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speedily taking the fort; but the Indians who composed a considerable part of his little army, taking alarm at the news of the approach of General Arnold, at the head of a detachment, whose numbers were purposely exaggerated by an American emissary in their camp, insisted on an immediate retreat. This mutiny compelled St. Leger to raise the seige, and to retire to Canada leaving behind him a great part of his artillery and stores.
When General Burgoyne was informed of the arrival of St. Leger before Fort Schuyler, he thought it very expedient to make a forward movement towards Albany, for the purpose of co-operating with that officer, and also with the British troops who were, as he expected, advancing up the Hudson. The principal objection to this step was, that it would necessarily remove him to a perilous distance from his supplies, which were collected at Fort Edward. With a view, therefore, of procuring a plentiful stock of provisions from a nearer point, he dispatched Lieutenant-Colnel Baum with 600 men, of whom 100 were Indians, with instructions to seize and convey to his camp a considerable magazine of flour and other supplies which the Americans had established at Bennington, in the district of Vermont. Baum, being erroneously informed that the inhabitants of that part of the country were favorably disposed towards the British, marched forwards without due precaution, till, on approaching Bennington, he found the enemy assembled in force in his front. In this exigency he took possession of an advantageous post, where he entrenched himself, and sent to Burgoyne for succour. Colonel Breyman was detached reinforce m; but before the arrival of that offi
How was a mutiny raised, and what was the effect?
cer, the fate of his countryman was decided. Baum had been attacked by the American General Stark, had lost his field-pieces, and had witnessed the death or capture of most of his detachment. On his arrival at the scene of slaughter, Breyman was also vigorously assailed, and compelled to retreat with the loss of his artillery.*
The failure of this expedition was most disastrous to the British commander-in-chief, who, being disappointed of receiving the expected supplies from Vermont, was obliged to await the arrival of provisions from Fort George, by which he was delayed from the 15th of August to the 13th of September. This interval of time was well improved by the Americans, who, flushed with their success against ! Baum and Breyman, pressed on the British with increased numbers and increased confidence. They were also cheer
*"General Stark pursued their flying forces until dark, and was obliged to draw off his men, to prevent them from firing at each other under cover of night. “With one hour more of daylight," as he writes in his official report, she would have captured the whole body." The fruits of the victory were four pieces of brass cannon, several hundred stand of arms, eight brass drums, a quantity of German broadswords, and about seven hundred prisoners. Two hundred and seven were killed upon the spot; the number of the wounded was not ascertained. Colonel Baum was wounded and made a prisoner, and shortly after died of his wounds. The loss of the Americans was thirty killed and forty wounded.'
Several anecdotes of this affair have been recorded, and the following de. serves a repetition. Among the reinforcements from Berkshire county came a clergyman, with a portion of his flock, resolved to make bare the arm of flesh against the enemies of the country. Before daylight on the morning of the 16th, he addressed the commander as follows. “We the people of Berkshire, have been frequently called upon to fight, but have never been led against the enemy. We have now resolved, if you will not let us fight, never to turn out again." General Stark asked him “if he wished to march then, when it was dark and rainy.” “No," was the answer. “Then,” continued Stark, “if the Lord should once more give us sunshine, and I do not give you fighting enough, I will never ask you to come again.” The weather cleared up in the course of the day, and the men of Berkshire followed their spiritual guide into action.'
What were the effects of this defeat on the British?
ed to vigorous exertion by the arrival at this critical moment of General Gates, who was commissioned by congress to take the command of the Northern army.
After most anxious deliberation, General Burgoyne, having by extraordinary exertions collected provisions for thirty days, crossed the Hudson river on the 13th of September, and advanced to within two miles of General Gates's
which was situated about three miles to the northward of Stillwater. Gates boldly advanced to meet him, and a hard fought battle' ensued, which, though not decisive, was very detrimental to the British, as it shook the fidelity of their Indian allies and of the Canadians, who now began to desert in great numbers. The desertion of the Indians was accelerated by the following tragical incident. Miss M’Rea, an American lady, who resided in the vicinity of the British encampment, being engaged to marry Captain Jones, an officer of Burgoyne's army, her lover, being anxious for her safety, as he understood that her attachment to himself and the loyalty of her father had rendered, her an object of persecution to her countrymen, engaged some Indians to escort her within the British lines, promising to reward the person who should bring her safe to him, with a barrel of rum. Two of these emissaries having found the destined bride, and communicated to her their commission, she without hesitation, consented to accompany them to the place of meeting appointed by Captain Jones. But her guides unhappily quarrelling on the way, as to which of them should present her to Mr. Jones and receive the promised recompense, one of them, to terminate the dispute, cleft her skull with his tomahawk, and laid her dead at his feet. This transaction struck the whole
Describe the battle near Stillwater.
British army with horror. General Burgoyne, on hearing of it, indignantly demanded that the murderer should be given up to condign punishment. Prudential considerations, however, prevented his being put to death, as he well deserved. Burgoyne was of opinion, that his pardon upon terms would be more efficacious in preventing further bar barities than his execution: he, therefore, spared his life upon condition that his countrymen would form that time forth, abstain from perpetrating any cruelties on the unarmed inhabitants, or on those whom they had vanquished in battle. As the Earl of Harrington at a subsequent period stated in his examination before the House of Commons, he told their interpreter that he would lose every Indian rather than connive at their enormities. The savages at first seemed willing to comply with his renewed injunctions; but resentment rankled in their breasts at his interference with their habits of warfare, the respect with which they had once looked up to him was impaired by their knowledge of the difficulties of his situation, and they soon began to quit the camp, loaded with their accumulated plunder. Thus checked in his progress, and deserted by his allies, Burgoyne sent urgent letters to Sir Henry Clinton, who commanded at New York, entreating him to hasten forwards the co-operative forces on which he relied for safety and success, and apprising him that want of provisions would preclude him from remaining in his present position beyond the 12th of October. This renewed delay dispirited his own troops, and swelled the numbers of the hostile army, which received recruits from every quarter. On the 7th of October, Burgoyne in person, accompanied by Generals Phillips, Reidesel, and Fraser, issued from
Why did Burgoyne spare the Indian's life? What letters were written?
his camp at the head of 1500 men, for the purpose of making a reconnoissance and of foraging. This movement brought on a general engagement, at the close of which the British were driven within their lines, and a part of them was forced. This circumstance compelled Burgoyne to change his position, which maneuver he performed in a masterly manner, and without sustaining any loss. It was, indeed, from this time, the policy of the American general to avoid a pitched battle, and to reduce his enemy by harrassing him and cutting off his retreat, and depriving him of supplies.
The situation of General Burgoyne was most distressing. · By extraordinary efforts he had forced his way to within a few miles of Albany, the point of his destination, and had he been seconded by correspondent exertions on the part of the British southern army, he would have effected the object of his campaign. Sir Henry Clinton seems to have had no precise or early instructions as to co-operating with him. Certain it is, that it was not till the third of October that he moved up the Hudson to his assistance.* Sir Henry easily surmounted every obstacle which presented itself on his route. He took Fort Montgomery by assault, and by removing a boom and chain which was
*“The expedition of Sir H. Clinton up Hudson river “could not before have been attempted, without leaving the defences of New York too feebly guarded." A body of recruits arrived from Europe at New York about the last of September, and it was then undertaken; but, if Stedman be correct, the relief of Burgoyne was not primarily intended. “ The object of Sir Henry Clinton was to take possession of the forts which forbade the passage of our (British) vessels up to Albany; and the ulterior view in the measure was not so much to create a diversion in favor of General Burgoyne (the necessity of which was not sus. pected), as to open a communication which might have been important when that commander should have fixed himself at Albany." Stedman, i. 353.
What was the policy of the Americans from this time?