Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

stretched from that fortress across the Hudson, he opened the navigation of that river to his flotilla, which, with a fair wind might have speedily made its passage to Half Moon, within sixteen miles of Gates's encampment.

But instead of hastening to the relief of their countrymen, the several divisions of Clinton's army employed themselves in plundering and burning the towns and villages situated on the banks of the river, and in the adjacent country Amongst those who distinguished themselves in this predatory warfare, General Vaughan rendered himself preeminently conspicuous. Having been ordered to advance up the river, by Sir Henry Clinton, he landed at the town of Æsopus, and finding it evacuated by the American forces, to whom its defence had been intrusted, though he did not encounter the slightest opposition on the part of the inhabitants, he permitted his troops to plunder it, and afterwards so completely reduced it to ashes, that he did not leave a single house standing. This outrage excited a cry of indignation throughout the United States, and drew from General Gates a letter of severe remonstrance. But the British had much more reason to inculpate Vaughàn than the Americans. His delay at Æsopus sealed the ruin of the royal cause. Vaughan was at Æsopus on the 13th of October. The tide of the flood would have borne him, in four hours, to Albany, where he might have destroyed Gates's stores, and thus have reduced the American general to the necessity of liberating General Burgoyne, who did not surrender till the 16th, and of retreating into New

What were Sir Henry Clinton's movements?
How did Gen. Vaughan distinguish himself?
What was excited by this outrage?
What effect had his delay on the royal cause?
At what time did Burgoyne surrender?

Why so?

England. Upon such narrow turns of contingencies does the issue of the combinations of warfare frequently depend?

SECTION XXIV.

CONVENTION OF SARATOGA, 13TH OF OCTOBER, 1777.

In the mean time, the difficulties in which Burgoyne was involved were hourly accumulating. With a view of cutting off his retreat, Gates posted 1400 men opposite the fords of Saratoga, and 2000 more on the road from that place to Fort Edward. On receiving intelligence of this, Burgoyne retreated to Saratoga, leaving his sick and wounded to the humanity of the enemy. Finding it impossible to force his way over the fords of Saratoga, he attempted to open to his army a passage to Lake George; but the artificers, whom he sent under a strong escort to repair the bridges on the road thither, were driven away by the American forces. The road to Fort Edward, also, was found by the scouts who had been sent to reconnoiter in that direction, to be strongly guarded. When the 13th day of October arrived, Burgoyne had received no satisfactory tidings from Clinton's army. He saw himself in a manner surrounded by the enemy, whose cannon-shot flew in every direction through his camp. Though he had for some time past put his troops on short allowance, he found on inspection that he had only three days' rations left in his stores. In these trying circumstances, with heavy heart he summoned a council of war, which came to a

Why did Burgoyne retreat to Saratoga?
Describe his situation?

unanimous resolution, that in their present position they would be justified in accepting a capitulation on honorable terms. A negotiation was according opened. The first proposal of Gates, namely, that the royal forces should ground their arms in their lines, and surrender prisoners at discretion, was indignantly rejected. After further discussion, a convention was at length agreed upon, the principal conditions of which were, “that the British troops were to march out of their camp with the honors of war and the artillery of the entrenchments to the verge of the river, where the arms and the artillery were to be left; the arms to be piled by word of command from their own officers; and that a free passage was to be granted to the army to Great Britain, upon condition of not serving again in North America during the present contest.' Though the first proposals of General Gates were harsh, his subsequent conduct was marked with the characteristics of conciliation and delicacy. When the convention was signed, he withdrew his troops into their lines, to spare the British the pain of piling their arms in the presence of a triumphant enemy. He received the vanquished general with the respect due to his valor and to his military skill; and in an entertainment which he gave at his quarters to the principal British officers, his urbanity and kindness soothed the mortification which could not but embitter their spirits.

By the convention of Saratoga, 5790 men surrendered as prisoners; and besides the muskets piled by these cap

What did his counsel resolve?

What was the first proposal of Gates?
How was it received?
What was the second proposal?
How did Gates receive the vanquished?
What was the number of prisoners that surrendered?

tives, thirty-five brass field-pieces, and a variety of stores were given up to the victors.*

SECTION XXV.

TREATY WITH FRANCE, 6TH OF FEBRUARY, 1778.

Immediately after the surrender of Burgoyne, Gates moved down the Hudson to put a stop to the devastation of the country by Clinton's army, which, on his approach, retired to New York. He then sent forward a considerable reinforcement to General Washington, who, soon after

* " The whole number, which surrendered, was 5752 British troops,

2442 Brunswick and other German troops,

2198 Canadians, Volunteers, fc.

1100 Staff,

12

-5752 Sick and wounded left in the British camp when Burgoyne began his retreat,

528 Besides the above, there were killed, wounded, taken, and deserted, between 6th July and 16th October,

2933

Total, 9213" Remembrancer for 1777, p. 477.

“The whole army of Gen. Gates consisted of 9093 continental troops. The number of the militia fluctuated; but, when the convention was signed, it amounted to 4129. The sick exceeded 2500. At the same time there were 39 brass cannon complete, royals and mortars included; 5000 stand of arms; 400 sets of harness, a number of ammunition wagons, fc. The troops under Gen. Burgoyne were to march out of their camp with the honors of war; and a free passage was to be granted them to Great Britain, on condition of not serving again in North America during the present contest.”

For what

What the number of brass field pieces taken?
Where did Gates move to after the surrender of Burgoyne?

object? What did he send forward to Gen. Washington?
Where did Clinton retire to?

its arrival, advanced to White Marsh, within fourteen miles of Philadelphia, where he encamped in a strong position. When General Howe received intelligence of this movement, he marched out of his quarters on the night of the 4th of December; but after various maneuvers, finding that he could gain no advantage over his vigilant adversary, he returned to Philadelphia. Washington then took up his winter quarters about sixteen miles from the city, at a place called Valley Forge, where his men, ill-supplied as they were with clothing, blankets, and other comforts, cheerfully constructed huts to shelter themselves from the inclemency of the season. By taking up this position he protected the province of Pennsylvania from the incursions of the enemy, and reduced the fruits of Howe's various successes to the occupation of a single additional city—an advantage by no means calculated to console the British for the loss of an able general, and a gallant army.

General Burgoyne had drunk deep of the bitter cup of affliction at Saratoga; but he was doomed to suffer still farther mortification. As the British regarded the Americans as rebels, they did not always in the course of hostilities observe towards them those rules which guide the conduct of nations engaged in war against a foreign enemy. The truth of history, indeed, cannot suppress the melancholy fact, that at the beginning of the contest, and, occasionally, during its progress, the treatment of the American prisoners, on the part of the British authorities, was extremely harsh and severe; and that capitulations made with such portions of the patriotic army, as had by the fortune of war been reduced to a surrender, had not always been observed

What movements were made by Washington and Howe?
Where were their winter quarters?
Describe Gen. Washington's army.
What cannot be suppressed?

« ZurückWeiter »