PLATTSBURGH — They fired everything they had.
When British and American forces met in Valcour Bay on Oct. 11, 1776, each had hundreds of pounds of lead ready to fire at the other side.
The Americans had 600 pounds.
“But the British could shoot 1,100 pounds of lead. Twice as much,” historian Kyle Page explained at a speech at a ceremony Friday afternoon honoring the 243rd anniversary of the Battle of Valcour.
“The wonderful thing is —they did,” Page said. “We fought until it was too dark to fight and a bunch of the British ships were claiming ‘We’re out of ammo.’ We took everything they could shoot at us and we didn’t back down. That’s America.”
NOT BE IN AMERICA
The results of that battle significantly hampered British efforts to move a force of 9,000 soldiers in Quebec southward to engage American forces.
“As a historian and reading many other historians, there is absolutely no way the American government and American people could have won the American Revolution,” if those forces hadn’t been kept at bay, Page said.
“We would not be in America today and I say that adamantly.”
The ceremony was the 124th commemoration organized by the Saranac Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and organized in conjunction with the Valcour Battle Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution and Clinton Community College.
Along with the speakers, refreshments were provided and music was supplied by singer Cathy Davenport, trumpeter John Glover and the H&H Musical Ensemble.
State Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Plattsburgh) and Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman spoke at the event, both expressing their appreciation for the number of young people in the audience.
Cashman urged those in attendance to invite more friends and family to attend future commemorations.
“The story has been told, but it needs to be retold by each generation that comes in afterward,” he said.
HONORING THE 60
Page emphasized a particular group of tragically untold stories during his speech at the event.
“We lost 60 brave Americans 243 years ago valiantly defending our independence,” he said.
“We know who 12 of them are.”
Many records of the combatants were lost with the destruction of the American schooner Royal Savage during the battle, he said.
Extensive efforts have been made to identify more, including one historian who reviewed pension records of the time.
But the number stands at 12.
With all the efforts to commemorate the battle, Page said, “let’s do everything we can to honor those 60.”
“I would love to see a plaque naming the people and I would love it to be more than 12.”
Email Ben Rowe: email@example.com