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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Liberty

 

The quality or state of being free which was the dominant ideal and aspiration of the American patriots during the Revolutionary War.

 

I

 

(Bch: a. 4 4-pdrs., 4 2-pdrs.)

 

The first Liberty, a schooner built at Skenesboro, Lake Champlain for wealthy landowner Maj. Philip Skene, was captured 11 May 1775 during a raid on Skenesboro led by Capt. Samuel Herrick.

 

The prize, named Liberty to honor the patriot cause, sailed to Fort Ticonderoga on the 13th and filled out her crew. Later that day she got underway for Crown Point where she arrived at sunset the following day. On the 16th she pushed on toward St. Jean, the British shipyard on the lake. North of Ile La Motte, the schooner was becalmed, but Arnold with a party of 35 men, pressed on in small boats. After rowing all night the raiders surprised the fort and captured sloop George, mounting 6 6-pdrs

 

Liberty and the prize, renamed Enterprise, gave the Americans undisputed control of the entire lake. The two ships, reinforced by new vessels built at Skenesboro, supported the Continental forces during the Canadian campaign, and prepared to defend the lake when the British assumed the offensive. During the battle of Valcour Iseond, Liberty, away on a supply run, escaped the fate of most of Arnold’s fleet, only to be destroyed the following summer as Burgoyne marched south.