America’s independence hung in the balance during 1776. Patriots endured one defeat after another. But two events turned the tide: Washington’s bold attack on Trenton and the equally audacious fight at Valcour Island. Together, they stunned the enemy and helped preserve the cause of liberty.
Historian Kelly (Band of Giants) spotlights an overlooked campaign of the American Revolution in this richly detailed account. In the summer and fall of 1776, British forces in Canada attempted to invade the colonies by way of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River. One of the leaders of the American defense was Benedict Arnold, whose capture of Fort Ticonderoga had earned him the nickname "America's Hannibal." In October 1776, Arnold lured British ships into battle at Valcour Island in Lake Champlain. Kelly dramatically recounts the "boiling free-for-all" between American ships and British gunboats before Arnold made a fighting retreat southward and eventually escaped to Fort Ticonderoga. British commanders decided not to test the fort's vaunted defenses, and instead returned north to Canada as winter approached. The British returned in 1777 with greater initial success, but met defeat at the Battle of Saratoga, "the last time Benedict Arnold would fight for the American cause." Kelly delves deeply into the logistics of warfare, including shipbuilding and combatting smallpox, and gathers stirring accounts of heroism on both sides of the conflict. Readers will be intrigued by this evocative portrait of one of America's greatest traitors at the height of his glory.