« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
venty killed; among the last, were general Agnew, aad colonel Bird, with some other excellent oficers.
There still remained two strong forts to be reduced on the Delaware. These were Mud Island, and Red Bank. The various obstructions which the Americans had thrown in the way, rendered it necessary to bring up the Augusta, a ship of the line, and the Merlin frigate, to the attack of Miud Island ; but curing the heat of the action, both were grounded. The Americans observing this, sent down four fire ships, and directed the whole fire from their galley's against them; but the courage and skill of the British seamen, prevented the former from taking effect. But during the engagement both tlie Augusta and Merlin took fire, and were burnt; and the other ships were obliged to withdraw.
The Americans, encouraged by this, proceeded to throw new obstructions in the way ; but the British general having found means to convey a number of canron, and to erect battei ies within gunshot of the fort by land, and having brought up three ships of the line, mounted with heavy cannon, and the Vigilant, a large ship cut down so as to draw but little water, mounteel with 24 pounders, made her way to a position from which she miglit enfilade the works on Mud Island. This gave the British such an arlvantage, that the post was no longer tenable:
Colonel Smith, who had with great gallantry defended the fort from the latter end of September, to the 11th of Noreinber, being wounded, was removed to the main ; within five days after his removal, major Thayer, nobly offered to take charge of this dangerous post ; but was obliged to evacuate it within twenty-five days. But this event did not take place until the works were entirely beat down, every piece of cannon dismounted, and one of the British ships so near, that she threw hand-grenadoes into the fort, and killed the men who were uncovered on the platform. The troops who had so bravely defended fort Milfin, (which was the name given to it) made a safe retreat to Red Bank. Within three days after Mud Island was evacuated, the garrison was also withdrawn from Red Bank on the approach of lor:l Cornwallis. A great bulmber of the American shipping, now entirely without proteg. tion, sailed up the river in the night time. Seventeen, however, remained, whose retreat was intercepted, by a frigate and some armed vessels ; on wnich the Americans ran them on store and burnt them.
Thus the campaign of 1777, in Pennsylvania, concluded successfully on the part of the British. In the North, however, matters wore a different aspect. The expedition in that quarter, had been projected by the British nitistry, as the most effectual method that could be taken to subjugate the colonies at once. The New England provinces were still considered by the British, as the most active in the continuation of the war; and it was thought, that any impression made upon them, would contribute in an effectual manner, to the reduction of the rest.
To carry this into execution, an army of four thousand closen British troops, and three thousand Germans, were put under the command of general Burgoyne; and general Carleton, was directed to use his interest with the Indians, to persuade them to join in this expedition ; and the province of Quebec was to furnish large partie to join in the
The officers who commanded under general Bure goyne, were general Phillips of the artillery, generals Fraser, Powel and Hamilton, with the German officers, generals Reidesel and Speecht.
These soldiers were under excellent discipline, and had been kept in their winter quarters with great care, that they might be prepared for the expedition, on which they were going. To ensure the success of the main expedition, another was formed on 'the Mohawk River, under Colonel St. Leger, wlio was to be assisted by Sir William Johnson, who had so greatly signalized himself, in the war of 1755. On the 21st of June, 1777, the British army encamped on the western side of Lake Champlain ; where being joined by a considerable body of Indiuns, gencrai Burgoyne made a speech, in which he exhorted these new allies, to lay aside their ferocious and barbarous manner of making war; to kill only such as opposed themi in arms; and to spare prisoners, and such women and children, as should fall into their hands. He afterWirds issued a proclamation, in wiiich the force of Printing and that which he commanded, was displayed in strong and
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 expediuous were the British troops, that on the 5th of July, every post was secured, which was judged necessary for invest. ing 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 ats, 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 fled 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
orward to fort Ann, the next place of strength, he 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 exceed 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 employed 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 undergone the greatest difficultics, 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 preparech in the best manner they could to make the most effectuel 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 scon. began to recover from the alarm into which their late losses had thrown them.
The forces now collected were put under the commar! 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 fort, he cispatched Sir John Johnson with a strong detachment, to intercept it. This he performed so effectually, that four hundred of the escort were slain, and two hundred 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 cominand; who, with another gentleman, ventured out of the fort, and cluding the vigilance of the enemy, passed through them, in order to hasten the march of general Arnold to their relicf.
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 encourage them, another report was spread that general Burgoyne had been defeated with great slaughter, and was flying 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 tcuts, some artillery, and military storcs.
Dificulties and disappointments süll continued to press upon general Burgoyne : the roads he had made with so much labour and pains, were destroyed by the enemy, and wetress of the season; so that provisions from fort Georg: coull not be brought to his camp, without prodigious toi! 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 liis own army and tha: of S: Leger ; and in hopes of securing the commando: