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Boys' Book of Battles by  Chelsea Curtis Fraser
Table of Contents


 

 

SARATOGA


[Illustration]

The morning came. There stood the foe;

Stark eyed them as they stood;

Few words he spake—'twas not a time

For moralizing mood.

"See there the enemy, my boys!

Now strong in valor's might;

Beat them, or Molly Stark will sleep

In widowhood to-night!"

—Rodman

I. FORT TICONDEROGA

[49] CARLYLE speaks of certain English armies being "led by wooden poles wearing cocked hats." General Burgoyne, chief British leader in the famous Saratoga campaign, was without question a brilliant illustration of the comparison.

His personality, from all accounts, must have been quite charming, and kindness his of heart and loftiness of spirit amply attested by many little anecdotes of reliable historians. He was honorable in his dealings—a man of his word. Perhaps he was too pleasure-loving, too easy-going, too much a man of fashion and of letters for a good soldier. Be that as it may, he was a conspicuous failure as a commander. America will ever owe a big debt of gratitude to the mother country for sending Burgoyne and Howe to her as military leaders!

In the spring of 1777 the British made their supreme attempt to cut in two the confederate [50] colonies. It was planned to possess themselves of the line of the Hudson River, thus separating the colonies into two or three divisions incapable of assisting each other, whereupon the invaders, with their ability to mass great numbers at any desired point, could calmly smother the weakened units as they saw fit. The scheme was for General Howe, in New York, to go up the Hudson with his force, while General Burgoyne should come down, both main forces and several auxiliary expeditions to finally meet at Albany, after having swept everything before them.

This was truly a splendid, well-conceived piece of strategy. The truth is, it might have worked but for one thing. That thing loomed up in the human shape of a certain Lord George Germaine, who was the English Prime Minister. In some way this worthy managed to stick the order for Howe to cooperate into a pigeon-hole of his desk, and there very kindly forgot it, while he was visiting at a country house, until it was too late to help the cause of his country.

Burgoyne, who had distinguished himself in a subordinate capacity in Portugal, was appointed to succeed Sir Guy Garleton, whose previous attempt in the same direction the year before had been checked by Arnold's heroic naval battle off Valcour Island on Lake Champlain.

Parliament allowed Burgoyne everything he [51] wanted—even told him he could fit out the expedition just about as he chose; "but," said they, very emphatically, "if you fail, do not blame us. Rather find fault with yourself."

The force that he took with him consisted of nearly ten thousand men. These were made up of four thousand British regulars, three thousand Germans, five hundred artillerists and a large body of Canadians. Great care was taken in selecting these troops. One of the latter—Ackland's Grenadiers—was one of the finest regiments in all England.

Second in command was Major-General Fraser, a distinguished and able soldier with a long and brilliant record. Phillips, the chief of the artillery, was among the first in his profession. Lord Balcarras, a dashing soldier, commanded the light infantry. Leading the German contingent was Baron Riedesel, a capable veteran, while Colonels Baum and Breyman were subordinate officers under him.

As if they thought it were going to be a picnic on a large scale, or a sight-seeing trip, the wives of many of the officers accompanied them.

On his way to Albany it was Burgoyne's plan to first take Fort Ticonderoga. Through Tory spies, of which the country at this time was literally alive, it had been no trouble for him to learn that his force in Canada had been a great deal [52] underrated both by Washington and by Congress. In fact they believed, when it was suggested as a possibility, that if an attack were made upon Ticonderoga, it would be feigned, in order to distract attention from Philadelphia which was now threatened by Howe.

This blindness on the part of the Americans tickled Burgoyne immensely. He would show these rebels, he thought, whether his attack on Ticonderoga would be a bluff or not! His spies had told him the true situation at the Fort—that St. Clair had less than three hundred poorly-armed men there. He knew that it would take closer to ten thousand to keep his own forces at bay.

So Burgoyne felt very complacent as he set out with his troops for the unsuspecting Provincials who held Ticonderoga. On the western shore of Lake Champlain, near Crown Point, he met the Six Nations tribes in council. After a great feast, which an inciting speech by Burgoyne, four hundred of the best Indian warriors were induced to join the expedition. To these he promised, as a reward for success in driving out the Provincials, not only the return of the coveted lands they held, but many fine Ponies, loud-barking guns, gay blankets and trinkets from the King. Be it said to his great credit, he did not hold out to the redskins the [53] gruesome promise of white scalps, like some British commanders of the day, but especially warned them not to use their scalping knives.

While at first he had planned on an absolute surprise for the small force of defenders at Ticonderoga, the somewhat unexpected addition to his of the Indians changed Burgoyne's plans slightly. He felt so sure of success now that he wanted the little mouse, with no hole by which to escape, to know that the big cat waited on the other side of the open door.

So, in very grandiloquent style, he issued a proclamation on June 29 in which he told of the power of his forces, their nearness to the helpless fortification, and the rage and fury that might be expected from such warriors as he had when they should once see the flow of blood. He declared that it would be absolute suicide for the garrison to attempt to fight; that if they did all of the extremities and penalties of war would be put upon them. By a fleet Iroquois runner, with a truce, he sent this notice on to the commander at Ticonderoga.

Probably the British commander pictured an immediate surrender on the part of St. Clair, and hoped thus to save a heavy slaughter of his own choice troops, as well as to add more glory to his reputation as a military leader who won by strategy (?) instead of bloodshed. If so, he was [54] grievously disappointed. For back came the Indian runner the next morning still bearing Burgoyne's proclamation. Mutely he turned it over. With his dusky finger he indicated a few words scribbled in pencil. "Talk's cheap. Show yourselves. St. Clair." That was all.

In as much of a rage as so mild a man could get, Burgoyne immediately ordered an advance upon the Fort.

The next day, on July 1st, he arrived in the immediate vicinity, and at once proceeded to occupy Mount Defiance, a precipitous height towering some six hundred feet above the water of the lake, and less than a mile from the fortification, which it fully commanded. Although St. Clair had warned his superior officers of the urgency of defending this height with a battery, the American engineers had laughed at the idea of an enemy ever getting heavy guns up such a rugged elevation.


[Illustration]

RUINS OF FORT TICONDEROGA.

Just how Burgoyne accomplished the feat they never knew, but accomplish it he did,—undoubtedly by pulleys and cables,—and on the morning of July 5th, the guard at Ticonderoga reported that Mount Defiance was swarming with men. Great consternation ensued. From every bastion and loophole—even from the big gate—the defenders stared off toward the peopled height. With their glasses the officers saw that most of [55] the men wore red coats, and that many Indians were with them. At that moment they were setting up a heavy battery.

All that day the defenders of Ticonderoga watched the British as they worked on the distant height firmly mounting their battery. By nightfall St. Clair saw that the situation for him was hopeless. He knew that with the opening of another dawn the powerful cannon of the enemy would be belching death-dealing round shot into his works, and that the post must surely be destroyed before reinforcements of sufficient strength to withstand the attack could be sent him. Therefore, there seemed nothing to do but to evacuate and at least save the lives and freedom of his force.

This decision cost the American commander a great heart pang. He realized that a goodly quantity of precious ammunition and supplies, which he could not destroy or take with him in his flight, would fall into the hands of the British to be used against his own countrymen at some future date and place. But his keenest remorse no doubt, for he was a sentimental man, was because he would have to relinquish the Fort which Ethan Allen had captured in such a romantic manner not long before.

So when it grew dark the women and children of Ticonderoga were embarked in two hundred [56] boats and sent down the lake under a strong guard toward Fort Edward. St. Clair committed the charge of the rear guards to Colonels Seth Warner (Ethan Allen's Whilom associate), Francis and Hale, and retreated toward Castleton in all haste, first spiking the guns and destroying the deserted stores as much as possible.

Unfortunately for the secrecy of the escape, a building was accidentally set on fire by a soldier, and by its brilliant illumination the watching British and Indians detected the truth. The enemy immediately occupied the Fort, and a strong detachment of nine hundred under Major-General Fraser started in pursuit of the fleeing Americans.

They came up with the rear-guard at Hubbardton. Here a desperate encounter took place. The Americans, numbering about one thousand men, fought with the greatest spirit. Several times they beat off the British, and finally drove them back in confusion. But just then Fraser was reinforced by troops of Hessians under Riedesel. Completely outnumbered, the Provincials were at last compelled to withdraw, leaving on the field about three hundred killed and wounded, among whom was Colonel Francis. Colonel Hale was taken prisoner.

With the remnant of his troops, Colonel Warner retreated eastward through Vermont. [57] Though somewhat delayed by the necessity of looking after their own long list of stricken soldiers, the British pursued the Americans so closely that the fugitives were compelled to burn and abandon Fort Ann. From there they fell back south with all speed to Fort Edward. Here St. Clair's men joined General Schuyler's little force on July 12th.

Schuyler, who was in chief command of the surrounding American department at that time, worked in the most heroic manner to check the advance of the British. To this end he summoned to his aid the settlers of the surrounding country. These hardy men gave up their homes reluctantly, but were glad of the chance to use their fine knowledge of woodcraft to harass the enemy. So they went about destroying all crops they could not hide or take away. Bridges were torn down to make streams impassable on the main roads. Rivers and creeks were dammed up to flood portions of ground over which the British must pass. Great trees were felled by the keen axes of the skilled woodsmen and were placed in a terrible tangle across paths which Burgoyne seemed most likely to take.

Under these adverse conditions it took the British army thirty days to cover twenty-four miles through the wilderness. To accomplish this, Burgoyne afterward admitted that his engi- [58] neers built no less than forty bridges! Practically every rod of the road had to be built anew. The British soldiers fumed and fretted. Even the easy-going Burgoyne grew ill-tempered and abusive. Only the Indians failed to heap abuse upon the heads of the cunning colonists; on the other hand they admired such sagacity, for it was an art in which they themselves were extremely well versed. "Heap like fox," commented one of the Iroquois who spoke a little English. And that seemed the attitude of his brother redskins, who, while they were willing to fight with the English against the encroachers of their domain, had really little respect for the gaily-adorned men from across the big water.

Before the slow advance of the British, the Americans had every opportunity to retire at their leisure and in good order.

Burgoyne had hoped to live off the land as he progressed, but owing to the thoroughness with which the evacuating inhabitants removed their crops and supplies of food, he found very scanty foraging. Indeed, before starting out he had been led to believe that this territory was infested in the main by the King's sympathizers, and that his ranks, as he went along, would be greatly swelled by them as volunteers.

In this supposition he was grievously disappointed. The inhabitants did not rally to his [59] standard to any appreciable extent; instead of assisting him, every one seemed to be putting obstacles in his way, and his position was rapidly becoming a difficult one. Finally he reached Skenesborough, where he rested. His forces were completely tired out, hungry, and many of the soldiers ill.

II. STANWIX AND ORISKANY

MEANWHILE another expedition had been organized by the British. This had started out at the same time as Burgoyne's, but by way of Lake Ontario. Its purpose was to make an attack on Fort Stanwix, which was situated at the head-waters of the Mohawk River, at a point where navigation ceased.

This army was under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel St. Leger, and comprised about seventeen hundred British Regulars, numerous Provincials, Sir John Johnson's Tory contingent, and a good-sized body of Indians. After they should capture the Fort, they planned to swoop down the Mohawk Valley, gathering stores by pillage, and then join Howe and Burgoyne at Albany. As a matter of fact my young readers have already read enough of this military enter- [60] prise in the preceding episode to appreciate the error of judgment made by the various army leaders, and to know that since the plans had been so carefully laid certain unlooked-for exigencies of war—such as the pigeon-holed order in London and the delays caused Burgoyne in his march by the harassing patriotic settlers—had conspired to knock the possibility of such a meeting as that at Albany higher than a cocked hat.

The force under Lieutenant-Colonel St. Leger landed at Oswego about the middle of July. With very little opposition they made their way to Fort Stanwix. On August 3rd they managed to completely invest the place.

Fort Stanwix was occupied by Colonel Peter Gansevoort, with about six hundred men. The stout old Dutch Colonel refused to surrender, and as the post had recently been strengthened St. Leger feared the outcome of an assault, and saw no way to effect its capitulation except by a regular siege.

During this interval, Schuyler had called out the militia of Tryon County, under the direction of General Nicholas Herkimer, who was a veteran soldier now in his sixtieth year. Herkimer, despite his age, had the pluck and enterprise of a young man, and readily assumed the task Schuyler imposed upon him; namely, the relief of Fort Stanwix.

[61] So Herkimer's little army of some eight hundred men pursued their way up the Mohawk Valley. Their passage was uncontested, so secretly had they moved.

Very early in the morning of August 5th, while it was still dark, they reached Oriskany Creek, at a point about eight miles from the Fort itself. Here they halted. Three of the most agile and courageous men in the command were selected. Each was given duplicates of a note to Gansevoort, so that in case one was captured at least one messenger was likely to succeed in safely entering the stockade. This note advised the Dutch commander of the stronghold of the presence of Herkimer and his troops, and suggested that as soon as the messenger arrived to fire three successive shots and immediately make a sortie to engage the enemy. At the same instant Herkimer would advance, and endeavor to break through the besieging lines at their weakest point, gain the enclosure of the Fort, and assist its hard-pressed defenders.

Unhappily, all three messengers, as adroit as they were, were caught by the British as they tried to sneak through their closely-drawn lines. Meanwhile the long hours dragged away, and no welcome sound of three shots greeted the expectant ears of the waiting American force. The impatient militia chafed bitterly at the suspense, [62] finally going so far as to reproach General Herkimer for not permitting them to go on. Most unjustly, he was suspected of Tory leanings, and his principal officers, Colonels Cox and Paris, did not refrain, in the stress of their excitement, from apprising him of their suspicions, and charging him with cowardice. The wise old man both resisted their importunities and disregarded their taunts, until he became convinced in his own mind that his messengers must all have failed in their mission, whereupon he reluctantly ordered an advance.

The way led across a causeway of logs which had at some future day been placed there to make passage for some purpose or other over a marshy tract of ground. On either side big trees and dense undergrowth hemmed in the narrow defile.

Herkimer could have chosen no worse path than this. It was an ideal spot for an enemy ambuscade had he thought of it, but evidently he did not dream of the enemy having discovered his exact whereabouts, even if they had captured his couriers, so he proceeded rather carelessly along at the head of his troops.

But some of St. Leger's clever Indian scouts had really discovered the waiting Americans in time for St. Leger to despatch a large detachment to intercept Herkimer. This body was made [63] up of a considerable number of Tories who termed themselves "Johnson's Greens," and a good-sized band of fierce Mohawk warriors, under the leadership of the notorious Joseph Brant. Many of the members of the Tory contingent had been former neighbors and acquaintances of Herkimer's. On account of the differing political views between these men, under the command of Major Watts, there existed the most acrid and bitter feeling, so that they literally longed to get at the throats of one another.

Watts honored the sagacity of Brant by turning over to him the leadership of his detachment. Brant at once recognized the value of the old corduroy road as an ambuscade, and directed the placement of the Indians and soldiers at this point.

It was about nine o'clock in the morning when the Americans walked into the trap set for them by the wily Brant. Had it not been for the impetuosity of the Indians, it is probable that the entire force would have been annihilated. As it was the redskins commenced firing at the first appearance of Herkimer's van-guard. While most of them fell, those behind were given warning, and a staggering volley was poured into the brush by the quick-witted men who came immediately behind.

While the American rear-guard, bewildered by [64] this close proximity of an unseen enemy whose strength could not even be guessed at, fell back incontinently, practically all of those ahead held their ground valiantly and returned the heavy fire that now began to pour out upon them from all sides. These men at once sought cover behind logs, stumps and trees, for they were nearly as old hands as the Indians themselves at this sort of game. Then commenced a battle between these two forces of bitterly-hating American white men and redmen which, for sanguinary ferocity and determined persistence, has hardly been paralleled on the continent.

To their political differences these men who had lived in time of peace so close to one another, added personal antagonisms of the most galling kind. And as the conflict grew fiercer, and the skulking, red-eyed men drew closer and closer to each other, often a facing pair of them unable to draw the enemy from shelter sufficiently for a telling shot, would suddenly rush out, and knives in hand, fight it out to the death in a terrible grapple. The Indians attempted to scalp the dead and dying in some instances, but usually they paid the cost of the exposure with their lives, for keen eyes and unerring muskets watched them from almost every tree and log they did not occupy themselves.

A furious thunder-storm, accompanied by [65] vivid lightning, presently broke over the horrid scene, as if to wash away from the beautiful carpet of Nature the nauseating stains of red that splotched the green grasses and leaves with their record of death and suffering. The rain fell in torrents. In a very short time the firearms were rendered useless. But that did not end the fight. Knives now were universally resorted to by the white men, and more than once cudgels of wood served to save one life at the expense of another. Colonels Cox and Paris both succumbed.

Gradually the Americans worked their way to a more advantageous position on higher ground. Soon it was noticed that the Mohawks were thinning out and giving way. But Watts, with his Tories, incensed at this, ordered a desperate advance with bayonets. At once the Americans accepted the challenge. The struggle previously was in reality a mild one compared to that which followed now. The opposing combatants raged and lunged and crushed and tore at one another like wild animals. In many instances they reeled over the ground, then rolled upon it, locked in each other's embrace, quite unable to find a weapon or use one except that which was born with them as babes. When fists and fingers failed, teeth were used!

Finally, after more than five hundred on both sides had been killed or wounded, the Indians [66] completely fled, and close upon their departure the Tories and Americans seemed also to sullenly withdraw as if by telepathic mutual consent.

Very early in the fight Herkimer had been disabled by a bullet which shattered his knee and killed his noble horse. Refusing to withdraw, the brave old man had his aides remove the saddle. Seated in this, with his back against a tree, he had calmly smoked his pipe and directed, so far as he could such a personal encounter, the lines of the strife.

Herkimer's advance was, of course checked. He did not succeed in reaching Fort Stanwix with his relief party. But the terrible slaughter he had inflicted upon the enemy had greatly discouraged St. Leger, and at the same time greatly encouraged the garrison.

In the heat of the conflict one of Herkimer's messengers succeeded in making his escape, and gaining admittance to the Fort. Fortunately his captors had been unable to discover his message, which he had put into the lining of his coat, so in addition to being able to acquaint Gansevoort with the meaning of the firing he had heard and wondered about, he was able to deliver his commander's communication.

Immediately Gansevoort sent out Colonel Marinus Willett with two hundred and fifty picked men, who fell upon St. Leger's camp and stam- [67] peded a portion of his force with great loss. The best part of this sortie was that they captured five standards, and twenty wagon loads of supplies, returning to the Fort without the loss of a single man!

The five captured flags were at once hoisted below an improvised American banner. The latter had been made out of a white sheet, a blanket and a woman's petticoat, cut up so as to provide the necessary stars and stripes. Fiske says that this was the first star-and-stripe American flag ever hoisted. Be that as it may, it certainly was the first American banner to appear in triumph over the English emblem.

In spite of this defeat, St. Leger still pressed the siege vigorously, so much so that Colonel Willet volunteered to carry the news of their condition to Schuyler. After some very thrilling adventures, Willet managed to escape through the cordon of the enemy. Schuyler immediately called for an officer to volunteer to lead a force to the relief of Fort Stanwix. Arnold stepped forward, was given twelve hundred men, and started forthwith for the post.

This was comparatively a small force with which to cope with St. Leger. But Arnold was a host in himself. He was not only exceedingly brave in battle, but also very strong in strategical powers. Cunningly he caused reports to be [68] spread greatly exaggerating the number of his force. As he drew near, these reports, brought in to St. Leger by Tories more energetic than wise, actually caused a panic among the troops of that disgusted leader. On August 10th, the Indians filled up on liquor, deserted, then raided the British camp, and finally the English were forced to raise the siege and beat a retreat. In this procedure they left behind most of their tents, provisions and artillery.

During his retreat St. Leger's army disintegrated, and the defenders at Fort Stanwix had nothing to fear from them. The post had been saved. The Mohawk Valley, from which the British had hoped to gain large supplies, remained, moreover, in the hands of the Americans.

The heroic Herkimer died at his own home a few days after the bloody battle, chiefly from the effects of unskillful surgery—a common occurrence in those times, but one of rare happening to-day. Conscious of his approaching end, he assembled his family, and calmly smoked his pipe and read his Bible at the thirty-eighth Psalm until he expired. May the memory of the stout-hearted maligned old man be held ever in grateful remembrance by the sons of America, for whom he fought while under the terrible cloud of suspicion of being a Tory, and for whom he died most willingly!

III. BENNINGTON

[69] IT will be remembered that we left Burgoyne, with his main army, back at Skenesborough where he rested after his tiresome, obstructed march through the wilderness after the battle of Hubbardton.

While here, and during the siege of St. Leger's detachment of Stanwix, Burgoyne's need of provisions, forage and horses became extremely acute. One day he learned from Tory sources that there was a very large depot of supplies at Bennington, in Vermont.

On August 13th, the British leader despatched a force of five hundred men, most of whom were dismounted Hessian dragoons, to capture the supplies. Colonel Baum was the officer in command of the expedition, and Major Skene, a Royalist of the neighborhood, also went along. A hundred Indians followed Baum's force. In addition to the units named, there also accompanied the party a skeleton organization for a regiment of Royalists, which it was hoped might be raised among the people along the way.

As soon as the news of Burgoyne's new move- [70] ment reached the American district headquarters, the New Hampshire militia rallied to oppose him under the command of that famous veteran of the old French and Indian War—John Stark. He it was—this same John Stark—who had had charge of those who valiantly held the rail fence, stuffed with hay, at Bunker Hill. He had fought in practically all of the battles around Boston and New York, and had led the advance of Sullivan's column on the famous Christmas night at Trenton.

Stark had the men of his command assemble at Bennington, where, as stated, the supply depot that had attracted the eye of Burgoyne was located.

They were a rough and motley array of soldiers. It would have been impossible to find a single complete uniform among their number; in fact, very few had any military vestments at all. Most of them came either in hunting frocks or homespun working clothes. Very little martial training had they been through. But every man of them, from the youngest to the oldest, carried a bright, well-kept rifle over whose behavior he held almost absolute control. When these men shot wild turkeys it was considered a disgrace to hit a gobbler anywhere, at a hundred yards, except in the head. So woe to the foeman who [71] should ever show so much of his body as his left ear!

Baum was not joined by any Loyalists during his march toward Bennington, as he had fondly hoped. To add to his ill-feeling, when he reached the vicinity of the town his scouts reported that there was quite a formidable force of militia on guard. Satisfying himself that this condition was not exaggerated Baum paused near Bennington on the 15th of August and cautiously entrenched on a little hillock near a creek. He then sent a courier back to Burgoyne for reinforcements. In compliance, Burgoyne despatched Lieutenant-Colonel Breymann with five hundred Germans and two field-pieces.

Meanwhile Colonel Stark, who had become cognizant of the near presence of the enemy, was busy preparing a warm welcome for him. He had sent word to General Lincoln, at Manchester in the Green Mountains, asking him to lend him the services of Colonel Seth Warner, with the gallant regiment which had checked the advance of Fraser at Hubbardton. Lincoln sent the regiment without delay, and after marching all night in a drenching rain, the men reached Bennington in the morning, wet to the skin, but cheerful and eager for the coming fray.

Telling these reinforcements to follow him as [72] soon as they had dried and rested up, Stark now departed with his men from the little town of a hundred buildings, in quest of the enemy, bent upon forcing matters. He found Baum intrenched on the rising ground near Walloomsac Creek, and went into camp himself, planning to storm the foe position on the morrow.

During the night a company of Berkshire militia joined Stark. With them was the excellent Mr. Allen, the warlike parson of Pittsfield. At once the reverend gentleman went up to Stark, and said: "Colonel, our Berkshire people have been often called out to no purpose, and if you don't let them fight now they will never turn out again."

"Well," returned Stark, "would you have us turn out now, while it is pitch dark and raining buckets?"

"No, not just this minute," was the reply.

"Then," went on the doughty veteran of the Seven Years' War, "as soon as the Lord shall once more send us sunshine, if I don't give you fighting enough I'll never ask you to come out again!"

An next morning the sun arose bright and clear. Soon the hot rays sent up a steam from the sodden fields. It was a true dog-day of summer—the air close, sultry and stifling.

The forenoon was occupied in preparing the [73] attack, while Baum, behind his intrenchments, worked diligently to strengthen his position.

By this time the New Englanders outnumbered the Germans two to one. This fact Baum did not know, else his nervousness would have been greatly increased.

It is true that the Colonials had neither bayonets or cannon, and that Baum's soldiers were all Regulars, picked from the bravest of the troops which Ferdinand of Brunswick had led to victory at Creveld and Minden. But the German commander knew full well that here in this strange country, facing men who were familiar with every inch of the ground and could send a penny spinning with rifle ball as far as they could see it, military prowess was a second-rate value.

Moreover, could Baum have seen—toward the close of that hot morning—these New England farmers leisurely and stealthily making their way around in his rear, he would have been thrown into an alarm bordering close to a panic. They did not march in military formation, but in squads of half a dozen at a time. It is said by some historians that Baum really did espy some of them, but mistook them for some those blessed blue-frocked Tories whom he had been told to look out for and welcome, and whom he now thought were getting back of his forces for protection in the impending battle.

[74] If the latter version be correct, early in the afternoon poor Baum and his soldiers were cruelly undeceived. For upwards of five hundred of these innocent-looking creatures in homespun suddenly opened up on him from the rear and on both flanks a deadly fire. It seemed that flame leapt from every tree trunk, stump, boulder, hillock and log on these sides. No wonder that Baum's Hessians, unused to such guerilla warfare, staggered. No wonder that they were confused and dismayed when, a moment later, Stark himself led five hundred more across the shallow stream and assailed him in front like a horde of angry hornets.

Even the Indians, who might have been expected to understand and face such methods, were not proof against the assault. They broke and fled precipitately, screeching, while there was still a chance for escape.

Be it said to the credit of the Hessians, they partly recovered their courage after the first moment's panic. They stood their ground, fighting desperately. But it was a hopeless prospect of victory for them. Attacked from every quarter were soon thrown into such dire disorder that the fight lasted less than two hours, at the end of which time Baum had been mortally wounded and every one of his remaining men captured.

[75] Just as the Americans were on the point of scattering in order to plunder the German camp, the relieving force of Breymann, from Burgoyne, came upon the scene. This would have rendered a tight situation for Stark, undoubtedly, and the fortune of the day might right then and there have been turned against his men had not the fickle goddess seen fit to also throw upon the rugged stage, at about the same instant, the force of Warner, whose one hundred and fifty men were as fresh as daisies after their rest at Bennington.

With this addition to his troops, Stark made a furious charge upon Breymann. The Hessian commander slowly gave way, retreating from hill to hill, while parties of Americans kept working around to his rear in an effort to envelop him. All through the remaining hours of the afternoon the running fight was kept up.

By eight in the evening, by which time it had become too dark for either side to see to aim their guns, this second German force was either dispersed or captured. Breymann himself, with a mere corporal's guard of sixty or seventy men, managed to escape under cover of the darkness, and eventually reached the British main camp in safety but in wretched physical condition.

All in all, of the whole German forces of one thousand men, more than two hundred had been [76] killed and wounded, and more than seven hundred had been taken prisoner. Among the spoils of victory were one thousand stand of arms, one thousand dragoon swords, and four field-pieces. Of the New Englanders fourteen were killed and forty-two wounded.

The news of this brilliant victory spread joy and hope throughout the Colonies. But to Burgoyne it brought a different message, of course. There at Fort Edward, surrounded by a country-side of strongest animosity, daily growing more so, he was fast losing heart. Instead of securing a fresh supply of horses, wagons and food by his stroke at Bennington, he had lost one-seventh part of his available army, and the creamy part at that.

He was now not only still in need of supplies, but also in desperate need of men.

IV. FREEMAN'S FARM

BURGOYNE was an unusually humane man for a soldier of his time. At the outset of his campaign he made every effort, in his well-intentioned [77] way, of impressing the fact upon his redskin allies that they were to indulge in no atrocities, among which he specifically mentioned the killing of women and children and the taking of scalps from wounded and dying soldiers. To these injunctions, which must have inspired their savage natures with pitying contempt, the wily chiefs had laconically replied that they had "sharpened their tomahawks upon their affections," and were ready to do whatever their "great white father" (King George) might wish.

When the British Parliament heard of Burgoyne's speech to the Indians, filled as it was full of sentimental phrases in which the savage mind is supposed to delight, it was bitterly ridiculed by Burke, who took a sounder view of the natural instincts of the red man.

"Suppose," said Burke, "that there was a riot on Tower Hill. What would the keeper of His Majesty's lions do? Would he not fling open the dens of the wild beasts, and then address them thus: 'My gentle lions, my humane bears, my tender-hearted hyenas, go forth! But I exhort you, as you are Christians and members of civilized society, to take care not to hurt any man, woman or child!'"

The House of Commons was convulsed over this grotesque picture. To Lord North it appeared irresistibly funny, and he sat choking with [78] mirth while the tears rolled down his great fat cheeks.

However, it soon turned out to be no laughing matter. The cruelties practiced by the Indians upon Patriots and Loyalists alike were not long in maddening the yeomanry and arraying them against the invaders whatever political views they formerly held. This explains why Burgoyne was unable to add reinforcements of Loyalists to his ranks during his march to and occupation of Fort Edward.

One sad incident of Indian outrage in particular did more at this time to stir up the country than any other. This has been treasured in the memory of the people of America to this day, and has been circulated in both song and story.

Jennie McCrea, the accounts tell us, was the beautiful daughter of a Scotch clergyman of Paulus Hook. She had been at Fort Edward visiting her friend, Mrs. McNeil, who was a Loyalist and a cousin of General Fraser.

On the morning of July 27th, a marauding party of Indians burst into the house and carried away the two ladies. American soldiers at once took up the pursuit, came up, and exchanged shots with the fleeing redskins. In this flight Mrs. McNeil was rescued, but the younger girl was carried off by some of the savages.

The next day an Indian of gigantic stature—a [79] famous sachem known as the "Wyandot Panther"—came into the camp with a scalp. By its long silky black tresses, Mrs. McNeil instantly recognized the bloody trophy as that belonging to the unhappy Jennie. A search was made. This disclosed the body of the poor girl lying beside a spring in the deep forest. She had been pierced by several bullets.

The Panther plausibly declared that she had been accidentally shot in the fight with the soldiers, had been carried as far as the spring by his red brothers, but there had succumbed to her wounds.

Few of the whites believed this story, and popular imagination soon framed its own version of the affair with a romantic completeness that soon caused the real facts to grow obscure.

But in whatever way Jennie McCrea may have come to her death there can be no doubt as to the mischief which it swiftly wrought the invading army. Its effect of turning the Loyalist sentiment to the advantage of the Colonists has already been stated. In addition, it led to the desertion of the Indian allies themselves.

Burgoyne was a man of quick and tender sympathies, and the fate of this sweet young lady shocked him wholly as much as it did the American people. At first he was for hanging the Panther, but the guilt of the savage was not [80] clearly established, and, moreover, some of the British officers argued that the execution of so famous and popular a sachem would enrage all the Indians and would be sure to result in a terrible massacre of the whites. So the Panther's life was spared, but Burgoyne made it a rule that henceforth no party of Indians should be allowed to go on expeditions except under the lead of some British officer, who could watch and restrain them.

When this edict was made known to the savages, they looked extremely sullen, and after a few days, with hoarse yells and hoots, the whole five hundred with Burgoyne scampered off to the Adirondack wilderness.

From a military viewpoint the loss to the British was small, save insofar as it deprived them of valuable scouts and guides. And this feature, in a strange, rugged country such as that in which Burgoyne now found himself, was indeed one not to be lightly ignored.

The defeats of Baum and St. Leger left the British in a very crippled condition. Nothing whatever had been heard from the expected movement of Sir William Howe up the river. The reader knows, although Burgoyne did not, that the unwise Howe had gone on a wild-goose chase toward Philadelphia.

Later on Sir Henry Clinton had moved up [81] the Hudson from New York, out generaling "Old Put" in a rather clever campaign, and capturing Forts Washington and Lee. Finding that his brilliant exploit had not affected the final issue in the slightest degree, Clinton had retired to New York again.

Prudence would have dictated that a Burgoyne should have retreated back into Canada, if it were yet possible. But, being a very chivalrous gentleman, Burgoyne could not think of such a procedure, as this would permit the large American army in front of him to crush Howe who, as he supposed was then coming up the river. Probably another factor that prompted him to refrain from a withdrawal from New England was that his main army up to this time had done no serious fighting. He thought that he should at least engage in one good stiff combat with the Americans before going back to Canada, if for no other purpose than to test the enemy strength and show his countrymen in England that he was still very much alive.

Therefore, against the advice of some of his best officers, Burgoyne decided to force the enemy to a battle. On the 13th of September he threw a bridge of boats across the Hudson, and crossed his whole army to the west bank.

In the meantime the American army had taken a strong position on Bemis Heights, where Kos- [82] ciusko had skillfully fortified their camp with batteries and redoubts.

Burgoyne felt that the American position might be turned and carried by an attack upon its left flank. On the morning of the 19th, he advanced through the woods with the center of his army toward the point where the Quaker road passes Bemis Heights. The right wing, under Fraser, proceeded in a more roundabout manner toward the same station, the plan being that they should join forces and strike the rear of the American camp, while Riedesel and Phillips, with the left wing and artillery, should march down the road and assail the enemy in front. Three heavy guns were to announce to the left wing the junction of Burgoyne and Fraser, and pro-vide the signal for the assault.

Lurking among the upper branches of tall trees that grew on the steep hillsides were American scouts. Presently these lookouts caught sight of the bright scarlet uniforms of the enemy, showing strongly through the inferstices of leaves, while the rays of the early morning sun caused their bayonets to gleam in tell-tale scintillance. By noon the eagle-eyed American scouts had fully interpreted Burgoyne's plans. Arnold, who commanded the left wing of the Colonial army, was then made acquainted [83] with it. He at once conferred with Gates. The latter was at first unwilling to risk any of the forces descending from their strong position, but Arnold urged to such good advantage that finally he got permission to take Morgan's riflemen and Dearborn's infantry, and go forth to attack the enemy.

About three o'clock the impetuous Arnold fell upon the advancing British center, under Burgoyne himself, at Freeman's Farm. The conflict immediately became sanguinary and desperate. Arnold's force was somewhat greater at the point of encounter, and the enemy was driven slowly back, fighting stoutly and contesting every foot of the way.

General Fraser, on the right, made all haste to come to the succor of the center. But Arnold flushed with success, daringly thrust his men forward and interposed them between the two British sections. The consequence was that Fraser had a desperate time to maintain his division intact.

By this time the battle had become general. Arnold was attacking fiercely, driving the British center straight back. Charge and countercharge followed each other, heels upon heels. Guns and positions were taken, then retaken, and taken again. Finally the fight became a terrible hand- [84] to-hand struggle in the woods, with Arnold seeming to be everywhere at the same moment, where-ever the worst conflict was taking place.

Nor were the British officers less brave, if not quite so omnipresent and active. Burgoyne and Fraser fought valiantly, side by side with their privates. Yet Arnold's forces seemed absolutely irresistible. Gradually the resistance of the British slackened, but just as the Americans seemed about to win the day, Riedesel hurried up from the river road with reinforcements and vigorously attacked the winning side.

Arnold had already sent to Gates for reinforcements for himself, anticipating some such play as this on the part of the British, but this request was refused. Afterward Arnold maintained that this was a gross blunder on the part of his superior officer, and that with two thousand more men he could have right then and there crushed the British center and defeated their army.

In this opinion he was probably right, for the record of Gates, who had replaced the brave and energetic Schuyler through the order of Congress, has shown him to have been a weak and most inefficient leader; and Arnold, with his now smaller force, managed by the most desperate sort of fighting to have kept the enemy's hands full for two long hours more, until at last dark- [85] ness put an end to the struggle. Completely exhausted, Arnold withdrew.

The losses on each side are variously estimated at from six hundred to one thousand, or from one-fifth to one-fourth of the forces engaged, which indicates unusually severe fighting. Arnold's contingent numbered about three thousand men. With these he had faced, in the course of the afternoon, fully four thousand British.

In his dispatches to Congress, Gates slyly took to himself all the credit of this affair, and did not even mention Arnold's name. The army, however, rang loud with praise of the fighting General until Gates, who never could bear to hear any one but himself well-spoken of, grew angry and revengeful. As if to fan up the smouldering embers of fire between them, Arnold freely blamed Gates for not sending him support. Hot words passed, Arnold's warm friendship for Schuyler gave further offence to Gates, and the latter told Arnold that as soon as Lincoln should arrive he would have no further use for him, and he might go back to Washington's camp as soon as he liked. White with rage, Arnold said he would go, and demanded a pass, which Gates promptly gave him. But before he could leave all the general officers of the American armies except Lincoln united in signing a letter begging him to remain. "You have been sent here by [86] Washington to aid the northern army at a critical time," they wrote, "and clearly it would be wrong to leave it now, right on the eve of a decisive battle."

So the proud, fiery soldier, smarting as he was under an accumulation of injuries, made up his mind to swallow the affront. He remained in his quarters, awaiting the inevitable battle with Burgoyne's forces, uncertain just how much power of command he was to enjoy. And Gates took no more notice of him than if he had been a dog.

News came on the 21st that a detachment of Lincoln's troops had laid siege to Fort Ticonderoga, and while holding the garrison in check, had captured several ships and taken three hundred prisoners. Word was received a day or two later that the men had embarked on Lake George in the captured ships and were succeeding in cutting off from Burgoyne the last sources of his supply. To make matters worse for the British, Lincoln's main force soon appeared in front, swelling the numbers of the American army to more than sixteen thousand.

And now, with barely three weeks' food for his army, even on the shortest rations, Burgoyne's case had become as desperate as that of the Athenians at Syracuse before their last dreadful battle in the harbor. So, after eighteen weary days, no word yet coming from Clinton, the gal- [87] lant British commander determined to make a prodigious effort to break through the lines of an army now outnumbering him more than three to one.

On the morning of October 7th, Burgoyne advanced with a little less than two thousand men to turn the American left wing. The rest of his force he left in camp. He figured that with a comparatively small detachment of this kind, made up of the best soldiers and officers, the latter including Fraser, Riedesel, Phillips, Balcarras and Ackland, he might maneuver to far better advantage than with a stronger force. Should he find the American position on the left too strong for penetration, it would be much easier to retreat.

Undoubtedly, too, the knowledge that Gates was a sluggard and that the spitfire Arnold had been reported to him as holding no tangible command, encouraged the hapless Burgoyne into thinking his situation not quite so bad as it looked at first.

But he was quickly made aware of his mistake in the latter event, if he ever entertained such thoughts.

As Burgoyne came on, his movement was detected. Instead of attacking himself, he was suddenly set upon by the redoubtable Morgan and his famous riflemen. At the same time the New [88] England Regulars, with three thousand New York militia, assailed him in front.

Beset in this fashion, the heroism of that little party of English soldiers was such as to make any country proud. In fact, their defense bordered upon the marvelous, and a new dignity came to their more numerous antagonists in fighting them—a respect that led them to chivalrously discard all thoughts of inflicting unnecessary suffering upon their brave foe or taking any mean advantage of them, even if it were war.

General Fraser, on a big gray horse, dashed hither and thither. By word and personal action he animated his red-coated men to a superhuman effort, contesting every inch of the ground, as they were forced to slowly fall back, with a rare courage and remarkable skill.

Ackland, fighting hard at the head of his fine regiment of grenadiers, was wounded. Pushing his men with vigor, the Americans took him prisoner, whereupon the British line broke in a hasty retreat, leaving their cannon behind them.

Not ready even yet to acknowledge himself beaten, Fraser sought to reform his shattered lines a little farther back on the west border of Freeman's Farm. In this effort he was ably seconded by the other British commanders, who exposed themselves with the highest degree of personal gallantry.

[89] At this moment, Arnold, who had been watching his opportunity from the heights, saw that a well-directed blow might not only ruin his retreating column, but also crumple the whole British army. Quick as thought, without consulting the cowardly Gates, who kept in the background as before, Arnold sprang upon his trusty horse, and galloped to the scene of action.

His arrival, although he had no definite command, was instantly greeted with wild enthusiasm by the Americans. Full of exultation and ardor at the coming of their beloved former leader, they rushed headlong at Fraser's half-formed line.

Meantime Morgan's riflemen were continuing to press upon the British right. In their effort to break them up, matters were not progressing as fast as Morgan hoped. The brave fellow felt almost as much of a pang at the fall of every British man as he did at the fall of his own, so great was his admiration for the dauntless behavior of the overwhelmed enemy troops. Thinking to adopt some better method to put an early end to the slaughter than the general fighting now going on promised, he was struck by the untold value of Fraser's services to the British.

He winced at the thought which now took hold of him. Then shutting his lips resolutely together, he called two of his best marksmen to his side. Pointing to the unfortunate English lead- [90] er, he said simply and quietly, "That is General Fraser, lads. He is a brave man. I honor him. But every minute he lives a dozen of his own men and ours are stricken. When he falls this fight will be over. For the sake of humanity and our cause, go do your duty."

As quietly, the two riflemen took up positions that would give them good shots at the plucky British general. A few moments later, in answer to the sharp, whip-like crack of one of their guns, poor Fraser fell mortally wounded with a ball in his breast. He was carried back to the British camp in a wheelbarrow, suffering greatly, but making no complaint.

Even the loss of Burgoyne himself could have been no more disheartening to the British. And now with the terrible Arnold assaulting them so fiercely in front, they precipitately fell back toward their headquarters. Arnold then turned his attention to the contingent under Lord Balcarras, who had intrenched at the north of the Farm; but finding the resistance here a little too strong to suit him, he swept by with his men and charged upon the Canadian auxiliaries who occupied a position just north of Balcarras and covered the left wing of Breymann's forces at the extreme right of the British camp.

The Canadians soon fled. This left Breymann exposed, and Arnold at once assaulted him on the [91] left. At the same moment Morgan came up, and charged him on the opposite side. There was no withstanding such an attack; Breymann was slain, and his force utterly broken up, crushing the British right wing and rendering their whole position untenable.

During this fight a wounded German soldier, lying on the ground, took careful aim at Arnold. The bullet went a little lower than intended, passing through the General's left leg, fracturing the bone a little above the knee, and killing his horse.

As Arnold fell, one of his men rushed up to bayonet the wounded German. But Arnold remonstrated. "Stop! For God's sake, don't hurt him; he's a fine fellow!" he cried. The scared German, to his great wonder, was saved.

For the good of Benedict Arnold, it seems too bad that this man's bullet did not reach a more vital spot. Then and there he could have died conscience free with a hero's untarnished honors, whereas—but why tell it? Every boy knows of his later dreadful, unpatriotic conduct, so strange, so unlike the brave and beloved man who led the American forces in the two battles of Freeman's Farm that we scarce can compel ourselves to believe they could ever have been one and the same person!

Darkness at length put an end to the battle; but the Americans slept on their arms, prepared [92] to renew it the next day. The advantages they had gained were decisive. The British had lost as many as four hundred men in killed, wounded and prisoners; much of their artillery and ammunition, and many tents, had been taken, and the possession of a strong portion of the intrenchments would enable them to renew the attack the next day with every promise of success.

A change of position was now absolutely indispensable for the safety of the British army. So while the Americans slept, Burgoyne, with silence and no little skill, drew back his worn troops to some high grounds in the rear.

The next morning the stricken General Fraser died. The journal of the Baroness Riedesel who, with her three little children, endured the hardships of the campaign, tells of the fortitude with which the gallant soldier bore his sufferings. That evening he was buried by his own request on a high hill in the center of the camp. Burgoyne and his principal officers stood by the grave, while the chaplain of the grenadiers, the Rev. Mr. Brudenell, calmly read the burial service.

Meantime the American army had followed the British to their new position. All that day was spent in skirmishes, during which General Lincoln was severely wounded. Not realizing the nature of the gathering about the grave of the late British general, the heavy guns of the Ameri- [93] can batteries continued to play upon the enemy camp. Balls struck so near as to actually scatter the earth over the chaplain, who continued to read the ritual in his mild and even way. Before the service was over, the Americans discovered the truth of the situation. Then, in honor of the dead, minute guns were fired until the burial was over, whereupon the harsh business of war was resumed again.

Lady Harriet Ackland, the wife of the captive commander of the grenadiers, who had devotedly followed the army from Quebec and nursed her husband through an attack of illness as well as a period of wounded incapacity, now applied to General Burgoyne for a pass to the American lines. It seems she could bear to be away from her helpmate no longer, fearing that his wound should require her individual attention.

In the dark, rainy night, accompanied by the Rev. Brudenell, she was rowed down the river to the American camp. Gates, who, whatever his faults in other respects, was always very courteous to the fair sex, received her and her companion very graciously, and at once had her conducted into the presence of her wounded husband.

V. SURRENDER OF BURGOYNE

[94] THAT same night Burgoyne decided to continue his retreat. All day the Americans had harassed his army terribly, and he felt that should the light of another morning's sun find him still in his present poor position, his forces would have to surrender.

So, under cloak of the friendly darkness, Burgoyne very carefully worked his wrecked army away from the heights where they had paid their last respects to one of their ablest officers, and fell back upon Saratoga.

General Gates was right upon their heels, and numerous skirmishes occurred during this retirement. In one of these Burgoyne's soldiers burned General Schuyler's princely country-house, with its splendid barns and granaries.

When the British army reached the place where they had crossed the Hudson some weeks previously, they found, to their chagrin, a force of some three thousand Americans occupying the hills on the other side, so that it was now utterly impossible to cross. A council of war was hastily called. This resulted in a decision to abandon [95] all the artillery and baggage, and push through the woods at night to a point near Fort Edward where the great river was known to be shallow enough for fording.

Hardly, however, had this plan been formulated, when word was brought that the Americans were guarding all the fords, and had also planted detachments in a strong position to the northward between Fort Edward and Fort George.

Burgoyne, almost distracted, saw the whole truth of the situation now. His crippled forces, destitute of water, provisions, weapons, ammunition, and men, were surrounded. There was no visible means of escape.

Even as the British commander realized his precarious position, the Americans opened a brisk cannonading upon his army from the east and south. And the next moment Morgan's riflemen began a raking fire from the rear.

So inefficient was his shelter in his present position that Burgoyne immediately sent some of the women and wounded men to a large house in the vicinity. Here they took refuge in a cellar, and here the Baroness Riedesel tells us how she passed six dismal nights and days, crouching in a corner near the doorway, with her three little children clinging to her, while every now and then, with a hideous crashing, a heavy cannon- [96] ball from the American guns came tearing through the room overhead.


[Illustration]

THE SURRENDER OF BURGOYNE.

As the hours drew on, she says, the house became a general hospital, filled with crippled and dying men. Scarcely any food could be had. The wounded cried piteously for water, not a drop of which was available. It was only a few steps to the river, but every man who ventured out with a bucket fell in his tracks—cut down by the Virginia rifles that never missed their aim. Little did the American gunners know of the true conditions in that shot-torn house, which they supposed occupied by armed soldiers, else their fire would surely have been suspended.

As it was, at last the brave wife of a British soldier volunteered to go for water. She returned presently with the bucket filled. Again she went. And again. By then she and her companions all knew the reason for her safety: the Americans would not shoot at a woman!

Utterly worn out, and despairing at last of receiving expected reinforcements from Sir Henry Clinton who had been slowly making his way up the Hudson toward Albany, Burgoyne, on the seventh day, sent a flag of truce to General Gates, inquiring what terms of surrender would be accepted. Gates at first demanded an unconditional surrender, but upon Burgoyne's indignant refusal he consented to make terms.

[97] After three days' discussion the details of surrender were agreed upon. Just as Burgoyne was about to sign the articles a Tory made his way into camp with hearsay news that part of Clinton's delayed army was close to Albany. This caused the British leader to hesitate. With his brother officers an interesting discussion then took place. They wondered whether they had so far pledged their faith to the surrender that they could not in honor withdraw. It was finally the consensus of opinion that their faith had been irrevocably pledged.

So, on the 17th of October, the terms were duly signed, exchanged, and put into execution. These conditions specified that the British army should march out of camp with the honors of war, stack their arms at an appointed place, march through Massachusetts to Boston, and from this port those who wished might sail for Europe; but none were to serve again in America during the war. It was further agreed that all the officers might retain their small arms, and that no soldier's private luggage should be searched or molested.

In compliance with Burgoyne's earnest request, General Gates consented that these proceedings should be styled a "convention" rather than a surrender, in imitation of the famous Convention of Kloster-Seven, by which the Duke of Cumberland, twenty years before, had sought to save his [98] feelings while losing his army which had been beleaguered by the French in Hanover. Indeed, the soothing phrase has been well remembered by English historians who to this day continue to refer to Burgoyne's surrender as the "Convention of Saratoga."

Praiseworthy courtesy was shown by both Gates and his soldiers in carrying out the provisions of the so-called convention. As the British marched off to a meadow by the river bank and laid down their arms, the Americans remained within their own lines, reluctant to add to the humiliation of a gallant enemy by standing by and looking on. "As the disarmed soldiers then passed by the American lines," declares Lieutenant Anbury, one of the captured British officers, in an account some years later, "I did not observe the least disrespect; not even a taunting look. Their faces were mute with pity for us."

Burgoyne stepped up, and handed his sword to General Gates. The soldiers looting on could not but admire the tall, imposing figure of the scarlet-dressed British leader as he stood there for a moment in sharp contrast to the small, insignificant-looking American leader whom he faced. Burgoyne bowed sadly, but with all of his native well-known grace. "The fortune of war, General Gates, has made me your prisoner," he said simply.

[99] Gates instantly returned the sword, replying: "I shall always be ready to testify that it has not been through any fault of your excellency."

With such generosity and delicacy of feeling on the parts of generals and soldiers, it is painful to acknowledge the rudeness and bad faith with which Congress proceeded to treat the surrendered army. In some manner Congress became imbued with the idea that Sir William Howe intended to bring the paroled troops to New York for immediate service. As a retaliation the British captured were not allowed to go aboard Lord Howe's transports when they arrived at Boston for them. The officers were treated as ordinary prisoners of war, and from time to time were exchanged. Burgoyne was allowed to go to England in the spring. While still a prisoner on parole, he took his seat in Parliament, and there became conspicuous among the defenders of the American cause.

As for his former troops, these were detained in the neighborhood of Boston until the autumn of 1778, when they were all transferred to the vicinity of Charlottesville, Virginia. Here they built a rude village on the brow of a pretty ridge of hills, where they planted gardens and proceeded to make themselves as much at home as possible. Two years afterward, when Virginia became the seat of war, some of them removed to [100] Winchester, in the Shenandoah Valley; to Frederick, in Maryland, and to Lancaster, in Pennsylvania. Those who wished were allowed to return to Europe, and no attention was paid to those who chose to escape. But the greater number, consisting of Germans, seemed to prefer to stay in this country and become American citizens.

Such was the peculiar sequel of a campaign full of picturesque incident and magnitude of result. Saratoga must ever remain one of the most memorable battle words in the history of man-kind. Its varied scenes, framed in landscapes of grand and stirring beauty, had brought together on the one canvas types of rugged manhood covering the gamut of world history, with a touch of prophecy added. In the feathered, painted Mohawk sachem it is easy to see Ancient Barbarism fully outlined. In the helmeted Brunswick dragoon stands Militancy, bequeathed from the Middle Ages. In the blue-frocked yeoman of New England we discern the shadow of the great Spirit of Democracy that must throttle all and control the future of the whole world!


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