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A Signal Victory on Lake Champlain

By James P. Millard
Part II- South through Chazy,
Beekman's Town and Isle la Motte

By September 4, Prevost had begun his march south. The forces were divided into two groups- the right flank would advance south through Chazy, while the left would take a route closer to the lake. The heavy artillery and a reserve stayed behind at Champlain. At Chazy, the right flank was met with its first real opposition of the campaign. Early in the invasion, Macomb had sent advance units to effect delaying actions while the series of forts under construction in Plattsburg were completed. Among these units were Lt. Colonel Daniel Appling's group of 110 riflemen, and a troop of New York Cavalry under the command of Capt. Hiram Stafford and Lieutenant M. Standish. Appling's force, upon approach by some 8,200 British, fell back towards Plattsburg. Before doing so, however, he and his small force had set up one obstacle after another along the Chazy road. Bridges were taken out, and one abattis after another was set up. Time was of the essence to Macomb and his tiny force at Plattsburg- with each day this huge army could be delayed, the village and the south could be more effectively defended.

Meanwhile on the lake Macdonough and his fleet prepared for the action they knew would come. Drawing up in a line of battle, they took advantage of the time on hand to practice gunnery and maneuvers. Preceding the British naval fleet down the lake had been a number of gunboats under the command of Captain Daniel Pring. At Isle la Motte, Pring erected a battery of three 18-pounders to protect the landing of supplies at Chazy Landing. This landing put the British on Vermont territory, effectively galvanizing the Vermont volunteers into action. Even the most die-hard of Federalists could no longer sit back unaffected. Vermonters swarmed across the lake to assist in the defense of Plattsburg and the nation.

At Plattsburg, work continued at a feverish pace. Macomb's plan of defense consisted of using a line of forts, blockhouses and batteries to slow the advance. He would attempt to deceive Prevost into thinking he had much larger forces at his disposal, and he would wait and hope for victory on the lake in Cumberland Bay...

A signal victory on Lake Champlain 
The Battle of Plattsburg

continues HERE

Part III- Culver's Hill, Halsey's Corners, and Dead Creek Bridge

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