At This Place in History, the Vermont Historical Society takes us to the Vergennes Falls , a place with great military significance for the United States.
VHS executive director Steve Perkins led us to the base of the falls.
“This is an incredible protected harbor and its been used by peoples for centuries even thousands of years as a place to build and camp.” Perkins said. “In 1814, we’re talking War of 1812, the British were coming down Lake Champlain and earlier on in the war they had destroyed the couple of boats we had on Lake Champlain so we needed a new Navy.”
That new Navy was built in Vergennes at the MacDonough Shipyard.
“We’re not talking you know two hundred ships, we’re talking four or five ships.” said Perkins. “Two substantial boats and then a lot of gun boats.”
Commodore MacDonough built the fleet then sailed North to the Battle of Plattsburgh and helped the US turn back the British.
Watch the video to see a sword given to General Samuel Strong as recognition for his role in the war and a viewfinder, giving you a look at the falls in 1857.
Check out all of our At This Place in History features on the ‘Related Headlines’ section of this page and get a map of Vermont historical markers here.