Few will ever forget their reaction to the terrorist assault on 9/11. Caught totally unawares, we sought advice from family, friends and strangers, fearful of another attack, and the consequence of our nation's response.
It was no different on April 19th, 1775...4/19 as it were. On that morning, British soldiers were ordered to march out of Boston and seize the powder and Colonial supplies in nearby Concord. The shooting soon started, and by dusk with many dead along the road, it was quite clear that the long argument was over. It had come to war.
News of this day rocketed throughout New England. Just one week later, two men were traveling in opposite directions on the road between Hartford and Cambridge. They met and and no doubt discussed the momentous event...and the immediate threat of war. One of the men was Benedict Arnold, a successful businessman, and self-appointed Captain with no military experience at all. He was leading 40 volunteers to help out his countrymen in Cambridge. The other was Colonel Samuel Parsons, returning to Hartford. Parsons expressed his concern that America would soon be at battle with scanty firepower against the most heavily armed nation on Earth. Arnold observed that there were more than 100 cannons in far-away Fort Ticonderoga, guarded by small British garrison, and that someone ought to grab them.
Both men continued on to their destinations. Each decided to launch a mission to seize the cannon. Neither knew of the other's plans. Parsons signed a personal bank guarantee in Hartford to immediately arrange for funds and lead a group to Ft. Ti, picking up volunteers along the way. He'd heard of the famed if scruffy Green Mountain Boys, led by Ethan Allen, and his plan was to draw them into the fight.
Arnold arranged a similar mandate in Cambridge, and headed for Ft. Ti, just a few days later. The two met again in Castleton, Vermont. Parsons' group now numbered 175 men, mostly tough-as-hell Green Mountain Boys, wearing deerskin. Arnold showed up in a fancy fitted military coat, accompanied by a "wardrobe assistant" Imagine that discussion!
Author Richard Smith has written the benchmark book on this epic victory. Even if you've read a number of versions elsewhere, you'll learn plenty here. We recommend it highly.