Carleton's Raid

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Carleton's Raid (1778)
Part of the American Revolutionary War
Date October 24 – November 14, 1778
Location New York and Vermont shores of Lake Champlain
Result Successful British raid
Belligerents
 United States
Vermont Republic
 Great Britain
Commanders and leaders
Seth Warner Christopher Carleton
Strength
Unknown number of local militia 454 soldiers plus sailors on the ships
Casualties and losses
79 captured, unknown killed and wounded 1 killed,
17 missing,
1 wounded

Carleton's Raid was a British raid led by Major Christopher Carleton during the American War of Independence, conducted in fall 1778 from the Province of Quebec against targets in upstate New York and the Vermont Republic.

Prelude[edit]

On October 24, 1778, with snow already on the ground but before Lake Champlain had frozen, a fleet of ships left Ile aux Noix for the southern part of Lake Champlain. The ships were the HMS Carleton and HMS Maria, both of which had fought at the Battle of Valcour Island in 1776.

I propose to send a respectable party, which will be covered by some ships and Gun Boats, and that it shall be as late as possible in going out as the damage it may then do the enemy will be irreparable this season.

Frederick Haldimand, Governor of Quebec

They were supported by 2 gunboats and many batteaux. The British Army forces were made up of regulars from the 29th, 31st, 53rd Regiments of Foot and the Royal Artillery supported by Loyalists from the King's Royal Regiment of New York, Hessian Jägers and about 100 Indian allies for a total force of 454 men. The force was led by Major Christopher Carleton of the 29th Regiment of Foot.

Attacks[edit]

The fleet moved up the lake to about Crown Point on November 6, 1778, where parties of raiders were let off to attack Reymond's Mill on Beaver Creek in New York and Middlebury and New Haven on Otter Creek in the Vermont Republic. The fleet then moved to Buttonmold Bay on November 7, where more raiding parties were sent to attack military supplies and Black powder, the town of Monkton, Vermont, and to Moore's Mill near Shoreham, Vermont, a meeting place for the Green Mountain Boys. At Moore's Mill the raiding party ran into a group of local militia, and there was a 20 minute skirmish before the local militia retired. One British soldier was wounded during this fight while American casualties are unknown.

When the force returned to Ile aux Noix on November 14, Major Carleton reported the raid had destroyed enough supplies for 12,000 men for a 4-month campaign. This included 1 saw mill, 1 grist mill, 47 houses, 48 barns, 28 stacks of wheat and 75 stacks of hay. Over 80 head of cattle were captured and brought back to Quebec. Also 39 prisoners were taken to Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and 40 to Quebec City over land through northern Vermont by Indians. The only Continental Army units in the area were Whitcomb's Rangers at Rutland, Vermont and Seth Warner's Green Mountain Boys at Fort Edward. The raid had been expected by the American forces but the raid was so late in the year that almost all the forces had gone into winter quarters and were not in a position to stop the raid.

The British losses during the raid were 1 man killed by a falling tree, 1 bateaux lost with 17 men on the lake on the return voyage to Ile aux Noix and 1 wounded at the fight at Moore's Mill. This raid was followed up in 1780 by multiple raids called the Burning of the Valleys, with Major Carleton leading a force down Lake Champlain again while Sir John Johnson lead a force in the Mohawk and Schoharie Valley, and Lieutenant Houghton leading a raid towards the Connecticut River in the Royalton Raid.

References[edit]

  • The American Journals of Lt. John Enys, John Enys and Elizabeth Cometti (editor), Syracuse University Press 1976
  • The Burning of the Valleys, Gavin K. Watt, Dundurn Press 1997
  • Carleton's Raid, Ida H. Washington and Paul A. Washington, Cherry Tree Books 1977