Page images




were extensive enough to require called South River, but higher up, 10,000 men to defend them against a named Wood Creek. The waters from strong invading force.* Opposite Lake George flow in from the southTiconderoga on the east side of the west and in the angle formed by the channel, there about 400 yards wide, confluence of these two streams rises rises a high circular hill called Mount Sugar Loaf Hill, which overlooks Independence. When they aban- both Ticonderoga and Mount Indoned Crown Point, the Americans dependence. This hill had been exhad fortified this hill, and at its sum- amined by the Americans with the mit had erected a fort well provided view to fortifying it, but the forces with artillery. Intrenchments had

under St. Clair were insufficient to been raised at the foot of the moun

occupy the extensive works of Ticontain and a number of heavy guns deroga, Mount Independence and placed in them, while about half way Sugar Loaf Hill. In addition, St. up the hill a battery had been estab

Clair thought that the hill itself was lished to cover the lower works. To

so steep that the British would not maintain communication between the

attempt the difficult ascent, and he two posts, the Americans had erected

therefore neglected to take any wooden bridge supported by twenty-two wooden pillars.

measures for preventing the occu

The spaces between these pillars were

pancy of the hill by the British, filled by separate floats, fastened to

should they so desire. each other and to the pillars by chains

Up to this time St. Clair had reand rivets. The bridge itself was

ceived no definite information as to twelve feet wide, and the side next

the strength of the force advancing Lake Champlain was defended by a

under Burgoyne.* Being ignorant of boom, formed of large pieces of tim- their numbers, he supposed that it ber bound together by strong iron would not be difficult to repulse any chains. Thus an easy communication assault that might be made upon the was established between Ticonderoga fort. The British encamped about and Mount Independence, and the four miles from the forts, while the passage of vessels up the strait abso- fleet anchored just beyond the reach lutely prevented.f Above Ticonde- of the guns. At Mount Hope, to the roga the channel becomes wider, and south of Ticonderoga, the Americans on the southeast side receives a body made but a slight resistance to the of water from a stream, at that point British, and after having taken pos

session of this post, Burgoyne ex* Trevelyan, American Revolution vol. iv., p. 99; tended his lines so as to completely inTuckerman, Life of Schuyler, pp. 187–188.

† Thacher, Military Journal, p. 81; Tuckerman, Life of Schuyler, p. 174.

* Tuckerman, Life of Schuyler, p. 181.



vest the fort on the west side.* The Lake George was now cut off by the eastern bank of the channel was occu- British, escape in that direction was pied by the German division under impossible, and a retreat could be efRiedesel, and a detachment was sent fected only by the South River. The forward to the vicinity of the rivulet invalids and all stores easily movable which flows from Mount Indepen- were placed aboard 200 boats, and on dence. Having received information the night of July 5-6, escorted by Colthat Sugar Loaf Hill completely domi- onel Long's regiment, these proceeded nated the other fortresses, Burgoyne up South River toward Skeenesborresolved to occupy it at once, and ough, while the garrison marched by after five days of the most strenuous land through Castleton in the same labor, succeeded in placing his ar- direction.* Orders had been issued tillery on the top of the hill, that the troops should proceed in the name of which was changed absolute silence and particularly to Mount Defiance.t St. Clair that nothing should be set on fire was thus nearly surrounded, the that might reveal the movement to only space remaining open being that the British. But before the rearbetween the stream which flows from guard was in motion the house Mount Independence and the South on Mount Independence, which had River. It was necessary, therefore, been occupied by General Fermoy, that St. Clair decide upon an imme- was set on fire, thus giving notice diate course of action, for he must to the British of the evacuation. either defend the fort to the last ex- The latter thereupon entered the tremity or abandon it at once to save works and fired upon the rear of the as much as possible of his army and American army.t munitions of war. He called a council The retreat to Hubbardton was conof war, at which it was unanimously ducted in some confusion, and from decided that the fort should be evac- this place the main army under uated; and preparations were imme- St. Clair pushed forward to Castleton. diately begun to carry this decision The English under General Fraser into effect. As communication with immediately pursued by land upon the

Carrington, Battles of the Revolution, p. 308; Lossing, Field-Book of the Revolution, vol, i., p. Lossing, Field-Book of the Revolution, vol. i., 34.

pp. 134-135. † Thacher, Military Journal, p. 83; Fiske, Amer- † Carrington, Battles of the Revolution, p. 314; ican Revolution vol. i., p. 269; Lossing, Field- Fisher, Struggle for American Independence, vol. Book of the Revolution, vol. i., 134; Trevelyan, ii., p. 63; Drake, Burgoyne's Invasion of 1777, pp. American Revolution, vol. iv., pp. 101–102; Tuck- 42-44; Schuyler's letter to Washington, in Sparks, erman, Life of Schuyler, pp. 188–193; Robinson, Correspondence of the Revolution, vol. i., pp. 393– Vermont, pp. 155-156.

395 and St. Clair's letter to Schuyler, ibid, vol. $ Carrington, Battles of the Revolution, p. 313 ; ii., p. 513. On the attacks on St. Clair and Schuy. Fisher, Struggle for American Independence, vol. ler provoked by the abandonment of Ticonderoga, ii., p. 61.

see Tuckerman, Life of Schuyler, p. 184 et seq.



right bank of Wood Creek, the ad- lost all their baggage, however, tovance column of the British being sup- gether with a large quantity of proported by General Riedesel with his visions and military stores.* Brunswickers. Burgoyne pursued the Early on the morning of July 7, the Americans by water, but in order to British land forces overtook the do this, it was first necessary to de- American rear-guard, who, directly stroy the boom and bridge which the contrary to St. Clair's orders, had Americans had constructed at Ticon- lagged behind and had posted themderoga. These works, which had cost selves in a strong position near Hubso much labor and expense on the part bardton. Though the troops under of the Americans, were easily and Fraser numbered only about one-half quickly demolished by the British their opponents, they were strengthengineers, and a clear passage was ened by the knowledge that Riedesel, effected.* Burgoyne's ships now en- with large reinforcements, was close tered Wood Creek and rapidly pro- behind. Fearing that the Americans ceeded in pursuit of the enemy.† By would effect their escape, Fraser orthe afternoon the British ships came

dered an immediate attack. The up with the American galleys near troops under Seth Warner for a time Skeenesborough Falls and attacked made a vigorous resistance, but a large them. Meanwhile three regiments, body of his militia fled from the field which had been landed at South Bay, and Warner was left alone to bear the ascended the mountain in order to entire attack. Fraser, having now turn the enemy above Wood Creek or been reinforced by the troops under destroy the works at Skeenesborough Riedesel, ordered an immediate bayoFalls, and thus cut off the retreat to net charge, which was so vigorous that Fort Anne. The Americans fled too the Americans broke under the attack swiftly, however, to be caught in this and fled, sustaining a severe loss. trap. The American galleys were soon St. Clair, upon hearing the firing in overpowered by the British gun-boats the rear, endeavored to send back and two of them surrendered, while some assistance, but the discouraged three were blown up. The other

ther militia refused to return and St. Clair boats, together with mills and other continued the retreat to Fort Edward, works, were set on fire, and the where he could effect a junction with Americans then fell back upon Fort Schuyler.f Burgoyne immediately Anne higher up Wood Creek. They

Thacher, Military Journal, pp. 83–84; CarringTrevelyan, American Revolution, vol. iv., p. ton, Battles of the Revolution, p. 314. 104.

† Lowell, Hessians in the Revolution, pp. 140† Lossing, Field-Book of the Revolution, vol. i., 141; Bancroft, vol. v., pp. 162–163; Fiske, Ameri

can Revolution, vol. i., p. 270; Carrington, Battles I Trevelyan, American Revolution, vol. iv., pp. of the Revolution, pp. 315-317; Fisher, Struggle 104-105.

for American Independence, vol. ii., pp. 63–64;

p. 135.



sent a regiment to attack Fort Anne, sired the unconditional reduction of which was then defended by a small America.* These enthusiasts readily party under Colonel Long. Here, foresaw the quick termination of the however, the British met an entirely whole war; they thought it impossible different reception. Long determined that the Americans should be able to to ambush the British and placed his recover from the shock of these recent troops in a narrow ravine through losses; the old charges of cowardice which the British were compelled to against the Americans were renewed, pass. When they reached the place, and even their own partisans abated the Americans poured such a de- much of the esteem they had previstructive fire upon the British from ously borne for them, being more than the front, flank and rear that it was half disposed to pronounce the coloonly with the greatest difficulty that nists unworthy to defend that liberty they escaped to a neighboring hill. in which they had gloried with so There they were again attacked by the much complacency.t Americans and would undoubtedly Had Burgoyne continued his camhave been decisively defeated, had paign in the same dashing style in not the ammunition of the Americans which it had been thus far prosecuted, at this moment given out. Unable to undoubtedly success would have met continue the fight, Long's troops fell his every effort; but there were still back, and setting the fort on fire, re- sixteen miles of forest to be traversed, treated to Fort Edward.*

and he made the mistake of delaying Consternation now reigned in the

until his baggage and stores could vicinity because of Burgoyne's suc

come up. General Schuyler, then in cesses.t There was also great ex

command of the American forces, was ultation in England when the news of

thus afforded an opportunity to place these victories arrived in that country; the glad tidings caused the great impediments along the line of march. est joy at court and were enthusias. Schuyler opened up trenches, obtically welcomed by all those who de

structed the roads and paths, de

stroyed the bridges, and, in the narrow Drake, Burgoyne's Invasion, pp. 45–55; Lossing,

defiles through which the British must Field-Book of the Revolution, vol. i., pp. 145-146; pass, cut down trees in such a manRobinson, Vermont, pp. 157-159. Burgoyne, State of the Expedition, p. 81;

ner that they fell across the roadway William H. Smith, The St. Clair Papers, vol. i., and formed an almost insurmountable p. 70 et seq.; Fisher, Struggle for American Inde

barrier. By such methods Schuyler pendence, vol. ii., p. 64; St. Clair's letter to Washington, giving his reasons for abandoning Fort rendered the pathways through the Independence, in Sparks, Correspondence of the Revolution, vol. i., pp. 400-405; Lossing, FieldBook of the Revolution, vol. i., pp. 141-142.

Fiske, American Revolution, vol. i., p. 271. † Botta, History of the War of Independence, † Trevelyan, American Revolution, vol. iv., p. vol. ii., p. 280.

普 #

108 et seq.



forest almost impenetrable. * He did the honor. Nevertheless, Schuyler not rest satisfied with these precau- was extremely despondent at the contions, but removed the cattle to places dition of affairs and his inability sucof safety, and the stores and baggage cessfully to check the advance of the from Fort George to Fort Edward, British, and his letters are filled with so that if the former place were cap- downheartedness and forebodings of tured, such necessities would not fall impending disasters.* into the hands of the British. He Both Congress and Washington urgently requested that such regular were greatly astonished at the disastroops as were to be found in the ad- ters which befell the Americans in the jacent States should immediately be North, for they supposed that Schuydispatched to join him, and he also ler's force was much larger than it earnestly appealed to the New Eng- actually was, and the British much land States and New York to send weaker.f But Washington waited such militia as they could enlist.f In until he should receive more correct the vicinity of Fort Edward and information before pronouncing upon Albany, he also endeavored to secure the conduct of General St. Clair. recruits to his army, in which task he When that officer joined Schuyler, the attained considerable success because whole force of the Americans did not of his influence with the people in that exceed 4,400, about one-half of whom region. He determined to harass the were militia, while all were poorly enemy as much as possible, and dis- clothed, wretchedly equipped, and patched Colonel Warner with his regi- greatly dispirited by the recent rement into Vermont with instructions verses. Moreover, the militia were to assemble the militia and make anxious to return home to reap their incursions toward Ticonderoga. In harvests; and, in order to prevent the fact, Schuyler did everything pos- desertion of the whole army, one-half sible under the circumstances, and

of the militia was allowed to depart while he did not reap the reward immediately, provided the other half of his labors, still it is not too

remained three weeks-a condition the much to say that the measures he militia readily accepted. [ When Conadopted paved the way to the victory gress received confirmation of the disat Saratoga, for which Gates received

asters in the North, it was proposed

See Burgoyne's letter to Germaine in De Fonblanque, Life of Burgoyne, p. 268; Carrington, Battles of the Revolution, p. 318; Drake, Burgoyne's Invasion, pp. 64–66.

Trevelyan, American Revolution, vol. iv., pp. 112-113.

1 Lossing, Field-Book of the Revolution, vol. i., pp. 41-42.

Quotations from his letters are given in Bancroft, vol. v., pp. 164–167. See also his various letters in Sparks, Correspondence of the Revolution, vol. i., pp. 397–399.

† See his letter quoted in Lodge, George Wash. ington, vol. i., p. 202. See also Irving, Life of Washington, vol. iii., p. 109 et seq.

$ On the situation see Tuckerman, Life of Schuyler, p. 198 et seq.

« PreviousContinue »