On 11 October 1776, a British fleet commanded by Sir Guy Carleton defeated American gunboats at the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain, in New York state. Carleton sailed southwards from St Johns, a settlement in the near north, across Lake Champlain. As he passed Valcour Island, he sighted the American fleet of Brigadier General Benedict Arnold. Their gunboats engaged in fire from 12.30 pm until nightfall. Although most of Arnold’s fleet was destroyed, the Americans put up fierce resistance. This battle is generally thought to be the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War and, although the Americans lost, it did stall the British in their plans to reach the upper Hudson River valley.
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