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nervous language, calculated to intimidate the provincials, but it had a contrary effect.
The campaign opened with the siege of Ticonderoga. This place was very strong, and garrisoned by six thousand men under general St. Clair; nevertheless the works were so extensive, that even this number, was not thought sufficient to defend them properly. They had therefore omitted to fortify a rugged eminence, called Sugar hill
, which overlooked, and effectually commanded the whole works. The Americans vainly imagined, that it was of too difficult an ascent, for the enemy to take possession of it; on the approach of the first division of the army, the provincials abandoned, and set fire to their outworks, and so expeditious were the British troops, that on the 5th of July, every post was secured, which was judged necessary for investing it completely.
A road was soon after made to the very summit of that eminence which the Americans supposed could not be ascended ; and they were now so much disheartened, that they instantly abandoned the fort, and made a precipitate retreat to Skenesborough, a place to the south of Lake George ; while their baggage and military stores, which they could not carry off, were sent to the same place by water. But the British generals were not disposed to let them get off so easily ; but pursued and overtook them.
Their armed vessels consisted only of five galleys; two of which were taken, and three blown up; on which they set fire to their boats and fortifications, at Skenesborough. The provincials lost two hundred boats, and one hundred and thirty pieces of cannon, with all their provisions and baggage.
Their land forces under colonel Francis, made a brave defence against general Fraser; and as they were superior in number, they almost overpowered him, when general Reidesel with a large body of Germans came to his assistance. The Americans were now overpowered in their turn; their commander killed, they fied in every direction. In this action two hundred of the provincials were killed, as many taken prisoners, and above six hundred wounded ; many of whom perished in the woods for want of assistance.
During the engagement general St. Clair was at Castleton, about six miles from the place; but instead of going forward to fort Ann, the next place of strength, be repaired to the woods which lie between that fortress and New England. General Burgoyne therefore detached colonel Hill, with the ninth regiment to intercept their retreat towards fort Ann : on his way he met with a body of the enemy, said to be six times as numerous as his own; but after an engagement of three hours, they were obliged to retire with great loss.
After so many disasters, and finding themselves unable to make any stand at fort Ann, they set fire to it, and retired to fort Edward. In all these engagements, the loss of the killed and wounded in the royal army did not ex. ceed two hundred men. General Burgoyne now suspended his operations for some time ; and waited at Skenesborough for the arrival of his tents, provisions, &c. But em. ployed this interval in making roads through the country about fort Ann, and in clearing a passage for his troops to proceed against the enemy. This was attended with incredible toil. But the resolution and patience of the army surmounted all obstacles.
Thus, after having ondergone the greatest difficulties, and having made every exertion that man could make, he arrived with his army before fort Edward about the latter end of July. Here general Schuyler had been for some time endeavouring to recruit the scattered American forces, and had been joined by general St. Clair with the remains of his army; the garrison of fort George had also taken shelter there. But on the approach of the royal army they retired from fort Edward, and formed their head quarters at Saratoga.
Notwithstanding these discouraging circumstances, the Americans shewed no disposition to submit ; but prepared in the best manner they could to make the most effectual resistance. For this purpose the militia was every where raised and draughted, to join the army at Saratoga ; and such numbers of volunteers were obtained, that they soon began to recover from the alarm into which their late losses had thrown them.
The forces now collected were put under the command of general Arnold, who repaired to Saratoga with a con
siderable train of artillery : but receiving intelligence that colonel St. Leger was proceeding with great rapidity in his expedition on the Mohawk river, he removed to Still Water, a place about half way between Saratoga and the junction of the Mohawk with Hudson's river.
The colonel in the mean time, had advanced as far as fort Stanwix; the siege of which he pressed with great vigour; and understanding that a supply of provisions, guarded by eight or nine hundred men, was on its way to the fost, he dispatched Sir John Johnson with a strong de. tachment, to intercept it. "This be performed so effectually, that four hundred of the escort were slain, and two bundred taken; the residue escaping with great difficulty. The garrison, it was expected, would be intimidated by this disaster, and by the threats and representations of St. Leger : on the contrary, they made several successful sallies under colonel Willet, the second officer in command; who, with another gentleman, ventured out of the fort, and eluding the vigilance of the enemy, passed through them, in order to hasten the march of general Arnold to their relief.
The affairs of colonel St. Leger, notwithstanding his recent success, appeared in no very favourable situation; and they were totally ruined by the desertion of the Indians; who had been alarmed by the report of general Arnold's advancing with two thousand men, to the relief of the fort; and, while the colonel was endeavouring to en. courage them, another report was spread, that general Burgoyne had been defeated with great slaughter, and was Aying before the provincials. On this, he was obliged to comply with their fears, and ordered a retreat; which was not effected without the loss of the tents, some artillery, and military stores.
Difficulties and disappointments still continued to press upon general Burgoyne : the roads he had made with so much labour and pains, were destroyed by the enemy,
and wetness of the season, so that provisions from fort George could not be brought to his camp, without prodigious toil. Having been informed of the siege of fort Stanwix, by colonel St. Leger, he determined to move forward, that he might enclose the enemy betwixt his own army and that of St. Leger; and in hopes of securing the command of
all the country between fort Stanwix and Albany. At any rate, a junction with St. Leger, was likely to produce the most happy consequences. The only difficulty was, the want of provisions; and this it was proposed to remedy, by seizing the sagazines of the provincials.
For this purpose, colonel Baum, a German officer of great bravery, was chosen with a body of five hundred troops. The magazines lay at Bennington, about twenty miles eastward of Hudson's river: in order to support colonel Baum's party, the whole army marched up the bank of the river, and encamped almost opposite to Saratoga, with the river between it and that place. An advanced party was posted at Batten-kill, between the camp and Bennington, in order to support colonel Baum. In their way the royal detachment seized a large supply of cattle and provisions, which were immediately sent to the camp; but the badness of the roads retarded their march so much, that intelligence of their design was sent to Bennington. Colonel Baum, understanding that the American force at that place, was much superior to his own, acquainted the general; who immediately sent colonel Breyman, with a party to his assistance : but the same causes which relarded the march of colonel Baum, also impeded the march of colonel Breyman, who could not arrive in time. General Starke, in the mean time, who commanded at Bennington, determined to attack the two parties separately ; and advanced against colonel Baum, whom he surrounded on all sides, and attacked with the utmost violence. The German troops defended themselves with great valour, but were to a man either killed or taken. Colonel Breyman, after a desperate engagement, had the good fortune to effect a retreat, through the darkness of the night; which otherwise, he could not have done, as his men had expended all their ammunition.
Disappointed in his attempt on Bennington, general Burgoyne applied himself with indefatigable diligence, to procure provisions from fort George ; and having at length procured a sufficient quantity, to last for a month, he threw a bridge of boats over the river Hudson, which he crossed about the middle of September, encamping on the hills and plains of Saratoga.
• As soon as he approached the provincial army, which was encamped at Still Water under general Gates, he de. termined to make an attack; he placed himself at the head of the centre, having general Fraser and colonel Breyman on his right, and generals Reidesel and Phillips, with the artillery on the left. In this position the 19th of September he advanced towards the enemy. But the Americans confident in their numbers, did not now wait to be engaged: but attacked the central division with great impetuosity, and it was not till general Phillips with the artillery came up, and at eleven o'clock at night, that they could be induced to retire to their camp. In this action the British lost five hundred in killed and wounded, and the Americans three hundred and nineteen.
The resolution manifested by the Americans upon this occasion, surprized and alarmed the British forces. But this did not prevent them from advancing towards the enemy, and posting themselves within cannon shot of their lines the next day. But their Indian allies now began to desert in great numbers; and at the same time the general was exceedingly mortified by having no intelligence from Sir Henry Clinton, who was to have assisted him, as had been stipulated.
He now received a letter from him, by which he was informed that Sir Henry intended to make a diversion on the North River in his favour. This afforded but little comfort: and he returned an answer by several trusty persons who took different routes, stating his distressed situation ; at the same time informing him, that his provisions and other necessaries would only enable him to hold out till the 12th of October.
The Americans in the mean time, that they might effectually cut off the retreat of the British, undertook an expedition to Ticonderoga ; but failed in the attempt, notwithstanding they surprized all the out posts, and took a great number of boats, with some arıned vessels, and a few prisoners.
The army under general Burgoyne, however, continued to labour under various distresses; his provisions fell short, so that in the beginning of October he diminished the soldiers allowance. On the seventh of that month he