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excitable temper of Arnold, and led, among other and baser causes, to his subsequent betrayal
of his country. After the battle of Stillwater, Burgoyne encamped near the former position, entrenching himself for the purpose of waiting the expected co-operation of Clinton, from New York. Gates followed his example, fortifying his lines, encouraging his army by frequent skirmishes with the enemy, and increasing their numbers constantly by the numerous bodies of militia, which flocked to him now that the prospect of success became so flattering. General Lincoln brought two thousand men of the best New England troops, and, on the retirement of Arnold, succeeded to his command. On the 4th of October, the American army was eleven thousand strong, of whom at least seven thousand were effective men, and the British little exceeded four thousand. Burgoyne had but three weeks provisions in store, and a return to Ticonderoga would occupy at least eight days, under the most favourable train of events. He had therefore but a fortnight in which to expect the co-operation of Clinton, to force his way against the American army, or to commence a retreat. Such, in a few days, had been the change of prospects in an army which had set out so triumphantly only a month before.
In the middle of September Burgoyne received a communication from Clinton, promising a tardy and inefficient expedition, compared to what had been expected, to move up the North River, in order to occupy the army of Gates by an assault from below, and thus aid the Northern army. Replies were instantly despatched, stating the condition of the army, and informing Clinton that the provisions in store would not enable it to hold out beyond the 12th of October. It was therefore all important that an early movement should be made to relieve it. In the beginning of October it became necessary to reduce the soldiers rations, and news from below was looked for with intense anxiety. No intelligence being received, he determined upon making a stronger effort than he had heretofore ventured on and, on the afternoon of the seventh, made an attack, which brought on the decisive battle of Saratoga.
Burgoyne himself, aided by Generals Phillips, Reidesel, and Fraser, led a picked column of fifteen hundred men against the American left. His left flank was commanded by Major Ackland, and his right by the Earl of Balcarras.
The battle was opened by the Americans simultaneously against the right and left wings, with extraordinary impetuosity. General Poor, with the New Hampshire militia, attacked the left; and Morgan, with his riflemen, poured in his irresistible charge upon the right, which, after a gallant resistance, was compelled to give way. In the meantime the Americans had extended their assault along the whole line of Germans, and pushed forward a detachment to intercept them in their retreat. The battle was obstinate and bloody, but did not last long. In less than an hour the British left gave way before the repeated assaults of the Americans, and the whole line, attacked in front and driven back upon both flanks, was compelled to retire in confusion. The assailants followed them up, and a part of the lines were forced by a regiment of which Arnold had assumed the command. During the whole fight be performed feats of courage and audacity, almost frantic-dashing into the midst of the enemy, fighting single-handed, and leading on troops in every part of the field. The fighting did not terminate till nightfall
, and the British army rested, with the loss of four hundred killed and wounded, among whom were several of their best officers. They lost besides, eight field pieces, some tents, carts, and a considerable quantity of baggage. The American killed and wounded did not exceed eighty.
The British General Fraser was mortally wounded in the action. His obsequies were performed at the close of the next day, with great solemnity, in the darkness of night, amidst the blaze and roar of the American cannon, the balls dashing the earth in the faces of the mourners over the corpse. Gates was, at the time, unaware of the nature of the ceremony
On the night after the battle, Burgoyne, perceiving his position no longer tenable against the approaches of the enemy, determined upon a change of ground, which he effected successfully and without loss, taking up a stronger position. The Americans instantly occupied his abandoned camp. He waited under arms the whole of the next day, in expectation of a renewed battle; but nothing but a few skirmishings took place. In one of these General Lincoln was dangerously wounded. General Gates was not inclined to risk the fruits of so decisive an action, by making an attack at disadvantage. He preferred dispatching detachments to occupy the fords of the river, to obstruct the retreat of Burgoyne in that direction,
and another strong force to reach beyond his right flank, and thus surround him. The British general, hastily abandoning his hospital to the humanity of the Americans, put his army immediately in motion, and retreated to Saratoga, six miles up the river, by a night march. On this march, his soldiers burnt and destroyed the houses and other property on their way. Gates followed them step by step, cautiously, without giving him any opportunity of battle. He hastened to occupy Fort Edward, in order to secure the passage of the river there. On the 10th and 11th, the two armies were near each other, and some skirmishes took place between them at Fishkill creek. The Americans were, however, in such force there, as to destroy all hope of being able to cross, and Burgoyne accordingly determined, as his last hope, to abandon his artillery, baggage, carriages, and encumbrances of every kind, except provisions to be carried on the backs of the soldiers, and, by a rapid night march up the river, to cross above Fort Edward, and force a passage to Fort George. His scouts, sent out to reconnoitre, reported the roads to be almost impracticable, and further information of the precautions taken by the Americans, compelled him to abandon even this forlorn expedition. Abandoned by his Indian and Canadian allies, his troops worn out with toil and fighting, destitute of supplies, their numbers reduced from ten thouband, healthy and effective men, to less than five thousand, and surrounded by an army three times their number, and too secure of triumph to risk the chance of a battle, Burgoyne was forced to relinquish all hope of extricating himself
, and depend, as his only chance, upon the aid of Clinton from below, and that within a few days. That feeble hope was vain. Clinton, whose tardiness in the whole campaign is inexplicable, never moved up the river till the 5th of October. His force was about three thousand men, and his first enterprise was against Fort Montgomery, which commands the passage of the river, at the entrance of the Highlands. The strength of the works was towards the river, which Sir Henry Clinton avoided, by landing his men at Stoney Point, below, and marching them to attack the land side of the fort. He had made several feints of landing in other places, bat his true design was foreseen, and the fort manned as strongly as possible, under the direction of Governor George Clinton, and his brother, General James Clinton. The resistance was bravely maintained until dark, when the British entered
the fort, with fixed bayonets. The defenders fought their way out of the fort, and under the cover of the night escaped, with little loss. _Sir Henry Clinton, at the same time, took possession of Fort Clinton, and then employed himself at his leisure in removing the obstructions to the navigation, which had been constructed by the Americans. With a free navigation before him, instead of proceeding to the assistance of Burgoyne, then in great strait, and anxiously looking for succor, he lost his time, and disgraced his arms by ravaging and plundering the country. Tryon, with one party, totally destroyed a settlement, called Continental Village; and another division of the force, under Sir James Wallace, devastated the property and farmhouses on both sides of the river, without compunction and wantonly. On the thirteenth of October, General Vaughan landed at Esopus, or Kingston, a fine and flourishing village, on the west bank of the Hudson, and laid it in ruins; not a
house was left standing. Every thing upon which their to vengeance could be wreaked, was burnt or destroyed. Their
acts were well calculated to excite keenly the resentment of the Americans, against the authors of such savage barbarities; but General Gates was too wise to be tempted to weaken his force by detaching any portion of it against the marauders. He suffered them to exhaust their time in injuring private individuals and plundering private property, while he pressed more closely upon the devoted army, so completely hemmed in by the republican forces. He wrote an indignant letter to Vaughan, after Burgoyne's surrender, which contained the following threat: "Abler generals and older officers than you can pretend to be, are now, by the fortune of war, in my hands. Their fortune may one day be yours, when, sir, it may not be in the power of any thing human, to save you from the just revenge of an injured people.” Why this course was pursued, and a week lost in these predatory excursions, when a vigorous march would have brought them within reach of Burgoyne, and perhaps afforded him a chance for escape, has never been explained to the credit of the sagacity or courage of the British general. On the day that Esopus was burnt, Burgoyne
1 took an account of his provisions, and found no more on hand than would suffice for three days subsistence.
Retreat was cut off, to fight was hopeless, no succor was di approaching, every moment made his condition more des
perate. His men were compelled to lie on their arms, day and night, harassed with the continued apprehensions of assault. Every part of his camp was exposed to uninterrupted cannonading, and even rifle and grapeshot reached the lines. A council of war was accordingly summoned, and so closely were they beset that bullets whistled by the tent in which the council was held. It was determined to open a treaty with the American general ; and after several days of negotiation and conference, a convention was agreed
upon on the fifteenth, and on the seventeenth was
regularly signed, by which the whole British army surrendered themselves prisoners of war. Intelligence of the approach of Clinton was received by Burgoyne during the negotiations, but they had advanced so far, that had he been inclined to expect succor confidently, he could not have receded honourably. It is also related in Wilkinson's Memoirs, that before the convention was absolutely signed, part of the American force left the camp and returned home, and the rest, believing the treaty concluded, gave themselves up to carelessness and indolence, so as to give serious apprehensions of the event, had Burgoyne refused to proceed, and tried the issue of an attack. In fact, he addressed a note to General Gates suspending the treaty, on the ground of information he had received, that the superiority of num. bers on the part of the Americans, which was the basis of the treaty, no longer existed, and requiring satisfaction on this head. The decision of the Am can general in refusing the request peremptorily, and demanding an immediate conclusion of the treaty, or an immediate renewal of hostilities, prevented the evil consequences.
One hour was given to determine the cessation of arms, or conclude the capitulation ; within which time the articles were fully ratified. The British council of war alleged that they consented principally because they thought themselves bound in good faith not to retract at that point.
The principal articles of the treaty, which by stipulation between the commanding officers was entitled a Convention, instead of a Capitulation, were: that the army should march out of their camp with all the honors of war, and leave their artillery and arms in a designated spot; that they should be allowed embarkation and passage to Europe, from Boston, on engaging not to serve in America during the war that they should be kept together, especially the officers, with