by Janelle Pavao
The Green Mountain boys were a small group of militia formed by Ethan Allen in 1770. They began by fighting off people who wanted to steal their land and crops, but when circumstances changed, they found themselves involved in the war against England. These soldiers ended up playing an important role in the Revolutionary War, though they never really considered themselves part of the war.
During the Revolutionary War, there was no overall ruler, and as a result, people in power, such as governors or sheriffs, would just take people's land. Many colonists were victims of this kind of behavior.
After a certain amount of this, a man by the name of Ethan Allen decided he had had enough. So he rounded up whichever of his friends he could find, and they decided to protect what was theirs.
On one occasion, a New York sheriff came down to New Hampshire where Allen's boys were, and tried to take the "Grants" farm. However, he was stopped by this band of farmers and militia.
When the sheriff went back to New York and told his story, it was put in the papers. This started a buzz everywhere in both of the involved colonies. In New York they were called "The Bennington Mob," and people said they were rioters who needed to be stopped. In New Hampshire, however, they were emulated by many other groups.
Soon, all over New Hampshire, there were groups of Ethan Allen's boys protecting what was theirs. They started by naming themselves the "New Hampshire Men," but soon in one of the papers they were refferred to as the "Green Mountain Boys," and that name stuck. This all happened between 1770 and 1772.
The Green Mountain boys did not consider themselves part of the Revolutionary War at this point.
When they continually chased New York authorities out, the governor of New York got tired of it. He said they were criminals and offered a reward for them to be caught. When they were brought to him, he put them on trial and was going to put them to death. But during the trial, Ethan Allen announced that they were fighting for their "liberty, property, and life!" This declaration linked them to the Revolutionary War, and the New York officials had no choice but to let them live.
In a short time, Ethan Allen recieved a visit from Benedict Arnold. Arnold was there to ask for the assistance of the Green Mountain Boys in capturing Fort Ticonderoga. Allen quickly and enthusiastically agreed.
The Green Mountain Boys, along with Arnold and his small troop, arrived at Fort Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775. There were not many British there to defend the fort. Allen stepped boldly out and annouced that the Americans would be taking the fort and the British had better run. He then attacked and his Green Mountain Boys were right behind him. As soon as they had bypassed the wall, their enemies quickly surrendered upon seeing the number of assailants.
The capture of Fort Ticonderoga was one of the major turning points in the war. Many speculate that if the Americans had not successfully taken it, they might not have won the war.
The Green Mountain Boys went on to assist in many other battles, such as the invasion of Canada, the battle of Hubbardton, and the battle at Bennington. When the war ended, the Green Mountain Boys went home to protect their lands.