May 18

The First Enterprise

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 1:34 AM


May, 18th 1775
Benedict Arnold captures a British Sloop and renames her Enterprise, the first of many ships with this name.

The following is from Proceedings May, 1961.

The first Enterprise was a 70-ton sloop which originally belonged to the British and cruised on Lake Champlain to supply their posts in Canada. After the capture of Fort Ticonderoga by the Americans on 10 May 1775, she became the object of desire in the mind of Benedict Arnold, who realized he would not have control of Lake Champlain until her capture. He learned she was stationed at a small British garrison at St. John’s on the Richelieu in Canada and set out from Skenesborough (Whitehall, New York) in the commandeered sloop Liberty for that place on 14 May 1775. He surprised and captured the British garrison on 18 May, took possession of the sloop, and sailed her south to Crown Point. She was named Enterprise by Arnold and fitted out with 12 long 4-pound carriage guns and ten swivels. As part of Arnold’s fleet, she fought against the British at the battle of Valcour Island, then withdrew to Ticonderoga to help obstruct the British advance for a year until their opportunity was lost. While escorting a convoy of bateaux from Ticonderoga to Skenesborough on 7 July 1777, she was overtaken by a superior British force and was beached and burned to prevent her falling into the hands of the enemy.