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“ and devastation, famine, and every concomi
tant horror that a reluctant, but indispensable “prosecution of military duty must occasion, “ will bar the way to their return."*
After these preliminary steps, general Burgoyne pushed forward with his whole force, and possessed himself of Ticonderoga without the smallest opposition. This was a strong post commanded by general St. Clair, an officer always unfortunate, and in no instance ever diftinguished for bravery or judgment. Though the Americans here were inferior in numbers to the British, they were not so deficient in men as in arms, more particularly musquetry and bayonets : but their works were strong, the troops healthy, and they had just received a reinforcement of men, and a fresh supply of every thing else necessary for defence. In these circumstances, there could scarcely be found a sufficient excuse for calling a hasty council of war, and drawing off by night five or fix thousand men, on the first approach of the enemy. The want of small-arms was the only plausible pretence offered by the commander to justify his conduct. This deficiency St. Clair must have known before the fifth of
* See Burgoyne's speech to the Indians, and his fingular proclamation at large, in the British Remembrancer, the Annual Register, and in many other authentic records.
July, when he in a fright fled with his whole chap: IL army, and left every thing standing in the gar.
It is not probable the Americans could have long kept their ground against the superiority of the British officers, and the number and difcipline of their troops ; yet undoubtedly measures might have been early taken by a judicious commander, to have retreated if neceffary, without so much disgrace, and the total loss of their artillery, stores, provisions, their shipping on the lake, and many valuable lives. The order for retreat was unexpected to the army : they had scarce time to secure a part of their baggage. The flight was rapid, and the pursuit vigorous. The soldiers having lost all confidence in their commander, the out-posts were every where evacuated, and a general difmay pervaded the fugitives, who, in scattered parties, were routed in every quarter, and driven naked into the woods.
* About this time a misfortune befel the Americans not far distant from Montreal, at a place called the Cedars. There major Butterfield with his party, were compelled to surrender prisoners of war. This party captura ed by captain Forster who commanded the British, consisted of four or five hundred men. It was warmly difputed afterwards, between congress and the British commanders, whether the Cedars men, who were permitted to depart on parole, should be exchanged for British prifoners taken under Burgoyne.
After two days wandering in the wilder: nefs, the largest body of the Americans who had kept together, were overtaken and obliged to make a stand against a party that much outnumbered them, commanded by colonel Frazer, who had been indefatigable in the pursuit. The action continued three or four hours, when the Americans, though they fought with bravery, were totally routed with very great loss. Colonel Francis, the gallant commander of this party was killed, with many other officers of merit ; two or three hundred privates were left dead on the field, thrice that number wounded or taken prisoners : most of the wounded perished miserably in the woods. The British loft several officers highly esteemed by them, among whom was major Grant, a man of decided bravery. Yet general Burgoyne found to his coft, his incapacity to execute the boast he had some time before made in the house of commons, that " fo little was “ to be apprehended from the resistance of the “ colonies, that he would engage to drive the “ continent with five hundred disciplined “ troops.”
General St. Clair had made good his own retreat so far, as to be fix miles ahead with the van of the routed army. Such was his terror on hearing of the defeat of colonel Francis, and some other successes of the royal army, that instead of proceeding to fort Ann, as in
tended, he shrunk off into the woods, uncertain where to fly for security. Another party of the Americans, who had reached fort Ann, were attacked and reduced by colonel Hill, with one British regiment. They set fire to the fortress themselves, to prevent its falling into the hands of the victors, and fled with the ut. most speed towards fort Edward, on the Hud. fon. General St. Clair, and the miserable remains of his army who escaped death, either by fatigue or the sword, after a march of seven days, through mountainous and unfrequented passages, harafled in the rear, and almost without provisions of any kind, arrived at fort Edward in a most pitiable condition.
General Burgoyne was too much the experi. enced officer to neglect his advantages. He pushed forward with equal alacrity and fuccess; and in spite of the embarrassments of bad roads, mountains, thickets, and swamps, he reached the neighbourhood of fort Edward, within a few days after the broken remnant of St. Clair's army had pofted themselves there. On his approach, the Americans immediately decamped from fort Edward, under the command of general Schuyler, whom they found there, and withdrew to Saratoga. He had been making some efforts to collect the militia from the country contiguous, to aid and sup
port the routed corps ; but on their advance, he did not think it prudent to face the British troops.
A share of the public odium on this occasion fell on general Schuyler. His conduct, as well as the delinquency of general St. Clair, was very heavily censured. They were both ordered, with some other of the principal officers of the late council of war at Ticonderoga, to repair to congress to answer for the loss of that fort, and the command of the Lake Champlain. On the other hand, it was no small triumph to general Burgoyne and his army, thus to have chased the Americans from the province of Canada, to find themselves in possession of all the lakes, and to see the British standard erected on the Hudson, which had long been an object of im. portance with administration.
Exaggerated accounts of the weakness of the Americans, the incapacity of their officers, and the timidity of the troops, were transmitted to England ; and the most fanguine expectations formed by people of every description through the island. They were ready to imagine, that hunted from post to post, both in the northern and southern departments, the spirits of the colonists must be broken, their resources fail, and that the United States thus repeatedly difappointed, would lose all energy of opposition, and soon fall a prey to the pride and power of