« PrejšnjaNaprej »
many of the enemy who had fled. Attempts were made to rally the militia; but they were in complete confusion. Nothing would have saved them from defeat, had not Colonel Seth Warner's corps fortunately arrived from Bennington, fresh from repose, and advanced to meet the enemy, while the others regained their ranks. It was four o'clock in the afternoon when this second action commenced. It was fought from wood to wood and hill to hill, for several miles, until sunset. The last stand of the enemy was at Van Schaick's mill, where, having expended all their ammunition, of which each man had forty rounds, they gave way, and retreated, under favor of the night, leaving two field-pieces and all their baggage in the hands of the Americans. Stark ceased to pursue them, lest in the darkness his men should fire upon each other. "Another hour of daylight," said he in his report, "and I should have captured the whole body." The veteran had had a horse shot under him, but escaped without wound or bruise.
Four brass field-pieces, nine hundred dragoon swords, a thousand stand of arms, and four ammunition waggons were the spoils of this victory. Thirty-two officers, five hundred and sixtyfour privates, including Canadians and loyalists, were taken prisoners. The number of slain was very considerable, but could not be ascertained; many having fallen in the woods. The brave but unfortunate Baum did not long survive. The Americans had one hundred killed and wounded.
Burgoyne was awakened in his camp towards daylight of the 17th, by tidings that Colonel Baum had surrendered. Next came word that Colonel Breyman was engaged in severe and doubtful conflict The whole army was roused, and were prepar ing to hasten to his assistance, when one report after another
RECEIPT OF THE NEWS.
gave assurance that he was on his way back in safety. The main body, therefore, remained in camp at the Batten kiln; but Burgoyne forded that stream with the 47th regiment and pushed forward until 4 o'clock, when he met Breyman and his troops, weary and haggard with hard fighting and hard marching, in hot weather. In the evening all returned to their old encamp
General Schuyler was encamped on Van Schaick's Island at the mouth of the Mohawk River, when a letter from General Lincoln, dated Bennington, Aug. 18th, informed him of "the capital blow given the enemy by General Stark." "I trust," replies he, Aug. 19th, "that the severity with which they have been handled will retard General Burgoyne's progress. Part of his force was yesterday afternoon about three miles and a half above Stillwater. If the enemy have entirely left that part of the country you are in, I think it would be advisable for you to move towards Hudson River tending towards Stillwater."
“Governor Clinton," writes he to Stark on the same day, "is coming up with a body of militia, and I trust that after what the enemy have experienced from you, their progress will be retarded, and that we shall see them driven out of this part of the country."
He now hoped to hear that Arnold had raised the siege of Fort Stanwix. "If that take place," said he, "it will be possible to engage two or three hundred Indians to join this army, and Congress may rest assured that my best endeavors shall not be wanting to accomplish it."
Tidings of the affair of Bennington reached Washington, just
* Schlözer's Briefwechsel, Th. iii. Heft xiii.
before he moved his camp from the neighborhood of Philadelphia to Wilmington, and it relieved his mind from a world of anxious perplexity. In a letter to Putnam he writes, "As there is not now the least danger of General Howe's going to New England, I hope the whole force of that country will turn out, and, by following the great stroke struck by General Stark near Bennington, entirely crush General Burgoyne, who, by his letter to Colonel Baum, seems to be in want of almost every thing."
We will now give the fate of Burgoyne's detachment, under St. Leger, sent to capture Fort Stanwix, and ravage the valley of the Mohawk,
STRATAGEM OF ARNOLD TO RELIEVE FORT STANWIX-YAN YOST CUYLERTHE SIEGE PRESSED-INDIANS INTRACTABLE-SUCCESS OF ARNOLD'S STRATAGEM-HARASSED RETREAT OF ST. LEGER-MORAL EFFECT OF THE TWO BLOWS GIVEN TO THE ENEMY-BRIGHTENING PROSPECTS IN THE AMERICAN CAMP-ARRIVAL OF GATES-MAGNANIMOUS CONDUCT OF SCHUYLER-POORLY REQUITED BY GATES-CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN GATES AND BURGOYNE CONCERNING THE MURDER OF MISS MC CREA.
ARNOLD'S march to the relief of Fort Stanwix, was slower than suited his ardent and impatient spirit. He was detained in the valley of the Mohawk by bad roads, by the necessity of waiting for baggage and ammunition waggons, and for militia recruits who turned out reluctantly. He sent missives to Colonel Gansevoort assuring him that he would relieve him in the course of a few days. "Be under no kind of apprehension," writes he. "I know the strength of the enemy, and how to deal with them."
In fact, conscious of the smallness of his force, he had resorted to stratagem, sending emissaries ahead to spread exagge rated reports of the number of his troops, so as to work on the fears of the enemy's Indian allies and induce them to desert. The most important of these emissaries was one Yan Yost Cuyler, an eccentric half-witted fellow, known throughout the country as a rank tory. He had been convicted as a spy, and only
spared from the halter on the condition that he would go into St. Leger's camp, and spread alarming reports among the Indians, by whom he was well known. To insure a faithful discharge of his mission, Arnold detained his brother as a hostage.
On his way up the Mohawk Valley, Arnold was joined by a New York regiment, under Colonel James Livingston, sent by Gates to reinforce him. On arriving at the German Flats he received an express from Colonel Gansevoort, informing him that he was still besieged, but in high spirits and under no apprehensions. In a letter to Gates, written from the German Flats (August 21st), Arnold says, "I leave this place this morning with twelve hundred Continental troops and a handful of militia for Fort Schuyler, still besieged by a number equal to ours. You will hear of my being victorious—or no more. As soon as the safety of this part of the country will permit, I will fly to your assist
All this while St. Leger was advancing his parallels and pressing the siege; while provisions and ammunition were rapidly decreasing within the fort. St Leger's Indian allies, however, were growing sullen and intractaple. This slow kind of warfare, this war with the spade, they were unaccustomed to, and they by no means relished it. Beside, they had been led to expect easy times, little fighting, many scalps, and much plunder; whereas they had fought hard, lost many of their best chiefs, been checked in their cruelty, and gained no booty.
At this juncture, scouts brought word that a force one thousand strong was marching to the relief of the fort. Eager to put his savages in action, St. Leger in a council of war offered to