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32

HERKIMER DEFEATED AT ORISKANY; YOST CUYLER.

was

When the American troops had now advanced toward the fort and reached the place of ambush, they again summoned it to surrender, but were subjected to a heavy discharge of Gansevoort again refused to comply musketry from the sides, which was with his demand.* immediately followed by an onslaught Meanwhile, Colonel Willett, accomof the Indians with their tomahawks. panied by Lieutenant Stockwell, had Though some of the militia fled at the succeeded in passing through the first attack, the largest portion be- British lines in an attempt to inform haved with great fortitude and spirit- Schuyler of the position of the fort. edly resisted the attack of the Indians Upon receiving this information, and British. As a result, a scene of Schuyler determined to send aid to the unutterable confusion and carnage en Americans; and Arnold offered to sued. Being accustomed to the Indian take command of the relief column.t method of fighting, the militia closed When within a short distance of the with the royal troops and fought the fort, Arnold put into practice an acute battle hand to hand. Some of the stratagem which struck consternation militia made their escape, but about into the minds of the British and In100 retreated to some rising ground dians. Among the Tory prisoners was and there defended themselves until a Hon Yost Cuyler (or Schuyler). He relief party from the fort compelled had been condemned to death, but Arthe British and Indians to fall back. nold agreed to spare his life, if he Early in the fight General Herkimer would carry out Arnold's plan imwas wounded in the leg, but instead of plicitly. Several holes such as made being carried to the rear, he sat upon by bullets were cut in Cuyler's coat,

a log, and from there directed the and he was ordered to rush breathmovements of the troops as well as lessly into the British camp and inpossible. He very soon succumbed, form the Indians that a large army of however, because of the loss of blood. Americans was advancing to the reThe loss of the Americans in killed lief of the fort. For confirmation of and wounded was about 400, but the British loss is unknown. Colonel Wil- vasion, pp. 90–93. In this, as in other accounts of

battles, the estimates of the losses vary greatly. lett in his sally from the fort killed a

St. Leger says that 400 Americans were killed and large number of the enemy, destroyed 200 captured, but Thacher says 160 were killed their provisions, and carried off a

and a great number wounded, and the latter num

ber is given by Gordon and other contemporary large quantity of spoil.* St. Leger writers.

* Lossing, Field Book of the Revolution, vol. i., * Trevelyan, American Revolution, vol. iv., pp. pp. 248–249. 141-142; Arnold, Life of Arnold, pp. 150–152; † Arnold, Life of Arnold, p. 154; Clinton Papers, Roberts, The Battle of Oriskany; Bancroft, vol. vol. ii., p. 255; Tuckerman, Life of Schuyler, pp. v., pp. 167–169; Lossing, Field-Book of the Revo- 218-219. lution, vol. i., pp. 244-248; Fiske, American Revo- See W. L. Stone, The Campaign of Burgoyne lution, vol. i., pp. 288-292; Drake, Burgoyne's In- and the Expedition of St. Leger, p. 213. See also if their exertions were concentrated Thacher, Military Journal, pp. 89–90; Lossing, Field-Book of the Revolution, vol. i., pp. 250- * Arnold, Life of Arnold, pp. 149–162; Gordon, 251.

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ARNOLD COMPELS ST. LEGER TO RETREAT.

33

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his statement, Cuyler was to point to ing confident that he would meet with his coat and if they should inquire as no success without his Indian allies, to numbers, he was to point to the St. Leger on August 22 raised the leaves on the trees, indicating that the siege and retreated toward the north. American troops were almost number. There were many indications of great less. This stratagem worked with alarm. So hurried was the retreat great success, for in addition to the that the tents were left standing; the news carried to the Indians by Cuyler, artillery, ammunition, baggage, and other scouts had arrived in the British provisions were abandoned to fall camp with news that Burgoyne's army into the hands of the garrison; and, in had been routed and was in full flight. fact, everything indicated that the All this made a deep impression on British army was in a state of conthe red-men.* Furthermore, the In- sternation. Their Indian allies also dians were dissatisfied with the gen- turned against them and acted in a eral conduct of the campaign, for they very savage manner, robbing the had no desire to besiege fortresses, officers of their baggage and the army preferring instead to take scalps of provisions and stores; they also and other plunder. When St. Leger's murdered and stripped of accoutreattempt to capture Fort Stanwix ments all those who were unable to proved abortive, the Indians became keep up with the main body. This discouraged, and again, when the treatment continued until the royal British failed to defeat Herkimer, the troops reached the Lake on their way Indians became suspicious of the to Montreal.* Arnold did not arrive prowess of the British army. They at Fort Schuyler until two days after had received nothing but hard service the retreat of the British; and finding and little reward, and when they that his services were not needed, he learned that a strong American force shortly returned to camp. was advancing against them, they de- The news of the defeat of the termined to seek safety in flight British and the successful defence of rather than again to bear the brunt of Fort Stanwix, together with the dethe fight. St. Leger used every argu- feat at Bennington, greatly raised the ment and artifice to detain them, but spirit of the Americans. The Loyalin vain; a great part of the Indians ists began to fear for the success of deserted, the rest threatening to fol- the royal arms, and a great portion of low if the siege were maintained. Be- the people were now convinced that,

American Revolution, vol. ii., pp. 529-535; Jones, * Fiske, American Revolution vol. i., pp. 294 New York in the Revolution, vol. i., pp. 215–218, 296; Lossing, pp. 251–252.

700.

34

SCHUYLER REMOVED; GATES TAKES COMMAND.

against Burgoyne, the British would Schuyler from command and elevated soon be driven from the territory. Be- Gates to that post.* This was particfore this could take place, however, ularly aggravating to Schuyler, bethe Continental Congress had taken a cause he had instituted the measures step both unjust and ungracious. by which the progress of Burgoyne That body removed from command was to be effectually stopped. He one of the bravest and most patriotic therefore felt the disgrace of his disofficers in the American army. Schuy placement very keenly, and in a letter ler, at this time and for some time to Washington says: past, had been unpopular with the “It is a matter of extreme chagrin to me to be New England members of Congress

deprived of the command at a time, when soon,

if ever, we shall be enabled to face the enemy; chiefly because of his attitude in the

when we are on the point of taking ground where dispute between New York and New they must attack to a disadvantage, should our England regarding “Hampshire

force be inadequate to facing them in the field;

when an opportunity will, in all probability, ocGrants."* He had vigorously as cur, in which I might evince that I am not what serted the claims of New York to this Congress have too plainly insinuated in taking

the command from me.” territory, but Massachusetts and the other New England colonies had According to Marshall, Schuyler's strenuously fought against this claim, “ removal from command was proband the struggle finally became bitter. ably severe and unjust as respected Consequently, the New England mem- himself, but perhaps wise as respected bers were strongly prejudiced against America. The frontier towards the Schuyler and were glad of a pretext lakes was to be defended by the troops on which he might be removed from of New England; and however uncommand. The rapid progress of founded their prejudices against him Burgoyne and the inability of the might be, it was prudent to consult Americans to cope with the situation them.” furnished the pretext sought by the Gates arrived at the scene of conNew England congressmen. General flict on August 19 and found everyGates had also expressed a desire to thing in good condition for carrying be placed in command of the army in on the campaign. Fresh troops had the North and, as he was a favorite come in and, as the harvesting had with the New Englanders, the in- now been completed, the people trigue for the removal of Schuyler throughout that section of the counwas finally successful. Consequently, try were clamoring to join the army. on August 5 Congress removed

* On the proceedings before this took place, see

Bancroft, vol. v., pp. 149–151, 173. See also Fiske, * For the history of which see Tuckerman, Life American Revolution, vol. i., pp. 253–258, 296– of Schuyler, p. 73 et seq.; Robinson, Vermont, 297; Tuckerman, Life of Schuyler, p. 223 et seq.; p. 57 et seq.; Williams, History of Vermont, vol. Irving, Life of Washington, vol. iii., pp. 35–44, 61ii.; Thompson, Vermont, pt. ii.

· 71, 140-147.

THE MURDER OF JANE MCCREA.

35

Schuyler did not allow his personal who is described by Gates as considerations to interfere with his “lovely to the sight, of virtuous patriotism; he received Gates with character, and amiable disposition,” great courtesy and aided him in and who was engaged to an officer of every way possible. He said, “I the British army, was seized in her have done all that could be done, as father's house near Fort Edward by far as the means were in my power, some Indians belonging to Burto inspire confidence in the soldiers goyne's army, dragged to the woods of our own army, and I flatter myself with several other young people of with some success, but the palm of both sexes, and after she had been victory is denied me, and it is left to barbarously scalped was wantonly you, general, to reap the fruit of my

murdered. Thus, instead of being labors. I will not fail, however, to

conducted to the altar by the British second your views, and my devotion

officer, she received an inhuman

death at the hands of some allies of to my country will cause me with

the very army in which her affianced alacrity to obey all your orders." *

husband was fighting. There are Shortly after his arrival, Gates

several different versions of this ocentered into a brief and by no means

currence; the general account is as pleasant correspondence with Bur

given above. Other authorities say goyne. On August 30 the latter com

that her affianced husband, fearing plained that the Loyalists who had

that some harm might come to her, been captured at Bennington were

because of the attachment of her harshly treated by the Americans, and

father to the royal cause, had induced hinted that unless it were stopped,

two Indians of different tribes by he would retaliate on the American

promises of large recompense to take prisoners. On September 2 Gates her under their escort to the British replied to this and recriminated

camp. It is supposed that the two by reciting the horrible atrocities Indians carried out the first part of committed by the Indians who accom- their contract faithfully and had panied the armies of Burgoyne and conducted her nearly to the British St. Leger.t One of the cases specially camp when they fell into a dispute as mentioned was the murder of Jane to who should receive the reward, M’Crea. On July 27 this young lady, each contending that the entire sum

belonged to himself. Working them* See also Trevelyan, American Revolution, vol. selves into a fury in their dispute, iv., pp. 155–156; Tuckerman, Life of Schuyler, pp. 234–235; Arnold, Life of Arnold, pp. 165–166;

they decided to settle the matter by Irving, Life of Washington, vol. iii., pp. 199–201. killing the young lady herself, and † See the letters in Sparks, Correspondence of

with a brutal blow of his tomahawk the Revolution, vol. ii. pp. 522-523. See also Irv. ing, Life of Washington, vol. iii., pp. 201-203.

one of the Indians laid the unfortu

36

BURGOYNE AT SARATOGA; GATES AT BEHMUS'S HEIGHTS.

nate maiden dead at his feet.* Such was now under the necessity of bringatrocities as these, Gates said, had ing the supplies for his army from very much embittered the people of Fort George; and yet, in spite of the the country against the British. difficulty of this task, he persevered in Furthermore, whatever assistance the it until he had collected sufficient proBritish might have received at the visions for thirty days. Building a hands of their Indian allies was more bridge of boats over the Hudson, he than counterbalanced by the fury of then entered upon what proved to be the colonists when they fought the last step of his disastrous camagainst those who had disgraced paign. On the 13th and 14th of Septhemselves by the aid of such allies. tember the army crossed the river

Because of the defeat of St. Leger and encamped on the heights and and the disastrous result of the ex- plains of Saratoga about twenty pedition against Bennington, Bur- miles below Fort Edward and thirtygoyne was left to his own resources; seven miles above Albany.* Gates in yet there was one other hope to which the meanwhile had been reinforced by he obstinately clung — that Clinton all the Continental troops which would be able to send him some assist- could be spared for the northern deance from New York. He was un

partment, and also by considerable willing to abandon the enterprise, if

bodies of militia. He evacuated the there were the slightest reason to ex

position taken by Schuyler at the conpect that reinforcements would arrive Avence of

fluence of the Mohawk and Hudson from the South. Should these rein

rivers, and proceeded sixteen miles up forcements arrive, he anticipated

the river toward the enemy. Acting little difficulty in accomplishing the on the advice of Arnold and Thaddeus great object of the campaign.f He Kosciusko. Gates established his camp * Mr. Lossing, in his field-Book of the at Behmus's (or Bemis's) Heights

near Stillwater.t At this time the clusion that this young lady was killed by a shot

two armies were but twelve miles fired by a party of Americans in pursuit of the Indians, who had carried her off. See Thacher's apart. But the roads were in poor Military Journal, p. 95; Fiske, American Revolu

condition and the bridges had been tion, vol. i., pp. 277-279; and the version by W. L. Stone in Appleton's Cyclopædia of American destroyed, so that the progress of Biography. Trevelyan says that the latter version both armies was practically cut short as given above has long been disproved and discredited.- American Revolution, pp. 127-128, note.

* J. M. Hadden, Journal Kept upon Burgoyne's † Howe at this time was at Philadelphia with Expedition (ed. by Rogers, 1884) p. 144; Clinton the British army, and Washington was keeping Papers, vol. ii., p. 431; Carrington, Battles of the him busy. Clinton was only left enough men at Revolution, pp. 336–337; Drake, Burgoyne's InNew York to defend the town. For a review of the vasion, pp. 101-105. reasons for Howe's failure to support Burgoyne, † Arnold, Life of Arnold, pp. 166-167; Irving, see Fisher, Struggle for American Independence, Life of Washington, vol. iii., p. 239; Trevelyan, vol. ii., pp. 67-76,

American Revolution, vol. iv., p. 161.

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