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CHAPTER XX.

DUBIOUS POSITION OF BURGOYNE-COLLECTS HIS FORCES-LADIES OF DISTINC

TION IN HIS CAMP-LADY HARRIET ACKLAND-THE BARONESS DE EIEDESEL -AMERICAN ARMY REINFORCED-SILENT MOVEMENTS OF BURGOYNE WATCHED FROM THE SUMMIT OF THE HILLS-HIS MARCH ALONG THE HUDSON-POSITION OF THE TWO CAMPS-BATTLE OF THE 19TH SEPT.-BUR. GOYNE ENCAMPS NEARER-FORTIFIES HIS CAMP-PROMISED CO-OPERATION BY SIR HENRY CLINTON-DETERMINES TO AWAIT IT-QUARREL BETWEEN GATES AND ARNOLD-ARNOLD DEPRIVED OF COMMAND-BURGOYNE WAITS FOR CO-OPERATION.

THE checks which Burgoyne had received on right and left, and, in a great measure, through the spontaneous rising of the country, had opened his eyes to the difficulties of his situation, and the errors as to public feeling into which he had been led by his tory counsellors. "The great bulk of the country is undoubtedly with the Congress in principle and zeal," writes he, "and their measures are executed with a secrecy and despatch that are not to be equalled. Wherever the king's forces point, militia, to the amount of three or four thousand, assemble in twenty-four hours: they bring with them their subsistence, &c., and, the alarm over, they return to their farms. The Hampshire Grants, in particular, a country unpeopled and almost unknown last war, now abounds in the most active and most rebellious race of the con tinent, and hangs like a gathering storm upon my left." What a

picture this gives of a patriotic and warlike yeomanry. He complains, too, that no operation had yet been undertaken in his favor; the Highlands of the Hudson had not even been threatcned; the consequence was that two brigades had been detached from them to strengthen the army of Gates, strongly posted near the mouth of the Mohawk River, with a superior force of Continental troops, and as many militia as he pleased.

Burgoyne declared, that had he any latitude in his orders, he would remain where he was, or perhaps fall back to Fort Edward, where his communication with Lake George would be secure, and wait for some event that might assist his movement forward; his orders, however, were positive to force a junction with Sir William Howe. He did not feel at liberty, therefore, to remain inactive longer than would be necessary to receive the reinforcements of the additional companies, the German drafts and recruits actually on Lake Champlain, and to collect provisions enough for twentyfive days. These reinforcements were indispensable, because, from the hour he should pass the Hudson River and proceed towards Albany, all safety of communication would cease.

"I yet do not despair," adds he, manfully. "Should I succeed in forcing my way to Albany, and find that country in a state to subsist my army, I shall think no more of a retreat, but, at the worst, fortify there, and await Sir William's operations."

""*

A feature of peculiar interest is given to this wild and rugged expedition, by the presence of two ladies of rank and refinement, involved in its perils and hardships. One was Lady Harriet Ackland, daughter of the Earl of Ilchester, and wife of Major Ackland of the grenadiers; the other was the Baroness De

* Letter to Lord George Germain.

LADIES OF RANK WITH THE ENEMY. 207

1777.]

Riedesel, wife of the Hessian major-general. Both of these ladies had been left behind in Canada. Lady Harriet, however, on hearing that her husband was wounded in the affair at Hubbardton, instantly set out to rejoin him, regardless of danger, and of her being in a condition before long to become a mother.

Crossing the whole length of Lake Champlain, she found him in a sick bed at Skenesborough. After his recovery, she refused to leave him, but had continued with the army ever since. Her example had been imitated by the Baroness De Riedesel, who had joined the army at Fort Edward, bringing with her her three small children. The friendship and sympathy of these two ladies in all scenes of trial and suffering, and their devoted attachment to their husbands, afford touching episodes in the story of the campaign. When the army was on the march, they followed a little distance in the rear, Lady Harriet in a two-wheeled tumbril, the Baroness in a calash, capable of holding herself, her children, and two servants. The latter has left a journal of her campaigning, which we may occasionally cite. "They moved," she says, "in the midst of soldiery, who were full of animation, singing camp songs, and panting for action. They had to travel through almost impassable woods; in a picturesque and beautiful region; but which was almost abandoned by its inhabitants, who had hastened to join the American army." "They added much to its strength," observes she, " as they were all good marksmen, and the love of their country inspired them with more than ordinary courage.'

The American army had received various reinforcements: the most efficient was Morgan's corps of riflemen, sent by Washing

*Riedesel's Memoirs.

ton. He had also furnished it with artillery. It was now about ten thousand strong. Schuyler, finding himself and his proffered services slighted by Gates, had returned to Albany. His patriotism was superior to personal resentments. He still continued to promote the success of the campaign, exerting his influence over the Indian tribes, to win them from the enemy. At Albany, he held talks and war feasts with deputations of Oneida, Tuscarora, and Onondaga warriors; and procured scouting parties of them, which he sent to the camp, and which proved of great service. His former aide-de-camp, Colonel Brockholst Livingston, and his secretary, Colonel Varick, remained in camp, and kept him informed by letter of passing occurrences. They were much about the person of General Arnold, who, since his return from relieving Fort Stanwix, commanded the left wing of the army. Livingston, in fact, was with him as aide-de-camp. The jealousy of Gates was awakened by these circumstances. He knew their attachment to Schuyler, and suspected they were prejudicing the mind of Arnold against him; and this suspicion may have been the origin of a coolness and neglect which he soon evinced toward Arnold himself. These young officers, however, though devotedly attached to Schuyler from a knowledge of his generous character, were above any camp intrigue. Livingston was again looking forward with youthful ardor to a brush with the enemy; but regretted that his former chief would not be there to lead it. Burgoyne," writes he to Schuyler exultingly, "is in such a situation, that he can neither advance nor retire without fighting. A capital battle must soon be fought. I am chagrined to the soul when I think that another the fruits of your will person reap labors."*

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*MS. Letter to Schuyler.

1777.]

SILENT PREPARATIONS OF BURGOYNE.

209

Colonel Varick, equally eager, was afraid Burgoyne might be decamping. "His evening guns," writes he, " are seldom heard, and when heard, are very low in sound." *

The dense forests, in fact, which covered the country between the hostile armies, concealed their movements, and as Gates threw out no harassing parties, his information concerning the enemy was vague. Burgoyne, however, was diligently collecting all his forces from Skenesborough, Fort Anne and Fort George, and collecting provisions; he had completed a bridge by which he intended to pass the Hudson, and force his way to Albany, where he expected co-operation from below. Every thing was conducted with as much silence and caution as possible. His troops paraded without beat of drum, and evening guns were discontinued. So stood matters on the 11th of September, when a report was circulated in the American camp, that Burgoyne was in motion, and that he had made a speech to his soldiers, telling them that the fleet had returned to Canada, and their only safety was to fight their way to New York.

As General Gates was to receive an attack, it was thought he ought to choose the ground where to receive it; Arnold, therefore, in company with Kosciuszko, the Polish engineer, reconnoitred the neighborhood in quest of a good camping-ground, and at length fixed upon a ridge of hills called Bemis's Heights, which Kosciuszko proceeded to fortify.

In the mean time, Colonel Colburn was sent off with a small party to ascend the high hills on the east side of the Hudson, and watch the movements of the enemy with glasses from their summits, or from the tops of the trees. For three days he kept thus

*MS. Letter to Schuyler.

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