The hamlet of Skenesborough (sometimes Skenesboro) was located on the southwestern shore of Lake Champlain and had served as the construction site of the small navy assembled by Benedict Arnold in 1775.
In the summer of 1777, a small American naval presence remained at Skenesborough and was afforded protection by an iron chain stretched between the banks of the lake. Burgoyne’s navy made short work of the chain by breaking it with well-placed cannon shots. The American defenders attempted to destroy their poorly maintained fortifications and hurriedly departed for the safer confines of Fort Anne to the south.
An advance British unit claimed the handful of American ships at Skenesborough as well as food supplies and several cannon. A small party pursued the fleeing rebels and the remainder awaited the arrival of John Burgoyne, who had dispatched a portion of his army into the interior at Hubbardton.