UNRECORDED ISSUE OF BENDICT ARNOLD’S DEFEAT AT LAKE CHAMPLAIN
FADEN, WILLIAM / JEFFERYS, THOMAS
The Attack and Defeat of the American Fleet under Benedict Arnold, by the Kings Fleet Commanded by Sir Guy Carleton, upon Lake Champlain, the 11th of October 1776. London, Dec. 3, 1776. Carleton...Upon Lake Champlain
Measuring 18 1/4” x 16 3/8” with bottom text, entitled “An Account of the Expedition of the British Fleet on Lake Champlain, under the Command of Captain Thomas Pringle, and of the Defeat of Rebel Fleet, Commanded by Benedict Arnold, on the 11th and 13th of October, 1776.” Old repair to lower fold. Full color.
This is an unrecorded issue of one of the rarest of all printed battle plans for the American Revolution. According to Stevens & Tree, the first state of the map had Carleton’s name in the title, which was changed to Pringle’s in state two. The text was only added to state three, with Pringle’s name in title of both map and text. In our example, the map is in state one, with the text present. The map is the definitive record for Benedict Arnold’s engagement with the British fleet at Valcour Island, on Lake Champlain. The engagement was the finest hour for Arnold, who later became the most famous traitor of the Revolution. Although described as a “defeat” for the Americans, Arnold’s delaying tactics forced the British to return to winter quarters in Canada, thereby thwarting their plans to march south and join forces with General Howe on the Hudson. The substitution of Pringle’s name on the second state may have been arranged by Carleton or his supporters to disguise his role in what was ultimately a British failure . Nebenzahl notes that “It is generally conceded that if the British had reached Albany that winter the American Revolution could have collapsed altogether.” Faden published a series of famous battle plans for the Revolution, of which this example seems to be the rarest. It seldom appears on the market in any state. The plan accurately depicts the movements of the two squadrons. It also shows the line that the American survivors followed silently under cover of fog during the night, after the initial blistering action.
See Stevens & Tree 24; Nebenzahl, Atlas, pp. 66-67 (state 2); Nebenzahl, Bibliography of Printed Battle Plans, #47.
Inventory No. 7904