The Spitfire was part of the American fleet under Benedict Arnold during the Battle of Valcour Island.
The smallest boats in Arnold’s fleet were gondolas. Small and easy to maneuver, they were powered by sail and long oars, and were usually armed with one twelve-pound gun in the bow, a pair of nine-pounders amidships, and swivel guns. The eight gondolas in Arnold’s flotilla were Philadelphia, Boston, New Haven, Providence, New York, Connecticut, Spitfire, and Jersey.
Perhaps the most prominent feature of the gunboat is the one large cannon in the bow, known as the Bow Cannon.
The Continental Navy under Benedict Arnold engaged a superior British fleet in the Battle of Valcour Island. The Americans lost the battle but succeeded in delaying the British advance, forcing their retreat to Canada for the winter. In 1997 the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s survey team discovered the Spitfire, intact and upright on the bottom of Lake Champlain where it was sunk by the British in 1776.
The Revolutionary War was fought from 1775 to 1783. It began as a revolt of the colonies against what they believed was unfair taxation. While it started as a conflict between Great Britain and the thirteen American colonies, it soon became a global conflict. France actively sided with the colonies, and the French naval fleet was instrumental in defeating the British at Yorktown. Holland supplied the colonies weapons, while Spain supplied funding and diverted British forces by fighting on a second front and winning back Spanish forts in Florida that they lost during the Seven Years War. No independent country sided with Great Britain, but Britain employed German mercenaries, known as Hessians.
This Spitfire history mug is part of our Revolutionary War series which includes many of the notable figures who played major roles during this conflict.
The biographical History Mugs were created to teach and inspire individuals to learn about our diverse and interesting history. The biographies were researched and written by history enthusiast, Robert Compton. He colorized most of the historic photos and images used on the mugs, which were originally black and white or sepia tone. The images and biographies are imprinted on mugs at his studio in rural Vermont.
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