The Battle of Valcour Island
35" x 41" framed
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THE BATTLE OF VALCOUR ISLAND.
On the morning of October 11, 1776 a dramatic battle was fought in the
narrow channel between Valcour Island and the mainland, in what is known
as Lake Champlain. A fleet of 15 vessels commanded by Benedict Arnold was
engaged by a much larger and far superior fleet of British ships.
This painting shows the action just after Arnold's ship, a 2-masted
schooner called Royal Savage, was run ashore and set ablaze. All of
Arnold's papers and personal belongings were lost aboard. He had
transferred over to the Congress, a galley seen to the front right
of which he was now in command. She is seen exchanging heated fire with
the British schooner Maria of 14 guns. Lieutenant John Schank's
flagship the Inflexible, a three-masted ship of 18 guns, is seen
firing her guns in pursuit as the British chased our ships into the narrow
At the end of the battle the following day Arnold's ships had managed to
slip past the British and reach Schuyler's Island some nine miles from
The British however, with their massive firepower caught up with Arnold's
ships, some of which were lagging behind. In desperation, Arnold knew that
whatever ships were captured would be used against the rebels in the
future so a decision was made to run the vessels aground, burn them, and
make a desperate run across land to Ticonderoga.
I painted this picture because I wanted to give life to one of the battles
of the country's young years when we had no formal navy, ships were
cobbled together from anywhere they could get them, and more often than
not we were on the losing end. We would meet our British cousins again on
the same Lake Champlain in the War of 1812 and would at last emerge
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