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ered by numbers, they were compelled to give up the ground, after an obstinate resistance of forty minutes. The Americans lost, in this affair, about two hundred, killed, wounded, and missing. Colonel Francis was among the killed. The enemy's loss was reported at 222. Both sides fought with the most vigorous courage ; and the contest would have terminated in the defeat and capture of the pursuers, who were the flower of Burgoyne's army, but for the cowardly and disorderly conduct of the militia who composed the chief of the main body under General St. Clair, who could by no efforts be brought to retrace their steps to the aid of Warner. The firing was distinctly heard at Castletown; and St. Clair, than whom there never was a more brave or more unfortunate officer, instantly determined to send off two regiments to the support of the disobedient colonels, but before it was possible to persuade or force them into any thing like a feeling of sympathy with their engaged fellow citizens, the skirmish was over, and Warner on the retreat.
A party, in the mean time had been sent by Burgoyne, in pursuit of Colonel Long, who finding himself hard pressed, turned upon his pursuers, and with his small corps of one hundred and fifty men, (all the others who accompanied him being sick and convalescent) made it necessary for Colonel Hill, the pursuing officer, to “ change his position,” according to the phraseology of General Burgoyne, or in other words to make a rapid retrograde movement, in which he would have been certainly made prisoner, had not Colonel Long's ammunition unfortunately given out.
General St. Clair, having been diverted from his original intention by the hostile occupation of Skeens
borough, was compelled to retreat by a circuitous route to Fort Edward, on the Hudson, where he found General Schuyler, actively employed in collecting a force to resist the further progress of the enemy, but miserably deficient in means of every sort. His whole force, until joined by St. Clair, continental troops and militia, did not amount to one thousand men; he had thirty-one boxes of musket-balls, not quite three hundred pounds of lead, and three thousand five hundred flints, and thus situated was within little more than a days's march from the head of the Lake, where Burgoyne lay with upwards of five thousand fresh troops, giving every demonstration of an intention to attack.
The events of 1777 continued.-Reflections on St. Clair's retreat.
General Schuyler removes to Stillwater-Fort Stanwix invested by Colonel St. Leger. -Brave and patriotic conduct of General Herkimer.-Arnold volunteers to go to the relief of Colonel Gansevoort.-Successful sortie of the latter.- Arnold resorts to stratagem, and forces St. Leger to raise the siege.-- Battle at Bennington, and defeat of Colonel Baume-General Schuyler again superceded in his command by General Gates.-Movements of Washington—the enemy enter the Chesapeake.-Surprise and capture of General Prescott.—Expedition of General Sullivan and Colonel Ogden on Staten Island.-Conduct of the Quakers.— Battle of Brandywine.- Proceedings of Congress Northern army-Advantages under which Gates took the command.-Correspondence of Gates and Burgoyne, relative to prisoners.--Miss M-Crea.-Movements of the two armies.-Action of the 19th September.
The abandonment of Ticonderoga, which was considered as the strong hold of the northern department, excited against General St. Clair the most clamorous and undeserved censure, which, though he was honourably acquitted of all blame by the solemn decision of a competent tribunal, left a stain upon his reputation, which no subsequent event ever entirely removed. The reader has seen the difficulties and dangers with which he was surrounded, and it must be acknowledged, that he used the only means, and the only moment allowed him, of saving his army. If the evil consequences of defeat could have been confined to the simple loss of that army, it might with more show of propriety have been regarded as cowardly to fly from the threatened danger; but the army of General St. Clair,
small and ill appointed as it was, was the only one, to defend the whole state of New York and the Hampshire grants, (as the state of Vermont was then called) from the incursions of the enemy: for we have already seen, that, though General Schuyler was commander in chief of the department, and had himself taken the field, his whole force was short of a thousand
The loss of St. Clair's division would have reduced even this number, for it cannot be supposed that the militia, which made a considerable portion of it, could have been induced to stand before the victorious troops of Burgoyne, after lie had destroyed their strongest ground of reliance. There would have been no nucleus, around which to collect another army, and Burgoyne would have marched without interruption to Albany. The reasons which General St. Clair assigned to Congress, in his letter from Fort Edward, were sufficient to satisfy the minds of all, but jealous rivals, that his retreat was the result of the soundest judgment and prudence. “It was my original design," says he, “ to retreat to this place, that I might be between General Burgoyne and the inhabitants, and that the militia might have something in this quarter to collect to. It is now effected, and the militia are coming in, so that I have the most sanguine hopes that the progress of the enemy will be checked, and I may have the satisfaction to experience that although I have lost a post I have eventually saved a state.”
The censure of the people did not rest upon General St. Clair alone. By some means or other, a report prevailed, wholly unfounded, that the retreat of the army had been made by order of Major General Schuyler; and he therefore came in for a full share of the disgrace, which it was attempted to fix upon St.
Clair. The consequence of these slanders, which were industriously circulated by the enemies of these two active and patriotick officers, was that the army was daily decreased by desertion. Both continentals and militia, fearful of trusting themselves to the command of men whose conduct was represented as weak and dastardly, left the army in large bodies; so that on the 24th of July, the army which on the 20th amounted to upwards of 6,000, had been reduced to about 2700 continentals and 1300 militia. Upon the junction of General St. Clair with General Schuyler at Fort Edward, the army returned for a few days to Fort Ann, and occupied themselves in removing the stores which had been left at Fort George. On the day of his arrival here, a proclamation which had been issued by Burgoyne, calling upon the neighbouring inhabitants to meet at Castletown for the purpose of offering their submission and receiving pardon, fell into the hands of General Schuyler, who immediately issued a counter-proclamation, setting forth the insidious designs of the enemy, and appealing in strong terms to the patriotism of his fellow citizens. The inhabitants, however, unfortunately preferred submission to resistance; and while the defection in the American army grew daily more and more alarming, numbers were flocking to the standard of the British General.
On the 22d of July General Schuyler retired with his whole army to Moses's Creek, a position on the Hudson, about four miles below Fort Edward, which had been selected by Kosciusko, Chief Engineer of the army, as the most eligible at which to await the movements of the enemy. A small island here divided the Hudson, and the high bills on each side ap