The Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA) will host a presentation by Art Cohn on the histories of the gunboats Spitfire and Philadelphia, I and II, on Tuesday, June 6, at 6:30 pm. Cohn, Senior Advisor & Director Emeritus of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, will give his presentation at the Old Base Memorial Chapel, on the Oval, in the City of Plattsburgh.
In October, 1776, British forces were committed to taking back control of strategic Lake Champlain and to that end, engaged an American fleet under the command of General Benedict Arnold, in a three day naval contest. In the course of the first days, during the Battle of Valcour Island, the gunboat Philadelphia sank one hour after darkness and caused the fighting to stop. That night, in an attempt to gain the safety of Fort Ticonderoga, Commodore Arnold escaped past a British blockade, but in the night had to abandon two weakened gunboats. One of these gunboats, the Spitfire, sank into the deep, dark waters of Lake Champlain. » Continue Reading.