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CHAPTER XV: The Northern Campaign of 1777. - David Ramsay, The History of the American Revolution, vol. 2 
The History of the American Revolution, Foreword by Lester H. Cohen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund 1990). Vol. 2.
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The Northern Campaign of 1777.
1777To effect a free communication between New-York and Canada, and to maintain the navigation of the intermediate lakes, was a principal object with the British, for the campaign of 1777. The Americans presuming on this, had been early attentive to their security, in that quarter. They had resolved to construct a fort on Mount Independence, which is an eminence adjoining the strait on which Ticonderoga stands, and nearly opposite to that fortress. They had also resolved to obstruct the navigation of the strait by cassoons, to be sunk in the water, and joined so as to serve at the same time for a bridge between the fortifications on the east and west side of it; and that to prevent the British from drawing their small craft over land into lake George, the passage of that lake should be obstructed—that Fort Schuyler, the same which had formerly been called Fort Stanwix, should be strengthened, and other fortifications erected near the Mohawk river. Requisitions were made by the commanding officer in the department for 13,600 men, as necessary for the security of this district. The adjacent states were urged to fill up their recruits, and in allrespects to be in readiness for an active campaign.
The British ministry were very sanguine in their hopes, from the consequences of forming a line of communication between New-York and Canada. They considered the New England people to be the soul of the confederacy, and promised themselves much by severing them from all free communication with the neighbouring states. They hoped, when this was accomplished, to be able to surround them so effectually with fleets and armies, and Indian allies, as to compel their submission. Animated with these expectations they left nothing undone, which bid fair for ensuring the success of the plans they had formed for this purpose.
The regular troops, British and German, allotted to this service, were upwards of 7000.1777 As artillery is considered to be particularly useful in an American war,  where numerous inhabitants are to be driven out of woods and fastnesses, this part of the service was particularly attended to. The brass train that was sent out, was perhaps the finest, and the most excellently supplied, both as to officers and men, that had ever been allotted to second the operations of an equal force. In addition to the regulars, it was supposed that the Canadians and the loyalists, in the neighbouring states, would add large reinforcements, well calculated for the peculiar nature of the service. Arms and accoutrements were accordingly provided to supply them. Several nations of savages had also been induced to take up the hatchet, as allies to his Britannic majesty. Not only the humanity, but the policy of employing them, was questioned in Great-Britain. The opposers of it contended that Indians were capricious, inconstant and intractable, their rapacity insatiate, and their actions cruel and barbarous. At the same time their services were represented to be uncertain, and that no dependence could be placed on their most solemn engagements. On the other hand, the zeal of British ministers for reducing the revolted colonies, was so violent as to make them, in their excessive wrath, forget that their adversaries were men. They contended, that in their circumstances every appearance of lenity, by inciting to disobedience, and thereby increasing the objects of punishment, was eventual cruelty. In their opinion partial severity was general mercy, and the only method of speedily crushing the rebellion, was to invelope its abettors in such complicated distress, as by rendering their situation intolerable, would make them willing to accept the proffered blessings of peace and security. The sentiments of those who were for employing Indians against the Americans, prevailed. Presents were liberally distributed among them. Induced by these, and also by their innate thirst for war and plunder, they poured forth their warriors in such abundance, that their numbers threatened to be an incumberance.
The vast force destined for this service was put under the command of lieutenant general Burgoyne, an officer whose abilities were well known, and whose spirit of enterprize  and thirst1777 for military fame could not be exceeded. He was supported by major general Philips of the artillery, who had established a solid reputation by his good conduct during the late war in Germany, and by major general Reidesel, and brigadier general Speecht of the German troops, together with the British generals Frazer, Powell and Hamilton, all officers of distinguished merit.
The British had also undisputed possession of the navigation of Lake Champlain. Their marine force thereon, with which in the preceding campaign they had destroyed the American shipping on the lakes, was not only entire, but unopposed.
A considerable force was left in Canada for its internal security, and Sir Guy Carleton’s military command was restricted to the limits of that province. Though the British ministry attributed the preservation of Canada to his abilities in 1775 and 1776, yet by their arrangements for the year 1777, he was only called upon to act a secondary part, in subserviency to the grand expedition committed to general Burgoyne. His behaviour on this occasion, was conformable to the greatness of his mind. Instead of thwarting or retarding a service which was virtually taken out of his hands, he applied himself to support and forward it in all its parts, with the same diligence as if the arrangement had been entirely his own, and committed to himself for execution.
The plan of the British for their projected irruption into the northwestern frontier of New-York, consisted of two parts. General Burgoyne with the main body, was to advance by the way of Lake Champlain, with positive orders, as has been said, to force his way to Albany, or at least so far as to effect a junction with the royal army from New-York. A detachment was to ascend the river St. Lawrence, as far as Lake Ontario, and from that quarter to penetrate towards Albany, by the way of the Mohawk river. This was put under the command of lieutenant colonel St. Leger, and consisted of about 200 British troops, a regiment of New-York loyalists raised and commanded by Sir John Johnson, and a large body of savages.1777 Lieutenant general Burgoyne arrived in Quebec  on the 6th of May, and exerted all diligence to prosecute in due time the objects of the expedition.June 20, 21 He proceeded up Lake Champlain and landed near Crown-Point. At this place he met the Indians—gave them a war feast, and made a speech to them. This was well calculated to excite them to take part with the royal army, but at the same time to repress their barbarity. He pointedly forbad them to shed blood when not opposed in arms, and commanded that aged men, women, children, and prisoners, should be held sacred from the knife and the hatchet, even in the heat of actual conflict. A reward was promised for prisoners, and a severe enquiry threatened for scalps, though permission was granted to take them from those who were previously killed in fair opposition. These restrictions were not sufficient, as will appear in the sequel, to restrain their barbarities. The Indians having decidedly taken part with the British army, general Burgoyne issued a proclamation, calculated to spread terror among the inhabitants. The numbers of his Indian associates were magnified, and their eagerness to be let loose to their prey described in high sounding words. The force of the British armies and fleets prepared to crush every part of the revolted colonies, was also displayed in pompous language. Encouragement and employment were promised to those who should assist in the re-establishment of legal government, and security held out to the peaceable and industrious, who continued in their habitations. All the calamities of war arrayed in their most terrific forms, were denounced against those who should persevere in a military opposition to the royal forces.
June 30General Burgoyne advanced with his army in a few days to Crown-Point. At this place he issued orders of which the following words are a part: “The army embarks to-morrow to approach the enemy. The services required on this expedition are critical and conspicuous. During our progress occasions may occur, in which, nor difficulty, nor labour, nor life, are to be regarded. This army must not retreat.” From Crown-Point the royal army proceeded to invest Ticonderoga.1777 On their approach to it, they advanced with equal caution and order  on both sides of the lake, while their naval force kept in its center. Within a few days they had surrounded three-fourths of the American works at Ticonderoga and Mount Independence, and had also advanced a work on Sugar Hill which commands both, so far towards completion, that in 24 hours it would have been ready to open. In these circumstances general St. Clair the commanding officer, resolved to evacuate the post at all events; but conceiving it prudent to take the sentiments of the general officers, he called a council of war on the occasion. It was represented to this council, that their whole numbers were not sufficient to man one half of the works, and that as the whole must be on constant duty, it would be impossible for them to sustain the necessary fatigue for any length of time, and that as the place would be completely invested on all sides within a day, nothing but an immediate evacuation of the posts could save their troops. The situation of general St. Clair was eminently embarrassing. Such was the confidence of the states in the fancied strength of this post, and of the supposed superiority of force for its defence, that to retreat without risquing an action could not fail of drawing on him the execration of the multitude. To stand still, and by suffering himself to be surrounded to risque his whole army for a single post, was contrary to the true interest of the states. In this trying situation, with the unanimous approbation of a council of his general officers, he adopted the heroic resolution of sacrificing personal reputation to save his army.
The assumption of confident appearances by the garrison, had induced their adversaries to proceed with great caution. While from this cause they were awed into respect, the evacuation was completed with so much secrecy and expedition, that a considerable part of the public stores was saved, and the whole would have been embarked, had not a violent gale of wind which sprung up in the night, prevented the boats from reaching their station.
1777The works abandoned by the Americans, were as follow: The old French lines constructed in the late war  between France and England, which looked towards general Burgoyne’s encampment had been repaired the year before, and were in good order. About the center was a battery of six guns. These occupied about two-thirds of the high ground from the strait to the old fort. The remaining third was open, but some fleches were thrown up for its security. The old fort was in ruins, but some guns were mounted on a ravelin thereof, that looked towards the lake. There was also a battery of four guns in the French lines, which had the same aspect. On the point above the bridge was a battery of four guns, and on Mount Independence another of six or eight. The fort on that side was nearly a mile from the battery, and was formed of piquets. The defence of it might have employed four hundred men, but it could not have resisted a six pounder. There were no barracks within it, nor a drop of water, but at a considerable distance. From the battery at the point, a line of entrenchment ran round the mount, upwards of a mile and a half in length. There had been a strong abbatis in front of this line the year before, but it had been consumed by fire, as was also that in front of the French lines. Towards the east of the mount was a block-house. Another was on the Ticonderoga side. New works were begun on the mount, but there was neither time nor strength of hands to complete them. A great deal of timber had been felled between the east creek and the foot of the mount, to retard the approaches of the British. All the redoubts on the low ground were abandoned, for want of men to occupy them. These works, together with 93 pieces of ordnance, and a large collection of provisions, fell into the hands of the British.
July 6This evacuation of Ticonderoga was the subject of a severe scrutiny. Congress recalled their general officers in the northern department, and ordered an enquiry into their conduct. They also nominated two gentlemen of eminence in the law to assist the judge advocate in prosecuting that enquiry, and appointed a committee of their own body to collect evidence in support of the charges, which were on this occasion brought against them. General  St. Clair, from the necessity of the case, submitted to this innovation in the mode of conducting courts martial, but in behalf of the army protested against its being drawn into precedent. Charges of no less magnitude than cowardice, incapacity and treachery, were brought forward in court against him, and believed by many. The public mind, sore with the loss of Ticonderoga, and apprehensive of general distress, sought to ease itself by throwing blame on the general. When the situation of the army permitted an enquiry into his conduct, he was honourably acquitted. In the course of his trial it was made to appear, that though 13,600 men had been early called for as necessary to defend the northern posts, yet on the approach of general Burgoyne, the whole force collected to oppose him was only 2546 continentals, and 900 militia badly equipped, and worse armed. From the insufficiency of their numbers, they could not possess themselves of Sugar-hill, nor of Mount-Hope, though the former commanded the works both of Ticonderoga and Mount Independence, and the latter was of great importance for securing the communication with Lake George, and had been fortified the year before with that view. To the question which had been repeatedly asked, “why was the evacuation, if really necessary, delayed, till the Americans were so nearly surrounded as to occasion the loss of such valuable stores?” It was answered, that
from various circumstances it was impossible for general St. Clair to get early information of the numbers opposed to him. They made no debarkation till they came to Gilliland’s creek, which is about 40 miles to the northward of Ticonderoga, and from this they speedily reimbarked. The savages which they kept in front, deterred small reconnoitring parties from approaching so near as to make any discoveries of their numbers. Large parties from the nature of the ground, could not have been supported without risquing a general action, and that from the combined operation of these circumstances, the numbers of the approaching royal army were effectually concealed from the garrison, till the van of their force appeared in full view before it.
1777The retreating army embarked as  much of their baggage and stores as they had any prospect of saving on board batteaux, and dispatched them under convoy of five armed gallies to Skenesborough. Their main body took its route towards the same place by way of Castleton. The British were no sooner apprized of the retreat of the Americans than they pursued them. General Frazer, at the head of the light troops, advanced on their main body. Major general Reidesel was also ordered with the greater part of the Brunswic troops, to march in the same direction. General Burgoyne in person conducted the pursuit by water. The obstructions to the navigation, not having been completed, were soon cut through. The two frigates—the Royal George and the Inflexible, together with the gun boats, having effected their passage, pursued with so much rapidity, that in the course of a day the gun boats came up with and attacked the American gallies near Skenesborough falls. On the approach of the frigates all opposition ceased. Two of the gallies were taken and three blown up. The Americans set fire to their works, mills and batteaux. They were now left in the woods, destitute of provisions. In this forlorn situation they made their escape up Woodcreek to fort Anne.July 7 Brigadier Frazer pursued the retreating Americans—came up with, and attacked their rear guard, at Hubbordton. In the course of the engagement he was joined by the German troops, commanded by general Reidesel. The Americans commanded by colonel Warner, made a gallant resistance, but after sustaining considerable loss, were obliged to give way. Lieut. colonel Hall, with the ninth British regiment, was detached from Skenesborough by general Burgoyne, to take post near fort Anne. An engagement ensued between this regiment and a few Americans, but the latter, after a conflict of two hours, fired the fort, and retreated to fort Edward. The destruction of the gallies and batteaux of the Americans at Skenesborough, and the defeat of their rear, obliged general St. Clair, in order to avoid being between two fires, to change the route of his main body, and to turn off from Castleton to the left.1777 After a fatiguing and distressing march of seven days, he joined  general Schuyler at fort Edward. Their combined forces, inclusive of the militia, not exceeding in the whole 4400 men, were not long after on the approach of general Burgoyne, compelled to retire farther into the country, bordering on Albany. Such was the rapid torrent of success, which in this period of the campaign swept away all opposition from before the royal army. The officers and men were highly elated with their good fortune. They considered their toils to be nearly at an end; Albany to be within their grasp, and the conquest of the adjacent provinces reduced to a certainty. In Great-Britain intelligence of the progress of Burgoyne diffused a general joy. As to the Americans, the loss of reputation which they sustained in the opinion of their European admirers, was greater than their loss of posts, artillery and troops. They were stigmatised as wanting the resolution and abilities of men in the defence of their dearest rights. Their unqualified subjugation, or unconditional submission was considered as being near at hand. An opinion was diffused, that the war in effect was over, or that the farther resistance of the colonists would serve only to make the terms of their submission more humiliating. The terror which the loss of Ticonderoga spread throughout the New-England states was great, but nevertheless no disposition to purchase safety by submission appeared in any quarter. They did not sink under the apprehensions of danger, but acted with vigour and firmness. The royal army, after these successes, continued for some days in Skenesborough, waiting for their tents, baggage and provision. In the mean time general Burgoyne put forth a proclamation, in which he called on the inhabitants of the adjacent towns to send a deputation of ten or more persons from their respective townships, to meet colonel Skene at Castleton, on the 15th of July. The troops were at the same time busily employed in opening a road, and clearing a creek, to favour their advance, and to open a passage for the conveyance of their stores. A party of the royal army which had been left behind at Ticonderoga, was equally industrious in carrying gun boats, provision, vessels, and batteaux over land, into lake George. 1777 An immensity of labour in every quarter was necessary, but animated as they were with past successes and future hopes, they disregarded toil and danger.
From Skenesborough general Burgoyne directed his course across the country to Fort Edward, on Hudson’s-River. Though the distance in a right line from one to the other is but a few miles, yet such is the impracticable nature of the country, and such were the artificial difficulties thrown in his way, that nearly as many days were consumed as the distance passed over in a direct line would have measured in miles. The Americans under the direction of general Schuyler, had cut large trees on both sides of the road, so as to fall across with their branches interwoven. The face of the country was likewise so broken with creeks and marshes, that they had no less than forty bridges to construct, one of which was a log-work over a morass, two miles in extent. This difficult march might have been avoided, had general Burgoyne fallen back from Skenesborough to Ticonderoga, and thence proceeded by lake George, but he declined this route, from an apprehension that a retrograde motion on his part would abate the panic of the enemy. He had also a suspicion that some delay might be occasioned by the American garrison at Fort George, as in case of his taking that route, they might safely continue to resist to the last extremity, having open in their rear a place of retreat. On the other hand it was presumed, that as soon as they knew that the royal army was marching in a direction which was likely to cut off their retreat, they would consult their safety by a seasonable evacuation. In addition to these reasons he had the advice and persuasion of colonel Skene. That gentleman had been recommended to him as a person proper to be consulted. His land was so situated, that the opening of a road between Fort Edward and Skenesborough would greatly enhance its value. This circumstance might have made him more urgent in his recommendations of that route, especially as its being the shortest, it bid fair for uniting the royal interest with private convenience.1777 The opinion formed by general Burgoyne of the effect of his direct movement from Skenesborough  to Fort Edward on the American garrison, was verified by the event; for being apprehensive of having their retreat cut off, they abandoned their fort and burnt their vessels. The navigation of Lake George being thereby left free, provisions and ammunition were brought forward from Fort George to the first navigable parts of Hudson’s-River. This is a distance of 15 miles, and the roads of difficult passage. The intricate combination of land and water carriage, together with the insufficient means of transportation, and excessive rains, caused such delays, that at the end of fifteen days there were not more than four days provision brought forward, nor above ten batteaux in the river. The difficulties of this conveyance, as well as of the march through the wilderness from Skenesborough to Fort Edward, were encountered and overcome by the royal army, with a spirit and alacrity which could not be exceeded.July 30 At length, after incredible fatigue and labour, general Burgoyne, and the army under his command reached Fort Edward, on Hudson’s-River. Their exultation on accomplishing, what for a long time had been the object of their hopes, was unusually great.
While the British were retarded in their advance by the combined difficulties of nature and art, events took place, which proved the wisdom and propriety of the retreat from Ticonderoga. The army saved by that means, was between the inhabitants and general Burgoyne. This abated the panic of the people, and became a center of rendezvous for them to repair to. On the other hand, had they stood their ground at Ticonderoga, they must in the ordinary course of events, in a short time, either have been cut to pieces, or surrendered themselves prisoners of war. In either case, as general St. Clair represented in his elegant defence:
1777Fear and dismay would have seized on the inhabitants from the false opinion that had been formed of the strength of these posts, wringing grief and moping melancholy, would have filled the habitations of those whose dearest connexions were in that army, and a lawless host of ruffians, set loose from every social principle, would have roamed at large through the defenceless  country, while bands of savages would have carried havock, devastation and terror before them. Great part of the state of New-York must have submitted to the conqueror, and in it he would have found the means to prosecute his success. He would have been able effectually to have co-operated with general Howe, and would probably soon have been in the same country with him—that country where the illustrious Washington, with an inferior force made so glorious a stand, but who must have been obliged to retire, if both armies had come upon him at once—or he might have been forced to a general and decisive action in unfavourable circumstances, whereby the hopes, the now well founded hopes of America—of liberty, peace and safety might have been cut off forever.
Such, it was apprehended, would have been the consequences, if the American northern army had not retreated from their posts at Ticonderoga. From the adoption of that measure very different events took place. In a few days after the evacuation, general Schuyler issued a proclamation, calling to the minds of the inhabitants the late barbarities and desolations of the royal army in Jersey—warning them that they would be dealt with as traitors, if they joined the British, and requiring them with their arms to repair to the American standard. Numerous parties were also employed in bringing off public stores, and in felling trees, and throwing obstructions in the way of the advancing royal army. At first an universal panic intimidated the inhabitants, but they soon recovered. The laws of self-preservation operated in their full force, and diffused a general activity through the adjacent states. The formalities of convening, draughting and officering the militia, were in many instances dispenced with. Hundreds seized their firelocks, and marched on the general call, without waiting for the orders of their immediate commanders. The inhabitants had no means of security, but to abandon their habitations, and take up arms. Every individual saw the necessity of becoming a temporary soldier. The terror excited by the Indians, instead of disposing the inhabitants to court British protection, had a contrary effect.1777 The friends of the royal cause, as well as its enemies,  suffered from their indiscriminate barbarities. Among other instances, the murder of Miss M’Crea excited an universal horror. This young lady, in the innocence of youth, and the bloom of beauty—the daughter of a steady loyalist, and engaged to be married to a British officer, was on the very day of her intended nuptials, massacred by the savage auxiliaries, attached to the British army.* Occasion was thereby given to inflame the populace, and to blacken the royal cause. The cruelties of the Indians, and the cause in which they were engaged, were associated together, and presented in one view to the alarmed inhabitants. Those whose interest it was to draw forth the militia in support of American independence, strongly expressed their execrations of the army, which submitted to accept of Indian aid, and they loudly condemned that government which could call such auxiliaries into a civil contest, as were calculated not to subdue, but to exterminate a people whom they affected to reclaim as subjects. Their cruel mode of warfare, by putting to death as well the smiling infant and the defenceless female, as the resisting armed man, excited an universal spirit of resistance. In conjunction with other circumstances, it impressed on the minds of the inhabitants a general conviction that a vigorous determined opposition was the only alternative for the preservation of their property, their children and their wives. Could they have indulged the hope of security and protection while they remained peaceably at their homes, they would have found many excuses for declining to assume the profession of soldiers, but when they contrasted the dangers of a manly resistance, with those of a passive inaction, they chose the former, as the least of two unavoidable evils.1777 All the feeble aid,  which the royal army received from their Indian auxiliaries, was infinitely overbalanced by the odium it brought on their cause, and by that determined spirit of opposition which the dread of their savage cruelties excited. While danger was remote, the pressing calls of Congress, and of the general officers, for the inhabitants to be in readiness to oppose a distant foe were unavailing, or tardily executed, but no sooner had they recovered from the first impression of the general panic, than they turned out with unexampled alacrity. The owners of the soil came forward with that ardor, which the love of dear connections and of property inspires. An army was speedily poured forth from the woods and mountains. When they who had begun the retreat were nearly wasted away, the spirit of the country immediately supplied their place with a much greater and more formidable force. In addition to these incitements, it was early conjectured, that the royal army, by pushing forward would be so entangled as not to be able to advance or retreat on equal terms. Men of abilities and of eloquence, influenced with this expectation, harangued the inhabitants in their several towns—set forth in high-colouring, the cruelties of the savage auxiliaries of Great-Britain, and the fair prospects of capturing the whole force of their enemies. From the combined influence of these causes, the American army soon amounted to upwards of 13,000 men.
While general Burgoyne was forcing his way down towards Albany, lieutenant colonel St. Leger was co-operating with him in the Mohawk country. He had ascended the river St. Lawrence, crossed Lake Ontario, and commenced the siege of Fort Schuyler.Aug. 3 On the approach of this detachment of the royal army, general Harkimer collected about 800 of the whig militia of the parts adjacent, for the relief of the garrison.
6St. Leger aware of the consequences of being attacked in his trenches, detached Sir John Johnson, with some tories and Indians to lie in ambush, and intercept the advancing militia. The stratagem took effect. The general and his militia were surprised, but several of the Indians were nevertheless killed by their fire.1777 A scene of confusion  followed. Some of Harkimer’s men run off, but others posted themselves behind logs, and continued to fight with bravery and success. The loss on the side of the Americans was 160 killed, besides the wounded. Among the former was their gallant leader general Harkimer. Several of their killed and wounded were principal inhabitants of that part of the country. Colonel St. Leger availed himself of the terror excited on this occasion, and endeavoured by strong representations of Indian barbarity to intimidate the garrison into an immediate surrender. He sent verbal, and written messages,
demanding the surrender of the fort, and stating the impossibility of their obtaining relief, as their friends under general Harkimer were entirely cut off, and as general Burgoyne had forced his way through the country, and was daily receiving the submission of the inhabitants,” he represented “the pains he had taken to soften the Indians, and to obtain engagements from them, that in case of an immediate surrender every man in the garrison should be spared,” and particularly enlarged on the circumstance, “that the Indians were determined, in case of their meeting with farther opposition, to massacre not only the garrison, but every man, woman or child in the Mohawk country.” Colonel Gansevort, who commanded in the fort, replied, “that being by the United States entrusted with the charge of the garrison, he was determined to defend it to the last extremity, against all enemies whatever, without any concern for the consequences of doing his duty.”
It being resolved maugre, the threats of Indian barbarities to defend the fort—lieutenant colonel Willet undertook, in conjunction with lieutenant Stockwell, to give information to their fellow citizens, of the state of the garrison. These two adventurous officers passed by night through the besiegers works, and at the hazard of falling into the hands of savages, and suffering from them the severity of torture, made their way for fifty miles through dangers and difficulties, in order to procure relief for their besieged associates. In the mean time the British carried on their operations with such industry, that in less than three weeks they had advanced within 150 yards of the fort.
1777 The brave garrison, in its hour of danger, was not forgotten. General Arnold, with a brigade of continental troops, had been previously detached by general Schuyler for their relief, and was then near at hand. Mr. Tost Schuyler who had been taken up by the Americans, on suspicion of his being a spy, was promised his life and his estate, on consideration that he should go on and alarm the Indians with such representations of the numbers marching against them, as would occasion their retreat. He immediately proceeded to the camp of the Indians, and being able to converse in their own language, informed them that vast numbers of hostile Americans were near at hand. They were thoroughly frightened and determined to go off. St. Leger used every art to retain them, but nothing could change their determination. It is the characteristic of these people on a reverse of fortune to betray irresolution, and a total want of that constancy, which is necessary to struggle for a length of time with difficulties. They had found the fort stronger and better defended than was expected. They had lost several headmen in their engagement with general Harkimer, and had gotten no plunder. These circumstances, added to the certainty of the approach of a reinforcement to their adversaries, which they believed to be much greater than it really was, made them quite untractable. Part of them instantly decamped, and the remainder threatened to follow, if the British did not immediately retreat. This measure was adopted, and the siege raised.Aug. 22 From the disorder, occasioned by the precipitancy of the Indians, the tents, and much of the artillery and stores of the besiegers, fell into the hands of the garrison. The discontented savages, exasperated by their ill fortune, are said, on their retreat, to have robbed their British associates, of their baggage and provisions.
While the fate of Fort Schuyler was in suspense, it occurred to general Burgoyne, on hearing of its being besieged, that a sudden and rapid movement forward would be of the utmost consequence.1777 As the principal force of his adversaries was in front between him and Albany, he hoped by advancing on them, to reduce  them to the necessity of fighting, or of retreating out of his way to New-England. Had they to avoid an attack, retreated up the Mohawk river, they would, in case of St. Leger’s success, have put themselves between two fires. Had they retreated to Albany, it was supposed their situation would have been worse, as a co-operation from New-York was expected. Besides, in case of that movement, an opportunity would have been given for a junction of Burgoyne and St. Leger. To have retired from the scene of action by filing off for New-England, seemed to be the only opening left for their escape. With such views general Burgoyne promised himself great advantages, from advancing rapidly towards Albany. The principal objection against this plausible project, was the difficulty of furnishing provisions to his troops. To keep up a communication with Fort George, so as to obtain from that garrison, regular supplies at a distance daily encreasing, was wholly impracticable. The advantages which were expected from the proposed measure, were too dazzling to be easily relinquished. Though the impossibility of drawing provisions from the stores in their rear, was known and acknowledged, yet a hope was indulged that they might be elsewhere obtained. A plan was therefore formed to open resources, from the plentiful farms of Vermont. Every day’s account, and particularly the information of colonel Skene, induced Burgoyne to believe, that one description of the inhabitants in that country were panic struck, and that another, and by far the most numerous, were friends to the British interest, and only wanted the appearance of a protecting power to shew themselves. Relying on this intelligence, he detached only 500 men, 100 Indians, and two field pieces, which he supposed would be fully sufficient for the expedition. The command of this force was given to lieutenant colonel Baum, and it was supposed that with it he would be enabled to seize upon a magazine of supplies which the Americans had collected at Bennington, and which was only guarded by militia. It was also intended to try the temper of the inhabitants and to mount the dragoons.1777 Lieutenant colonel Baum was instructed to keep the regular  force posted, while the light troops felt their way; and to avoid all danger of being surrounded, or of having his retreat cut off. But he proceeded with less caution than his perilous situation required. Confiding in the numbers and promised aid of those who were depended upon as friends, he presumed too much. On his approaching the place of his destination, he found the American militia stronger than had been supposed. He therefore took post in the vicinity, entrenched his party, and dispatched an express to general Burgoyne, with an account of his situation. Colonel Breyman was detached to reinforce him. Though every exertion was made to push forward this reinforcement, yet from the impracticable face of the country and defective means of transportation, 32 hours elapsed before they had marched 24 miles. General Starke who commanded the American militia at Bennington, engaged with them before the junction of the two royal detachments could be effected. On this occasion about 800 undisciplined militia, without bayonets, or a single piece of artillery, attacked and routed 500 regular troops advantageously posted behind entrenchments—furnished with the best arms, and defended with two pieces of artillery. The field pieces were taken from the party commanded by col. Baum, and the greatest part of his detachment was either killed or captured. Colonel Breyman arrived on the same ground and on the same day, but not till the action was over. Instead of meeting his friends, as he expected, he found himself briskly attacked. This was begun by colonel Warner, (who with his continental regiment, which having been sent for from Manchester, came opportunely at this time) and was well supported by Stark’s militia, which had just defeated the party commanded by colonel Baum. Breyman’s troops, though fatigued with their preceding march, behaved with great resolution, but were at length compelled to abandon their artillery, and retreat. In these two actions the Americans took four brass field pieces, twelve brass drums, 250 dragoon swords, 4 ammunition wagons, and about 700 prisoners.1777 The loss of the Americans, inclusive of their wounded, was about 100 men.  Congress resolved, “that their thanks be presented to gen. Stark, of the New-Hampshire militia, and the officers and troops under his command, for their brave and successful attack upon, and signal victory over the enemy in their lines at Bennington, and also, that brigadier Stark, be appointed a brigadier general in the army of the United States.” Never were thanks more deservedly bestowed. The overthrow of these detachments was the first link in a grand chain of causes, which finally drew down ruin on the whole royal army. The confidence with which the Americans were inspired, on finding themselves able to defeat regular troops, produced surprising effects. It animated their exertions, and filled them with expectation of farther successes.
That military pride, which is the soul of an army, was nurtured by the captured artillery, and other trophies of victory. In proportion to the elevation of the Americans, was the depression of their adversaries. Accustomed to success, as they had been in the preceding part of the campaign, they felt unusual mortification from this unexpected check. Though it did not diminish their courage, it abated their confidence. It is not easy to enumerate all the disastrous consequences which resulted to the royal army, from the failure of their expedition to Bennington. These were so extensive, that their loss of men was the least considerable. It deranged every plan for pushing the advantages which had been previously obtained. Among other embarrassments it reduced general Burgoyne to the alternative of halting, till he brought forward supplies from Fort George, or of advancing without them at the risque of being starved. The former being adopted, the royal army was detained from August 16th, to September 13th. This unavoidable delay, gave time and opportunity for the Americans to collect in great numbers.
The defeat of lieutenant colonel Baum, was the first event which for a long time had taken place in favour of the American northern army. From December 1775, it had experienced one misfortune, treading on the heels of another, and defeat succeeding defeat. Every movement  had been either retreating or evacuating. The subsequent transactions present a remarkable contrast. Fortune, which previous to the battle of Bennington, had not for a moment quitted the British standard, seemed after that event, as if she had totally deserted it, and gone over to the opposite party.
After the evacuation of Ticonderoga, the Americans had fallen back from one place to another, till they at last fixed at Vansnaick’s island. Soon after this retreating system was adopted, Congress recalled their general officers, and put general Gates at the head of their northern army.Aug. 19 His arrival gave fresh vigour to the exertions of the inhabitants. The militia flushed with their recent victory at Bennington, collected in great numbers to his standard. They soon began to be animated with a hope of capturing the whole British army. A spirit of adventure burst forth in many different points of direction.Sept. 13 While general Burgoyne was urging his preparations for advancing towards Albany, an enterprize was undertaken by general Lincoln to recover Ticonderoga, and the other posts in the rear of the royal army. He detached colonel Brown with 500 men to the landing at Lake George. The colonel conducted his operations with so much address, that he surprised all the outposts between the landing at the north end of Lake George, and the body of the fortress at Ticonderoga. He also took Mount Defiance and Mount Hope, the French lines, and a block-house, 200 batteaux, several gun boats, and an armed sloop, together with 290 prisoners, and at the same time released 100 Americans. His own loss was trifling. Colonel Brown and colonel Johnson, the latter of whom had been detached with 500 men, to attempt Mount Independence, on examination found that the reduction of either that post or of Ticonderoga, was beyond their ability. When the necessary stores for thirty days subsistence, were brought forward from Lake George, general Burgoyne gave up all communication with the magazines in his rear, and crossed Hudson’s river.13 & 14 This movement was the subject of much discussion.1777 Some charged it on the impetuosity of the general, and alledged, that it was premature before  he was sure of aid from the royal forces posted in New-York, but he pleaded the peremptory orders of his superiors. The rapid advance of Burgoyne, and especially his passage of the North-River, added much to the impracticability of his future retreat, and in conjunction with subsequent events made the total ruin of his army in a great degree unavoidable.
General Burgoyne, after crossing the Hudson, advanced along its side, and in four days encamped on the heights, about two miles from general Gates’ camp, which was three miles above Stillwater. The Americans, elated with their successes at Bennington and Fort Schuyler, thought no more of retreating, but came out to meet the advancing British, and engaged them with firmness and resolution.Sept. 19 The attack began a little before midday, between the scouting parties of the two armies. The commanders on both sides, supported and reinforced their respective parties. The conflict, though severe, was only partial for an hour and a half, but after a short pause it became general, and continued for three hours, without any intermission. A constant blaze of fire was kept up, and both armies seemed to be determined on death or victory. The Americans and British alternately drove, and were driven by each other. Men, and particularly officers, dropped every moment, and on every side. Several of the Americans placed themselves in high trees, and as often as they could distinguish an officer’s uniform, took him off by deliberately aiming at his person. Few actions have been characterised by more obstinacy in attack or defence. The British repeatedly tried their bayonets, but without their usual success in the use of that weapon. At length, night put an end to the effusion of blood. The British lost upwards of 500 men, including their killed, wounded, and prisoners. The Americans, inclusive of the missing, lost 319. Thirty-six, out of forty-eight British matrosses were killed, or wounded. The 62nd British regiment, which was 500 strong, when it left Canada, was reduced to 6o men, and 4 or 5 officers.1777 This hard fought battle decided nothing, and little else than honour was gained by either army, but nevertheless  it was followed by important consequences. Of these one was the diminution of the zeal and alacrity of the Indians in the British army. The dangerous service, in which they were engaged, was by no means suited to their habits of war. They were disappointed of the plunder they expected, and saw nothing before them but hardships and danger. Fidelity and honour were too feeble motives in the minds of savages, to retain them in such an unproductive service. By deserting in the season when their aid would have been most useful, they furnished a second instance of the impolicy of depending upon them. Very little more perseverance was exhibited by the Canadians, and other British provincials. They also abandoned the British standard, when they found, that instead of a flying and dispirited enemy, they had a numerous and resolute force opposed to them. These desertions were not the only disappointments which general Burgoyne experienced. From the commencement of the expedition, he had promised himself a strong reinforcement from that part of the British army, which was stationed at New-York. He depended on its being able to force its way to Albany, and to join him there, or in the vicinity. This co-operation, though attempted, failed in the execution, while the expectation of it contributed to involve him in some difficulties, to which he would not have otherwise been exposed.
Sept. 21General Burgoyne received intelligence in a cypher, that Sir Henry Clinton, who then commanded in New-York, intended to make a diversion in his favour, by attacking the fortresses which the Americans had erected on Hudson’s river, to obstruct the intercourse between New-York and Albany. In answer to this communication he dispatched to Sir Henry Clinton some trusty persons, with a full account of his situation, and with instructions to press the immediate execution of the proposed co-operation, and to assure him, that he was enabled in point of provisions, and fixed in his resolution, to hold his present position till the 12th of October, in the hopes of favourable events. The reasonable expectation of a diversion from New-York, founded on this intelligence,  made it disgraceful to retreat, and at the same time improper to urge offensive operations. In this posture of affairs, a delay of two or three weeks, in expectation of the promised co-operation from New-York became necessary. In the mean time the provisions of the royal army were lessening, and the animation and numbers of the American army increasing. The New-England people were fully sensible, that their All was at stake, and at the same time sanguine, that by vigorous exertions Burgoyne would be so entangled, that his surrender would be unavoidable. Every moment made the situation of the British army more critical.Oct. 1 From the uncertainty of receiving farther supplies, general Burgoyne lessened the soldiers provisions. The 12th of October, the term till which the royal army had agreed to wait for aid from New-York, was fast approaching, and no intelligence of the expected co-operation had arrived. In this alarming situation it was thought proper to make a movement to the left of the Americans. The body of troops employed for this purpose consisted of 1500 chosen men, and was commanded by generals Burgoyne, Philips, Reidesel, and Frazer.Oct. 7 As they advanced, they were checked by a sudden and impetuous attack; but major Ackland, at the head of the British grenadiers, sustained it with great firmness. The Americans extended their attack along the whole front of the German troops, who were posted on the right of the grenadiers, and they also marched a large body round their flank, in order to cut off their retreat. To oppose this bold enterprise, the British light infantry, with a part of the 24th regiment, were directed to form a second line, and to cover the retreat of the troops into the camp. In the mean time the Americans pushed forward a fresh and a strong re-inforcement, to renew the action on Burgoyne’s left. That part of his army was obliged to give way, but the light infantry, and 24th regiment, by a quick movement, came to its succour, and saved it from total ruin. The British lines being exposed to great danger, the troops which were nearest to them returned for their defence.1777 General Arnold, with a brigade of continental troops, pushed for the works  possessed by lord Balcarras, at the head of the British light infantry; but the brigade having an abbatis to cross, and many other obstructions to surmount, was compelled to retire. Arnold left this brigade, and came to Jackson’s regiment, which he ordered instantly to advance, and attack the lines and redoubt in their front, which were defended by lieutenant colonel Breyman at the head of the German grenadiers. The assailants pushed on with rapidity, and carried the works. Arnold was one of the first who entered them. Lieutenant colonel Breyman was killed. The troops commanded by him retired firing. They gained their tents about 30 or 40 yards from their works, but on finding that the assault was general, they gave one fire, after which some retreated to the British camp, but others threw down their arms. The night put an end to the action.
This day was fatal to many brave men. The British officers suffered more than their common proportion. Among their slain general Frazer, on account of his distinguished merit, was the subject of particular regret. Sir James Clark, Burgoyne’s aid de camp, was mortally wounded. The general himself had a narrow escape, a shot passed through his hat, and another through his waistcoat. Majors Williams and Ackland were taken, and the latter was wounded. The loss of the Americans was inconsiderable, but general Arnold, to whose impetuosity they were much indebted for the success of the day, was among their wounded. They took more than 200 prisoners, besides 9 pieces of brass artillery, and the encampment of a German brigade, with all their equipage.
The royal troops were under arms the whole of the next day, in expectation of another action, but nothing more than skirmishes took place. At this time, general Lincoln, when reconnoitring, received a dangerous wound: An event which was greatly regretted, as he possessed much of the esteem and confidence of the American army.
The position of the British army, after the action of the 7th, was so dangerous, that an immediate and total change became necessary. This hazardous measure was executed without loss or disorder.1777 The British  camp, with all its appurtenances, was removed in the course of a single night. The American general now saw a fair prospect of overcoming the army opposed to him, without exposing his own to the danger of another battle. His measures were therefore principally calculated to cut off their retreat, and prevent their receiving any farther supplies.
While general Burgoyne was pushing on towards Albany, an unsuccessful attempt to relieve him was made by the British commander in New-York. For this purpose, Sir Henry Clinton conducted an expedition up Hudson’s river.Oct. 5 This consisted of about 3000 men, and was accompanied by a suitable naval force. After making many feints he landed at Stoney Point, and marched over the mountains to Fort Montgomery, and attacked the different redoubts. The garrison commanded by governor Clinton, a brave and intelligent officer, made a gallant resistance. But as the post had been designed principally to prevent the passing of ships, the works on the land side were incomplete and untenable. When it began to grow dark, the British entered the fort with fixed bayonets.6 The loss on neither side was great. Governor Clinton, general James Clinton, and most of the officers and men effected their escape under cover of the thick smoke and darkness that suddenly prevailed.
The reduction of this post furnished the British with an opportunity for opening a passage up the North-River, but instead of pushing forward to Burgoyne’s encampment, or even to Albany, they spent several days in laying waste the adjacent country. The Americans destroyed Fort Constitution, and also set fire to two new frigates, and some other vessels. General Tryon at the same time destroyed a settlement, called Continental Village, which contained barracks for 1500 men, besides many stores.Oct. 13 Sir James Wallace with a flying squadron of light frigates, and general Vaughan with a detachment of land forces, continued on and near the river for several days, desolating the country near its margin.1777 General Vaughan so completely burned Esopus, a fine flourishing village, that a single house was not left standing,  though on his approach the Americans had left the town without making any resistance. Charity would lead us to suppose that these devastations were designed to answer military purposes. Their authors might have hoped to divert the attention of general Gates, and thus indirectly relieve general Burgoyne, but if this was intended the artifice did not take effect. The preservation of property was with the Americans only a secondary object. The capturing of Burgoyne promised such important consequences that they would not suffer any other consideration to interfere with it. General Gates did not make a single movement that lessened the probability of effecting his grand purpose. He wrote an expostulatory letter to Vaughan, part of which was in the following terms: “Is it thus your king’s generals think to make converts to the royal cause? It is no less surprizing than true, that the measures they adopt to serve their master, have a quite contrary effect. Their cruelty establishes the glorious act of independence upon the broad basis of the resentment of the people.” Whether policy or revenge led to this devastation of property is uncertain, but it cannot admit of a doubt that it was far from being the most effectual method of relieving Burgoyne.
The passage of the North-River was made so practicable by the advantages gained on the 6th of October, that Sir Henry Clinton, with his whole force, amounting to 3000 men, might not only have reached Albany, but general Gates’ encampment, before the 12th, the day till which Burgoyne had agreed to wait for aid from New-York. While the British were doing mischief to individuals without serving the cause of their royal master, it seems as though they might by pushing forward about 136 miles in six days, have brought Gates’ army between two fires, at least twenty-four hours before Burgoyne’s necessity compelled his submission to articles of capitulation. Why they neglected this opportunity of relieving their suffering brethren, about thirty-six miles to the northward of Albany, when they were only about one hundred miles below it, has never yet been satisfactorily explained.
1777Gates posted 1400 men on the heights opposite the  fords of Saratoga, and 2000 more in the rear, to prevent a retreat to Fort Edward, and 1500 at a ford higher up. Burgoyne receiving intelligence of these movements, concluded from them, especially from the last that Gates meant to turn his right. This, if effected, would have entirely enclosed him. To avoid being hemmed in, he resolved on an immediate retreat to Saratoga. His hospital, with the sick and wounded, were necessarily left behind, but they were recommended to the humanity of general Gates, and received from him every indulgence their situation required. When general Burgoyne arrived at Saratoga, he found that the Americans had posted a considerable force on the opposite heights, to impede his passage at that ford. In order to prepare the way for a retreat to Lake George, general Burgoyne ordered a detachment of artificers, with a strong escort of British and provincials, to repair the bridges and open the road leading thither. Part of the escort was withdrawn on other duty, and the remainder on a slight attack of an inconsiderable party of Americans, ran away. The workmen thus left without support, were unable to effect the business on which they had been sent. The only practicable route of retreat, which now remained, was by a night march to Fort Edward. Before this attempt could be made, scouts returned with intelligence, that the Americans were entrenched opposite to those fords on the Hudson’s river, over which it was proposed to pass, and that they were also in force on the high ground between Fort Edward and Fort George. They had at the same time parties down the whole shore and posts, so near as to observe every motion of the royal army. Their position extended nearly round the British, and was by the nature of the ground in a great measure secured from attacks. The royal army could not stand its ground where it was, from the want of the means necessary for their subsistence; nor could it advance towards Albany, without attacking a force greatly superior in number; nor could it retreat without making good its way over a river in face of a strong party, advantageously posted on the opposite side.1777 In case of either attempt, the Americans  were so near as to discover every movement, and by means of their bridge could bring their whole force to operate.
Truly distressing was the condition of the royal army. Abandoned in the most critical moment by their Indian allies—unsupported by their brethren in New York—weakened by the timidity and desertion of the Canadians—worn down by a series of incessant efforts, and greatly reduced in their numbers by repeated battles, they were invested by an army nearly three times their number, without a possibility of retreat, or of replenishing their exhausted stock of provisions. A continual cannonade pervaded their camp, and rifle and grape shot fell in many parts of their lines. They nevertheless retained a great share of fortitude.
In the mean time the American army was hourly increasing. Volunteers came in from all quarters, eager to share in the glory of destroying or capturing those whom they considered as their most dangerous enemies. The 13th of October at length arrived. The day was spent in anxious expectation of its producing something of consequence. But as no prospect of assistance appeared, and their provisions were nearly expended, the hope of receiving any in due time for their relief, could not reasonably be further indulged. General Burgoyne thought proper in the evening, to take an account of the provisions left. It was found on enquiry, that they would amount to no more than a scanty subsistence for three days. In this state of distress, a council of war was called, and it was made so general, as to comprehend both the field officers and the captains. Their unanimous opinion was, that their present situation justified a capitulation on honourable terms. A messenger was therefore dispatched to begin this business. General Gates in the first instance demanded, that the royal army should surrender prisoners of war. He also proposed that the British should ground their arms. But general Burgoyne replied, “This article is inadmissible in every extremity; sooner than this army will consent to ground their arms in their encampment, they will rush on the enemy, determined to take no quarter.” After various messages, a convention was settled,  by which it was substantially stipulated as follows:
The troops under general Burgoyne, to march out of their camp with the honours of war, and the artillery of the intrenchments to the verge of the river, where the arms and artillery are to be left. The arms to be piled by word of command from their own officers. A free passage to be granted to the army under lieutenant general Burgoyne to Great-Britain, upon condition of not serving again in North-America during the present contest, and the port of Boston to be assigned for the entry of the transports to receive the troops whenever general Howe shall so order. The army under lieutenant general Burgoyne to march to Massachusetts-Bay, by the easiest route, and to be quartered in, near, or as convenient as possible, to Boston. The troops to be provided with provision by general Gates’ orders, at the same rate of rations as the troops of his own army. All officers to retain their carriages, bat-horses, and no baggage to be molested or searched. The officers are not, as far as circumstances will admit, to be separated from their men. The officers to be quartered according to their rank. All corps whatever of lieutenant general Burgoyne’s army, to be included in the above articles. All Canadians, and persons belonging to the Canadian establishment, and other followers of the army, to be permitted to return to Canada—to be conducted to the first British post on Lake George, and to be supplied with provisions as the other troops, and to be bound by the same condition of not serving during the present contest. Passports to be granted to three officers, to carry despatches to Sir William Howe—Sir Guy Carleton, and to Great-Britain. The officers to be admitted on their parole, and to be permitted to wear their side arms.
Such were the embarrassments of the royal army, incapable of subsisting where it was, or of making its way to a better situation, that these terms were rather more favourable than they had a right to expect. On the other hand it would not have been prudent for the American general at the head of his army, which, though numerous consisted mostly of militia or new levies, to have provoked the despair of even an inferior number of  brave disciplined regular troops.1777 General Gates rightly judged that the best way to secure his advantages was to use them with moderation. Soon after the convention was signed, the Americans marched into their lines, and were kept there till the royal army had deposited their arms at the place appointed. The delicacy with which this business was conducted, reflected the highest honour on the American general. Nor did the politeness of Gates end here. Every circumstance was withheld, that could constitute a triumph in the American army. The captive general was received by his conqueror with respect and kindness. A number of the principal officers of both armies, met at general Gates’ quarters, and for a while, seemed to forget in social and convivial pleasures, that they had been enemies. The conduct of general Burgoyne in this interview with general Gates was truly dignified, and the historian is at a loss whether to admire most, the magnanimity of the victorious, or the fortitude of the vanquished general.
The British troops partook liberally of the plenty that reigned in the American army. It was the more acceptable to them, as they were destitute of bread and flour, and had only as much meat left, as was sufficient for a days subsistance.
But the convention which has been mentioned, 5790 men were surrendered prisoners. The sick and wounded left in camp, when the British retreated to Saratoga, together with the numbers of the British, German and Canadian troops, who were killed, wounded or taken, and who had deserted in the preceding part of the expedition, were reckoned to be 4689. The whole royal force, exclusive of Indians, was probably about 10,000. The stores which the Americans acquired, were considerable. The captured artillery consisted of 35 brass field pieces. There were also 4647 muskets, and a variety of other useful and much wanted articles, which fell into their hands. The continentals in general Gates’ army were 9093, the militia 4129, but of the former, 2103 were sick or on furlough, and 562 of the latter were in the same situation. The number of militia was constantly fluctuating.
1777 The general exultation of the Americans, on receiving the agreeable intelligence of the convention of Saratoga, disarmed them of much of their resentment. The burnings and devastations which had taken place were sufficient to have inflamed their minds, but private feelings were in a great measure absorbed by a consideration of the many advantages, which the capture of so large an army promised to the new formed states.
In a short time after the convention was signed, general Gates moved forward to stop the devastations of the British on the North-River, but on hearing of the fate of Burgoyne, Vaughan and Wallace retired to New-York.
About the same time the British, which had been left in the rear of the royal army, destroyed their cannon, and abandoning Ticonderoga, retreated to Canada. The whole country, after experiencing for several months the confusions of war, was in a moment restored to perfect tranquility.
Great was the grief and dejection in Britain, on receiving the intelligence of the fate of Burgoyne. The expedition committed to him had been undertaken with the most confident hopes of success. The quality of the troops he commanded, was such, that from their bravery, directed by his zeal, talents and courage, it was presumed that all the northern parts of the United States would be subdued before the end of the campaign. The good fortune which for some time followed him justified these expectations, but the catastrophe proved the folly of planning distant expeditions, and of projecting remote conquests.
The consequences of these great events, vibrated round the world. The capture of Burgoyne was the hinge on which the revolution turned. While it encouraged the perseverance of the Americans by well grounded hopes of final success, it encreased the embarrassments of that ministry, which had so ineffectually laboured to compel their submission. Opposition to their measures gathered new strength, and formed a stumbling block in the road to conquest. This prevented Great-Britain from acting with that collected force which an union of sentiments  and councils would have enabled her to do.1777 Hitherto the best informed Americans had doubts of success in establishing their independence, but henceforward their language was, “That whatever might be the event of their present struggle, they were forever lost to Great-Britain.” Nor were they deceived. The eclat of capturing a large army of British and German regular troops, soon procured them powerful friends in Europe.
Immediately after the surrender of the troops, commanded by lieutenant general Burgoyne, they were marched to the vicinity of Boston. On their arrival they were quartered in the barracks on Winter and Prospect hills. The general court of Massachusetts passed proper resolutions for procuring suitable accommodations for the prisoners; but from the general unwillingness of the people to oblige them, and from the feebleness of that authority which the republican rulers had at that time over the property of their fellow citizens, it was impossible to provide immediately for so large a number of officers and soldiers, in such a manner as their convenience required, or as from the articles of convention they might reasonably expect. The officers remonstrated to general Burgoyne, that six or seven of them were crouded together in one room, without any regard to their respective ranks, in violation of the 7th article of the convention. General Burgoyne, on the 14th of November forwarded this account to general Gates, and added, “the public faith is broken.” This letter being laid before Congress, gave an alarm. It corroborated an apprehension, previously entertained that the captured troops on their embarkation would make a junction with the British garrisons in America. The declaration of the general, that “the public faith was broken” while in the power of Congress, was considered by them as destroying the security which they before had in his personal honour, for in every event he might adduce his previous notice to justify his future conduct. They therefore resolved, “That the embarkation of lieutenant general Burgoyne, and the troops under his command, be postponed, till a distinct and explicit ratification of the convention of Saratoga be properly notified  by the court of Great-Britain to Congress.”1777 General Burgoyne explained the intention and construction of the passage objected to in his letter, and pledged himself, that his officers would join with him in signing any instrument that might be thought necessary for confirming the convention, but Congress would not recede from their resolution. They alledged, that it had been often asserted by their adversaries that “faith was not to be kept with rebels,” and that therefore they would be deficient in attention to the interests of their constituents, if they did not require an authentic ratification of the convention by national authority, before they parted with the captured troops. They urged farther, that by the law of nations, a compact broken in one article, was no longer binding in any other. They made a distinction between the suspension and abrogation of the convention, and alledged that ground to suspect an intention to violate it, was a justifying reason for suspending its execution on their part, till it was properly ratified. The desired ratification if Great-Britain was seriously disposed to that measure, might have been obtained in a few months, and Congress uniformly declared themselves willing to carry it into fulleffect, as soon as they were secured of its observance by proper authority on the other side.
About eight months after certain royal commissioners, whose official functions shall be hereafter explained, made a requisition respecting these troops—offered to ratify the convention, and required permission for their embarkation. On enquiry it was found that they had no authority to do any thing in the matter which would be obligatory on Great-Britain. Congress therefore resolved, “that no ratification of the convention, which may be tendered in consequence of powers, which only reach that case by construction and implication, or which may subject whatever is transacted relative to it, to the future approbation or disapprobation of the parliament of Great-Britain, can be accepted by Congress.”
Till the capture of Burgoyne the powers of Europe were only spectators of the war between Great-Britain and her late colonies, but soon after that event they were  drawn in to be parties.1777 In every period of the controversy, the claims of the Americans were patronised by sundry respectable foreigners. The letters, addresses, and other public acts of Congress, were admired by many who had no personal interest in the contest. Liberty is so evidently the undoubted right of mankind, that even they who never possessed it feel the propriety of contending for it, and whenever a people take up arms either to defend or to recover it, they are sure of meeting with encouragement or good wishes from the friends of humanity in every part of the world.
From the operation of these principles, the Americans had the esteem and good wishes of multitudes in all parts of Europe. They were reputed to be ill used, and were represented as a resolute and brave people, determined to resist oppression. Being both pitied and applauded, generous and sympathetic sentiments were excited in their favour. These circumstances would have operated in every case, but in the present, the cause of the Americans was patronised from additional motives. An universal jealousy prevailed against Great-Britain. Her navy had long tyranised over the nations of Europe, and demanded as a matter of right that the ships of all other powers should strike their sails to her, as mistress of the ocean. From her eagerness to prevent supplies going to her rebellious colonists, as she called the Americans, the vessels of foreign powers had for some time past been subjected to searches and other interruptions, when steering towards America, in a manner that could not but be impatiently born by independent nations. That pride and insolence which brought on the American war, had long disgusted her neighbours, and made them rejoice at her misfortunes, and especially at the prospect of dismembering her over-grown empire.
[*]This, though true, was no premedidated barbarity. The circumstances were as follows: Mr. Jones, her lover, from an anxiety for her safety, engaged some Indians to remove her from among the Americans, and promised to reward the person who should bring her safe to him, with a barrel of rum. Two of the Indians, who had conveyed her some distance, on the way to her intended husband, disputed, which of them should present her to Mr. Jones. Both were anxious for the reward. One of them killed her with his tomahawk, to prevent the other from receiving it. Burgoyne obliged the Indians to deliver up the murderer, and threatened to put him to death. His life was only spared, upon the Indians agreeing to terms, which the general thought would be more efficacious than an execution, in preventing similar mischiefs.