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New Acquisition of a Veteran of the Battles for Fort Ticonderoga and a witness to the Battle of Valcour Island

Terrot Commission Fort Ticonderoga has recently acquired the original commission of Charles Terrot, a British officer who left one of the best accounts of the Battle of Valcour Island. Charles Terrot served with the British Army in Canada during the Revolutionary War. October 11 is the anniversary of the Battle of Valcour Island.

“Terrot’s commission joins over a half dozen regular British commissions from the French and Indian War through the Napoleonic Wars in the collection of Fort Ticonderoga, and is all the more significant because it appears he carried this commission through his service in America, as indicated by the fold patterns and wear on the original document,” says Fort Ticonderoga Curator Matthew Keagle. “His commission rejoins his own account of the battle of Valcour Island and a copy of one of the most detailed maps of the Ticonderoga defenses which he prepared with another British engineer in 1777 in Ticonderoga’s rich collection of military artifacts.”

detail of Terrot's map of the Battle of Valcour Island
Detail of Terrot’s Map of the Battle of Valcour Island

Terrot was commissioned in 1774 as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Regiment of Artillery at the age of 16 after studying at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. He advanced with the British Army against the Americans in 1776 and witnessed the Battle of Valcour Island. Fort Ticonderoga holds some of the letters he sent back home, including one written following the battle, in which he includes a map of the pivotal engagement and drawings of the American ships. In 1777, he again accompanied the British advance on Ticonderoga, now under General Burgoyne’s command, where he served as an acting assistant engineer at Ticonderoga. Terrot served under another famous officer of the Revolutionary War, Charles Cornwallis, in India in the 1790s, and against the French in the 1790s and 1800s, reaching the rank of General by the time he died in 1839.

Terrot’s commission will join his letters and maps in Fort Ticonderoga’s rich archival collection. Access to the collection is available to researchers, who can examine Terrot’s commission and other letters along with hundreds of others. Funding is available for research through the Omohundro Institute-Fort Ticonderoga Short-Term Visiting Fellowship. More information about research and fellowships is available on our website: https://www.fortticonderoga.org/learn-and-explore.

Fort Ticonderoga holds North America’s premier collection of 18th-century military material and cultural artifacts. Starting in 2020, guests can visit new major exhibits that highlight the fort’s rich history, rarely-seen treasures, and discover thousands of epic stories.

Photo copyright Fort Ticonderoga

About Fort Ticonderoga:

Welcoming visitors since 1909, Fort Ticonderoga preserves North America’s largest 18th-century artillery collection, 2,000 acres of historic landscape on Lake Champlain, and Carillon Battlefield, and the largest series of untouched Revolutionary War era earthworks surviving in America. As a multi-day destination and the premier place to learn more about our nation’s earliest years and America’s military heritage, Fort Ticonderoga engages more than 75,000 visitors each year with an economic impact of more than $12 million annually and offers programs, historic interpretation, boat cruises, tours, demonstrations, and exhibits throughout the year, and is open for daily visitation May through October. Fort Ticonderoga is supported in part through generous donations and with some general operating support made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.