Burgoyne's force of around 8,000 men with artillery and naval support was enough to overwhelm St. Clair's position, manned by about 3,500 including newly-arrived militia. Schuyler ordered St. Clair to hold out as long as he could before withdrawing, while additional forces were gathered for the defense of Albany. By early July, the Burgoyne expedition arrived in the area. British reconnaissance also discovered the strategic position of Sugar Loaf. Starting on July 2, they cleared and fortified gun emplacements on top of that height. They also spent several days drawing some of their larger guns up the slope, using winches to move from tree to tree.
On July 4, the Americans held a quiet celebration with some toasts to commemorate the previous year's Declaration of Independence.
On July 5, the American force awoke to discover the completed British position, with more guns arriving throughout the day. Trumbull had already demonstrated that fire from the American guns couldn't reach the summit, and aware that devastating fire from the heights would reduce the fortress to rubble, St. Clair withdrew his force under cover of darkness. The guns at Ticonderoga, most remaining supplies, and some men too ill and wounded to move were left to the British. A handful of men were left at Fort Independence with loaded cannon and lit matches to fire on the pontoon bridge after the withdrawal, but after indulging in some of the remaining supplies, notably, a barrel of wine, they were incapable of military action.
On July 6, during the morning, the British troops captured them and occupied the forts without firing a shot. Gen. Simon Fraser set out in pursuit of the retreating Americans.
The withdrawal from Ticonderoga was hurried, but was a part of the American defensive strategy adopted by Schuyler in response to the British Saratoga Campaign. Fraser's pursuit resulted in the Battle of Hubbardton as they caught up with the rear guard. St. Clair, meanwhile, brought most...