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CHAP. XI.

1777.

"and devastation, famine, and every concomi "tant horror that a reluctant, but indispensable "prosecution of military duty must occafion, "will bar the way to their return."*

After thefe preliminary fteps, general Burgoyne pushed forward with his whole force, and poffeffed himself of Ticonderoga without the smallest oppofition. This was a strong poft commanded by general St. Clair, an officer always unfortunate, and in no inftance ever dif tinguished for bravery or judgment. Though the Americans here were inferior in numbers to the British, they were not fo deficient in men as in arms, more particularly mufquetry and bayonets but their works were ftrong, the troops healthy, and they had juft received. a reinforcement of men, and a fresh fupply of every thing elfe neceffary for defence. these circumstances, there could fcarcely be found a fufficient excufe for calling a hafty council of war, and drawing off by night five or fix thousand men, on the first approach of the enemy. The want of fmall-arms was the only plaufible pretence offered by the commander to juftify his conduct. This deficiency St. Clair muft have known before the fifth of

In

* See Burgoyne's speech to the Indians, and his fingular proclamation at large, in the British Remembrancer, the Annual Register, and in many other authentic records.

July, when he in a fright fled with his whole army, and left every thing standing in the rifon.*

gar.

It is not probable the Americans could have long kept their ground against the fuperiority of the British officers, and the number and difcipline of their troops; yet undoubtedly meafures might have been early taken by a judicious commander, to have retreated if neceffary, without fo much difgrace, and the total lofs of their artillery, ftores, provisions, their shipping on the lake, and many valuable lives. The order for retreat was unexpected to the army they had scarce time to fecure a part of their baggage. The flight was rapid, and the pursuit vigorous. The foldiers having loft all confidence in their commander, the out-posts were every where evacuated, and a general dif may pervaded the fugitives, who, in fcattered parties, were routed in every quarter, and driven naked into the woods.

CHAP: XI.

1777.

*About this time a misfortune befel the Americans not far distant from Montreal, at a place called the Cedars. There major Butterfield with his party, were compelled to furrender prifoners of war. This party captur ed by captain Forfter who commanded the British, confifted of four or five hundred men. It was warmly dif puted afterwards, between congress and the British commanders, whether the Cedars men, who were permitted to depart on parole, fhould be exchanged for British pri foners taken under Burgoyne.

CHAP. XI.

1777.

After two days wandering in the wildernefs, the largest body of the Americans who had kept together, were overtaken and obliged to make a stand against a party that much outnumbered them, commanded by colonel Frazer, who had been indefatigable in the pursuit. The action continued three or four hours, when the Americans, though they fought with bravery, were totally routed with very great lofs. Colonel Francis, the gallant commander of this party was killed, with many other officers of merit; two or three hundred privates were left dead on the field, thrice that number wounded or taken prisoners: most of the wounded perished miferably in the woods. The British loft feveral officers highly esteemed by them, among whom was major Grant, a man of decided bravery. Yet general Burgoyne found to his coft, his incapacity to execute the boaft he had fome time before made in the house of commons, that "fo little was "to be apprehended from the refiftance of the "colonies, that he would engage to drive the "continent with five hundred difciplined "troops."

General St. Clair had made good his own retreat fo far, as to be fix miles ahead with the van of the routed army. Such was his terror on hearing of the defeat of colonel Francis, and some other fucceffes of the royal army, that instead of proceeding to fort Ann, as in

tended, he fhrunk off into the woods, uncertain where to fly for fecurity. Another party of the Americans, who had reached fort Ann, were attacked and reduced by colonel Hill, with one British regiment. They fet fire to the fortress themselves, to prevent its falling into the hands of the victors, and fled with the utmost speed towards fort Edward, on the Hudfon. General St. Clair, and the miferable remains of his army who escaped death, either by fatigue or the sword, after a march of feven days, through mountainous and unfrequented paffages, haraffed in the rear, and almoft without provisions of any kind, arrived at fort Edward in a moft pitiable condition.

General Burgoyne was too much the experienced officer to neglect his advantages. He pushed forward with equal alacrity and fuccefs; and in spite of the embarrassments of bad roads, mountains, thickets, and fwamps, he reached the neighbourhood of fort Edward, within a few days after the broken remnant of St. Clair's army had pofted themselves there. On his approach, the Americans immediately decamped from fort Edward, under the command of general Schuyler, whom they found there, and withdrew to Saratoga. He had been making fome efforts to collect the militia from the country contiguous, to aid and fup

VOL. II.

CHAP. XL

1777.

CHAP. XI.

1777.

port the routed corps; but on their advance, he did not think it prudent to face the British troops.

A fhare of the public odium on this occafion fell on general Schuyler. His conduct, as well as the delinquency of general St. Clair, was very heavily cenfured. They were both ordered, with fome other of the principal officers of the late council of war at Ticonderoga, to repair to congress to answer for the lofs of that fort, and the command of the Lake Champlain. On the other hand, it was no fmall triumph to general Burgoyne and his army, thus to have chafed the Americans from the province of Canada, to find themselves in poffeflion of all the lakes, and to fee the British ftandard erected on the Hudson, which had long been an object of importance with administration.

Exaggerated accounts of the weakness of the Americans, the incapacity of their officers, and the timidity of the troops, were transmitted to England; and the most fanguine expectations formed by people of every defcription through the island. They were ready to imagine, that hunted from poft to poft, both in the northern and fouthern departments, the fpirits of the colonists must be broken, their resources fail, and that the United States thus repeatedly difappointed, would lofe all energy of oppofition, and foon fall a prey to the pride and power of

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