National Geographic : 1970 Jul
North Through History Aboard White Mist capture of the fort by Ethan Allen's Green Mountain Boys during the Revolution. But the earliest recorded clash was of spe cial interest to White Mist and her crew: The year was 1609, and the victor none other than Samuel de Champlain, whose trail we now crossed for the first time. Explorer's Gun Routs the Iroquois Although Jacques Cartier discovered Can ada, Champlain was the first European to explore beyond waterways navigable by ocean-going ships. He wandered far into the St. Lawrence hinterlands, and in so doing, dis covered Lake Champlain, which he named for himself. Montagnais Indians, Algonquian tribes men from the St. Lawrence, guided him to its sparkling waters by canoe in return for his help in fighting their ancient enemies, the Iroquois. The war party set off from the St. Lawrence up the traditional path of battle and commerce, the Richelieu River. Ticonderoga was the southernmost point reached by Champlain. Near the spot where he landed, we now tied our Whaler. The fort's director, Col. Edward P. Hamilton, met us. "Champlain and the Montagnais found the Iroquois awaiting battle 'within arrow range,' " he told us. "Champlain killed three chiefs with his arquebus. The Iroquois, who had never seen firearms before, fled." The Iroquois never forgot. For more than a century they ravaged the St. Lawrence set tlements, and, in the wars between the Cana dian French and the British masters of New England, fought on the English side. The French built the first fort at Ticon deroga. Its successor was British, and it was this one, restored from the original plans, that we now approached. A single family, the Pells, has owned Ticonderoga since 1820 and accomplished the magnificent restoration. The shrine is now operated by the nonprofit Fort Ticonderoga Association, headed by John H. G. Pell. We passed through the thick stone walls by the only entrance, a low arch that is almost a KODACHROME BY EDWINSTUARTGROSVENOR(C) N.G.S. "Brown Bess" speaks again: Under the eye of Chief Park Historian William E. Meuse, the author fires a British musket at Saratoga National Historical Park, site of a pivotal American victory in 1777. Though inaccurate, Brown Bess smoothbore flintlocks could be reloaded quickly-about four times a minute. Close-ranked infantrymen firing such guns in volleys could lay down a murderous hail of lead at ranges under a hundred yards.