The wild and suspenseful story of one of the most crucial and least known campaigns of the Revolutionary War when America’s scrappy navy took on the full might of Britain’s sea power.
"Vividly written... In novelistic prose, Kelly conveys the starkness of close-quarter naval warfare, where retreat was impossible... Ironically without the tarnished hero of Valcour, the US might not exist today." ―The Wall Street Journal
"Few know of the valor and courage of Benedict Arnold... With such a dramatic main character, the story of the Battle of Valcour is finally seen as one of the most exciting and important of the American Revolution." ―Tom Clavin author of Dodge City and co-author of Valley Forge
During the summer of 1776, a British incursion from Canada loomed. In response, citizen soldiers of the newly independent nation mounted a heroic defense. Patriots constructed a small fleet of gunboats on Lake Champlain in northern New York and confronted the Royal Navy in a desperate three-day battle near Valcour Island. Their effort surprised the arrogant British and forced the enemy to call off their invasion.
Jack Kelly's Valcour is a story of people. The northern campaign of 1776 was led by the underrated general Philip Schuyler (Hamilton's father-in-law), the ambitious former British officer Horatio Gates, and the notorious Benedict Arnold. An experienced sea captain, Arnold devised a brilliant strategy that confounded his slow-witted opponents.
America’s independence hung in the balance during 1776. Patriots endured one defeat after another. But two events turned the tide: Washington’s bold attack on Trenton and the equally audacious fight at Valcour Island. Together, they stunned the enemy and helped preserve the cause of liberty.
"A delight to read. It will be of interest to general readers as well as to those devoted to war histories and biographies." ―Sea History
“Kelly skillfully builds suspense for the climactic naval action of the Revolutionary War . . . Draws out the uncertainty of the contest until the reader is waiting as anxiously as Arnold and his men for the battle finally to be joined. Highly readable” ―Military History Quarterly
“Engaging...successfully puts the reader in the shoes of the men who fought at Valcour.” ―Journal of the American Revolution
"Kelly adeptly describes the lake battles and offers plenty of insight into the principal combatants." ―Booklist
"Kelly . . . gathers stirring accounts of heroism on both sides of the conflict." ―Publisher's Weekly
"A boon for fans of Revolutionary-era military history." ―Kirkus
"Jack Kelly’s latest history has done [much] for Benedict Arnold’s reputation...one can not help but admire Arnold’s energy and determination." ―What Would The Founders Think
"With vivid writing and wonderful character development, Jack Kelly sheds light on a forgotten episode... This is historical writing at its best." ―Terry Golway, author of Washington's General
“Vivid… Kelly does us all a service by giving this crucial but oft-overlooked story a just telling.” ―James C. Rentfrow, Ph.D., author of Home Squadron
"Must reading for everyone interested in how a critical military campaign and pivotal battle on Lake Champlain set the stage for American victory in the War for Independence. Beautifully written, Valcour deserves and will command a wide readership. Highly recommended . . ." ―James Kirby Martin, author of the award-winning Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero: An American Warrior Reconsidered
JACK KELLY is a journalist, novelist, and historian, whose books include Band of Giants, which received the DAR's History Award Medal. He has contributed to national periodicals including The Wall Street Journal and is a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow. He has appeared on The History Channel and interviewed on National Public Radio. He grew up in a town in the canal corridor adjacent to Palmyra, Joseph Smith's home. He lives in New York's Hudson Valley.