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February 11, 2011

Fort Ti capture subject of Revolutionary War letter

Announces historic victory by Benedict Arnold, Ethan Allen

BOSTON (AP) — A 1775 letter announcing the victory at Fort Ticonderoga was spotted in an auction catalog and returned to the Massachusetts state archives six decades after it disappeared.

State archivists spotted the letter from Joseph Warren in a Sotheby's catalog of Revolutionary War manuscripts, and the state negotiated its return, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said.

At the time he wrote it, Warren was a doctor and president of the Provincial Congress that sat in Watertown, Mass.

In the letter, he wrote that he had just learned that Col. Benedict Arnold, along with Ethan Allen, had captured Fort Ticonderoga and forts at Crown Point and St. John's in the Lake Champlain area, which reduced the threat of British attack from Canada.

In a postscript, Warren asks that his letter be shared with Gen. Henry Knox.

Three weeks after writing the letter, Warren joined the provincial army and was killed in the Battle of Bunker Hill.

The following winter, Knox would transport the Ticonderoga cannons across Massachusetts and install them on Boston's Dorchester Heights to pressure the British to depart from Boston on March 17, 1776.

Galvin said he was glad to have the letter back in the public archive.

"This letter is a contemporary account of a key struggle in the Revolution as it affected Massachusetts written by a Revolutionary War hero," he said.

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