Relive Henry Knox’s epic feat as he prepared to move massive cannon from Ticonderoga to Boston to force the British evacuation in 1776. Watch as soldiers work as carpenters to maintain Ticonderoga. Witness the raw power of oxen and horses as these thousand-pound animals pull sleds of cannon tubes. Examine the science of gunnery, preserved in Fort Ticonderoga’s massive cannon collection. Listen to the stirring tunes of martial music during a Fife and Drum performance. Tour through Fort Ticonderoga and learn more about our museum exhibits and daily demonstrations as you step into the first year of the Revolutionary War. Visit historic trades shops to discover daily routines for men and women at this strategic fortification in 1775.
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The siege of Boston, April 19, 1775 – March 17, 1776 was the opening phase of the American Revolutionary War in which New England militiamen, who later became part of the Continental Army, surrounded the town of Boston, Massachusetts, to prevent movement by the British Army garrisoned within. In November 1775, Washington sent a 25 year-old bookseller-turned-soldier, Henry Knox, to bring heavy artillery that had been captured at Fort Ticonderoga to Boston. Knox knew the challenge before him as he wrote to George Washington on December 5, 1775.
The garrison at Ticonderoga is so weak, the conveyance from the fort to the landing is so difficult, the passage across the lake so precarious, that I am afraid it will be ten days at least before I can get them on this side. When they are here, the conveyance from hence will depend entirely on the sledding; if that is wood, they shall immediately move forward; without sledding, the roads are so much gullied that it will be impossible to move a step.
In a technically complex and demanding operation, Knox began the “Noble Train” in January 1776 at Ticonderoga and carried sixty tons of artillery through the dead of winter to Boston in just forty days. In March 1776, these artillery pieces were used to fortify Dorchester Heights, overlooking Boston and its harbor and threatening the British naval supply lifeline. The British commander William Howe, realizing he could no longer hold the town, chose to evacuate it. He withdrew the British forces, departing on March 17, for Halifax, Nova Scotia thus giving Washington his first great victory of the war.
Fort Ticonderoga is the location of the first Knox Trail marker in the Knox cannon trail that traces the route of the Noble Train. The Fort Ticonderoga Museum owns 2 original artillery pieces that made the epic journey in the winter of 1776.