PAUL GARNETT





The Battle of Valcour Island
Oil               35" x 41" framed            $9,500

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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 waterway.

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 Valcour.

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 victorious.
 


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