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A Journey through Niagara and beyond in 1850

Vermont, New York, and Montreal

On August 22, Baker spent some time in Vermont visiting some of the sites in Montpelier, the state capital.  On August 23 he was in Plattsburg, New York, and arrived in Montreal that same day.  He spent much of his time on August 23 and 24 sightseeing in Montreal.

Vermont State House, ca. 1850



The early days of Baker's journey were mostly spent travelling by railway through New Hampshire and Vermont.  Baker did stop briefly in Vermont to do some sightseeing, noting that "we stopped at [Montpelier] long enough to view the State House and other public buildings, this being the Capital of Vermont.  The State House is a splendid structure".  

Painting of the Battle of Plattsburgh

Site of the American victory at the Battle of Plattsburgh


A stop was also made at Plattsburg, the site of a well-known battle between the United States and Britain during the War of 1812.  Baker writes we "brought up at Plattsburg, a place much noted in our history in connection with the last war with England as this lake was the theatre of a splendid victory achieved by our Navy."

The Battle of Plattsburg in September 1814, also known as the battle of Lake Champlain, was a British campaign to invade upper New York State by land and water.  It was largely unsuccessful.  The campaign was planned and overseen by Sir George Prevost, the Governor-in-Chief of Canada.  Prevost hoped that by occupying Plattsburgh, Lower Canada would have greater security.  He planned to have the British lake fleet attack the U.S. naval fleet at Sacket's Harbour.  From there, they would attack Plattsburgh's men.  

After an aggressive advance by the British troops, progress was stalled while they waited for intelligence and reinforcements.  The British made an ill-advised decision to prematurely attack the American naval force.  In the resulting attack a British naval officer  was killed and his squadron was lost.    The attack was subsequently called off  and the British retreated to Lower Canada.  


Montreal, ca. 1870-1880


Baker stopped at Montreal on his journey, noting that "The political state of Canada is in a bad condition.  The intelligent businessmen and most of [the] respectable class wish to be united to our country and I do not doubt it would be much for their interest, if not for ours".

He saw much of the city during his brief stay, including Montreal House, the Cathedral, the ruins of the Parliament House which was destroyed by fire, the Governor's Mansion on Montreal Mountain, the Market, Theatre, and Bank of Montreal.