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pursue his march down the river, and in the hope of this assistance, was content to remain in his camp, and stand on the defensive. His army was likewise diminished by the desertion of the Indians and Canadian militia, to less than one half of its original number. Gates, finding his forces largely increasing, being plentifully supplied with provisions, and knowing that Burgoyne had only a limited store, which was rapidly lessening, and could not be recruited, was not without hopes that victory would come, in time, even without a battle. His troops were so numerous, and his fortified position so strong, that he was able to take measures for preventing the retreat of the enemy, by occupying the strong posts in his rear. Accordingly, nineteen days passed without any further operations, a delay as ruinous to one party, as it was advantageous to the other. At the end of this period, the British general found his prospects of assistance as remote as ever, and the consumption of his stores so alarming, that retreat or victory became unavoidable alternatives. · On the 8th of October, a warm action ensued, in which the British were every where repulsed, and a part of their lines occupied by their enemies. Burgoyne's loss was very considerable in killed, wounded and prisoners, while the favourable situation of Gates's army made its losses in the battle of no moment. Burgoyne retired in the night to a stronger camp, but the measures immediately taken by Gates to cut off his retreat, compelled him without delay to regain his former camp at Saratoga. There he arrived with little molestation from his adversary. His provisions being now reduced to the supply of a few days, the transport of artillery and baggage, towards Canada, being rendered impracticable by the judicious measures of his adversary, the British general resolved upon a rapid retreat, merely with what the soldiers could carry. On a careful scrutiny, however, it was found that they were deprived even of this resource, as the passes through which their route Jay, were so strongly guarded, that nothing but artillery, could clear them. In this desperate situation a parley took place, and on the 16th of October the whole army surrendered to Gates. The prize obtained consisted of more than five thousand prisoners, some fine artillery, seven thousand muskets, clothing for 7000 men, with a great quantity of tents, and other military stores. All the frontier fortresses were immediately abandoned to the victors.
It is not easy to overrate the importance of this success. It may be considered as deciding the Far of the revolution, as from that period the British cause began rapidly to decline. The capture of Cornwallis was hardly of equal importance to that of Burgoyne, and was, in itself, an event of much less splendour, and productive of less exultation.
How far the misfortunes of Burgoyne were owing to the accidents beyond human controul, and how far they are ascribed to the individual conduct and courage of the American commander, would be a useless and invidious inquiry. Reasoning on the erdinary ground, his merits were exceedingly great, and this event entitled him to a high rank among the deliverers of his country. The memo. ry of all former misfortunes were effaced by the magnitude of this victory, and the government and people vied with each other in expressing their admiration of the conquering general. Besides the thanks of congress, the general received from the president a gold medal, as a memorial of their gratitude.
Every war abounds with cases of private sufforing and distress, very few of which become public, though sympathy and curiosity are powerfully excited by narratives of that kind; and the feelings of a whole nation are remarkably swayed by them. The expedition of Burgoyne was adorned by the romantic and affecting tales of M.Crea, and lady Harriet Ackland. The latter is of no further consequence in this narration, than as it reflects great credit on the politeness and humanity of general Gates. Major Ackland, the husband of this lady, was wounded and made prisoner in one of the battles preceding the surrender, and his wife, in going to the hostile camp to attend her husband, met with a reception, which proved that long converse with military scenes, had left the virtues of humanity wholly unimpaired in his bosom.
Gates was now placed at the head of the board of war; a post of trust and dignity, scarcely infe-. rior to that of the commander in chief.
He was in a private station, residing on his farm in Virginia, in June, 1780. The low state of their affairs, in the southern districts, induced congress, on the 13th of that month, to call him to the chief command in that quarter. The state of affairs in Pennsylvania, Jersey, and New York, afforded sufficient employment for Washington, and Gates being the next in rank and reputation, was resorted to as the last refuge of his suffering country.
The efforts of the British in the southern states had been very strenuous and successful. Charleston, the chief city, had been taken. All the American detachments, collected with great difficulty, easily dissolved by their own fears, ill furnished with arms, and unqualified for war, by inexperience and want of discipline, were instantly overwhelmed and dispersed by the well equipped cavalry of Tarleton, and the veterans of Rawdon and Cornwallis. The American leaders were fa.. mous for their valour, perseverance, and activity; but these qualities would not supply the place of
guns, and of hands to manage them. At this criasis Gates took the command of that miserable remnant which bore the name of the southern army, and which mustered about fifteen hundred men. A very numerous and formidable force existed in the promises of North Carolina and Virginia. The paper armics of the new states always made a noble appearance. All the muniments of war overflowed the skirts of these armies; but, alas! the field was as desolate as the paper estimate was full. The promised army proved to be only one tenth of the stipulated number, and assembled at the scene of action long after the fixed time. The men were destitute of arms and ammunition, and, what was most to be regretted, were undisciplined. :
Two modes of immediate action were proposed. One was to advance into the country possessed by the enemy, by a road somewhat circuitous, but which would supply the army with accommodation and provisions. Gates was averse to dilatory measures. He was, perhaps, somewhat misled by the splendid success which had hitherto attended him. He was anxious to come to action immea diately, and to terminate the war by a few bold and energetic efforts. He, therefore, resolved to collect all the troops into one body, and to meet the enemy as soon as possible. Two days after his arrival in camp he began his march by the most direct road. This road, unfortunately, led through a barren country, in the hottest and most un- . wholesome season of the year.
During this march, all the forebodings of those who preferred a different track, were amply fulfilled. A scanty supply of cattle, found nearly wild in the woods, was their principal sustenance, while bread or flour was almost wholly wanting, and when we add to a scarcity of food, the malignity of the climate and the season, we shall not
wonder that the work of the enemy was anticipa ted in the destruction of considerable numbers by disease. The perseverance of Gates, in surmounting the obstacles presented by piny thickets and dismal swamps, deserves praise, however injudicious the original choice of such a road may be thought by some. In this course he effected a junction with some militia of North Carolina, and with a detachment under Porterfield.
He finally took possession of Clermont, whence the British commander, lord Rawdon, had previously withdrawn. That general prepared, by collecting and centering his forces in one body, to overwhelm him in a single battle. Lord Rawdon was posted, with his forces, at Camden. After some deliberation, the American leader determined to approach the English, and expose himself to the chance of a battle.
Rumour had made the numbers of th:e Americans much greater than they really were in the imagination of the British. Cornwallis, himself, hastened to the scene of action, and, though mustering all his strength for this arduous occasion, could not bring two thousand effective men into the field. Nineteen, however, out of twenty, of these, were veterans of the most formidable qualifications. With the reinforcement of seven hundred Virgimia militia and some other detachments, Gates's army did not fall short of four thousand men. A very small portion of these were regular troops, while the rest were a wavering and undisciplined militia, whose presence was rather injurious than beneficial.
Notwithstanding his inferiority of numbers, Cornwallis found that a retreat would be more pernicious than a battle under the worst auspices; and he himself on the 16th of August, prepared to attack his enemy. General Gates bad taken the same resolution at the same time; and the adverse