[AMERICAN REVOLUTION]. ARNOLD, Benedict (1741-1801). General, Continental Army, traitor. Autograph document signed ("Benedict Arnold," with flourish), headed "List of Men Wanted for the Sloop Enterprise, John Sloan, Commander." Ticonderoga, 22 May 1775. 1 page, small 4to, neatly pasted to an album page bearing a short note: "Presented to me by Louis Benedict Jr. Esq." [With:] A contemporary copy of the same order, not in Arnold's hand.
TWELVE DAYS AFTER ARNOLD AND ETHAN ALLEN CAPTURE FORT TICONDEROGA, ARNOLD RECRUITS MEN FOR HIS LAKE CHAMPLAIN NAVY. An unusual document dated only 12 days after the epic capture of Ticonderoga from the British garrison in a night attack. Another American detachment had attacked Skenesborough (see following lot) and captured a schooner, which they renamed the Liberty. As one biographer has observed, "Arnold did more than just consider seizing the initiative; he embraced it." (James Kirby Martin, Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero, p. 74). Arnold promptly armed the Liberty and sailed with a small band of raiders to attack the British post at St. Johns (the northern reaches of Lake Champlain), where they captured a sloop of war. They sailed both vessels back to Ticonderoga on the 18th; the sloop was rechristened the "Enterprise, and in the present note, Arnold designates the requisite crewmen needed to man both vessels. The document reads: "List of Men Wanted for the Sloop Enterprise, John Sloan, Commander," specifying "A Mate ...@£4 L[awful] money P[er]M[an] Gunner ... 4 Carpenter who Understands making Carriages ... 4 Gunners Mate ... 3 Boatswain .. . 2..15 2 Seamen ... @50/P[er]M[an]." Below, he sets out the requirements for the other vessel: "Wanted For the Schooner Liberty, Isaac Matthews Commander All the Above Men except four Seamen."
Arnold's victories on Lake Champlain were the first offensive campaigns against the British in the Revolution and assured American control of this vital communications and transportation link. The Enterprise and Liberty were used by Montgomery in his attack on St. Johns in November 1775, which added another ship, the Royal Savage to Arnold's Lake Champlain flotilla. Most were ultimately destroyed in the Battle of Valcour Island in October 1776, and the survivors, including the Enterprise and Liberty were burned by the Americans when they retreated from Ticonderoga in July 1777 in the face of Burgoyne's advance. Together two items. (2)