During the summer of 1776, just three days after patriots declared independence from Britain, an enemy invasion from Canada loomed. In response, citizen soldiers of the new nation mounted a heroic defense. Patriots constructed a small fleet of gunboats on Lake Champlain in northern New York and confronted the Royal Navy in a desperate three-day battle near Valcour Island. Their effort stunned the British and forced the enemy to call off the invasion.
VALCOUR: The 1776 Campaign That Saved the Cause of Liberty by historian Jack Kelly (St. Martin’s Press; April 6, 2021) is the wild, suspenseful story of this crucial and often neglected campaign of the Revolutionary War.
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VALCOUR is a story of people. The underrated general Philip Schuyler (Hamilton's father-in-law) led the northern campaign of 1776, aided by the ambitious former British officer Horatio Gates, and the notorious Benedict Arnold. Kelly’s eye-opening account demonstrates how Arnold, forever infamous for betraying his country in 1780, was one of the most successful and inspiring soldiers of the early war. He devised an audacious strategy that confounded his slow-witted opponents and delayed the British invasion until the following year.
America’s independence hung in the balance during 1776. Patriots endured one defeat after another. But two events turned the tide: Washington’s famous attack on Trenton and the equally daring but largely unknown fight at Valcour Island. These two courageous and strategically brilliant strokes allowed the Revolution to continue.
AUTHOR BIO: JACK KELLY is a historian, journalist, and novelist.
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