"Who's in command of this army?!?" Benedict Arnold bellows out, "I demand to speak with the leader of these men!"
"If you're looking for the commander, you don't need to look any further. I am in charge around here," says a tall, strongly built man with a rough beard.
"And who are you?" Arnold asks incredulously.
"Name's Ethan Allen, we are the Green Mountain Boys." the man says.
"Oh! The Green Mountain boys indeed," Arnold said, "you ruffians are the Bennington mob."
"Call us what you want, we are here to take Fort Ticonderoga from those Brits."
The Green Mountain Boys had always been a thorn in somebody's side. They had formed back in 1770 to protect New Hampshire tenants from being evicted by New York land officials. The New York Superior Court, backed by a decision from London, decided that most of the state of New Hampshire belonged to New York. This meant that the people living there would have to pay money for land that was already theirs. Instead of paying money for a decision they did not recognize, the local farmers decided to form a militia.
When Benedict Arnold first ran into the Green Mountain Boys, he had not yet betrayed his country so infamously. He was on a mission for his country to capture the fort, and HE was going to lead the mission.
"I insist that I be placed in charge of this company." Arnold proclaimed.
"Can't do it," said Ethan Allen. "You see, I raised this army, and they won't follow any other man. Course, you are welcome to tag along if you like."
Arnold agreed to accompany Allen to the fort.
When the group of 300 farmer soldiers arrived at Fort Ticonderoga in the early morning of May 10, 1775, not a soul was awake in the entire fortress. After tip-toeing in through the open gates, they spotted a guard dozing in his chair. He awoke with a start, tried to fire his gun, which promptly jammed, and fled into a bomb shelter. A second guard was woken up by all the fuss. When the guard saw Allen and Arnold entering the camp he charged with his bayonet.
Allen made little work of him.
KONK! He smacked the side of his sword down upon the head of the charging sentry.
The guard collapsed into whimpers of pitifulness. "Spare me!" He pleaded. "Give me quarter! Spare my life!"
"Don't worry lad, I'll let you live," Allen said, "just show us where the commander's residence is."
The quivering British guard pointed out the commander's quarters and the Green Mountain Boys quickly surrounded it and yelled for the commander to wake up and come out to surrender control of the fort.
"I demand to know by what authority you rascals have entered the fort!" The commander yelled out, apparently unaware that he was outnumbered five to one.
"In the name of the Great Jehovah, and the Continental Congress!" Allen replied.
Just like that, the American rebels had won their first major offensive. There were not many soldiers to fight at the Fort Ticonderoga, the "key to the continent", but there was tons of ammo. The Green Mountain Boys looted the camp, taking guns, provisions, and most importantly, canons. They even found barrels of alcohol, which they drank freely that May morning. Some of the drunk militiamen took pot shots at Benedict Arnold with their new pistols. They were angry at him for trying to assume leadership of their army.
The next day there was no doubting who was in charge. Arnold had the men drag all the canons aboard a ship, and instantly became skipper of the most heavily armed ship in the upper Hudson. He piloted this ship down to the Crown Point, another military installation that was easily captured. Over 110 canons additional were captured at Crown Point, and all two hundred cannons were transported back to general George Washington's army camps surrounding Boston.
The problem was that the British, although bloodied by the Breed's Hill battle, still considered themselves a much mightier military force. They had to be convinced that the American rebels posed a real threat to Boston, and that is where the two hundred canons seized by Benedict Arnold and the Green Mountain Boys came in handy.
General George Washington, who was also the wealthiest man in the colonies, took the advice of his military officers and decided to build a fort at Dorchester Heights. Dorchester Heights was a small mountain looming over Boston, which was not occupied by anyone. It was the middle of winter, and the ground was frozen solid. There was no way to dig fortifications on the hill. Instead they had to be built outside the city limits and transported pre-made.
By the beginning of March, the American colonial forces had surprised the British again. In a matter of days they had constructed a threatening fort on top of a hill. The initial reaction of the British was to attack this new fortification. On the night of the planned attack, an intense storm blew in and dashed all hopes of a successful crossing of the Charles River. After the storm, the British decided to leave Boston for good, without a fight.
George Washington promised not to fire any canons as long as the British did not burn down Boston on the way out. They left in relative peace, destroying only a castle in Boston harbor. On March 17, the British left Boston for New York and the American troops came marching in to gain control over Boston forever.
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MAD - 30,000 shot dead each year - what YOU can do!