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period I may truly term it), had been delayed until near the close of the campaign. No sooner had this indispensable force arrived, than Clinton with great spirit pushed up the Hudson at the head of 3,000 men. In that quarter there was Putnam with a numerous but disorderly Militia to oppose him.* The first object of Sir Henry was to reduce two contiguous forts, Montgomery and Clinton ,** which had been raised by the enemy on the west bank of the Hudson, and which obstructed the passage of the river. These forts*, accordingly, he took by storm on the 6th of October, not without a brave resistance and a heavy loss. Another American strong-hold, Fort Constitution, and someAmerican galleys, were destroyed by the Americans themselves. A British detachment, under General Vaughan, was then embarked, and directed to ascend the Hudson. Landing at iEsopus Creek, General Vaughan reduced the batteries, and burned to ashes the small town near that place; then, pursuing his expedition, he had come within forty miles of Albany, when the ill news from Saratoga decided his return. So important was this diversion of Clinton, that could it have taken place only one week or ten days sooner,
— could the tidings of it have reached Burgoyne at any time, he says, between the two actions on Behmus's Heights,
— it was the deliberate opinion of that officer, formed after the event, that he would have been enabled to make his way to Albany, and that final success would therefore have attended his campaign.***
When in the night of the 15th, the intelligence of Clinton's progress in the Highlands did actually reach Burgoyne, it was conjoined with the report that a considerable force had already on that account been detached from Gates's army. Early next morning Burgoyne sent another message to Gates,
* By the 16th of October, Putnam could muster 6,000 troops. See his Letter of that date to General Washington. Note to Washington's Writings, vol. v. p. 104.
** Fort Clinton was so called from a General of that name in the American ranks. It is strange enough that they had also another General Howe. (Life of Reed, vol. ii. p. 117, Ac.) *'* Narrative by General Burgoyne, p. 25.
FURTHER COUNCILS OF WAR.
requiring to learn whether there was any just foundation for the last tidings, which, he added, would be, if true, "subversive of the principles on which the treaty originated, "namely, a great superiority of numbers in General Gates's "army." The American General replied by a solemn declaration, upon his honour, that no detachment at all had been made from his army during the negotiation of the treaty. Under such circumstances, and on the same morning, Burgoyne convened for the last time his Council of War, and laid before it a question, as follows: — Is the treaty in its present situation binding on this army, and is the General's honour engaged for the signing it? On this point the assembled officers ceased to be unanimous. Several of the greatest weight among them, as General Phillips and Lord Balcarras, thought that in any war a negotiation might be a justifiable stratagem in order to gain time; that the public faith was in no degree engaged until a treaty was actually signed and exchanged; that, therefore, General Burgoyne was at full liberty to break off this in its preliminary stage. This view of the subject was the one that General Burgoyne himself explicitly maintained. But on the other hand, a majority of the Council declared that in their opinion the public faith was already pledged; and to their opinion thus expressed the General-in-Chief at last gave way. That the British officers in this Convention should be thus nice and scrupulous on any question in which the national honour was concerned, is a circumstance which surely not a little aggravates the shame of any violation of that treaty from the other side.
It was added, however, by General Burgoyne upon the Minutes of this Council: "The Lieutenant-General's opinion "being clear that he is not bound by what has passed, he "would not execute the treaty upon the sole consideration "of the point of honour, notwithstanding the respectable "majority against him." But he was also, as he states, swayed by the reflection that the news of Clinton's advance was not official, but only hearsay; that admirably as the spirit of the British soldiers had been hitherto sustained, the idea of a Convention had now gone forth amongst them; that the struggles for their extrication must be not only daring, but even desperate; that with their scanty supplies of provision, a defeat would be fatal to the army, and a victory not save it.
The Convention, according to the terms already specified, and in the words agreed to by the Council of War, was next day, on the 17th of October, signed, exchanged, and executed. The British soldiers laid down their arms at the appointed spot, near the river where the old ford lay; they received from American commissaries their supplies of fresh provision; and they commenced in mournful silence their march to Massachusetts. General Gates, far from any marks of arrogance, such as perhaps his first demands had implied, showed them the utmost courtesy and kindness. Indeed, he had by no means lost all feeling for his native country, and in a letter written only a few days afterwards to a friend in London, mentions himself as one "who glories in the "name of an Englishman."* He kept his soldiers close within their lines, thus avoiding the risk of altercations, and not allowing them to witness in the piling of the British arms the abasement of a gallant enemy. One English officer present declares that when he and his comrades, after piling their arms, passed the American army, they could not observe through the whole of it one gesture nor one word of disrespect, nor even a taunting look; "all," says he, "was "mute astonishment and pity." ** Gates accosted General Burgoyne with kindly warmth, using terms of welcome, not perhaps well chosen, but most certainly well-meant ***; and that same evening he entertained him at his table with the
* To the Earl ofThanet, October 26. 1777. This letter was read in the House of Lords by the Marquis of Rockingham. See Pari. Hist., vol. xix- p. 731.
Lieutenant Anburey's Travels in North America, vol. ii. p. 3. *** Gates used the common phrase of greeting to a stranger: "I am very "happy to see you," and Burgoyne, applying this to his own situation, answered, "1 believe it; the fortune of war ia entirely yours." (Voyages du Marquis de Chastellux, vol. i. p. 361.J
1777. GENEROSITY OP GENERAL SCHUYLER. 197
principal officers of both armies. The repast was more cordial and cheerful than might have been supposed, the victors seeming for the time to forget their triumph, and the vanquished their humiliation.
The conduct on this occasion of another American officer is so highly to his honour that it should not be passed over in silence. General Schuyler, although removed from his command by Congress, had come back as a volunteer to Gates's army. He was one of the largest proprietors in this district, having houses both at Saratoga and at Albany; and his house near the former place was connected with sawmills, and store-rooms, and other buildings, to the value of nearly 10,000/. It so chanced, that when General Burgoyne had retreated to Saratoga, and was expecting a battle, he had thought it needful for the security of his position to burn these buildings to the ground. Let the sequel be related in General Burgoyne's own words; — "After the "Convention was signed, one of the first persons I saw was "General Schuyler. I expressed to him my regret at the "event which had happened, and the reasons which had "occasioned it. He desired me to think no more of it, saying, "that the occasion justified it, according to the principles "and rules of war, and that he should have done the same "upon the same occasion, or words to that effect. He did "more; he sent an aide-de-camp to conduct me to Albany, "in order, as he expressed it, to procure me better quarters "than a stranger might be able to find. This gentleman "conducted me to a very elegant house, and to my great "surprise, presented me to Mrs. Schuyler, and her family; "and in this General's house I remained during my whole "stay at Albany, with a table of more than twenty covers for "me and my friends, and every other possible demonstration "of hospitality." *
* Speech of General Burgoyne in the House of Commons, on Mr. Vyner's Motion, May 26. 1778. The Marquis de Chastellux, who visited General Schuyler in 1780, draws a most pleasing picture of his family circle. He adds, however: uLo General Schuyler est encore plus aimatile "quand il n'est pas avec sa femme, en quoi il ressemblc a beaucoup de "maris Europeens!" (Voyages, vol. i. p. 345.)
It was from Albany, and on the 20th of October, that Burgoyne addressed to Lord George Germaine his despatch, announcing the disastrous close of his campaign. That despatch he sent home by his aide-de-camp, Lord Petersham; the first opportunity of communication open to him since the beginning of September. At the time of his capitulation, his fighting men, as already stated, had become reduced to 3,500; yet so great was still the crowd of Canadians, of boatmen, of artificers, and of other camp-followers, that, according to the American statement, the total number of persons included in the treaty, amounted to 5,752. On the other hand, the British officers during their captivity obtained a copy of the official return of Gates's army, as it stood on the 16th of October; a return signed by Gates himself.. That return gives the number, "Present, fit for Duty" as no less than 13,216. Besides these, there are "Sick Present" 622; "Sick "Absent" 731; and "On Command" 3,875; these last being in fact, for the most part, the detachments interposed between the British and Ticonderoga, to cut off their retreat. *
Such then was the capitulation of Saratoga, ,— the turning point of the War ofRevolution in America, as sixty-seven years before, the capitulation of Brihuega had been the turning point of the War of Succession in Spain. In both, it must, I think, be felt and owned that strong reasons were assigned by the capitulating Generals why hard-pressed, and surrounded as they were, no remedy, besides that extreme course, remained. In both, the bravery and spirit were not denied, either of the troops, or the commanders. In both, their military skill was, on other occasions at least, allowed. In both, the objections to their conduct, which at first sight may appear, will be found in a great measure to resolve themselves into the inevitable difficulties attending
* See this Return at full length in the Appendix to Burgoyne's Narrative, p. civ. At the close of it, and still under Gates's signature, Ifind: "N.B. "Exclusive of the numbers in the above Return, there are the Upper Staff 11 of the army, the bateau-men, the artificers, and followers of the camp."