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the lake there was trouble at once. Wynkoop refused to take orders from Arnold, and maintained that he had received no notice of the appointment of a successor. After some sharp correspondence General Gates issued an order on August 18, directing that Wynkoop should be arrested and taken to headquarters at Ticonderoga as a prisoner. Gates sent him on to Albany, where he contented himself in writing to Congress concerning his troubles.
Governor Trumbull of Connecticut, on July 29, had this to say of the American strength on Lake Champlain: "How they maintain their naval supremacy, I must confess myself much at a loss. They build a gondola, perhaps one in a week; but where are they to find rigging for them-where the guns? To be sure they have a great train of artillery, but very few of them mounted on carriages; at present their materials and conveniences for making them are very slender. They have neither places fit for them to work in, nor materials in that plenty that they ought to have. To oppose the enemy on the lake they have a schooner of 12 carriage guns, a sloop of 8 guns, two small schooners to carry 4 to 6 each, and three gondolas, and the large schooner is now in good sailing order and about to take a trip down the lake to make discovery. The sloop is a most. unmanageable thing, it is impossible to beat up against a wind in her. The two small schooners are not armed -and even the carriages of their guns are yet to be made."
Arnold brought to the task of preparing the best possible fighting squadron the same energetic qualities that
he had displayed in the Quebec campaign. The New England seaports were called upon to furnish ship carpenters and naval stores. It was necessary to fell the trees in the woods and drag the timber to the ship yards at Skenesborough. Most of the stores and ammunition for the fleet were conveyed overland, by roads that were nearly impassable. The vessels, when built, were brought to Ticonderoga and Crown Point to be equipped with sails, armament, and stores.
General Gates wrote to John Hancock on August 6: "In a week our fleet will, I am told, be in a condition to make sail down the lake. General Arnold proposes to post them so as to command some narrow pass, opening into a broad part of the lake, either near the Split Rock, or Isle-aux-Motte."
At this time the fleet was made up as follows: Schooner Royal Savage, Captain Wynkoop, twelve guns, fifty men; sloop Enterprise, Captain Dickson, twelve guns, fifty men; schooner Revenge, Captain Seaman, eight guns, thirty-five men; schooner Liberty, Captain Primmer, eight guns, thirty-five men; gondola New Haven, Captain Mansfield, three guns, forty-five men; gondola Providence, Captain Simmons, three guns, forty-five men; gondola Boston, Captain Sumner, three guns, forty-five men; gondola Spitfire, Captain Ulmer, three guns, forty-five men.
Two weeks later there had been added to the armed vessels under American control on Lake Champlain, the gondola Philadelphia, Captain Rue, three guns, forty-five men; the gondola Connecticut, Captain Grant, three guns, forty-five men; the gondola Jersey, Captain
Grimes, three guns, forty-five men; the galley Lee, Captain Davis, six guns, fifty men. At this time General Arnold had assumed command of the Royal Savage.
In writing to Governor Trumbull of the naval strength on Lake Champlain, General Gates said, under date of August 11: "This is a naval force, when collected, that promises to secure the command of Lake Champlain."
The British were as active at St. Johns as their opponents were at the southern end of the lake. During the summer of 1776, ship carpenters had been busy under the direction of Capt. Charles Douglas, in constructing a fleet with which it was expected the mastery of this important waterway might be regained. The planking and frames of two schooners were taken apart at Chambly and transported by land around the rapids of the Richelieu, to St. Johns, where they were reconstructed. Douglas found under construction at Quebec the hull of a ship of one hundred and eighty tons. He took this apart nearly to the keel and shipped it to St. Johns on thirty long boats, which, with a gondola of thirty-two tons, several flat-bottomed boats and four hundred bateaux were drawn up the rapids.
Arnold left Crown Point on August 24 with his hastily constructed war craft, anchoring at Willsboro the night of the twenty-fifth. That night a violent northeast storm arose, and the next afternoon the American commander was compelled to weigh anchor and return to Button Mould Bay, on the Ferrisburg shore, where the whole fleet arrived the same evening, with the exception of the Spitfire, which rode out the storm off the Willsboro shore. Arnold left Button Mould Bay
at noon on September 1, reaching Willsboro the same night. He anchored at Schuyler Island the night of September 2, and arrived at Windmill Point, near the northern end of the lake, on September 3. It was found that the British occupied Isle-aux-Tetes, four or five miles beyond Windmill Point, and several hundred of the enemy, who were encamped in that vicinity, made a precipitate retreat the same evening that the American fleet arrived. Attempts were made to decoy some of Arnold's ships beyond the point of safety, but without success. Scouting parties were sent out on both sides. of the lake on September 5 and 6, respectively, to gain intelligence.
The guard boats were posted about a mile below the anchorage at Windmill Point. A boat containing eighteen men, and commanded by a Sergeant, was sent ashore on September 6 to cut fascines to fix on the bows and sides of the gondolas, in order to prevent the enemy from boarding. The men placed their guns against a rock, two men being posted as sentries, and proceeded with their task. Before they had fairly begun work an Indian was seen within half a stone's throw, who hailed the Sergeant. Being asked to give an account of himself the Indian replied that he was a Caughnawaga. Suspecting trouble, the men ran for their boat and pushed off as quickly as possible, a band of savages following so closely that the Americans narrowly escaped being tomahawked. The boat was armed with a small cannon, loaded with shot, and this the Sergeant attempted to discharge, but the Indians fired, cutting the lighted match out of his hand. The men on board fired
in return and rowed back to the ships in great haste. The guns of the fleet were fired into the woods and the Indians fled. In this skirmish the American casualties were three men killed and six wounded.
The firing was heard at Crown Point, and Gates was notified. Supposing that a battle with the British fleet was in progress, Gates, in turn, notified Schuyler, at Albany, who ordered out a considerable number of the militia. This order was revoked as soon as the nature
of the affair was learned. On the morning of the skirmish Arnold was reinforced by the arrival of the galley Lee, carrying six guns, and the gondola Connecticut, with three guns.
The British began the erection of batteries on either side of Arnold's position on the night of September 7, causing him to retire farther south. As the schooner Liberty was proceeding to her anchorage she was hailed from the shore by a Canadian, who asked to be taken on board. The Captain sent a boat toward the shore with orders to be ready to fire at any indication of treachery. The Canadian waded out about a rod but refused to go farther. As the boat's crew declined to go so near the land the man made a signal, when a party of three hundred Canadians and Indians, concealed on the shore fired, wounding three of the crew. The fire was returned and the schooner discharged several broadsides of grape.
Arnold anchored his fleet off Isle La Motte on September 8. From that station he wrote to Gates on September 18, saying: "I intend first fair wind to come up as high as Isle Valcour, where is a good harbour, and