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January 2, 2013

Battle of Plattsburgh relic still stored in Whitehall shed

(Continued)

SANK INTO BAY

The Ticonderoga started out as a merchant steamer before the U.S. Navy bought it while it was still under construction. The Navy completed it as a schooner, armed it with more than a dozen heavy cannon and launched the vessel as the Ticonderoga in May 1814.

Four months later, on Sept. 11, the Ticonderoga was part of the American fleet that defeated the British at the Battle of Plattsburgh on the lake’s northern end. The U.S. victory stopped the Redcoats from advancing farther into New York and ended their efforts to invade from the north.

Afterward, the ship and several others were sent south to Whitehall, where they were anchored in a southern extremity of Lake Champlain known as East Bay. The Navy removed the Ticonderoga’s rigging and fittings, and a decade later it was deemed unworthy of repair and sold. The ship eventually sank into the bay, its upper structure disappearing after years of exposure to wind, waves and ice.

Four other Navy warships have carried the name Ticonderoga, including a World War II aircraft carrier that saw action in the Pacific.

New York has no plans to preserve the Ticonderoga, but local entities could apply for matching funding for such a project, according to Mark Peckham of the State Parks Department.

The locations of several British and American shipwrecks from the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 have been found in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain, but the Ticonderoga remains one of a handful of warships from those conflicts that’s easily accessible to the public, Peckham said.

“This has survived better than most,” he said.

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