Графични страници
PDF файл

train of artillery; but receiving intelligence that colonel St. Leger was proceeding with great rapidity in his expedition on the Mobawk river, he removed to Stillwater, a place about half way

be tween Saratoga and the junction of the Mohawk with Hudson's river.

The colonel, in the mean time, had advanced as far as fort Stanwix; the siege of which he pressed with great vigour; and understanding that a supply of provisions, guarded by eight or nine hundred men, was on its way to the fort, he despatched sir John Johnson with a strong detachment to intercept it. This he performed so effectually, that four hundred of the escort were slain, and two hundred taken; the residue escaping with great difficulty. The garrison, it was expected, would be intimidated by this disaster, and by the threats and representations of St. Leger : on the contrary, they made several successful sallies under colonel Willet, the second officer in command; who, with another gentleman, ventured out of the fort, and eluding the vigilance of the enemy, passed through them, in order to hasten the march of general Arnold to their relief.

The affairs of colonel St. Leger, notwithstanding his recent suc. cess, appeared in no very favourable situation; and they were totally ruined by the desertion of the Indians; who had been alarmed by the report of general Arnold's advancing with two thousand men, to the relief of the fort; and while the colonel was endeavouring to encourage them, another report was spread that general Burgoyne had been defeated with great slaughter, and was flying before the provincials. On this he was obliged to comply with their fears, and ordered a retreat; which was not effected without the loss of the tents, some artillery, and military stores.

Difficulties and disappointments still rontinued to press upon general Burgoyne: the roads he had made with so much labour and pains, were destroyed by the eneny, and wetness of the sea. son; so that provisions from fort George could not be brought to his camp without prodigious toil. Having been informed of the siege of fort Stanwix, by colonel St Leger, he determined to move forward, that he might enclose the enemy betwixt his own army and that of St. Leger; and in hopes of securing the command of all the country between fort Stanuis and Albany. At any rate, a junction with St. Leger was likely to produce the most happy consequences. The only difficulty' was, the want of provisions : and this it was proposed to remedy, by seizing the magazines of the provincials.

For this purpose, colonel Baum. a German officer of great bra. very, was chosen with a body of five hundred troops. The ma. gazines lay at Bennington, about twenty miles eastward of Hudson's river: in order to support colonel Baum's party, the whole army marched up the bank of the river, and encamped almost or

posite to Saratoga, with the river between it and that place. An advanced party was posted at Batten-kill, between the camp and Bennington, in order to support colonel Baum. In their way, the royal detachment seized a large supply of cattle and provisions, which were immediately sent to the camp; but the badness of the roads retarded their march so much, that intelligence of their design was sent to Bennington. Colonel Baum, understanding that the American force at that place, was much superior to his own, acquainted the general; who immediately sent colonel Breyman, with a party to his assistance: but the same causes which retarded the march of colonel Baum, also impeded the march of colonel Breyman, who could not arrive in time. General Starke, in the mean time, who commanded at Bennington, determined to attack the two parties separately; and advanced against colonel Baun, whom he surrounded on all sides, and attacked with the utmost violence. The German troops defended themselves with great valour, but were to a man either killed or taken. Colonel-Breywan, after a desperate engagement, had the good fortune to effect a retreat, through the darkness of the night: which, otherwise, he could not have done, as his men had expended all their ammu. nition.

Disappointed in his attempt on Bennington, general Burgoyne applied himself with indefatigable diligence, to procure provisions from fort George; and having at length procured a sufficient quantity to last for a month, he threw a bridge of boats over the river Hudson, which he crossed about the middle of September, encamping on the hills and plains of Saratoga.

As soon as he approached the provincial army, which was ericamped at Still water, under general Gates, he determined to make an attack;

he placed himself at the head of the centre, having general' Fraser and colonel Breyman on his right, and generals Reidesel and Phillips, with the artillery, on the left. In this position, the 19th of September, he advanced towards the enemy. But the Americans, confident in their number, did not now wait to be engaged: but attacked the central division with great impetuosity, and it was not till general Phillips with the artillery came up, at eleven o'clock at night, that they could be induced to retire to their camp. In this action the British lost five hundred in killed and wounded, and the Americans three hundred and nineteen. The resolution manifested

by the Americans upon this occasion, surprised and alarmed the British forcés. But this did not prevent them from advancing towards the enemy, and posting themselves within cannon shot of their lines the next day. But their Indian allies now began to desert in great numberg: and at the same time, the general was exceedingly mortified by having to

intelligence from sir Henry Clinton, who was to have assisted him as had been stipulated.

He now received a letter from him, by which he was informed that sir Henry intended to make a diversion on the North river in his favour. This afforded but little comfort: and he returned an answer, by several trusty persons, who took different routes, stating his distressed situation; at the same time informing him, that his provisions and other necessaries would only enable him to hold out till the 12th of October.

The Americans, in the mean time, that they might effectually cut off the retreat of the British, undertook an expedition to Ticonderoga; but failed in the attempt, notwithstanding they surprised all the outposts, and took a great number of boats, and some armed vessels, and a few prisoners.

The army under general Burgoyne, however, continued to labour under various distresses; his provisions fell short, so that in the beginning of October he diminished the soldiers' allowance. On the seventh of that month he determined to move towards the enemy; for this purpose he sent a body of one thousand five hundied men to reconnoitre their left wing, interdiag if possible, to break through it, and effect a retreat. The detachment had not proceeded far, when a dreadful attack was made by the Ame. ricans on the left wing of the British army, which was with great difficulty preserved from being entirely broken, by a reinforce. ment brought up by general Fraser, who was killed in the attack.

After the troops had, with the most desperate efforts, regained their camp, it was furiously assaulted by general Arnold; who, notwithstanding all opposition, would have forced the entrenchments, had he not received a dangerous wound, which obligeu him to retire. Thus the attack failed, but on the right the German reserve was forced, colonel Breyman killed, and his couutrymen defeated with great slaughter, and with the loss of their artillery and baggage.

This was by far the greatest loss the British sustained since the battle of Bunker's hill: the list of the killed and wounded amount. ed to near twelve hundred, exclusive of the Germans : but the greatest misfortune

that the Americans had now an opening on the right and rear of the British forces, so that the army was threatened with entire destruction. This obliged general Bur. goyne once more to shift his position, that the enemy might also be obliged to alter theirs. This was accomplished on the night of the seventh without any loss, and all the next day he continued to offer the enemy battle. The enemy now advanced on the right, that they might enclose him entirely, which obliged general Burgoyne to direct a retreat to Saratoga. But the Auericans had stationed a strong force at the ford on Hudson's river, so that the only possibility of retreat was by securing a passage to Lake George ; and to effect this, workmen were despatched with a strong guard, to repair the roads and bridges that led to fort Edward. As soon as they were gone, the enemy seemed to prepare for an attack; which rendered it necessary to recall the guard, and the workmen, being left exposed, could not proceed.


The boats which conveyed provisions down the Hudson river, were exposed to the continual fire of the American marksmen, who captured many; so that it became necessary to convey them over land. General Burgoyne finding it impossible to stay here, with any safety to bis army, resolved to attempt a march to fort Edward in the night, and force the passages at the fords either above or below. That he might effect this the more easily, it was resolved thai the soldiers should carry their provisions on their backs and leave behind them their baggage and every other incumbrance. But intelligence being received that the enemy hand raised strong entrenchments opposite the fords, well provided with cannon, and that they had also taken possession of the rising ground between fort George and fort Edward, it was judged impossible to succeed in the attempt.

The American army was still increasing in numbers : and reinforcements floked in from all quarters, elated with the certain prospect ut

Capturing the winie British ariny. Small parties extended all along the opposite bank of Hudson's river, and some had passed it, that they might the more exactly observe every movement of the enemy. The forces under general Gates were computed at sixieen thousand men, while the army under gene. ral Burgoyle amounted to six thousand.

Every part of the British camp was reached by the rifle and grape shot of the Americans. In this state of extreine distress and imuninent danger, the army continued with the greatest constancy and perseverance, till the evening of the thirteenth of October, when an inventory of provisions being taken, it was found that no more reinained than was sufficient to last three days; a council of war being called, it was unanimously determined that there was no other alternative but to treat with the enemy. In consequence of this, a negociation was opened the next day, which terminated in a capitulation of the whole British army; the principal article of which was, " That the troops were to have a free passage to Britain, on condition of not serving against America during the war.” On this occasion general Gates generously ordered his army to keep within their camp, while the British soldiers went to a place appointed to lay down they arms, that the Satter might not have the additional mortification of being made spectacles on so melancholy an event.

The number of those who surrendered at Saratoga, amounted to five thousand seven hundred and fifty. According to the American accounts, the list of sick and wounded left in the camp when the army retreated to Saratoga, amounted to five hundred and twenty.eight, and the number of those, by other accounts, since the taking of Ticonderoga, to near three thousand. Thirty-five brass field-pieces, seven thousand stand of arms, clothing for an equal number of soldiers, with tents, military chests, &c. constituted the booty on this occasion.

Sir Henry Clinton, in the mean time, instead of taking effectual measures for the immediate relief of general Burgogne, of whose situation he had been informed, amused himself with destroying the two forts called Montgomery and Clinton, with fort Constitution, and another place called Continental Village, where there were barracks for two thousand men; he also carried away seventy large cannon, a number of smaller ones, and a quanuity of stores and ammunition. Another attack was made by sir James Wallace, with sone frigates, and a body of land forces, under general Vaughan, upon Esopus, a small tourishing town on the river. But these successes only tended to irritate the Americans, and injure the royal cause.

On the sixteenth of March, 1778, lord North informed the house of commons, that a paper had been laid before the king, by the French ambassador, intimating the conclusion of an alliance between the court of France, and the United States of America. It was on the sixth of February, 1778, that the articles were for: mally signed, to the great satisfaction of France; by which it was hoped, that the pride of her formidable rival would be humbled, and her power lessened. For this purpose and her own aggran. dizement, did France enter into an alliance with the revolted subjects of Great Britain ; but not till after the capture of Bue. goyne's army, when the Americans had made it manifest, that they were able to defend themselves, without the interference of any foreign power. How far that interference has been benefi. cial to France, the dreadful features of her own revolution must decide; and to which the American revolution undoubtedly gave birth. The articles were, in substance, as follow:

1. If Great Britain should, in consequence of this treaty, preceed to hostilities against France, the smo nations should mutually assist one another.

2. The main end of the treaty was, in an effectual manner to maintain the independency of America.

3. Should those places in North America, still subject to Great Britain, be reduced by the colonies, they should be confederated with them, or subjected to their jurisdiction.

4. Should any of the West India islands be reduced by France, they should be deemed its property.

5. No formal treaty with Great Britain should be concluded, either by France or America, without the consent of each other and it was mutually engaged, that they should not lay down their

« ПредишнаНапред »