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with eight hundred men, and a few militia who could be prevailed upon to join him, to Fort Schuyler. Their numbers were inferior to those of St. Leger, and Arnold accordingly had recourse to a stratagem, to terrify the Indians in St. Leger's camp, which completely succeeded. An emissary, Cuyler by name, was sent among the Indians, as a deserter, with instructions to magnify the numbers of the Americans, who were approaching. This finesse was aided by the discontent already existing among them, and their disappointment at the protracted defence of the fort. A part of them hastily decamped, and the rest threatened to follow, unless a retreat was instantly ordered. The siege, which had been continued for eighteen days, was precipitately raised, before Arnold's arrival, and in such disorder that most of the artillery, stores, tents, and baggage, fell into the hands of the garrison. In the retreat, the Indians quarrelled with their allies, and robbed them. A violent quarrel broke out between the commanding officers, St. Leger and Johnson, which was with difficulty appeased.
Whilst the contest for the possession of Fort Schuyler was going on, an action was fought at Bennington,
Aug. 22d. which gave the first decisive turn to the current of events that had been hitherto so adverse to the American cause in the North. Burgoyne, desirous of aiding the advance of St. Leger's forces, thought to occupy the attention of the American army by a sudden and rapid advance down the Hudson. They were between him and Albany, in considerable strength. If he could engage them in front, so as to prevent them from succoring Fort Schuyler, they might be assailed in flank by the other division descending the Mohawk, and forced either to risk a general battle or to retire into New England. The difficulty of maintaining a communication with Fort Edward and Fort George, whence all his supplies were drawn, presented an obstacle to his rapid movement. This he determined to remove by seizing upon a quantity of stores which the Americans had collected at Bennington, in Vermont, distant about twenty miles from the Hudson. The magazines were guarded only by parties of militia, and the intermediate country was represented to be favorably disposed to the royalists. A plan was formed to capture those stores, and, the army being thus supplied to push on boldly against the republican camp. The detachment ordered on this service consisted of about
five hundred men, chiefly Hessians and Canadians, with about one hundred Indians, under the command of Lieuten. ant-Colonel Baum, a German officer of distinction. To sup port him, a Brunswick regiment of grenadiers and light-in. fantry, under Colonel Breyman, were directed to follow and take post at Batten Hill. Baum advanced with considerable difficulty on account of the badness of the roads, but with little hostile opposition, until he approached the town of Bennington, where he found an unexpected force prepared to oppose him. Colonel Stark, with a party of New Hampshire militia, was on his way to the American camp, when intelligence of the expedition of Baum was brought him. He hastened to collect the neighboring militia to repulse him. Baum, after some skirmishing with part of the American force, find. ing them too numerous for him, encamped upon advantageous ground, on Walloon Creek, about four miles from Bennington, and sent for reinforcements. A storm of rain retarded as well the operations of Colonel Stark, as the advance of the
expected succors, for two days. On the 16th,
Stark, having been strengthened by the arrival of some militia, determined upon attacking the Hessians in their entrenchments before a junction could be formed with Breyman's regiment. He divided his force into several divisions, and charged the enemy in front, flank, and rear, at nearly the same time, with great impetuosity. Baum made a gallant resistance : after his artillery had been captured, and his ammunition expended, he led on the Hessians, sword in hand; and was only conquered by the repeated and overwhelming charges of Stark's militia. The Americans fought with extraordinary spirit, and their firing was compared, in the official account of the battle, to uninterrupted peal of thunder.” The corps of Breyman arrived on the field immediately after the discomfiture of Baum's division, and while the Americans were dispersed in pursuit, not expecting another engagement. They rallied to attack this new enemy, and a sharp contest recommenced, about four in the afternoon. The battle was soon decided in favour of the Americans, by the charge of Colonel Warner, at the head of a regiment of the line;
and the Germans gave way, and were pursued until dark, with the loss of their baggage, artillery, and arms. The royalists lost in these two battles, about seven hundred men, the greater part prisoners. The American loss was about seventy.
The fruits of this battle were of the highest value, independent of the mere loss of men to the enemy, considerable as that was. It was the first victory which had been gained by the armies of the United States in the campaign. In every direction they had been retreating before superior forces, and maneuvring to avoid the enemy ever since the month of March. In the southern department Washington had carefully avoided an engagement with Howe, and from the first appearance of Burgoyne before Ticonderoga, nothing but defeat had befallen the arms of America. The battle of Bennington changed the face of affairs, and reanimated the courage of the militia. They had met a highly disciplined corps in the open field, and defeated them by hard fighting, and had taken by assault a camp entrenched strongly and defended by regulars. As a military achievement, it was just ground for general exultation. It restored confidence, gratified national pride, and kindled military enthusiasm by the trophies of victory which it furnished. On the British this effect was reversed. Defeat produced mortification if not absolute depression. The direct effects of the loss, in the condition and prospects of the army, were severe,--and, as the event showed, of fatal importance. It deranged the entire plan of the campaign, arrested the advance movement which had been contemplated, and compelled the army to halt, inactive, in an enemy's country, until the necessary supplies could be brought from Fort George. The delay was a loss to them of nearly a month,- from the sixteenth of August to the thirteenth of September,--within which period the Americans, flushed with the triumphs of Bennington and Fort Schuyler, were recruiting their forces, and gathering all things necessary for following up those successes vigorously.
Congress, on the 4th of August, had superseded General Schuyler, and on the 21st General Gates arrived and assumed the command. The army was then encamped at Vanshaick's Island, and Burgoyne occupying his camp on the left bank of the Hudson, was employed in transporting supplies from the lakes. Soon after the arrival of Gates, the army received the reinforcements already mentioned, including Morgan's celebrated corps of riflemen, and the New York militia, raised by the indefatigable activity of George Clinton.
A daring enterprise was undertaken, about the same time,
by a party of New England militia, who penetrated across the country, in the rear of the British, seized on a number of posts on the lake, and actually laid siege to Ticonderoga, but, from a deficiency of artillery, were compelled to retire. This gallant corps was under the direction of General Lincoln.
The indignation of the Americans was aggravated by an atrocious act of murder, committed by some of the Indian allies of Burgoyne, on the person of an amiable and accomplished young lady. Miss M'Crea, of Fort Edward, the daughter of an American loyalist, was betrothed to a British officer, in the army of Burgoyne, and on the approach of the army the impatient lover sent a party of Indians to conduct his bride to the British camp. She consented to accompany them, but, on the road, her savage guides quarrelled about the reward that had been promised them, and, exasperated by mutual contradictions, ended the dispute by ferociously murdering the innocent victim. So horrible an incident, under circumstances appealing so strongly to the sympathies, roused a universal cry of detestation against the employment of Indians in civilized warfare, and stimulated the Americans to deeper resentment against the army in which such allies were employed. Burgoyne answered the indig. nant representations of Gates by arresting the murderers, but subsequently pardoned them, as an act of policy, not the less reprobating the inhuman act. This policy did not succeed in retaining the aid of the Indians. Already dissatisfied with delay and inaction, and disappointed of the plunder they had expected, they resented the attempt to restrain them further, and deserted in great numbers. The Canadians were not more faithful, and in a few weeks he found that all the force he could rely upon was the British and Hessian regulars. Finally, having supplied himself with
thirty days provisions from the magazines in his Sept. 13th.
rear, he took the bold step of breaking up his line of intercourse with Canada, and crossed the river to the left bank with his whole force. Four days after he encamped at Saratoga, in front of the army of Gates, which lay encamped near Stillwater, about three miles below.
This movement separated him from his communications with the supplies in his rear, and threw bim at once upon the resources of his army, to force their way through to Albany, and form a junction with the forces of Sir Henry
Clinton from below. The event showed that he had miscal. culated his own strength and that of his opponents, and that the plan of co-operation between the two armies had not been thoroughly understood. The expedition from New York failed in the most essential points, and from the day of the crossing of the Hudson the fate of his army was determined, and a few weeks saw it surrounded and captured by the republican forces, over whom he had promised himself an easy victory.
On the nineteenth, the battle of Stillwater was fought by the two armies, with great obstinacy and courage.
Sept.19th. Although there was no decisive result on the field, it had all the effects of a victory to the Americans. They, for the first time in the campaign, met the British regulars in a pitched battle, and maintained their ground with unexpected firmness and success. The conflict began between scouting parties, and continued irregularly for an hour and a half, each being gradually reinforced until both armies were engaged, and a hot and prolonged firing was kept up for three hours. The British and Americans were alternately driven back, but rallied again with determined courage, and each party seemed resolute in maintaining their position at all hazards. The British had the advantage of several pieces of artillery, which were taken and recovered several times during the action. Night put an end to the prolonged battle, without positive defeat on either side. But, as the enemy fought to force the position of the Americans, and did not succeed while the latter remained where they were in the morning, the fruits of a victory were evidently theirs, independently of the vast moral effect of having arrested the progress of Burgoyne in a regular battle. The Indians and Canadians, in particular, who had remained with the British, were disheartened, and deserted in increasing numbers. The actual loss of that army, in killed and wounded, was about five hundred; of the Americans, three hundred and twenty. Arnold distinguished himself in this battle by his daring and almost desperate bravery. An unfortunate dispute occurred not long afterwards between him and General Gates, which produced such resentment that he threw up
his command. The cause of offence was the assumption by Gates of the direction of a part of the army, which Arnold thought subject exclusively to his own direction. This was one of the first of the dissensions which provoked tho