Old Ticonderoga


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    The greatest attraction, in this vicinity, is the famous old fortress of Ticonderoga, the remains of which are visible from the piazza of the tavern, on a swell of land that shuts in the prospect of the lake.

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  • Those celebrated heights, Mount Defiance and Mount Independence, familiar to all Americans in history, stand too prominent not to be recognized, though neither of them precisely corresponds to the images excited by their names.

  • In truth, the whole scene, except the interior of the fortress, disappointed me.

  • Mount Defiance, which one pictures as a steep, lofty, and rugged hill, of most formidable aspect, frowning down with the grim visage of a precipice on old Ticonderoga, is merely a long and wooded ridge;

  • and bore, at some former period, the gentle name of Sugar Hill.

  • The brow is certainly difficult to climb, and high enough to look into every corner of the fortress.

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    St. Clair's most probable reason, however, for neglecting to occupy it, was the deficiency of troops to man the works already constructed, rather than the supposed inaccessibility of Mount Defiance.

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  • It is singular that the French never fortified this height, standing, as it does, in the quarter whence they must have looked for the advance of a British army.

  • In my first view of the ruins, I was favored with the scientific guidance of a young lieutenant of engineers, recently from West Point, where he had gained credit for great military genius.

  • I saw nothing but confusion in what chiefly interested him;

  • straight lines and zigzags, defence within defence, wall opposed to wall, and ditch intersecting ditch;

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    oblong squares of masonry below the surface of the earth, and huge mounds, or turf-covered hills of stone, above it.

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  • On one of these artificial hillocks, a pine-tree has rooted itself, and grown tall and strong, since the banner-staff was levelled.

  • But where my unmilitary glance could trace no regularity, the young lieutenant was perfectly at home.

  • He fathomed the meaning of every ditch, and formed an entire plan of the fortress from its half-obliterated lines.

  • His description of Ticonderoga would be as accurate as a geometrical theorem, and as barren of the poetry that has clustered round its decay.

  • I viewed Ticonderoga as a place of ancient strength, in ruins for half a century:

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    where the flags of three nations had successively waved, and none waved now;

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  • where armies had struggled, so long ago that the bones of the slain were mouldered;