Marker to recognize 2 killed in 1808 in Burlington

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BURLINGTON (AP) - A ceremony is planned for Sunday to honor two federal agents killed in the line of duty battling smugglers carrying contraband along the Winooski River in Burlington 206 years ago.

Officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection will honor the agents killed on Aug. 8, 1808 during the event at the Ethan Allen Homestead. A marker will be unveiled near the spot where the agents, Vermont militiamen assigned to the Customs Service, were killed in what became known as the Black Snake Affair.

During the event Author Gary Shattuck will present a new book on the affair. That will be followed by a tour and the unveiling of the marker.

The smugglers were loading the Lake Champlain ferry the Black Snake with potash that was destined for Canada in violation of a trade embargo with Great Britain.

They were being pursued by the revenue cutter Fly that was trying to enforce a trade embargo with Great Britain.

All eight crew members of the Black Snake were arrested.

The affair became a partisan political issue and a symbol of Vermont's resistance to government policy, as well as the lawlessness of the early years of the state.


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