Bateaux to Canada

In the footsteps of Benedict Arnold

June 14, 2023 - 7pm to 8pm

Rob Stevens

Batheaux - flat bottomed boats

In September 1775 General Benedict Arnold lead an expedition from Cambridge Massachusetts in an attempt to defeat the British at Quebec. The thousand strong force travelled up the Kennebec River in hastily constructed bateaux. Going over the many portages with rough water, bad weather, and scant supplies, many of the men died. Only half the force made it to near Quebec, and the resulting battle at the new year was a disaster for the Americans. Many of the soldiers on this trip were from Maine.

In 2018 the intrepid re-enactors Hodding Carter and Rob Stevens, along with whoever showed up to help, recreated this trip in a leaky bateau. Unlike Arnold who never actually made it to Quebec City, the re-enactors made it (but not triumpantly).

This is the story of the trips in both 1775 and 2018 told by Maine’s First Ship’s lead shipwright, and well known storyteller.

Rob Stevens is fascinated by history and the sea (despite being prone to sea sickness). In 1991 he attended the Apprentise Shop in Bath where he learned that wooden boats were still being built in the area, and decided that was the life for him. He built the Viking ship Snorri and sailed it from Greenland to Newfoundland. He was involved from the early days of Maine’s First Ship as the lead shiprwright and is also known as the leading storing teller. Rob often uses the moto: “What would Digby do?” (Digby was the lead shipwright on the 1607 Virginia).

Rob Stevens

This is the second in a series of 8 in the 2023 Summer Lecture Series. This year the lectures will be held on Wednesday evenings. The lectures will be held at the Bath Freight Shed (27 Commercial St, Bath Maine) and via Zoom.

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