Slike strani

ET. 45.]



clusion; nevertheless, he had little doubt the of the general, who, though unquestionably as object of Howe was Philadelphia. brave a man as any in the army, was nevertheless somewhat addicted to the vaunting style of Marshal Villars, a man who, like himself, could fight as well as brag."

Graydon and his companions dined the next day at head-quarters; there was a large party, in which were several ladies. Colonel Alexander Hamilton, who, in the preceding month of April, had been received into Washington's family as aide-de-camp, presided at the head of the table, and "acquitted himself," writes Graydon, "with an ease, propriety, and vivacity which gave me the most favorable impression of his talents and accomplishments."

We may here observe that the energy, skill, and intelligence displayed by Hamilton throughout the last year's campaign, whenever his limited command gave him opportunity of evincing them, had won his entrance to headquarters; where his quick discernment and precocious judgment were soon fully appreciated. Strangers were surprised to see a youth, scarce twenty years of age, received into the implicit confidence, and admitted into the gravest counsels of a man like Washington. While his uncommon talents thus commanded respect, rarely inspired by one of his years, his juvenile appearance and buoyant spirit made him a universal favorite. Harrison, the "old secretary," much his senior, looked upon him with an almost paternal eye, and regarding his diminutive size and towering spirit, used to call him "the little lion; " while Washington would now, and then speak of him by the cherishing appellation of "my boy."*

The following is Graydon's amusing account of Wayne, whom he visited at his quarters. "He entertained the most sovereign contempt for the enemy. In his confident way, he affirmed that the two armies had interchanged their original modes of warfare. That for our parts, we had thrown away the shovel, and the British had taken it up, as they dared not face us without the cover of an intrenchment. I made some allowance for the fervid manner

*Communicated to the author by the late Mrs. Ham




A veteran officer of the Revolution used to speak in his old days of the occasion on which he first saw It was during the memorable retreat through the Jerseys. "I noticed," said he, "a youth, & mere stripling, small, slender, almost delicate in frame, marching beside a piece of artillery, with a cocked hat pulled down over his eyes, apparently lost in thought, with his hand resting on the cannon, and every now and then patting it as he mused, as if it were a favorite horse, or a pet plaything."

Graydon speaks of the motly, shabby clothing of the troops. "Even in General Wayne himself, there was in this particular a considerable falling off. His quondam regimentals as colonel of the 4th battalion were, I think, blue and white, in which he had been accustomed to appear with exemplary neatness; whereas he was now dressed in character for Macheath or Captain Gibbet, in a dingy red coat, with a black rusty cravat and tarnished hat." Wayne was doubtless still rusty from his campaigning in the north.

Graydon, during his recent captivity, had been accustomed to the sight of British troops in the completeness of martial array, and looked with a rueful eye on patriotism in rags. From all that he saw at the camp, he suspected affairs were not in a prosperous train, notwithstanding the cheerful countenances at headquarters. There appeared to be a want of animated co-operation both on the part of the government and the people "General Washington, with the little remnant of his army at Morristown, seemed left to scuffle for liberty, like another Cato at Utica."*

We will now turn to the North, and lift the curtain for a moment, to give the reader a glance at affairs in that quarter about which there were such dubious rumors.


THE armament advancing against Ticonderoga, of which General St. Clair had given intelligence, was not a mere diversion, but a regular invasion; the plan of which had been devised by the king, Lord George Germain, and General Burgoyne, the latter having returned to England from Canada in the preceding year. The junction of the two armies,that in Canada and that under General Howe in New York,-was considered the speediest mode of quelling the rebellion; and as the security and good government of Canada required the presence of Governor Sir Guy Carleton, three thousand men were to remain there

* Graydon's Memoirs, p. 282.



with him; the residue of the army was to be employed upon two expeditions; the one under General Burgoyne, who was to force his way to Albany, the other under Lieutenant-Colonel St. Leger, who was to make a diversion on the Mohawk River.


the very day that Burgoyne embarked at St. Johns.

On the following day Schuyler was at Ticonderoga. The works were not in such a state of forwardness as he had anticipated, owing to the tardy arrival of troops, and the want of a The invading army was composed of three sufficient number of artificers. The works in thousand seven hundred and twenty-four Brit- question related chiefly to Mount Independence, ish rank and file, three thousand sixteen Ger- a high circular hill on the east side of the lake, mans, mostly Brunswickers, two hundred and immediately opposite to the old fort, and confifty Canadians, and four hundred Indians; be- sidered the most defensible. A star fort with side these there were four hundred and seventy-pickets crowned the summit of the hill, which three artillery men, in all nearly eight thousand was table land; half way down the side of a men. The army was admirably appointed. hill was a battery, and at its foot were strongly Its brass train of artillery was extolled as per- intrenched works well mounted with cannon. haps the finest ever allotted to an army of the Here the French General de Fermois, who had size. General Phillips, who commanded the charge of this fort, was posted. artillery, had gained great reputation in the wars in Germany. Brigadiers-General Fraser, Powel, and Hamilton, were also officers of distinguished merit. So was Major-General the Baron Riedesel, a Brunswicker, who commanded the German troops.


While Burgoyne with the main force proceeded from St. Johns, Colonel St. Leger, with a detachment of regulars and Canadians, about seven hundred strong, was to land at Oswego, and, guided by Sir John Johnson at the head of his loyalist volunteers, tory refugees from his former neighborhood, and a body of Indians, was to enter the Mohawk country, draw the attention of General Schuyler in that direction, attack Fort Stanwix, and having ravaged the valley of the Mohawk, rejoin Burgoyne at Albany; where it was expected they would make a triumphant junction with the army of Sir William Howe.

General Burgoyne left St. Johns on the 16th of June. Some idea may be formed of his buoyant anticipation of a triumphant progress through the country, by the manifold and lumbering appurtenances of a European camp with which his army was encumbered. In this respect he had committed the same error in his campaign through a wilderness of lakes and forests, that had once embarrassed the unfortunate Braddock in his march across the mountains of Virginia.

Schuyler was uncertain as to the plans and force of the enemy. If information gathered from scouts and a captured spy might be relied on, Ticonderoga would soon be attacked; but he trusted the garrison was sufficient to maintain it. This information he transmitted to Washington from Fort Edward on the 16th,

As this part of Lake Champlain is narrow, a connection was kept up between the two forts by a floating bridge, supported on twenty-two sunken piers in caissons, formed of very strong timber. Between the piers were separate floats, fifty feet long and twelve feet wide, strongly connected by iron chains and rivets. On the north side of the bridge was a boom, composed of large pieces of timber, secured by riveted bolts, and beside this was a double iron chain with links an inch and a half square. The bridge, boom, and chain were four hundred yards in length. This immense work, the labor of months, on which no expense had been spared, was intended, while it afforded a communication between the two forts, to protect the upper part of the lake, presenting, under cover of their guns, a barrier, which it was presumed no hostile ship would be able to break through.

Having noted the state of affairs and the wants of the garrison, Schuyler hastened to Fort George, whence he sent on provisions for upwards of sixty days; and from the banks of the Hudson additional carpenters and working cattle. "Business will now go on in better train, and I hope with much more spirit," writes he to Congress; "and I trust we shall still be able to put every thing in such order as to give the enemy a good reception, and, I hope a repulse, should they attempt a real attack, which I conjecture will not be soon, if at all; although I expect they will approach with their fleet to keep us in alarm, and to draw our attention from other quarters where they may mean a real attack."

His idea was that, while their fleet and a small body of troops might appear before Ti



conderoga, and keep up continual alarms, the main army might march from St. Francois or St. Johns towards the Connecticut River, and make an attempt on the Eastern States. "A manœuvre of this kind," observes he, "would be in General Burgoyne's way, and, if successful, would be attended with much honor to him. * * * * I am the more confirmed in this conjecture, as the enemy cannot be ignorant how very difficult, if not impossible, it will be for them to penetrate to Albany, unless in losing Ticonderoga we should lose not only all our cannon, but most of the army designed for this department."

In the mean time, Burgoyne, with his amphibious and semi-barbarous armament, was advancing up the lake. On the 21st of June he encamped at the river Boquet, several miles north of Crown Point; here he gave a war feast to his savage allies, and made them a speech in that pompous and half poetical vein in which it is the absurd practice to address our savages, and which is commonly reduced to flat prose by their interpreters. At the same time he was strenuous in enjoining humanity toward prisoners, dwelling on the difference between ordinary wars carried on against a common enemy, and this against a country in rebellion, where the hostile parties were of the same blood, and loyal subjects of the crown might be confounded with the rebellious. It was a speech intended to excite their ardor, but restrain their cruelty; a difficult medium to attain with Indian warriors.

The garrison at Ticonderoga, meanwhile, were anxiously on the look-out. Their fortress, built on a hill, commanded an extensive prospect over the bright and beautiful lake and its surrounding forests, but there were long points and promontories at a distance to intercept the view.

By the 24th, scouts began to bring in word of the approaching foe. Bark canoes had been seen filled with white men and savages. Then three vessels under sail, and one at anchor, above Split Rock, and behind it the radeau Thunderer, noted in the last year's naval fight. Anon came word of encampments sufficient for a large body of troops, on both sides of Gilliland's Creek, with bateaux plying about its waters, and painted warriors gliding about in canoes; while a number of smokes rising out of the forest at a distance beyond, gave signs of an Indian camp.

St. Clair wrote word of all this to Schuyler,

and that it was supposed the enemy were waiting the arrival of more force; he did not, however, think they intended to attack, but to harass, for the purpose of giving confidence to the Indians.

Schuyler transmitted a copy of St. Clair's letter to Washington. "If the enemy's object is not to attack Ticonderoga," writes he, "I suspect their movement is intended to cover an attempt on New Hampshire, or the Mohawk River, or to cut off the communication between Fort Edward and Fort George, or perhaps all three, the more to distract us and divide our force." He urged Washington for reinforcements as soon as possible. At the same time he wrote to St. Clair, to keep scouts on the east side of the lake near the road leading from St. Johns to New Hampshire, and on the west, on the road leading to the north branch of the Hudson. This done, he hastened to Albany to forward reinforcements and bring up the militia.

While there, he received word from St. Clair, that the enemy's fleet and army were arrived at Crown Point, and had sent off detachments, one up Otter Creek to cut off the communication by Skenesborough; and another on the west side of the lake to cut off Fort George. It was evident a real attack on Ticonderoga was intended. Claims for assistance came hurrying on from other quarters. A large force (St. Leger's) was said to be arrived at Oswego, and Sir John Johnson with his myrmidons on his way to attack Fort Schuyler, the garrison of which was weak and poorly supplied with cannon.

Schuyler bestirs himself with his usual zeal amid the thickening alarms. He writes urgent letters to the committee of safety of New York, to General Putnam at Peekskill, to the Governor of Connecticut, to the President of Massachusetts, to the committee of Berkshire, and lastly to Washington, stating the impending dangers and imploring reinforcements. He exhorts General Herkimer to keep the militia of Tryon County in readiness to protect the western frontier and to check the inroad of Sir John Johnson, and he assures St. Clair that he will move to his aid with the militia of New York, as soon as he can collect them.

Dangers accumulate at Ticonderoga according to advices from St. Clair (28th). Seven of the enemy's vessels are lying at Crown Point; the rest of their fleet is probably but a little lower down. Morning guns are heard distinct


"I cannot but esteem myself fortunate that indisposition prevented my returning with you, as it has given me an opportunity of being present at a battle, in which I promise myself the pleasure of seeing our army flushed with victory."*

ly at various places. Some troops have de- | in sight. The spirits of the men seem to inbarked and encamped at Chimney Point. crease in proportion to the number of the enemy. There is no prospect, he says, of being able to defend Ticonderoga unless militia come in, and he has thought of calling in those from Berkshire. "Should the enemy invest and blockade us," writes he, แ we are infallibly ruined; we shall be obliged to abandon this side (of the lake), and then they will soon force the other from us, nor do I see that a retreat will in any shape be practicable. Every thing, however, shall be done that is practicable to frustrate the enemy's designs; but what can be expected from troops ill armed, naked, and unaccoutred?"

Schuyler's aide-de-camp, Major Livingston,* who had been detained at Ticonderoga by indisposition, writes to him (June 30) in a different vein, and presents a young man's view of affairs.

"The enemy, after giving us several alarms, made their appearance early this morning off Three Mile Point, in eighteen gunboats, and about nine landed a party of two or three hundred Indians and Canadians. These soon fell in with a scout from us, but being superior in number, obliged them to retreat, though without any loss on our side. The Indians then marched to the front of the French lines, drove in a picket guard, and came so near as to wound two men who were standing behind the works. They have stopped the communication between this and Lake George.

"We have a fair view of their boats, but cannot see that they have brought many regulars with them. At least the number of redcoats in them is very small. The wind having been contrary for several days, has prevented their fleet from coming up. The first fair breeze I shall expect to see them. Many bets are depending that we shall be attacked in the course of this week. Our troops are determined, and in great spirits. They wish to be permitted to drive the savages from Three Mile Point, but General St. Clair chooses to act on the sure side, and risk nothing. The few alarms we have had have been of great service in making the men alert and vigilant; but I am afraid the enemy will repeat them so fre. quently as to throw them into their former indolence and inattention. General St. Clair has taken the precaution to move most of the stores to the mount [Independence]. This moment two ships and as many sloops have hove *Henry Brockholst Livingston: in after years Judgo of the Supreme Court of the United States.

The enemy came advancing up the lake on the 30th, their main body under Burgoyne on the west side, the German reserve under Baron Riedesel on the east; communication being maintained by frigates and gunboats, which, in a manner, kept pace between them. It was a magnificent array of warlike means, and the sound of drum and trumpet along the shores, and now and then the thundering of a cannon from the ships, were singularly in contrast with the usual silence of a region little better than a wilderness.

On the 1st of July, Burgoyne encamped four miles north of Ticonderoga, and began to intrench, and to throw a boom across the lake. His advanced guard, under General Fraser, took post at Three Mile Point, and the ships anchored just out of gunshot of the fort.

Here he issued a proclamation still more magniloquent than his speech to the Indians, denouncing woe to all who should persist in rebellion, and laying particular stress upon his means, with the aid of the Indians, to overtake the hardiest enemies of Great Britain and America wherever they might lurk.

General St. Clair was a gallant Scotchman, who had seen service in the old French war as well as in this, and beheld the force arrayed against him without dismay. It is true his garrison was not so numerous as it had been represented to Washington, not exceeding three thousand five hundred men, of whom nine hundred were militia. They were badly equipped also, and few had bayonets; yet, as Major Livingston reported, they were in good heart. St. Clair confided, however, in the strength of his position and the works which had been constructed in connection with it, and trusted he should be able to resist any attempt to take it by storm.

Schuyler at this time was at Albany, sending up reinforcements of Continental troops and militia, and awaiting the arrival of further reinforcements, for which sloops had been sent down to Peekskill.


Letter of Major Livingston to General Schuyler, MS.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »