Column overstated Allen's role


To the editor of THE EAGLE:

The Morgan Bulkeley column of 1972 reprinted on The Eagle editorial page Sept. 21 tells us that Ethan Allen lived in Sheffield. And Mr. Bulkeley added that "the mighty men from Sheffield" carried out the "first aggressive action of the American Revolution" by capturing Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. On both accounts Mr. Bulkeley seems to have overstated his case.

While Ethan Allen did indeed move to Sheffield in 1767, he never used his property for more than a base of operations and was "only an infrequent visitor." He originally came from Litchfield County in Connecticut.

As for the famous capture of Ticonderoga, there were no Sheffield men present. On the other hand, Berkshire County did provide nearly half of the men Allen had with him. Approximately 85 men crossed over to the fort in a single boat that was required to make two trips. On the first trip were Allen and Benedict Arnold, with 15 men from Williamstown under Captain Lemuel Stewart and 24 men from Hancock under Captain Thomas Lusk. On the second trip were 42 men from the "Grants" (Vermont), Allen's so-called "Green Mountain Boys."

The histories have typically overlooked the role of Berkshire in the early days of the Revolution.




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