FIRST FIFTY YEARS OF BRITISH RULE 113
that they could not retain their hold upon Montreal. An immediate retirement to the Richelieu was therefore ordered, and by June 16th the last Continental soldier had left the island. The advance guard of the British force from Quebec marched into the city and the Union Jack was once more raised.
Early in 1776 about 8,000 British and mercenary Hessian troops arrived in Canada to reinforce General Carleton. The campaign was once more vigorously resumed; and the Continentals were soon driven out of the whole of Canada. The British and Hessian troops were then to be used in the general operation against the Revolutionary forces, and to clear the way for an attack on the rear of the Continental main army it was necessary to get control of Lake Champlain. With this in view, Carleton set about the creation of a strong flotilla for the Lake Champlain service. Three armed vessels, the parts of which were sent from England, were put together, and twenty gun-boats and other small craft were collected or built, the whole fleet being under command of Captain Pringle of the Royal Navy. The British ships included the Inflexible, flagship, a vessel of 300 tons and eighteen guns; the schooner Marie, of fourteen guns; the schooner Carleton, of twelve guns; the floating battery Thunderer, of eighteen guns; a row galley of seven guns; and twenty gun-boats of one gun each. A large proportion of the crews were drafted from the British men-of-war at Quebec, the remainder consisting of Canadians, chiefly officers and men of the Provincial Marine. The Continentals, on their part, armed two corvettes, two brigantines, and a dozen smaller vessels, which were put in charge of Benedict Arnold, with directions to obtain control of the lake if he could. The two flotillas met on October 11th, 1776, Arnold losing two vessels. Being then inferior to the British, he decided to take shelter under the guns of Crown Point. But, on his way there two days after-wards, he was intercepted by the British flotilla, and a second action took place, when he was completely de-