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Great Britain. But notwithstanding the unhappy derangement of their affairs at the northward, and the fucceffes of general Howe at the fouthward, there appeared not the smallest inclination among the people at large, throughout the American ftates, to fubmit to royal authority. The untoward circumftances that had taken place, neither exhaufted their hopes, nor damped the ardor of enterprise. The dangers that lowered in every quarter, feemed rather to invigorate the public mind, and quicken the operations of war.

On the defeat of St. Clair, and the advance of the British army, the eastern ftates immediately draughted large detachments of militia, and haftened them forward. Congress directed general Washington to appoint proper officers, to repair to Saratoga and take the command. They also appointed a court of inquiry to take cognizance of the delinquency of the fufpended officers: but their influence was too great with the commander in chief, and some principal members of congrefs, to fubject them to that measure of degradation which it was generally thought they deferved. They were dif miffed, though not with approbation, yet without any fevere cenfure; but as the conduct of St. Clair was difgraceful, and that of Schuyler could not be juftified, they were neither of them appointed to active fervice.

CHAP. XI.

1777.

CHAP. XI.

1777.

General Gates, a brave and experienced officer formerly in British fervice, a man of open manners, integrity of heart, and undisguised republican principles, was vefted with the chief command to act against Burgoyne. On his arrival at Saratoga, he drew back the army, and encamped at a place called Stillwater, where he could more conveniently obferve the motions of colonel St. Ledger, who was advancing to the Mohawk River, to invest fort Stanwix. This poft was commanded by colonel Ganfevoort, whose bravery and intrepidity did honor to himself and to his country. General Arnold was fent on with a reinforcement from the continental army, and a large train of artillery, to the aid of general Gates. He was ordered to leave the main body, and march with a detachment towards the Mohawk River to the affiftance of Ganfevoort: but before there was time fufficient for his relief from any quarter, this gallant officer found himself and the garrison furrounded by a large body of British troops, in conjunction with a formidable appearance of favages, yelling in the environs, and thirsting for blood. At the fame time he was threatened by their more enlightened, yet not more humanized allies, that unless he immediately furrendered the garrifon, or if he delayed until it was taken by ftorm, they fhould all be given up to the fury of the Indians, who were bent upon the massacre of every officer and foldier.

St. Ledger by letters, meffages, and all poffible methods, endeavoured to intimidate the commander of the fortrefs. He obferved, that the favages were determined to wreak their vengeance for the recent lofs of fome of their chiefs, on the inhabitants of the Mohawk River, and to fweep the young plantations there, without distinction of age or sex. He made an exaggerated display of his own ftrength, of the power and fuccefs of Burgoyne, and the hopelefs ftate of the garrifon, unless by a timely fubmiffion they put themselves under his protection. On this condition, he promised to endeavour to mitigate the barbarity of his Indian coadjutors, and to foften the horrors usually attendant on their victories.

Colonel Gansevoort, inftead of listening to any proposals of furrender, replied, “ that en"trusted by the United States with the charge "of the garrifon, he should defend it to the "laft extremity, regardless of the confequences "of doing his duty." Their danger was greatly enhanced by the misfortune of general Harkimer, who had marched for the relief of fort Stanwix, but with too little precaution. At the head of eight or nine hundred militia, he fell into an ambufcade confifting moftly of Indians, and notwithstanding a manly defence, few of them efcaped. They were furrounded, routed, and butchered, in all the barbarous fhapes of favage brutality, after many of them

CHAP. XI.

1777

CHAP. XI.

1777.

had become their prifoners, and their fcalps carried to their British allies, to receive the ftipulated price. A vigorous fally from the garrison, conducted by colonel Willet of New York, and his fuccessful return with a number of prisoners, gave the first information of the failure of Harkimer. This instead of discouraging, inspirited to fresh enterprise. The valiant Willet, in contempt of danger and difficulty, hazarded a paffage by night through the enemy's works, and traversed the unexplored and pathlefs wilderness for upwards of fifty miles, to the more inhabited fettlements, in order to raise the country to haften to the relief of the garrison, and the protection of the inhabitants scattered along the borders of the Mohawk River.

General Arnold had marched with a thoufand men for the relief of the besieged; but though in his usual character he made all poffible dispatch, the gallant Ganfevoort had two days before his arrival, repulfed the affailants, and obliged them to retreat in fuch diforder, that it had all the appearance of a flight. In confequence of this, St. Ledger was obliged to relinquish the fiege with fo much precipitation, that they left their tents, ftores, and artillery behind them, and their camp-kettles on the fire. This movement was hurried on by the fullen and untractable behaviour of the Indians; which rofe to fuch a height, as to give

him reason to be apprehenfive for his own fafety. His fears were well founded: their conduct had become fo outrageous, that it was not in the power of fir John Johnson, Butler, and other influential friends of the favages, to keep them within any bounds. They frequently plundered the baggage the British officers; and when an opportunity offered the flightest advantage, they murdered their British or German allies, with the fame brutal ferocity with which they imbrued their hands in the blood of Americans.

The next movement of importance made by general Burgoyne, was an attempt to get poffeffion of the little obfcure town of Bennington, lying in the Hampshire Grants among the Green Mountains, and made confiderable only by the deposit of a large quantity of cattle, provisions, carriages, and other neceffaries for the use of the American army. For the purpose of seizing thefe, as well as to intimidate the people in that quarter, by the magnitude of his power and the extent of his designs, he detached a party of Heffians, with a few loyalists and fome Indians, to the amount of fifteen hundred, and gave the command to colonel Baum, a German officer. He was commiffioned, after he had surprised Bennington, to ravage the adjacent country, and if poffible to perfuade the inhabitants, that he was in force fufficient, and that he defigned to march on to Connecticut

CHAP. XI.

1777.

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