Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Declaration of Sentiments

The Declaration of Sentiments, also known as the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments, is a document signed in 1848 by 68 women and 32 men—100 out of some 300 attendees at the first women's rights convention to be organized by women. The convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York, now known as the Seneca Falls Convention. The principal author of the Declaration was Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who based it on the form of the United States Declaration of Independence. She was a key organizer of the convention along with Lucretia Coffin Mott, and Martha Coffin Wright.

According to the North Star, published by Frederick Douglass, whose attendance at the convention and support of the Declaration helped pass the resolutions put forward, the document was the "grand movement for attaining the civil, social, political, and religious rights of women."

At a time when traditional roles were still very much in place, the Declaration caused much controversy. Many people respected the courage and abilities behind the drafting of the document, but were unwilling to abandon conventional mindsets. An article in the Oneida Whig published soon after the convention described the document as "the most shocking and unnatural event ever recorded in the history of womanity." Many newspapers insisted that the Declaration was drafted at the expense of women's more appropriate duties. At a time when temperance and female property rights were major issues, even many supporters of women's rights believed the Declaration's endorsement of women's suffrage would hinder the nascent women's rights movement, causing it to lose much needed public support.

Opening Paragraphs:
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these rights, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed, but when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.

The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpation on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.


  • He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.
  • He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice.
  • He has withheld her from rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men - both natives and foreigners.
  • Having deprived her of this first right as a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.
  • He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.
  • He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.
  • He has made her morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master - the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement
  • He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes of divorce, in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given; as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of the women - the law, in all cases, going upon a false supposition of the supremacy of a man, and giving all power into his hands.
  • After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single and the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which recognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it.
  • He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty remuneration.
  • He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction, which he considers most honorable to himself. As a teacher of theology, medicine, or law, she is not known.
  • He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education - all colleges being closed against her.
  • He allows her in church, as well as State, but a subordinate position, claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry, and, with some exceptions, from any public participation in the affairs of the Church.
  • He has created a false public sentiment by giving to the world a different code of morals for men and women, by which moral delinquencies which exclude women from society, are not only tolerated but deemed of little account in man.
  • He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and her God.
  • He has endeavored, in every way that he could to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.

Closing remarks
Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-third the people of this country, their social and religious degradation—in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of these United States.

In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and national Legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf. We hope this Convention will be followed by a series of Conventions, embracing every part of the country.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Seneca Falls Convention 1848

The Seneca Falls Convention was the first women's rights convention. It advertised itself as "a convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman". Held in Seneca Falls, New York, it spanned two days over July 19–20, 1848. Attracting widespread attention, it was soon followed by other women's rights conventions, including one in Rochester, New York two weeks later. In 1850 the first in a series of annual National Women's Rights Conventions met in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Female Quakers local to the area organized the meeting along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who was not a Quaker. They planned the event during a visit to the area by Philadelphia-based Lucretia Mott. Mott, a Quaker, was famous for her oratorical ability, which was rare during an era which women were often not allowed to speak in public.

The meeting had six sessions, included a lecture on law, a humorous presentation, and multiple discussions about the role of women in society. Stanton and the Quaker women presented two prepared documents, the Declaration of Sentiments and an accompanying list of resolutions, to be debated and modified before being put forward for signatures. A heated debate sprang up regarding women's right to vote, with many including Mott urging the removal of this concept, but Frederick Douglass argued eloquently for its inclusion, and the suffrage resolution was retained. Exactly 100 of approximately 300 attendees signed the document, mostly women.

The convention was seen by some of its contemporaries, including featured speaker Mott, as one important step among many others in the continuing effort by women to gain for themselves a greater proportion of social, civil and moral rights, while it was viewed by others as a revolutionary beginning to the struggle by women for complete equality with men. Stanton considered the Seneca Falls Convention to be the beginning of the women's rights movement, an opinion that was echoed in the History of Woman Suffrage, which Stanton co-wrote.

The convention's Declaration of Sentiments became "the single most important factor in spreading news of the women's rights movement around the country in 1848 and into the future", according to Judith Wellman, a historian of the convention. By the time of the National Women's Rights Convention of 1851, the issue of women's right to vote had become a central tenet of the United States women's rights movement. These conventions became annual events until the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861.

In the decades leading up to 1848, a small number of women began to push against restrictions imposed upon them by society. A few men aided in this effort. In 1831, Reverend Charles Grandison Finney began allowing women to pray aloud in gatherings of men and women. The Second Great Awakening was challenging women's traditional roles in religion. Recalling the era in 1870, Paulina Wright Davis set Finney's decision as the beginning of the American women's reform movement.

Starting in 1832, abolitionist and journalist William Lloyd Garrison organized anti-slavery associations which encouraged the full participation of women. Garrison's ideas were not welcomed by a majority of other abolitionists, and those unwilling to include women split from him to form other abolitionist societies.

A few women began to gain fame as writers and speakers on the subject of abolition. In the 1830s, Lydia Maria Child wrote to encourage women to write a will, and Frances Wright wrote books on women's rights and social reform. The Grimké sisters published their views against slavery in the late 1830s, and they began speaking to mixed gatherings of men and women for Garrison's American Anti-Slavery Society, as did Abby Kelley. Although these women lectured primarily on the evils of slavery, the fact that a woman was speaking in public was itself a noteworthy stand for the cause of women's rights. Ernestine Rose began lecturing in 1836 to groups of women on the subject of the "Science of Government" which included the enfranchisement of women.

James and Lucretia Mott
In 1840, at the urging of Garrison and Wendell Phillips, Lucretia Coffin Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton traveled with their husbands and a dozen other American male and female abolitionists to London for the first World's Anti-Slavery Convention, with the expectation that a motion put forward by Phillips to include women's participation in the convention would be controversial. In London, the proposal was rebuffed after a full day of debate; the women were allowed to listen from the gallery but not allowed to speak or vote. Mott and Stanton became friends in London and on the return voyage, and together planned to organize their own convention to further the cause of women's rights, separate from abolition concerns. In 1842 Thomas M'Clintock and his wife Mary Ann became founding members of the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society and helped write its constitution. When he moved to Rochester in 1847, Frederick Douglass joined Amy and Isaac Post and the M'Clintocks in this Rochester-based chapter of the American Anti-Slavery Society.

In 1839 in Boston, Margaret Fuller began hosting conversations, akin to French salons, among women interested in discussing the "great questions" facing their sex. Sophia Ripley was one of the participants. In 1845, Fuller published The Great Lawsuit, asking women to claim themselves as self-dependent.

In the 1840s, women in America were reaching out for greater control of their lives. Husbands and fathers directed the lives of women, and many doors were closed to female participation. State statutes and common law prohibited women from inheriting property, signing contracts, serving on juries and voting in elections. Women's prospects in employment were dim: they could expect only to gain a very few service-related jobs, and were paid about half of what men were paid for the same work. In Massachusetts, Brook Farm was founded by Sophia Ripley and her husband George Ripley in 1841 as an attempt to find a way in which men and women could work together, with women receiving the same compensation as men. The experiment failed.

In the fall of 1841, Elizabeth Cady Stanton gave her first public speech, on the subject of the Temperance movement, in front of 100 women in Seneca Falls. She wrote to her friend Elizabeth J. Neal that she moved both the audience and herself to tears, saying "I infused into my speech an Homeopathic dose of woman's rights, as I take good care to do in many private conversations."

Lucretia Mott met with Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Boston in 1842, and discussed again the possibility of a woman's rights convention. They talked once more in 1847, prior to Stanton moving from Boston to Seneca Falls.

Women's groups led by Lucretia Mott and Paulina Wright Davis held public meetings in Philadelphia beginning in 1846. A wide circle of abolitionists friendly to women's rights began in 1847 to discuss the possibility of holding a convention wholly devoted to women's rights. In October 1847, Lucy Stone gave her first public speech on the subject of women's rights, entitled The Province of Women, at her brother Bowman Stone's church in Gardner, Massachusetts.

In March 1848, Garrison, the Motts, Abby Kelley Foster, Stephen Symonds Foster and others hosted an Anti-Sabbath meeting in Boston, to work toward the elimination of laws that apply only to Sunday, and to gain for the laborer more time away from toil than just one day of rest per week. Lucretia Mott and two other women were active within the executive committee, and Mott spoke to the assemblage. Lucretia Mott raised questions about the validity of blindly following religious and social tradition.

On April 7, 1848, in response to a citizen's petition, the New York State Assembly passed the Married Woman's Property Act, giving women the right to retain property they brought into a marriage, as well as property they acquired during the marriage. Creditors could not seize a wife's property to pay a husband's debts. Leading up to the passage of this law, in 1846, supporters issued a pamphlet, probably authored by Judge John Fine, which relied on its readers' familiarity with the United States Declaration of Independence to demand "That all are created free and equal ...", and that this idea should apply equally to the sexes. "Women, as well as men, are entitled to the full enjoyment of its practical blessings". A group of 44 married women of western New York wrote to the Assembly in March 1848, saying "your Declaration of Independence declares, that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. And as women have never consented to, been represented in, or recognized by this government, it is evident that in justice no allegiance can be claimed from them ... Our numerous and yearly petitions for this most desirable object having been disregarded, we now ask your august body, to abolish all laws which hold married women more accountable for their acts than infants, idiots, and lunatics."

Gerrit Smith made woman suffrage a plank in the Liberty Party platform on June 14–15, 1848.
The General Assembly in Pennsylvania passed a similar married woman's property law a few weeks later, one which Lucretia Mott and others had championed. These progressive state laws were seen by American women as a sign of new hope for women's rights.

On June 2, 1848 in Rochester, New York, Gerrit Smith was nominated as the Liberty Party's presidential candidate. Smith was Elizabeth Cady Stanton's first cousin, and the two enjoyed debating and discussing political and social issues with each other whenever he came to visit. At the National Liberty Convention, held June 14–15 in Buffalo, New York, Smith gave a major address, including in his speech a demand for "universal suffrage in its broadest sense, females as well as males being entitled to vote." The delegates approved a passage in their party platform addressing votes for women: "Neither here, nor in any other part of the world, is the right of suffrage allowed to extend beyond one of the sexes. This universal exclusion of woman ... argues, conclusively, that, not as yet, is there one nation so far emerged from barbarism, and so far practically Christian, as to permit woman to rise up to the one level of the human family." At this convention, five votes were placed calling for Lucretia Mott to be Smith's vice-president—the first time in the United States that a woman was suggested for federal executive office.

Many members of the Religious Society of Friends, known as Quakers, made their homes in western New York state, near Seneca Falls. A particularly progressive branch lived in and around Waterloo in Seneca County, New York. These Quakers strove for marital relationships in which men and women worked and lived in equality.

The M'Clintocks came to Waterloo from a Quaker community in Philadelphia. They rented property from Richard P. Hunt, a wealthy Quaker and businessman. The M'Clintock and Hunt families opposed slavery; both participated in the free produce movement, and their houses served as stations on the Underground Railroad.

Traditional Quaker tenets held that men and women should meet separately when making religious decisions. By the 1840s, some Hicksite Quakers determined to bring women and men together in the faith as an expression of their spiritual equality. In June 1848, approximately 200 Hicksites, including the Hunts and the M'Clintocks, formed an even more radical Quaker group, known as the Yearly Meeting of Congregational Friends, or Progressive Friends. The Progressive Friends intended to further elevate the influence of women in affairs of the faith. They introduced joint meetings of men and women, giving women an equal voice.

Lucretia and James Mott visited central and western New York in the summer of 1848 for a number of reasons, including visiting the Cattaraugus Reservation of the Seneca Nation and former slaves living in the province of Ontario, Canada. Mott was present at the meeting in which the Progressive Friends left the Hicksite Quakers. They also visited Lucretia's sister Martha Coffin Wright in Auburn, NY, where Mott also preached to prisoners at the Auburn State Penitentiary. Lucretia Mott's skill and fame as an orator drew crowds wherever she went.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1848 with two of her three sons
After Quaker service on Sunday July 9, 1848, Lucretia Coffin Mott joined Mary Ann M'Clintock, Martha Coffin Wright (Mott's witty sister, several months pregnant), Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Jane Hunt for tea at the Hunt home in Waterloo. The two eldest M'Clintock daughters, Elizabeth and Mary Ann, Jr. may have accompanied their mother. Jane Hunt had given birth two weeks earlier, and was tending the baby at home. Over tea, Stanton, the only non-Quaker present, vented a lifetime's worth of pent-up frustration, her "long-accumulating discontent" about women's subservient place in society. The five women decided to hold a women's rights convention in the immediate future, while the Motts were still in the area, and drew up an announcement to run in the Seneca County Courier. The announcement began with these words: "WOMAN'S RIGHTS CONVENTION.—A Convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman". The notice specified that only women were invited to the first day's meetings on July 19, but both women and men could attend on the second day to hear Lucretia Mott speak, among others. On July 11, the announcement first appeared, giving readers just eight days' notice until the first day of convention. Other papers such as Douglass's North Star picked up the notice, printing it on July 14. The meeting place was to be the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Seneca Falls. Built by a congregation of abolitionists and financed in part by Richard Hunt, the chapel had been the scene of many reform lectures, and was considered the only large building in the area that would open its doors to a women's rights convention.

At their home in Waterloo on Sunday, July 16, the M'Clintocks hosted a smaller planning session for the convention. Mary Ann M'Clintock and her eldest daughters, Elizabeth and Mary Ann, Jr., discussed with Stanton the makeup of the resolutions that would be presented to the convention for approval. Each woman made certain her concerns were appropriately represented among the ten resolutions that they composed. Taken together, the resolutions demanded that women should have equality in the family, education, jobs, religion, and morals. One of the M'Clintock women selected the Declaration of Independence from 1776 as a model for the declaration they wanted to make at their convention. The Declaration of Sentiments was then drafted in the parlor on a round, three-legged, mahogany tea table. Stanton changed a few words of the Declaration of Independence to make it appropriate for a statement by women, replacing "The history of the present King of Great Britain" with "The history of mankind" as the basis for "usurpations on the part of man toward woman."The women added the phrase "and women" to make "... all men and women are created equal ..." A list of grievances was composed to form the second part of the Declaration.

Between July 16 and July 19, at home on her own writing desk, Stanton edited the grievances and resolutions. Henry Brewster Stanton, a lawyer, politician and Stanton's husband, helped substantiate the document by locating "extracts from laws bearing unjustly against woman's property interests." On her own, Stanton added a more radical point to the list of grievances and to the resolutions: the issue of women's voting rights. To the grievances, she added "He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise", and to the Sentiments, she added a line about man depriving woman of "the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation..." Stanton then copied the Declaration and resolutions into final draft form for presentation at the meeting. When he saw the addition of woman suffrage, Henry Stanton warned his wife "you will turn the proceedings into a farce." He, like most men of his day, was not in favor of women gaining voting rights. Because he intended to run for elective office, he left Seneca Falls to avoid being connected with a convention promoting such an unpopular cause. Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked her sister Harriet Cady Eaton to accompany her; Eaton brought her young son Daniel.

On July 16, Lucretia Mott sent a note to Stanton apologizing in advance for James Mott not being able to attend the first day, as he was feeling "quite unwell". Lucretia Mott wrote to say she would bring her sister, Martha Wright, and that the two women would participate in both days of the convention.

On July 19, 1848, the morning of the first day of convention, the organizing committee arrived at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel shortly before ten o'clock on a hot, sunny day to find a crowd gathered outside and the church doors locked—an overlooked detail. Stanton's young nephew Daniel was lifted through an open window so that he could unbar the doors from the inside. Even though the first session had been announced as being exclusively for women, some young children of both sexes had been brought by their mothers, and about 40 men were there expecting to attend. The men were not turned away, but were asked to remain silent. Mary Ann M'Clintock, Jr., 26 years old, was appointed secretary, to take notes.

Lucretia Mott was described as "the moving spirit of the occasion".
Starting at 11 o'clock, Elizabeth Cady Stanton spoke first, exhorting each woman in the audience to accept responsibility for her own life, and to "understand the height, the depth, the length, and the breadth of her own degradation." Lucretia Mott then spoke, encouraging all to take up the cause. Stanton read the Declaration of Sentiments in its entirety, then re-read each paragraph so that it could be discussed at length, and changes incorporated. The question of whether men's signatures would be sought for the Declaration was discussed, with the vote looking favorable for including men, but the motion was tabled until the following day when men themselves could participate. The first session adjourned at 2:30 p.m.

After a pause for refreshment in the 90° heat, an afternoon session began with Stanton and then Mott addressing the audience. The Declaration of Sentiments was read again and more changes were made to it. The resolutions, now numbering eleven with Stanton's addition of women's suffrage, were read aloud and discussed. Lucretia Mott read a humorous newspaper piece written by her sister Martha Wright in which Wright questioned why, after an overworked mother completed the myriad daily tasks that were required of her but not of her husband, she was the one upon whom written advice was "so lavishly bestowed." Twenty-seven-year-old Elizabeth W. M'Clintock then delivered a speech, and the first day's business was called to a close.

In the evening, the meeting was opened to all persons, and Lucretia Mott addressed a large audience. She spoke of the progress of other reform movements and so framed for her listeners the social and moral context for the struggle for women's rights. She asked the men present to help women gain the equality they deserved. The editor of the National Reformer, a paper in Auburn, New York, reported that Mott's extemporaneous evening speech was "one of the most eloquent, logical, and philosophical discourses which we ever listened to."

A larger crowd attended on the second day, including more men. Amelia Bloomer arrived late and took a seat in the upstairs gallery, there being none left in the main seating area. Quaker James Mott was well enough to attend, and he chaired the morning meeting; it was still too radical a concept that a woman serve as chair in front of both men and women.

After Mott opened the meeting, the minutes of the previous day were read, and Stanton presented the Declaration of Sentiments. In regard to the grievance "He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns," Assemblyman Ansel Bascom stood to say that he had recently been at the New York State Assembly which passed the Married Woman's Property Act. Bascom spoke at length about the property rights it secured for married women, including property acquired after marriage. Further discussion of the Declaration ensued, including comments by Frederick Douglass, Thomas and Mary Ann M'Clintock, and Amy Post; the document was adopted unanimously. The question of men's signatures was solved by having two sections of signatures, one for women followed by one for men. One hundred of the 300 present signed the Declaration of Sentiments, including 68 women and 32 men. Amelia Bloomer was one of the participants who did not endorse the Declaration; she was focused at that time on the temperance movement.Ansel Bascom was the most conspicuous attendee who chose not to sign the Declaration. The National Reformer reported that those in the audience who evidently regarded the Declaration as "too bold and ultra", including the lawyers known to be opposed to the equal rights of women, "failed to call out any opposition, except in a neighboring BAR-ROOM."

Frederick Douglass stood up to speak in favor of women's right to vote.
At the afternoon session, the eleven resolutions were read again, and each one was voted on individually. The only one that was materially questioned was the ninth, the one Stanton had added regarding women's right to vote. It read:

Resolved, that it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.
Those who opposed this resolution argued that its presence would cause the other, more rational resolutions to lose support. Others argued that only the social, civil and religious rights of women should be addressed, not the political rights. James and Lucretia Mott were against the resolution; Lucretia said to Stanton, "Why Lizzie, thee will make us ridiculous." Stanton defended the concept of woman suffrage, saying women would then be able to affect future legislation and gain further rights. Frederick Douglass, the only African American at the meeting stood and spoke eloquently in favor; he said that he could not accept the right to vote himself as a black man if woman could not also claim that right. Douglass projected that the world would be a better place if women were involved in the political sphere. "In this denial of the right to participate in government, not merely the degradation of woman and the perpetuation of a great injustice happens, but the maiming and repudiation of one-half of the moral and intellectual power of the government of the world." Douglass's powerful words rang true with many in attendance, and the resolution passed by a large majority. Lucretia Mott spoke to end the session.

Quaker Thomas M'Clintock served as chair for the evening session, opening it at half-past seven. The minutes were read, then Stanton spoke in defense of the many severe accusations brought against the much-abused "Lords of Creation." Following Stanton, Thomas M'Clintock read several passages from Sir William Blackstone's laws, to expose for the audience the basis of woman's current legal condition of servitude to man. Lucretia Mott stood to offer another resolution: "Resolved, That the speedy success of our cause depends upon the zealous and untiring efforts of both men and women, for the overthrow of the monopoly of the pulpit, and for the securing to woman an equal participation with men in the various trades, professions and commerce." This, the twelfth resolution, passed.

Mary Ann M'Clintock, Jr. spoke briefly, calling upon woman to arouse from her lethargy and be true to herself and her God. Douglass again rose to speak in support of the cause of woman. Lucretia Mott spoke for an hour with one of her "most beautiful and spiritual appeals". Although Lucretia Mott's reputation as a speaker drew the audience, Mott recognized Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mary Ann M'Clintock as the "chief planners and architects" of the convention. To close the meeting, a committee was appointed to edit and publish the convention proceedings, with Amy Post, Eunice Newton Foote, Mary Ann M'Clintock, Jr., Elizabeth W. M'Clintock and Stanton serving.

Local newspapers printed reports of the convention, some positive, others not. The National Reformer reported that the convention "forms an era in the progress of the age; it being the first convention of the kind ever held, and one whose influence shall not cease until woman is guaranteed all the rights now enjoyed by the other half of creation—Social, Civil and POLITICAL." The Oneida Whig did not approve of the convention, writing of the Declaration: "This bolt is the most shocking and unnatural incident ever recorded in the history of womanity. If our ladies will insist on voting and legislating, where, gentleman, will be our dinners and our elbows? Where our domestic firesides and the holes in our stockings?"

Soon, newspapers across the country picked up the story. Reactions varied widely. In Massachusetts, the Lowell Courier published its opinion that, with women's equality, "the lords must wash the dishes, scour up, be put to the tub, handle the broom, darn stockings." In St. Louis, Missouri, the Daily Reveille trumpeted that "the flag of independence has been hoisted for the second time on this side of the Atlantic." Horace Greeley in the New York Tribune wrote "When a sincere republican is asked to say in sober earnest what adequate reason he can give, for refusing the demand of women to an equal participation with men in political rights, he must answer, None at all. However unwise and mistaken the demand, it is but the assertion of a natural right, and such must be conceded."

Some of the ministers heading congregations in the area attended the Seneca Falls Convention, but none spoke out during the sessions, not even when comments from the floor were invited. On Sunday, July 23, many who had attended, and more who had not, attacked the Convention, the Declaration of Sentiments, and the resolutions. Women in the congregations reported to Stanton, who saw the actions of the ministers as cowardly; in their congregations, no one would be allowed to reply.

Signers of the Declaration of Sentiments hoped for "a series of Conventions, embracing every part of the country" to follow their own meeting. Because of the fame and drawing power of Lucretia Mott, who would not be staying in the Upstate New York area for much longer, a regional Woman's Rights Convention was held two weeks later in Rochester, New York with Abigail Bush serving as president, and Lucretia Mott as featured speaker. In the next two years, "the infancy ... of the movement", local and state women's rights conventions were called in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.

Charlotte Woodward, alone among all 100 signers, was the only one still alive in 1920 when the Nineteenth Amendment passed. Woodward was not well enough to vote herself.

U.S. postage stamp commemorating the Seneca Falls Convention titled 100 Years of Progress of Women: 1848–1948 (Elizabeth Cady Stanton on left, Carrie Chapman Catt in middle, Lucretia Mott on right.)
A stamp was issued in 1948 in remembrance of the Seneca Falls Convention, featuring Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Lucretia Mott.

The Women's Rights National Historical Park was established in 1980, and covers a total of 6.83 acres (27,600 m²) of land in Seneca Falls and nearby Waterloo, New York, USA. The park consists of four major historical properties, including the Wesleyan Methodist Church, which was the site of the Seneca Falls Convention, and the M'Clintock House, which was where the Declaration of Sentiments, resolutions, and speeches were drawn up for the Seneca Falls Convention. The Wesleyan Methodist Church and the M'Clintock House were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

In 1998 then-First Lady Hillary Clinton gave a speech on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention.

In 1870, Paulina Wright Davis authored a history of the antebellum women's rights movement, The History of the National Woman's Rights Movement, and received approval of her account from many of the involved suffragists including Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Davis' version gave the Seneca Falls meeting in 1848 a minor role, equivalent to other local meetings that had been held by women's groups in the late 1840s. Davis set the beginning of the national and international women's rights movement at Worcester, Massachusetts in 1850, at the National Women's Rights Convention when women from many states were invited, the influence of which was felt across the continent and in Great Britain. Stanton seemed to agree; in an address to the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) convention in 1870, on the subject of the women's rights movement, she said "The movement in England, as in America, may be dated from the first National Convention, held at Worcester, Mass., October, 1850."

In 1876, in the spirit of the nation's centennial celebrations, Stanton and Susan B. Anthony decided to write a more expansive history of the women's rights movement. They invited Lucy Stone to help, but Stone declined to be part of the project; she was of the opinion that Stanton and Anthony would not fairly portray the divisive split between NWSA and American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). Stanton and Anthony wrote without her and, in 1881, Stanton published the first volume of the History of Woman Suffrage, and placed herself at each of its most important events, marginalizing Stone's contribution. In the volume, Stanton did not mention the Liberty Party's plank on woman suffrage pre-dating the Seneca Falls Convention by a month, and she did not describe the Worcester National Women's Rights Convention, organized by Stone and Davis in 1850, as the beginning of the women's rights movement. Rather, Stanton named the 1840 Anti-Slavery Convention in London as the birth of the "movement for woman's suffrage, in both England and America". She positioned the Seneca Falls meeting as her own political debut, and characterized it as the beginning of the women's rights movement, calling it "the greatest movement for human liberty recorded on the pages of history—a demand for freedom to one-half the entire race."Stanton worked to enshrine the Declaration of Sentiments as a foundational treatise in a number of ways, not the least of which was by imbuing the small, three-legged tea table upon which the first draft of it was composed an importance similar to that of Thomas Jefferson's desk upon which he wrote the Declaration of Independence. The M'Clintocks gave Stanton the table, then Stanton gave it to Susan B. Anthony on the occasion of her 80th birthday, though Anthony had no part in the Seneca Falls meeting. In keeping with Stanton's promotion of the table as an iconic relic, women's rights activists put it in a place of honor at the head of the casket at the funeral of Susan B. Anthony on March 14, 1906. Subsequently, it was displayed prominently on the stage at each of the most important suffrage meetings until 1920, even though the grievance and resolution about woman suffrage was not written on it. The table is kept at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Lucretia Mott reflected in August 1848 upon the two women's rights conventions in which she had participated that summer, and assessed them no greater than other projects and missions she was involved with. She wrote that the two gatherings were "greatly encouraging; and give hope that this long neglected subject will soon begin to receive the attention that its importance demands."

Historian Gerda Lerner has pointed out that religious ideas provided a fundamental source for the Declaration of Sentiments. Most of the women attending the convention were active in Quaker or evangelical Methodist movements. The document itself drew from writings by the evangelical Quaker Sarah Grimké to make biblical claims that God had created woman equal to man and that man had usurped God's authority by establishing "absolute tyranny" over woman.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fort Cumberland

Fort Cumberland (built 1754) was an 18th-century frontier fort at the current site of Cumberland, Maryland, USA. It was an important military and economic center during the French and Indian War (1754–63) and figured significantly in the early career of George Washington.

At the current location of the city of Cumberland, Maryland, a crude frontier fort was constructed at the confluence of Wills Creek and the Potomac River in fall 1754 by troops of the Maryland militia, under the command of Captain John Dagworthy, and under the overall command of Colonel James Innes, the commander-in-chief of colonial forces at that time. A few years earlier, Thomas Cresap had established a trading post nearby, and hired Native Americans including the local chief Nemacolin to blaze a shorter path across the Allegheny Mountains to Redstone Creek on the Monongahela River, which became known as Nemacolin's Path. Initially named Fort Mount Pleasant, it was renamed Fort Cumberland in 1755. Ft Cumberland figured prominently in the French & Indian War in 1755, when it became a rally point for British forces under command of General Braddock. The wood palisade fort is now gone, and occupying the site is the existing Emmanuel Episcopal Church, but the old fort tunnels still remain underneath.

This fort once marked the westernmost outpost of the British Empire in America, and was the jumping-off point for General Braddock's disastrous expedition against the French at Fort Duquesne in present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When Braddock was killed, a young officer of Virginia militia, George Washington, lead the troops back to Fort Cumberland. At the fort, Washington clashed with Captain Dagworthy over the issue of military rank and which colonial officer should be in command: Washington was a Major in the Virginia militia, outranking the Maryland Captain, but Dagworthy countered that because he also held a Royal commission as a Captain in the Regulars (British Army), he automatically outranked any colonial militia officer.

In May 1755, one of the British officers with General Braddock described the newly christened Fort Cumberland: "[It] is situated within 200 yards of Will's Creek, on a hill and about 400 from the Potomack; its length from east to west is about 200 yards, and breadth 46 yards, and is built by logs driven into the ground, and about 12 feet above it." Eleven days later, he reported that 100 carpenters were at work building a magazine and constructing a bridge over Will's Creek.

Diagrams and drawings of the Fort exist in the British Museum. A scale model of the fort resides in the aforementioned church

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Braddock Expedition

The Braddock expedition, also called Braddock's campaign or, more commonly, Braddock's Defeat, was a failed British military expedition which attempted to capture the French Fort Duquesne (modern-day downtown Pittsburgh) in the summer of 1755 during the French and Indian War. It was defeated at the Battle of the Monongahela on July 9, and the survivors retreated. The expedition takes its name from General Edward Braddock, who led the British forces and died in the effort. Braddock's defeat was a major setback for the British in the early stages of the war with France and has been described as one of the most disastrous defeats for the British in the 18th century.

Braddock's expedition was part of a massive British offensive against the French in North America that summer. As commander-in-chief of the British Army in America, General Braddock led the main thrust against the Ohio Country with a column some 2,100 strong. His command consisted of two regular line regiments, the 44th and 48th with about 1,350 men, along with about 500 regular soldiers and militiamen from several British American colonies, and artillery and other support troops. With these men, Braddock expected to seize Fort Duquesne easily, and then push on to capture a series of French forts, eventually reaching Fort Niagara. George Washington, then just 23, knew the territory and served as a volunteer aide-de-camp to General Braddock. Braddock's Chief of Scouts was Lieutenant John Fraser of the Virginia Regiment. Fraser owned land at Turtle Creek, had been at Fort Necessity, and had served as Second-in-Command at Fort Prince George (renamed Fort Duquesne by the French), at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers.

Braddock mostly failed in his attempts to recruit Native American allies from those tribes not yet allied with the French; he had but eight Mingo Indians with him, serving as scouts. A number of Indians in the area, notably Delaware leader Shingas, remained neutral. Caught between two powerful European empires at war, the local Indians could not afford to be on the side of the loser. They would decide based on Braddock's success or failure.

Setting out from Fort Cumberland in Maryland on May 29, 1755, the expedition faced an enormous logistical challenge: moving a large body of men with equipment, provisions, and (most importantly for attacking the forts) heavy cannons, across the densely wooded Allegheny Mountains and into western Pennsylvania, a journey of about 110 miles (180 km). Braddock had received important assistance from Benjamin Franklin, who helped procure wagons and supplies for the expedition. Among the wagoners were two young men who would later become legends of American history: Daniel Boone and Daniel Morgan. Other members of the expedition included Ensign William Crawford and Charles Scott. Among the British were Thomas Gage; Charles Lee, future American president George Washington, and Horatio Gates.

The expedition progressed slowly because Braddock considered making a road to Fort Duquesne a priority in order to effectively supply the position he expected to capture and hold at the Forks of the Ohio, and because of a shortage of healthy draft animals. In some cases, the column was only able to progress at a rate of two miles (about 3 km) a day, creating Braddock's Road—an important legacy of the march—as they went. To speed up movement, Braddock split his men into a "flying column" of about 1,300 men which he commanded, and, lagging far behind, a supply column of 800 men with most of the baggage, commanded by Colonel Thomas Dunbar. They passed the ruins of Fort Necessity along the way, where the French and Canadians had defeated Washington the previous summer. Small French and Indian war bands skirmished with Braddock's men during the march.

Braddock Road trace near Fort Necessity, Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, at Fort Duquesne, the French garrison consisted of only about 250 regulars and Canadian militia, with about 640 Indian allies camped outside the fort. The Indians were from a variety of tribes long associated with the French, including Ottawas, Ojibwas, and Potawatomis. Claude-Pierre Pécaudy de Contrecœur, the Canadian commander, received reports from Indian scouting parties that the British were on their way to besiege the fort. He realised he could not withstand Braddock's cannon, and decided to launch a preemptive strike, an ambush of Braddock's army as he crossed the Monongahela River. The Indian allies were initially reluctant to attack such a large British force, but the French field commander Daniel Liénard de Beaujeu, who dressed himself in full war regalia complete with war paint, convinced them to follow his lead.

By July 8, 1755, the Braddock force was on the land owned by the Chief Scout, Lieutenant John Fraser. That evening, the Indians sent a delegation to the British to request a conference. Braddock sent Washington and Fraser. The Indians asked the British to halt their advance so that they could attempt to negotiate a peaceful withdrawal by the French from Fort Duquesne. Both Washington and Fraser recommended this to Braddock but he demurred.

On July 9, 1755, Braddock's men crossed the Monongahela without opposition, about 10 miles (16 km) south of Fort Duquesne. The advance guard of 300 grenadiers and colonials with two cannon under Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Gage began to move ahead. George Washington tried to warn him of the flaws in his plan, for example, the French and the Indians fought differently than the open-field style they were using, and other things but his efforts were ignored. It would cost Braddock his life for not listening to young Washington. Then, unexpectedly came upon the French and Indians, who were hurrying to the river, behind schedule and too late to set an ambush.

In the skirmish that followed between Gage's soldiers and the French, the French commander, Beaujeu, was killed by the first volley of musket fire by the grenadiers. Although some 100 French Canadians fled back to the fort and the noise of the cannon held the Indians off, Beaujeu's death did not have a negative effect on French morale; Dumas rallied the rest of the French and their Indian allies. The battle, known as the Battle of the Monongahela, or the Battle of the Wilderness, or just Braddock's Defeat, was officially begun. Braddock's force was approximately 1,400 men. The British faced a French and Indian force estimated to number between 300 and 900. The battle, frequently described as an ambush, was actually a meeting engagement, where two forces clash at an unexpected time and place. The quick and effective response of the French and Indians — despite the early loss of their commander — led many of Braddock's men to believe they had been ambushed. However, French documents reveal that the French and Indian force was too late to prepare an ambush, and had been just as surprised as the British.

Plan of the Battle at the beginning of action on July 9, 1755 (1830 engraving)
After an exchange of fire, Gage's advance group fell back. In the narrow confines of the road, they collided with the main body of Braddock's force, which had advanced rapidly when the shots were heard. The entire column dissolved in disorder as the Canadian militamen and Indians enveloped them and continued to snipe at the British flanks from the woods on the sides of the road. At this time, the French regulars began advancing from the road and began to push the British back.

Following Braddock's example, the officers kept trying to reform units into regular show order within the confines of the road, mostly in vain and simply providing targets for their concealed enemy. Cannon were used, but in such confines of the forest road, they were ineffective. The colonial militia accompanying the British took cover and returned fire. In the confusion, some of the militiamen who were fighting from the woods were mistaken for the enemy and fired upon by the British regulars.

After several hours of intense combat, Braddock was shot off his horse, and effective resistance collapsed. Colonel Washington, although he had no official position in the chain of command, was able to impose and maintain some order and formed a rear guard, which allowed the remants of the force to disengage. This earned him the sobriquet Hero of the Monongahela, by which he was toasted, and established his fame for some time to come.

"We marched to that place, without any considerable loss, having only now and then a straggler picked up by the French and scouting Indians. When we came there, we were attacked by a party of French and Indians, whose number, I am persuaded, did not exceed three hundred men; while ours consisted of about one thousand three hundred well-armed troops, chiefly regular soldiers, who were struck with such a panic that they behaved with more cowardice than it is possible to conceive. The officers behaved gallantly, in order to encourage their men, for which they suffered greatly, there being near sixty killed and wounded; a large proportion of the number we had."

The mortally wounded Braddock retreating with his troops.
By sunset, the surviving British and colonial forces were fleeing back down the road they had built. Braddock died of his wounds during the long retreat, on July 13, and is buried within the Fort Necessity parklands.

Of the approximately 1,300 men Braddock had led into battle, 456 were killed and 422 wounded. Commissioned officers were prime targets and suffered greatly: out of 86 officers, 26 were killed and 37 wounded. Of the 50 or so women that accompanied the British column as maids and cooks, only 4 survived. The French and Canadians reported 8 killed and 4 wounded; their Indian allies lost 15 killed and 12 wounded.

Colonel Dunbar, with the reserves and rear supply units, took command when the survivors reached his position. He ordered the destruction of supplies and cannon before withdrawing, burning about 150 wagons on the spot. Ironically, at this point the defeated, demoralized and disorganised British forces still outnumbered their opponents. The French and Indians did not pursue and were engaged with looting and scalping. The French commander Dumas realized the British were utterly defeated, but he did not have enough of a force to continue organized pursuit.

The debate on how Braddock, with professional soldiers, superior numbers, and artillery, could fail so miserably began soon after the battle and continues to this day. Some blamed Braddock, some blamed his officers, some blamed the British regulars or the colonial militia. George Washington, for his part, supported Braddock and found fault with the British regulars.

Braddock's tactics are still debated. One school of thought holds that Braddock's reliance on time-honoured European methods, where men stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the open and fire mass volleys in unison, was not appropriate for frontier fighting and cost Braddock the battle. Skirmish tactics that American colonials had learned from frontier fighting, where men take cover and fire individually, "Indian style", was the superior method in the American environment.

However, in some studies, the interpretation of "Indian style" superiority has been argued to be a myth by several military historians. European regular armies already employed irregular forces of their own and had extensive theories of how to use and counter guerilla warfare. Stephen Brumwell argues just the opposite, stating that contemporaries of Braddock, like John Forbes and Henry Bouquet, recognized that "war in the forests of America was a very different business from war in Europe." Peter Russell argues it was Braddock's failure to rely on the time-honoured European methods that cost him the battle. The British had already waged war on the irregular forces in the Jacobite uprisings. And East-European irregulars, such as Pandours and Hussars, had already made an impact on European warfare and theory by the 1740s. Braddock's failure, according to proponents of this theory, was that he did not adequately apply traditional military doctrine (particularly by not using distance), not the lack of use of frontier tactics. Russell, in his study, shows that on several occasions before the battle, Braddock successfully adhered to standard European tactics to counter ambushes, and as a result had been nearly immune to earlier French and Canadian attacks.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Fort Pitt

Fort Pitt was a fort built by British colonists during the Seven Years' War at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, where the Ohio River is formed in western Pennsylvania. It replaced Fort Duquesne, a French colonial fort built in 1754 as tensions increased between Britain and France in Europe and North America. Protection of this area ultimately led to the development of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania by British-American colonists and immigrants.

In April 1754, the French began building the preceding fort, Fort Duquesne, on the site of the small British Fort Prince George at the beginning of the French and Indian War (Seven Years' War). The Braddock expedition, a 1755 attempt to take Fort Duquesne, met with defeat at the Battle of the Monongahela at present-day Braddock, Pennsylvania. The French garrison defeated an attacking British regiment in September 1758 at the Battle of Fort Duquesne. French Colonel de Lignery ordered Fort Duquesne destroyed and abandoned at the approach of General John Forbes's expedition in late November.

The Forbes expedition was successful where the Braddock expedition had failed because the Treaty of Easton of 1758 reduced French alliances with Native American tribes. Chiefs of 13 American Indian nations agreed to negotiate peace with the colonial governments of Pennsylvania and New Jersey and to abandon any alliances with the French. The nations were primarily those of the Iroquois, Lenape (Delaware), and Shawnee, who agreed to the treaty in return for the colonial governments' promising to respect their rights to hunting and territory in the Ohio Country, to prohibit establishing new settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains, and to withdraw British and colonial military troops after the war. The Indians wanted a trading post at Fort Duquesne, but they did not want a British army garrison or colonial settlement. The British colonists built a new fort and named it Fort Pitt, after William Pitt the Elder. The fort was built from 1759 to 1761 during the French and Indian War (Seven Years' War), next to the site of former Fort Duquesne.

Although the Block House is located next to the Fort Pitt Museum, it is owned and operated separately by the Daughters of the American Revolution. It maintains separate hours and visitation schedules. Please refer to their website for more information.

After the colonial war and in the face of continued encroachment by the Europeans, in 1763 the western Lenape and Shawnee took part in a Native uprising known as Pontiac's War, an effort to drive settlers out of the region. The Indians' siege of Fort Pitt began on June 22, 1763, but they found it too well-fortified to be taken by force. In negotiations during the siege, Captain Simeon Ecuyer, the commander of Fort Pitt, gave two Delaware emissaries blankets that had been exposed to smallpox. The potential of this act to cause an epidemic among the Indians was clearly understood. Commander William Trent wrote that he hoped "it will have the desired effect." Colonel Henry Bouquet, leading a relief force, would discuss similar tactics with Commander-in-Chief Jeffery Amherst. It is unknown whether people contracted smallpox from these blankets. But, during and after Pontiac's rebellion, epidemics of smallpox among Native Americans caused an estimated 400,000-500,000 deaths (some historians estimated up to 1.5 million.) On August 1, 1763, most of the Indians broke off the siege to intercept the approaching force under Bouquet. In the Battle of Bushy Run, Bouquet fought off the Indian attack and relieved Fort Pitt on August 20.

After Pontiac's War, the British Crown no longer needed Fort Pitt. They turned it over to the colonists in 1772. At that time, the Pittsburgh area was claimed by the colonies of both Virginia and Pennsylvania, which struggled for power over the region. After Virginians took control of Fort Pitt, they called it Fort Dunmore, in honour of Virginia's Governor Lord Dunmore. The fort served as a staging ground in Dunmore's War of 1774.

During the American Revolutionary War, Fort Pitt served as a headquarters for the western theatre of the war. In present-day Michigan, the British garrisoned Fort Detroit.

Only a redoubt, a small brick outbuilding called the Blockhouse, remains in Point State Park as the only intact remnant of Fort Pitt. Erected in 1764, it is believed to be the oldest building still standing in Pittsburgh, and likely within the Mississippi Valley. Used for many years as a private residence, the blockhouse was purchased and preserved for many years by the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Notice was given to area residents of an auction of all salvagable remains of the fort on August 3, 1797 after the U.S. Army decommissioned the site.

The city of Pittsburgh commissioned archeological excavation of the foundations of Fort Pitt. Afterward, some of the fort was reconstructed to give visitors at Point Park a sense of the size of the fort. In this rebuilt section, the Fort Pitt Museum is housed in the Monongahela Bastion. Excavated portions of the fort were filled in, although local citizens hoped to continue to have them accessible by the public.

Fort Pitt Foundry was an important armaments manufacturing center for the Federal government during the Civil War, under the charge of William Metcalf.

Popular culture
In Cecil B. DeMille's 1947 Unconquered, starring Gary Cooper and Paulette Goddard, with Howard Da Silva as a nefarious gunrunner and Boris Karloff as the Seneca chief, Cooper and Goddard save Fort Pitt from an Indian uprising fomented in 1763.
1939's Allegheny Uprising starring John Wayne and Claire Trevor.
Fort Pitt is also present at 2012 video game "Assassin's Creed III", but it is mentioned in the game by its original name, "Fort Duquesne", even after the Braddock and Forbes expeditions.
Fort Pitt appears in Conrad Richter's 1953 youth novel, The Light in the Forest.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Battle of Fort Duquesne

The Battle of Fort Duquesne was a British assault on the eponymous French fort (later the site of Pittsburgh) that was repulsed with heavy losses on 14 September 1758, during the French and Indian War also known as the 7 year war.

The attack on Fort Duquesne was part of a large-scale British expedition with 6,000 troops led by General John Forbes to drive the French out of the contested Ohio Country (the upper Ohio River Valley) and clear the way for an invasion of Canada. Forbes ordered Major James Grant of the 1st Highland Regiment to reconnoiter the area with 850 men. When Grant proceeded to attack the French position, his force was outmanouevred, surrounded, and largely destroyed by the French and their native allies led by François-Marie Le Marchand de Lignery. Major Grant was taken prisoner and the British survivors retreated fitfully to Fort Ligonier.

After repulsing this advance party the French, deserted by some of their native allies and vastly outnumbered by the approaching Forbes, blew up their magazines and burnt Fort Duquesne. In November the French withdrew from the Ohio Valley and British colonists erected Fort Pitt on the site.

Forbes commanded between 6,000 and 8,000 men, including a contingent of Virginians led by George Washington. Forbes, very ill, did not keep up with the advance of his army, but entrusted it to his second in command, Lt. Col. Henry Bouquet, a Swiss officer commanding a battalion of the Royal American Regiment. Bouquet sanctioned a reconnaissance of Fort Duquesne by Major James Grant of Ballindalloch,

On September 11, 1758, Grant led over 800 men to scout the environs of Fort Duquesne ahead of Forbes' main column. Bouquet believed the fort to be held by 500 French and 300 Indians, a force too strong to be attacked by Grant's detachment. Grant, who arrived in the vicinity of the fort on September 13, believed there were only 200 enemy within, and sent a small party of 50 men forward to scout. These saw no enemy outside the fort; they burned a storehouse and returned to Grant's main position, two miles (3 km) from the fort.

The next morning, Grant divided his force into several parts. A company of the 77th, under a Capt. McDonald, approached the fort with drums beating and pipes playing as a decoy. A force of 400 men lay in wait to ambush the enemy when they went out to attack McDonald, and several hundred more under the Virginian Maj. Andrew Lewis were concealed near the force's baggage train in the hope of surprising an enemy attack there.

The French and Indian force was in fact much larger than anticipated, and moved swiftly. They overwhelmed McDonald's decoy force and overran the party that had been meant to ambush them. Lewis's force left its ambush positions and went to the aid of the rest of the force but the French and Indians had by then gained a point of high ground above them and forced them to retire. The Indians used the forest to their advantage; "concealed by a thick foliage, their heavy and destructive fire could not be returned with any effect" In the one-sided battle in the woods, the British and American force suffered 342 casualties, of whom 232 were from the 77th Regiment, including Grant, who was taken prisoner. Out of the eight officers in Andrew Lewis’s Virginian contingent, 5 were killed, 1 was wounded and Lewis himself was captured. Nevertheless, most of Grant's force escaped to rejoin the main army under Forbes and Bouquet. The Franco-Indian force suffered only 8 killed and 8 wounded.

James Smith wrote "Notwithstanding their (the Indians') vigilence, colonel Grant with his Highlanders stole a march upon them, and in the night took possession of a hill about eighty rod from Fort DuQuesne -—this hill is on that account called Grant's hill to this day. French and Indians knew not that Grant and his men were there until they beat the drum and played upon the bag-pipes, just at day-light. They then flew to arms, and the Indians ran up under covert of the banks of Allegheny and Monongahela, for some distance, and then sallied out from the banks of the rivers, and took possession of the hill above Grant; and as he was on the point of it in sight of the fort, they immediately surrounded him, and as he had his Highlanders in ranks, and very close order, and the Indians scattered, and concealed behind trees, they defeated him with the loss only of a few warriors -—most of the Highlanders were killed or taken prisoners."

A plaque on the Allegheny County Courthouse, erected in 1901 commemorates the site of the battle, and the hill where the battle was fought is today called Grant Street, in Pittsburgh.

French retreat
Though the French had beaten off the initial British attack, Lignery understood that his force of about 600 could not hold Fort Duquesne against the main British force of more than ten times that number. The French continued to occupy Fort Duquesne until November 26, when the garrison set fire to the fort and left under the cover of darkness. As the British marched up to the smoldering remains, they were confronted with an appalling sight. The Indians had decapitated many of the dead Highlanders and impaled their heads on the sharp stakes on top of the fort walls, with their kilts displayed below. The British and Americans rebuilt Fort Duquesne, naming it Fort Pitt after the British prime minister William Pitt, who had ordered the capture of that strategic location.

Fort William Henry

Fort William Henry was a British fort at the southern end of Lake George in the province of New York. It is best known as the site of notorious atrocities committed by the Huron tribes against the surrendered British and provincial troops following a successful French siege in 1757, an event portrayed in James Fenimore Cooper's novel, The Last of the Mohicans, first published in January 1826.

The fort's construction was ordered by Sir William Johnson in September 1755, during the French and Indian War, as a staging ground for attacks against the French fort at Crown Point called Fort St. Frédéric. It was part of a chain of British and French forts along the important inland waterway from New York City to Montreal, and occupied a key forward location on the frontier between New York and New France. It was named for both Prince William, the Duke of Cumberland, the younger son of King George II, and Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, a grandson of King George II and a younger brother of the future King George III.

Following the 1757 siege, the French destroyed the fort and withdrew. While other forts were built nearby in later years, the site of Fort William Henry lay abandoned. In the 19th century, it was a destination for tourists. In the 1950s interest in the history of the site revived, and a replica of the fort was constructed. It is now operated as a living museum and a popular tourist attraction in the village of Lake George.

In 1755, Sir William Johnson, British Indian Supervisor of the Northeast, established a military camp at the southern end of Lake George, with the objective of launching an attack on Fort St. Frédéric, a French fort at Crown Point on Lake Champlain. The French commander, Baron Dieskau, decided to launch a preemptive attack on Johnson's support base at Fort Edward on the Hudson River. Their movements precipitated the somewhat inconclusive Battle of Lake George on September 8, 1755, part of which was fought on the ground of Johnson's Lake George camp. Following the battle, Johnson decided to construct a fortification near the site, while the French began construction of Fort Carillon near the northern end of the lake.

Design and construction of the new fortification was overseen by British military engineer William Eyre of the 44th Foot. Fort William Henry was an irregular square fortification with bastions on the corners, in a design that was intended to repel Indian attacks, but not necessarily withstand attack from an enemy armed with artillery. Its walls were 30 feet (9.1 m) thick, with log facings around an earthen filling. Inside the fort were wooden barracks two stories high, built around the parade ground. Its magazine was in the northeast bastion, and its hospital was located in the southeast bastion. The fort was surrounded on three sides by a dry moat, with the fourth side sloping down to the lake. The only access to the fort was by a bridge across the moat. The fort could house 400 to 500 men; additional troops were quartered in an entrenched camp 750 yards (690 m) southeast of the fort, near the site of the 1755 Battle of Lake George.

The fort was ready for occupancy, if not fully complete, on November 13, 1755. Eyre served as its first commander, with a garrison consisting of companies from his 44th, as well as several companies of Rogers' Rangers.

In the spring of 1757, command of the fort was turned over to George Monro, with a garrison principally drawn from the 35th Foot and the 60th (Royal American) Foot. By June the garrison had swollen to about 1,600 men with the arrival of provincial militia companies from Connecticut and New Jersey. Because the fort was too small to quarter this many troops, many of them were stationed in Johnson's old camp to the southwest of the fort. When word arrived in late July that the French had mobilized to attack the fort, another 1,000 regulars and militia arrived, swelling Monro's force to about 2,300 effective troops. Johnson's camp, where many were quartered, was quickly protected by the digging of trenches. Conditions in both the fort and the camp were not good, and many men were ill, including some with smallpox.

The French force of General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm arrived on August 3, and established camps to the south and west of the fort. Following heavy bombardment and siege operations that progressively neared the fort's walls, the garrison was forced to surrender on August 8th when it became apparent that General Daniel Webb, the commander at Fort Edward, was not sending any relief. French forces totaled some 8,000, consisting of 3,000 regulars, 3,000 militia and nearly 2,000 Native Americans from diverse tribes.

What happened next has been described in historical and popular treatments as a massacre. While horrific actions took place, the number of people killed and wounded appears to have been relatively modest; historian Ian Steele claims that it is unlikely that more than 200 people (about 7.5% of the captured population) were killed or wounded.

The terms of surrender were that the British and their camp followers would be allowed to withdraw, under French escort, to Fort Edward, with the full honours of war, on condition that they refrain from participation in the war for 18 months. They were allowed to keep their muskets but no ammunition, and a single symbolic cannon. In addition, British authorities were to release French prisoners within three months.

Montcalm, before agreeing to these terms, attempted to make sure that his Indian allies understood them, and that the chiefs would undertake to restrain their men. The British garrison was then evacuated from the fort to the entrenched camp, while Monro was quartered in the French camp. The Indians then entered the fort and plundered it, butchering some of the wounded and sick that the British had left behind The French guards posted around the entrenched camp were somewhat unsuccessful at keeping the Indians out of that area, and it took significant effort to prevent plunder and scalping in that camp. Montcalm and Monro initially planned to march the prisoners south the following morning, but after seeing the Indian bloodlust, decided to attempt the march that night. When the Indians became aware that the camp was getting ready to move, a large number of them massed around the camp, causing the leaders to call off the idea.

The next morning, even before the British column began to form up for the march to Fort Edward, the Indians renewed attacks on the largely defenceless British. At 5 am, Indians entered huts in the fort housing wounded British who were supposed to be under the care of French doctors, and killed and scalped them. Monro complained that the terms of capitulation had in essence been violated already, but his contingent was forced to surrender some of its baggage in order to even be able to begin the march. As they marched off, they were harassed by the swarming Indians, who snatched at them, grabbing for weapons and clothing, and pulling away with force those that resisted their actions, including many of the women, children, and black servants. As the last of the men left the encampment, a war whoop sounded, and warriors seized a number of men at the rear of the column.

While Montcalm and other French officers tried to stop these attacks, others did not, and explicitly refused further protection to the British. At this point, the column dissolved, as some prisoners tried to escape the Indian onslaught, while others actively tried to defend themselves. Massachusetts Colonel Joseph Frye reported that he was stripped of much of his clothing and repeatedly threatened. He fled into the woods, and did not reach Fort Edward until August 12, three days later.

Estimates of the numbers captured, wounded or killed varied widely. Ian Steele has compiled estimates ranging from 200 to 1,500. His detailed reconstruction of the action and its aftermath indicates that the final tally of missing and dead ranges from 69 to 184, at most 7.5% of the 2,308 who surrendered.

Atrocities described in accounts of the massacre include the killing and scalping of sick and wounded individuals, and the digging up graves to take additional trophies from those who died of wounds or disease during the siege. As a result, many Indians who participated in the action may have contracted smallpox, which they carried back to their communities.

After the battle, the French systematically destroyed the fort before returning to Fort Carillon.

In Assassin's Creed Rogue, the player must help colonel George Monro and his troops survive the ambush.

After the French won the battle, the French destroyed the fort. It lay abandoned for 200 years. Reconstruction of a replica of the fort took place in the 1950s.

In 1992 a replica of Fort William Henry was constructed on Lake James (a large reservoir in the mountains of Western North Carolina that straddles the border between Burke and McDowell counties) to serve as a filming site for the Daniel Day-Lewis movie, The Last of the Mohicans.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Fort Ticonderoga

Fort Ticonderoga, formerly Fort Carillon, is a large 18th-century star fort built by the French at a narrows near the south end of Lake Champlain in northern New York in the United States. It was constructed by Canadian-born French military engineer Michel Chartier de Lotbinière, Marquis de Lotbinière between October 1755 and 1757 during the Seven Years' War, often referred to as the French and Indian War in the US. It was of strategic importance during the 18th-century colonial conflicts between Great Britain and France, and again played an important role during the American Revolutionary War.

The site controlled a river portage alongside the mouth of the rapids-infested La Chute River in the 3.5 miles (5.6 km) between Lake Champlain and Lake George and was strategically placed in conflicts over trade routes between the British-controlled Hudson River Valley and the French-controlled Saint Lawrence River Valley. The terrain amplified the importance of the site. Both lakes were long and narrow, oriented north–south, as were the many ridge lines of the Appalachian Mountains extending as far south as Georgia, creating the near-impassable mountainous terrains to the east and west of the Great Appalachian Valley that the site commanded. The name "Ticonderoga" comes from the Iroquois word tekontaró:ken, meaning "it is at the junction of two waterways".

During the 1758 Battle of Carillon, 4,000 French defenders were able to repel an attack by 16,000 British troops near the fort. In 1759, the British returned and drove a token French garrison from the fort merely by occupying high ground that threatened the fort. During the American Revolutionary War, the fort again saw action in May 1775 when the Green Mountain Boys and other state militia under the command of Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured it in a surprise attack. Cannons captured were transported to Boston where their deployment forced the British to abandon the city in March 1776. The Americans held the fort until June 1777, when British forces under General John Burgoyne again occupied high ground above it and threatened the Continental Army troops, leading them to withdraw from the fort and its surrounding defenses. The only direct attack on the fort took place in September 1777, when John Brown led 500 Americans in an unsuccessful attempt to capture the fort from about 100 British defenders.

The British abandoned the fort after the failure of the Saratoga campaign, and it ceased to be of military value after 1781. It fell into ruin, leading people to strip it of some of its usable stone, metal, and woodwork. It became a stop on tourist routes of the area in the 19th century. Its private owners restored the fort early in the 20th century. A foundation now operates the fort as a tourist attraction, museum, and research center.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Fort Halifax

Fort Halifax is a former British colonial outpost on the banks of the Sebasticook River, just above its mouth at the Kennebec River, in Winslow, Maine. Originally built as a wooden palisaded star fort in 1754, during the French and Indian War, only a single blockhouse survives. A National Historic Landmark, it is the oldest blockhouse in the United States. It is now set in a municipal park, and is open to the public in the warmer months.

Fort Halifax was a fort on the north bank of the Sebasticook River. (It had previously been the location of the native Fort Taconnet or Taconock, which natives burned upon the approach of Major Benjamin Church during King William's War in the late 17th century. ) Its blockhouse, which survives, is the oldest blockhouse in the United States. (The oldest blockhouse in North America is Fort Edward). It was part of a garrison built by the Province of Massachusetts Bay in 1754-1756 at the outset of the French and Indian War. On July 25, 1754, Major General John Winslow arrived with a force of 600 soldiers to establish the fort at the confluence of the Kennebec River with the Sebasticook River. (William Shirley was also on this expedition.) The palisaded defense was intended to prevent Canadiens and their Native American allies from using the Kennebec River valley as a route to attack English settlements. Further, Massachusetts was extending its border into the former region of Acadia and threatening the capital of Canada, Quebec.

Fort Richmond was dismantled in 1755 when Fort Shirley (named after William Shirley, also called Frankfort, located in present-day Dresden), Fort Western and Fort Halifax were built upriver.

In 1754, Fort Halifax was built by order of the Massachusetts General Court on the peninsula at the confluence of the Sebasticook and Kennebec rivers. The fort was named for George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, the British colonial secretary. A settlement subsequently sprang up under its protection, and was named in honor of Major-General John Winslow, of Marshfield, Massachusetts who had overseen the fort's construction.

The Natives raided the fort in the fall of 1754.

Commander William Leithow
In 1755, the commanding officer, Captain William Lithgow, discontinued Major-General WinslowIn May 1756, the natives attacked soldiers from the fort.

In 1756, near Topshee, Col Lithgow and a party of 8 men were ambushed by 17 natives, both sides suffering the loss of two men. The natives later killed two more white men in the area. The fort was abandoned in 1766, and was sold into private hands.

In September 1775, Fort Halifax hosted troops under Colonel Benedict Arnold on their expedition to Quebec City. At the end of the American Revolution, most of Fort Halifax was dismantled. By the early 1800s, only the blockhouse on the Sebasticook still stood. Later in the century, tourists visited the fort, especially railway passengers and students from Colby College. These guests carved chunks of wood from the blockhouse as souvenirs.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ownership of Fort Halifax blockhouse changed hands numerous times. The structures of the fort deteriorated, and eventually everything except the surviving blockhouse was demolished. From 1924 to 1966, the Fort Halifax Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution owned the blockhouse and was responsible for its upkeep. The DAR turned the property over to the state in 1966. The town purchased the property surrounding the blockhouse in 1976 and 1982, with the plan to rehabilitate the area and develop a park. The blockhouse was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1968.

On April 1, 1987, a severe flood dismantled the blockhouse. Twenty-two original logs were recovered, some of them found as far south as forty miles. The blockhouse was reconstructed on its original site in 1988. That fall, the rebuilt blockhouse was dedicated in a ceremony that drew hundreds of guests.

The Town of Winslow in 2011 drafted plans to rebuild some of the fort and to expand and improve interpretive displays, trails, and recreational opportunities at the site.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Benedict Arnold and the Quebec Expedition

In September 1775, early in the American Revolutionary War, Colonel Benedict Arnold led a force of 1,100 Continental Army troops on an expedition from Cambridge, Massachusetts to the gates of Quebec City. Part of a two-pronged invasion of the British Province of Quebec, his expedition passed through the wilderness of what is now Maine. The other expedition, led by Richard Montgomery, invaded Quebec from Lake Champlain.

Unanticipated problems beset the expedition as soon as it left the last significant colonial outposts in Maine. The portages up the Kennebec River proved grueling, and the boats frequently leaked, ruining gunpowder and spoiling food supplies. More than a third of the men turned back before reaching the height of land between the Kennebec and Chaudière rivers. The areas on either side of the height of land were swampy tangles of lakes and streams, and the traversal was made more difficult by bad weather and inaccurate maps. Many of the troops lacked experience handling boats in white water, which led to the destruction of more boats and supplies in the descent to the Saint Lawrence River via the fast-flowing Chaudière.

By the time Arnold reached the French settlements above the Saint Lawrence River in November, his force was reduced to 600 starving men. They had traveled about 350 miles (560 km) through poorly charted wilderness, twice the distance they had expected to cover. Assisted by the local French-speaking Canadiens, Arnold's troops crossed the Saint Lawrence on November 13 and 14 and attempted to put Quebec City under siege. Failing in this, they withdrew to Point-aux-Trembles until Montgomery arrived to lead an unsuccessful attack on the city. Arnold was rewarded for his effort in leading the expedition with a promotion to brigadier general.

Arnold's route through northern Maine has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Arnold Trail to Quebec, and some geographic features in the area bear names of expedition participants.

On May 10, 1775, shortly after the American Revolutionary War began, Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen led an expedition that captured Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain in the British Province of New York. Allen and Arnold were aware that Quebec was lightly defended; there were only about 600 regular troops in the entire province. Arnold, who had done business in the province before the war, also had intelligence that the French-speaking Canadiens would be favorably disposed toward a colonial force.

Arnold and Allen each made arguments to the Second Continental Congress that Quebec could and should be taken from the British, pointing out that the British could use Quebec as a staging area for attacks down Lake Champlain and into the Hudson River valley. Congress did not want to alarm the people of Quebec, and rejected these arguments. In July 1775, amid concerns that the British might use Quebec as a base for military movements into New York, they changed their position, and authorized an invasion of Quebec via Lake Champlain, assigning the task to Major General Philip Schuyler of New York.

Arnold, who had hoped to lead the invasion, decided to pursue a different approach to Quebec. He went to Cambridge, Massachusetts in early August 1775, and approached George Washington with the idea of a second eastern invasion force aimed at Quebec City. Washington approved of the idea in principle, but sent a message to General Schuyler on August 20 to ensure his support of the endeavor, since the two forces would need to coordinate their efforts.

Arnold's plan called for the expedition to sail from Newburyport, Massachusetts along the coast and then up the Kennebec River to Fort Western (now Augusta, Maine). From there, they would use shallow-draft river boats called bateaux to continue up the Kennebec River, cross the height of land to Lake Mégantic, and descend the Chaudière River to Quebec. Arnold expected to cover the 180 miles (290 km) from Fort Western to Quebec in 20 days, despite the fact that little was known about the route. Arnold had acquired a map (copy pictured at left) and journal made by British military engineer John Montresor in 1760 and 1761, but Montresor's descriptions of the route were not very detailed, and Arnold did not know that the map contained some inaccuracies or that some details had been deliberately removed or obscured.

Washington introduced Arnold to Reuben Colburn, a boat builder from Gardinerston, Maine, who was in Cambridge at the time. Colburn offered his services, and Arnold requested detailed information about the route, including potential British naval threats, Indian sentiment, useful supply opportunities, and an estimate of how long it would take to construct bateaux sufficient for the contemplated force. Colburn left for Maine on August 21 to fulfill these requests. Colburn asked Samuel Goodwin, the local surveyor in Gardinerston, to provide maps for Arnold. Goodwin, who was known to have Loyalist sympathies, provided maps that were inaccurate in the routes, distances and other important features they described.

On September 2, Washington received a letter from General Schuyler in reply to his August 20 message. Schuyler agreed with the suggested plan, and Washington and Arnold immediately began to raise troops and place orders for supplies

Recruitment and preparations for departure
Because there had been little direct action at Boston after the Battle of Bunker Hill in June, many units stationed in the American camps besieging the town were bored with garrison life and eager for action. Arnold selected a force of 750 men from the large number who expressed interest in the proposed expedition. Most of these were divided into two battalions: one commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Roger Enos and the other by Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Greene. The rest were placed in a third battalion under Daniel Morgan that included three companies—250 men—of Continental riflemen from Virginia and the Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment. These frontiersmen, from the Virginia and Pennsylvania wilderness, were better suited to wilderness combat than to a siege, and had been causing trouble since arriving outside Boston. The entire force numbered about 1,100. Among the volunteers were other men who rose to later prominence during and after the war, including Aaron Burr, Return J. Meigs, Henry Dearborn, and John Joseph Henry.

Washington and Arnold were concerned about Indian support for (or opposition to) the effort, as well as the reception Arnold's forces might receive from the Canadians once they arrived near the Saint Lawrence River. On August 30, Washington wrote to General Schuyler of a meeting he held with an Abenaki chief, "[The chief] says the Indians of Canada in general, and also the French, are greatly in our favor, and determined not to act against us." Four Abenakis accompanied the expedition as scouts and guides.

On September 2, as soon as General Schuyler's agreement with the expedition was known, Arnold wrote a letter to Nathaniel Tracy, a merchant of his acquaintance in Newburyport. He asked Tracy to acquire sufficient shipping to transport the expedition to Maine without drawing attention to Royal Navy ships patrolling the area. The sea voyage was viewed by both Arnold and Washington as the most dangerous part of the expedition, because British patrols were highly effective at interfering with colonial shipping at the time.

The expedition began its departure from Cambridge on September 11, marching to Newburyport. The first units to leave were composed largely of men from that area, to whom Arnold had given extra time so that they would be able to see their families once more before the expedition left Newburyport. The last troops marched off on September 13; Arnold rode from Cambridge to Newburyport on September 15 after making final purchases of supplies.

Headwinds and fog delayed the departure of the expedition from Newburyport until September 19. In twelve hours, they reached the mouth of the Kennebec River. They spent the next two days negotiating the island channels near its mouth and sailing up the river. Arriving in Gardinerston on the 22nd, they spent the next few days at Reuben Colburn's house, organizing supplies and preparing the boats they would use for the rest of the expedition. Arnold inspected Colburn's hastily constructed bateaux, finding them, in a portent of troubles to come, to be "very badly built", and "smaller than the directions given". Colburn and his crew spent the next three days building additional bateaux.

Arnold's troop movements did not escape British notice. General Thomas Gage in Boston was aware that Arnold's troops were "gone to Canada and by way of Newburyport", but he believed the target to be Nova Scotia, which was at the time virtually undefended. Francis Legge, the governor of Nova Scotia, declared martial law, and on October 17 sent a message to England laden with rumors about American actions that turned out to be false. Admiral Samuel Graves eventually received intelligence about Arnold's activities, reporting on October 18 that the American troops "went up the Kennebec River, and 'tis generally believed are for Quebec"

As the troop transports arrived, Arnold dispatched some of the men in the already-constructed bateaux up the Kennebec River 10 miles (16 km) to Fort Western, and the others by foot on a track leading to Fort Halifax, 45 miles (72 km) up the Kennebec. While waiting for the bateaux to be completed, Arnold received word from scouts Colburn had sent out to reconnoiter the proposed route. Their reports included rumors of a large Mohawk force near the southernmost French settlements on the Chaudière River. The source of these rumors was Natanis, a Norridgewock Indian believed to be spying for Quebec's governor, General Guy Carleton; Arnold discounted the reports.

Arnold and most of the force had reached Fort Western by September 23. The next day, Arnold sent two small parties up the Kennebec. One, under Pennsylvania Lieutenant Archibald Steele, was ordered to scout as far as Lake Mégantic to gather intelligence. The second, under Lieutenant Church, was to survey the route as far as the Dead River, at a place known to the local Indians as the Great Carrying Place, so that Arnold might better estimate how far the column would need to travel each day.

The full expedition set out from Fort Western on September 25. Morgan's riflemen led the way, blazing trails when necessary. Colburn and a crew of boatwrights came in the rear, to repair bateaux as needed. Morgan's group traveled relatively lightly, as they would be working to make the trail, while the last group, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Enos, carried the bulk of the supplies.The expedition arrived at its first target, Fort Halifax, a decaying relic of the French and Indian War, on the second day. There was a rough track from Fort Western, so some of the men and supplies had moved overland rather than in the bateaux that had to be portaged around the falls above Fort Western to begin the trip. Arnold, rather than traveling in a heavy bateau, traveled in a lighter canoe so that he might move more rapidly among the troops along the travel route.

Arnold reached Norridgewock Falls, location of the last settlements on the Kennebec, on October 2. Even at this early date, problems were apparent. The bateaux were leaking, resulting in spoiled food and a continual need for repairs. The men were constantly wet, due not only to the leakage but also the frequent need to pull the heavy boats upstream. As temperatures began to drop below freezing, colds and dysentery set in, reducing the effectiveness of the force.

The portage around Norridgewock Falls, a distance of about one mile (1.6 km), was accomplished with the assistance of oxen provided by the local settlers, but it took almost a week to complete; Arnold did not depart from there until October 9. Colburn's crew devoted some of this time to making repairs on the bateaux. Most of the expedition reached the Great Carrying Place on October 11, and Arnold arrived the next day. This stretch of the trek was complicated by heavy rains, rendering the portages difficult due to extremely muddy conditions.

The Great Carrying Place was a portage of roughly 12 miles (19 km), bypassing an unnavigable section of the Dead River, the tributary of the Kennebec that the expedition was to follow. The portage included a rise in elevation of about 1,000 feet (305 m) to the high points of the carry, with three ponds along the way. Lieutenant Church, the leader of the survey team, described the route as a "bad road but capable of being made good", an assessment that turned out to be somewhat optimistic.

The vanguard of the main body, led by Daniel Morgan, met Lieutenant Steele's advance scouting party en route to the first pond. This party had successfully scouted the route to the height of land above the Dead River, but the men were near starvation. Their supplies had been depleted, and they were largely subsisting on a protein-rich diet of fish, moose, and duck. Most of the men continued to supplement their meager supplies with the local wildlife as the expedition continued.

Church, in his description of the route, had failed to account for the heavy rains and the generally boggy conditions between the first and second ponds. Rain and snow slowed the long portage, and the expedition had its first casualty when a falling tree killed one of the party. Some of the men who drank the brackish waters along the way became violently ill, forcing Arnold to order construction of a shelter at the second pond as cover for the sick, and to send some men back to Fort Halifax for supplies that had been cached there.

The first two battalions finally reached the Dead River on October 13, and Arnold arrived three days later. At this point, Arnold wrote a number of letters informing Washington and Montgomery of his progress. Several letters intended for Montgomery were intercepted and turned over to Quebec's Lieutenant Governor Hector Theophilus de Cramahé, giving Quebec its first notice that the expedition was on its way. Arnold also dispatched the survey team again, this time to mark the trail all the way to Lake Mégantic.

Progress up the Dead River was extremely slow. Contrary to its name, which supposedly described the speed of its currents, the river was flowing rapidly enough that the men had trouble rowing and poling against the current. The leaky boats spoiled more of the food, forcing Arnold to put everyone on half rations. Then, on October 19, the skies opened, and the river began to rise in the pouring rain. Early on October 22, the men awoke to discover that the river had risen to the level of their camp, and they had to scramble to even higher ground for safety. When the sun rose they were surrounded by water.

After spending most of that day drying out, the expedition set off on October 23. Precious time was lost when some of the men mistakenly left the Dead River and ascended one of its branches, having been fooled by the high water. Soon after, seven bateaux overturned, spoiling the remaining food stores. This accident compelled Arnold to consider turning back. He called together his nearby officers for a council of war. Arnold explained that although the situation was grim, he thought that the expedition should continue. The officers agreed, and decided to pick an advance party that would proceed as rapidly as possible to French settlements on the Chaudière, and work to bring supplies back. The sick and infirm were to retreat to American settlements in Maine.

Further back on the route, Lieutenant Colonel Greene and his men were starving. They had little flour, and were consuming candle wax and shoe leather to supplement their minimal rations. On October 24, Greene attempted to catch up with Arnold, but was unable to do so because Arnold had moved too far ahead. When he returned to camp, Lieutenant Colonel Enos had arrived, and they held their own council. Enos's captains were united in wanting to turn back despite Arnold's most recent orders, which were to press ahead. In the council, Enos cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of continuing, but in a meeting with his captains after the council, announced that because they were insistent on returning, he was acceding to their decision, and would return. After giving Greene's men some of his supplies, Enos and 450 men turned back.

The impact of the inaccurate maps was felt when the expedition reached the height of land.Portions of the advance party became lost in swampy bogs (the area surrounding Spider Lake on the topographic map shown above) that were not on those maps, resulting in delays reaching Lake Mégantic. Although this part of the party crossed the height of land on October 25, it was not until two days later that they reached the lake. On October 28, the advance party descended the upper Chaudière, destroying three of their bateaux when they turned over and crashed into rocks above some falls on the river. The next day they encountered several Penobscot Indians, who confirmed that they were not far from Sartigan, the southernmost French settlement on the Chaudière.

Arnold, when he reached Lake Mégantic, sent a man back to the two remaining battalions with instructions on how to navigate the swampy lands above the lake. However, the way Arnold described the route included information from the incorrect maps that he had not seen on the route. As a result, some elements of the expedition spent two days lost in swamps before the majority finally reached the falls on the upper Chaudière on October 31. Along the way, Captain Henry Dearborn's dog was eaten, an event recorded in his diary: "[They ate] every part of him, not excepting his entrails; and after finishing their meal, they collected the bones and carried them to be pounded up, and to make broth for another meal."

Arnold first made contact with the local population on October 30. Sympathetic to his plight, they supplied provisions and cared for the sick; some were well paid for their aid, while others refused payment. Arnold distributed copies of a letter written by Washington asking the habitants to assist the expedition, and Arnold added promises to respect the persons, property, and religion of the locals. Jacques Parent, a Canadien from Pointe-Levi, notified Arnold that Lieutenant Governor Cramahé had ordered the destruction of all boats on the southern banks of the Saint Lawrence after receiving the intercepted communications

On November 9 the expedition finally reached the Saint Lawrence at Pointe-Levi, across the river from Quebec. Arnold had about 600 of his original 1,100 men, and the journey had turned out to be 350 miles (560 km), not the 180 that Arnold and Washington had thought it would be. From John Halstead, a New Jersey-born businessman who operated a mill near Pointe-Levi, Arnold learned of the arrest of his courier and the interception of some of his letters. Halstead's mill became the organizing point for the crossing of the Saint Lawrence. Some of Arnold's men purchased canoes from the habitants and the local Saint Francis Indians, and then transported them from the Chaudière to the mill site. The forces crossed the Saint Lawrence on the night of November 13–14 after three days of bad weather, likely crossing the mile-wide river between the positions of HMS Hunter and HMS Lizard, two Royal Navy ships that were guarding the river against such a crossing.

The city of Quebec was then defended by about 150 men of the Royal Highland Emigrants under Lieutenant Colonel Allen Maclean, supported by about 500 poorly organized local militia and 400 marines from the two warships. When Arnold and his troops finally reached the Plains of Abraham on November 14, Arnold sent a negotiator with a white flag to demand their surrender, to no avail. The Americans, with no cannons or other field artillery, and barely fit for action, faced a fortified city. After hearing rumors of a planned sortie from the city, Arnold decided on November 19 to withdraw to Pointe-aux-Trembles to wait for Montgomery, who had recently captured Montreal.

When Montgomery arrived at Pointe-aux-Trembles on December 3, the combined force returned to the city and began a siege, finally assaulting it on December 31. The battle was a devastating loss for the Americans; Montgomery was killed, Arnold was wounded, and Daniel Morgan was captured along with more than 350 men. Arnold did not learn until after the battle that he had been promoted to brigadier general for his role in leading the expedition.

The invasion ended with a retreat back to Fort Ticonderoga, Montgomery's starting point, during the spring and summer of 1776. Arnold, who commanded the army's rear guard in the later stages of the retreat, was able to delay the British advance sufficiently to prevent them from attempting to reach the Hudson River in 1776.

Enos and his detachment arrived back in Cambridge late in November. Enos was court-martialed, charged with "quitting his commanding officer without leave". He was acquitted, and returned to service as Lieutenant Colonel of the 16th Connecticut Regiment.

John Sullivan, the court-martial President, made public a written statement in support of Enos' conduct, and other officers also issued a public circular to support Enos, including William Heath, John Stark, Joseph Reed, and James Reed.

Enos subsequently moved to Vermont, where he served in the militia as Colonel, Brigadier General and Major General, including commanding troops on the Vermont side of Lake Champlain during the Saratoga campaign to deter John Burgoyne from foraying into Vermont.

Reuben Colburn was never paid for his work, despite promises made by Arnold and Washington; the expedition ruined him financially.

Henry Dearborn settled on the Kennebec River after the war, and represented the area in the U. S. Congress before Thomas Jefferson appointed him Secretary of War. Private Simon Fobes, who kept one of the many journals of the expedition, was captured in the Battle of Quebec. He and two others escaped captivity in August 1776 and retraced the trek in the opposite direction, once again with meager resources. They benefited from better weather and equipment the expedition had abandoned along the way. Fobes reached his home near Worcester, Massachusetts at the end of September, and eventually rejoined the army. Captain Simeon Thayer kept a journal which was published by the Rhode Island Historical Society in 1867 as The invasion of Canada in 1775. After being captured at Quebec, Thayer was exchanged on July 1, 1777 and returned to the Continental Army with the rank of major. He distinguished himself during the Siege of Fort Mifflin in November 1777 and briefly assumed command after the post's commandant was wounded.

A number of geographic features along the route of the expedition bear names related to the expedition. East Carry Pond, Middle Carry Pond, and West Carry Pond, are all on the route of the portage at the Great Carrying Place, which is in the Carrying Place Town Township [sic] of Maine. Arnold Pond is the last pond on the Dead River before crossing the height of land. Mount Bigelow in Maine was named for Major Timothy Bigelow, one of Arnold's officers.

The wilderness portion of the route through Maine, roughly from Augusta to the Quebec border, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969 as the "Arnold Trail to Quebec". The Major Reuben Colburn House, which served as Arnold's headquarters, is now a state historic site administered by the non-profit Arnold Expedition Historical Society, and is also listed on the National Register. Both Fort Western and Fort Halifax are National Historic Landmarks, primarily for their age and their role in earlier conflicts.

An historical marker in Danvers, Massachusetts commemorates Arnold's expedition, placed by the Massachusetts Society, Sons of the American Revolution. There is also an historical marker in Moscow, Maine placed in 1916 by the Kennebec chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and two at Skowhegan Island in Maine placed in 1912 and 2000 by the Eunice Farnsworth Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. In Eustis, Maine, on the western shore of Flagstaff Lake stands a marker commemorating the expedition. The lake was created in the 20th century by damming the Dead River, inundating part of the expedition route. Mount Bigelow, whose first recorded ascent was by Timothy Bigelow, stands just south of the lake.