The Carillon Battlefield

The Carillon Battlefield is located a half-mile west of the fort. On this site in July 1758, the British Army attacked the French at Ticonderoga attempting to capture the fort and take control of the portage between Lake George and Lake Champlain. Fort Carillon itself was still incomplete and overlooked by the Heights of Carillon to the West. On the 7th of July, French troops under the Marquis de Montcalm were ordered to fell the standing timber and constructed a half-mile-long wall built of logs, and protected in front by a dense tangle of treetops.

On July 8, the British attacked. At the end of the day-long battle, the British had suffered casualties of nearly 2,000 men killed and wounded. The shattered British and American Armies retreated back to their camp at the southern end of Lake George. The French victory would prove to be France’s greatest of the French & Indian War.

The British returned for a second attack in July 1759, prepared for a lengthy and meticulous siege. This time, as the British methodically advanced, the French Army abandoned the lines enabling the British to use them to besiege the fort. A few days later, the French evacuated the fort and set a match to the powder magazine, resulting in an explosion that ripped apart the Southeast bastion and the King's storehouse. The British captured the smoldering fort with barely a shot and with few casualties.

By the American Revolution, the log walls of the French Lines had decayed but the outlines of the fortifications remained. Throughout 1776 and 1777, American troops rebuilt and strengthened the lines, which they renamed Liberty Hill. After the Revolution, the French Lines gradually fell into ruin. The logs rotted away leaving the low earthen banks visible today. Preserved on the Carillon Battlefield is the largest series of untouched 18th-century earthworks surviving in North America, a reminder of the costliest engagement in North American history prior to the American Civil War.