Ellen (Hardin) Walworth.

Battles of Saratoga, 1777; online

. (page 1 of 21)
Online LibraryEllen (Hardin) WalworthBattles of Saratoga, 1777; → online text (page 1 of 21)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


f®l I I I ' V . v^

-®^^-l^ ^■

'@v 1 1 m I v^iv 1 [email protected]\

MRS. ebb^N tiftRDIN WftbWORTH,



Battles of Saratoga



1 856- 1 89 1



Mrs. Ellen Hardin Walworth

O I '■'■ ■'




Copyright, l8gi, by Mrs. Ellen Hardin Walworth

Printing House of James A. Rogers
85-87 OoHN St., N. Y,




C t t-A^-

«^ax cr yu?^jf



Printing House of James
85-87 vIoHN ST., N.





Active Patriotism

Is an Inspiration to Her Countrymen.



The Battles of Saratoga — Burgoyne and the Northern Campaign, - 7

History of the Saratoga Monument Association, 1856-1891, - - 41

Schuylerville, - - - - - - - - - - -119

Guide to the Battle Ground and Schuylerville, - - - - - 125

Key to the Map of the Third Period of Burgoyne's Campaign, - - 129

A Visit to the Battle Ground — The Baroness Reidesel in America, - 133

Visitors' Guide — Saratoga Springs, 175


Horatio Seymour (steel plate), - - - Frontispiece.

General Daniel Morgan, - - - opposite page 7

Women of the Revolution, 1776, ....." "16

Gen. Schuyler Transferring his Command to Gen. Gates, " " 24

Old Battle Well, Freeman's Farm, " "36

John H. Starin (steel plate), - . . . Frontispiece H. S. M. A.

James M. Marvin (steel plate), opposite page 46

John V. L. Pruyn, " "54

William L. Stone, " "66

Bemus' Tavern — Tablet, - - - " <' 70

J. Watts de Peyster, - - - " " 74

Advanced American Entrenchments — Tablet, - - u u ^g

J. C. Markham, " " 84

Ellen Hardin Walworth, " "96

Saratoga Monument, " "104

Twenty-four-Pounder taken from the British, 1813, - " " 117

Map of the Third Period of Burgoyne's Campaign (original), " " 129

Fort Neilson — Tablet, " " 133

Battle of September 19th — Tablet, " " 142

The British Line of Battle— Tablet, . - . - « « 145

Morgan's Hill— Tablet, " ''150

Balcarras' Redoubt — Tablet, " " 154

Arnold Wounded, Breyman's Hill— Tablet, . - . " " 168

Map of Drives about Saratoga Springs (original), - " " 173


The kind reception which has been given to my monograph of Bnr-
goyne's campaign, published in 1877, by the public and by some eminent
historians, leads me to illustrate this new edition with original views of the
battle-ground and the historic tablets which have been erected to mark differ-
ent points of interest.

The history of monument associations, such as is here offered of the
Saratoga Monument Association, is usually published in a small edition for
circulation among those only who are especially interested in such work. But
if we may believe "the signs of the times," a period has arrived in the intel-
lectual development of our country when historical subjects can scarcely be
claimed as belonging exclusively to a small class of people. General attention
has heen aroused ; and it therefore seems a^iitable time to direct the public
mind to such work as has been done to commemorate the deeds of the founders
of our Republic, and to stimulate an interest which may lead to the full
accomplishment of a much-neglected work, by which every revolutionary
battle-ground in the country shall be marked with a suitable monument, and
the most noted become public parks, belonging to the Government, which is
an evolution whose beginning was on these fields of heroism.

A love of peace, even a belief in the future of arbitration without war,
cannot lessen the glory of martial deeds in the past. As we know that no great
principle of right can be upheld and propagated without struggle, self-
sacrifice and contest of some kind, we know also that such contest in the past
was necessarily by force of arms. Therefore it is not war in itself, with its
paeons of victory which attracts us, but those underlying principles which
are still working out the best destiny of our race and country.

One of the leading minds of America has declared that history is a
science. No science can be so well studied and advanced as by its application
to individual localities. It is in the pursuit of local history that the most
reliable facts are developed. The faithful chronicle of the town or village or
neighborhood becomes, in time, the gem of a great collection. The aggrega-
tion of such records make up the truth of history. It is, then, desirable that
inducements should be offered to persons who reside in historical localities to
preserve and value all which relates to the past. Monuments and historic
tablets are the natural, the most simple, method of education ; money lavished
on them is money saved for future generations. Let our hurrying crowds
pause for a time before the monument or the tablet ; they will have rest of
mind, of body, of nerves, and above that they will find incentive for nobler
action beyond.


A record of the experience of an association should be as useful as the
biography of an individual. With this thought I have obtained the consent
of the Saratoga Monument Association to publish a sketch of its proceedings
from the begmning, which have resulted in the erection of a beautiful, unique
and appropriate Monument at a reasonable expense, and the marking of
many points of interest on the battle-ground, which at Saratoga covers so
large an area.

The eminent men who in the past, and who still, represent this work,
acted with the same steadfast, self-sacrificing spirit which inspired the work
of those whom it commemorates ; and it is to be hoped that their example will
be an inspiration to others to imitate their patriotism.

The habit of visiting battle-grounds, so long established in Europe, has
small following in America. It is, therefore, considered well to add to the
account of the battles and the battle-fields a guide and a map of drives which
will assist visitors in finding the several places of historical interest. The ac-
companying map of the third period of Burgoyne's campaign has been pre-
pared with much care from the military maps of General Burgoyne's officers,
found in the State Library at Albany, and compared with late topographical
maps of that region.

I cannot close these preliminary words without expressing my great
indebtedness to the Secretary of the Saratoga Monument Association, Mr.
William L. Stone, for his material aid and his encouragement. The history
of the earlier years of the Association, from 1856 to 1878, is entirely his
work, which was published in 1879, and he has afforded every facility for a
correct record of the remaining years.

By no one person has the work of this Association been more advanced
than by Mr. Stone. His enthusiasm has been unabated and his labors unceas-
ing. In the meantime, he has made a rare and remarkable collection of
books, maps and manuscripts relating to the Burgoyne campaign, of priceless
value ; and this has doubtless furnished him largely with the data for his valu-
able and most interesting " History of Burgoyne's Campaign," published by
Joel Mnnsell's Sons, of Albany.

To the architect of the Monument, Mr. J. C. Markham, whose ancestor*
fought on the fields of Saratoga, I am indebted for the use of his original
designs of historic tablets, and for many valuable services. To all of the
officers of the Association I offer earnest thanks for their unfailing courtesy
and kindness.

E. H. W.

* Jeremiah Markham, of Middletown, Conn., was in command of a companyin Learned's brigade.
This company, with others, was stationed on the river-road near Bemus's Tavern, with orders to "hold
it at all hazards." In the defense, Markham was severely and It was thought mortally wounded in the
head. While being carried to the rear he shouted to his men: " Stand your ground; remember your
homes." He recovered and lived many years afterward, dying in 1837, at Plymouth, Conn.


From a portrait in the possession of Mrs. V. N. Taylor, Washington, D. C.




THE Campaign of Burgoyne, with its attendant circumstances, has had so
much light thrown upon it by skillful writers that its review at the
present time may seem unnecessary — even presumptuous. Yet, as
artists of greater or less capacity are encouraged to repeat a theme, made famil-
iar by the works of great masters, so, perhaps, may be justified this attempt
to portray again the great historical drama that opened so exultingly in June,
177Y, near the banks of the St. Lawrence river, and terminated amid so many
tragic elements in October of the same year, on the banks of the Hudson.

Few important events have occurred in the history of the world, which,
in unity of purpose and culminating interest, are more intensely dramatic ;
and few have occupied so vast a theatre. For its northern boundary we must
enter Canada at the Three Rivers, where the British and German winter
encampment was deserted ; on the west we find the famous carrying place of
the Indians between the head waters of the Oswego and the Mohawk, where
stood Fort Stanwix, an important point in the action ; on the east were the
Hampshire Grants, just molding themselves into an organized government,
where the British met their first repulse ; and toward the south, in the
Jerseys, those momentous manoeuvres took place that formed a huge side-play
to the stirring events further northward ; the main armies there were but
holding each other in check, while the over-confident English forces from
Canada poured through that unhinged gateway of the north, Ticonderoga,
and swept on southward to meet their final fate in the picturesque region
of Old Saratoga.

We, of the present time, can easily picture to ourselves the magnificent
stage on which these events took place ; we, who so often traverse this region


by land and water ; passing through the lovely valley of the Mohawk from
Albany to Lake Ontario ; thence skirting the great northern wilderness, as we
sweep around it by water into the borders of Canada, and from there return-
ing through the grand river-like Lake Champlain to Whitehall, the old
Skenesborough. Again we pass over fair hills, and by the historic Wood
Creek to Fort Edward, and thence by romantic carriage rides, or on the lazy
canal, to the mouths of the Mohawk, and to Albany again. Hence, resting
on the tranquil waters of the broad Hudson, our sumptuous boat is soon borne
onward past the Highlands, past the fire-ravaged town of Kingston; and
lower down, where we look for the sites of Forts Montgomery and Clinton,
and where Putnam stood guard at Peekskill. We are stirred by memories of
the anxieties, the hopes, the fluctuations of despair and joy that swayed our
countrymen of that time ; and we are not unmindful of the agony of longing
with which the ambitious Burgoyne listened for one sound of victory, or of
hearty co-operation from this region, while he clung to his last foothold before
the victorious army of the Patriots. Landing at New York, our imagination
still filled with these visions of the past, we naturally turn to the western
shores of the bay ; there the names that float so vaguely in our minds — Mor-
ristown, Middlebrook, Quibbletown, and Brunswick — seem suddenly vivified,
and resolve themselves into a hieroglyphic that reads : " Remember Washing-
ton ! " It was his grasp of large events, his steadfastness of purpose, and his
firm directing rein, that brought into harmony and effect the conflicting and
seemingly inefficient forces that made the closing scene of this spectacle a
triumph that astonished the world.

The importance of this triumph upon the fortunes of the American
struggle for Independence is undisputed. The Battle of Saratoga is declared
upon high authority to be one of the fifteen decisive battles of the world.
The reactionary feeling it called forth in the Colonics, after the disasters and
anxieties of the campaign of the previous year in Canada, strengthened public
sentiment in favor of the patriotic cause, r.nd filled the depleted ranks of the
army. It led directly to the indispensable assistance received from France,
and thus to the later recognition of other foreign Governments. As m the
last French and English war, the campaign of 1Y59, which embraced the
rocky heights of Quebec, the great water line of New York, and the western
posts on the great lakes, was the decisive campaign ; so by this one of 1777,
similar in construction, it was proposed by the English King and his
American Minister, Lord Germaine, to divide and crush the Colonies, and
terminate the war.


General Biirgojne, who had witnessed the battle of Bunker Hill, and had
watched with critical judgment the cautious movements of Sir Guy Carleton
during the year 1776, had in the latter part of that year returned to England
and held long consultations with the King and Germaine. Burgoyne brought
his military knowledge and experience and his brilliant intellectual powers
into play in depicting to them the wisdom and efficiency of Amherst's cam-
paign of 1759. May he not also have held in his fervid imagination some
picture of himself in the near future receiving such honors as had been
awarded to Amherst ? We know the result of those consultations ; how a
definite and explicit plan was formed in England by which every particular
in regard to the movement of troops in Canada was specified, even to the
number that should garrison each successive post ; how Sir Guy Carleton was
ignored, and ordered to hand over the army of invasion to General Burgoyne ;
and how, upon leaving the Canadian boundaries, that army was to be wholly
independent of Carleton. Orders were also forwarded to Sir William Howe,
at New York, to co-operate with this enterprise by proceeding up the Hudson
river to join Burgoyne at Albany. These orders do not appear to have been
so peremptory as those which were to control the northern division of the
army ; at least Lord Howe interpreted them very freely. He not only sailed
south, toward Philadelphia, with the main army, while Burgoyne was pushing
toward him from the north, but he left Sir Henry Clinton at New York with
purely discretionary powers in regard to such co-operation.

It was also arranged by Lord Germaine that an expedition should be sent
to Fort Stanwix by way of Lake Ontario, which should make its way thence
through the Mohawk valley to Albany ; and St. Leger was designated as the
proper person for its command. The New England Colonies were also to be
threatened with invasion ; upon tliis order General Burgoyne based very
strongly his defense, before the Parliamentary Committee, of his disastrous
movement upon Bennington.

It is thus seen that the culmination of this grand scheme was directed
against the very heart — the vital existence of the great province of New
York, even then the most important, the most vigorous of those thirteen
young giants who stood so sullenly, defiantly, and yet reluctantly at bay to
receive the blow that would decide whether they should submit to the unrea-
sonable demands of a tyrannical parent, or remain free for the development
of a full manhood.

When Burgoyne arrived at Quebec, in May, he found Carleton ready to
aid him with alacrity, and in a very short time the troops that had been in



winter quarters and the newlj -arrived reinforcements — the Canadian Pro-
vincials and the Indian allies — M-ere in readiness for a forward movement.
Burgoyne ordered the sick and the baggage to be left at Three Rivers, and the
whole army to concentrate at St. Johns. This was accomplished by the 12th
of June, and here, on that day, around a sumptuous dinner, sat Sir Guy Carle-
ton, Generals Burgoyne, Riedesol, PhiUips, Friizer and other officers of rank.
While still at the table a message was brought informing General Riedesel of
the long-antieiputed an-ival of his wife, the Baroness, at Quebec, and announc-
ing to General Oarleton the approach of reinforcements for the arm}' in
Canada. Hearty congratulations were exchanged, the wine flowed freely, and
amid great liilarity and exultation General Cai-leton took leave of the army of
invasion. A brilliant scene was presented by this trained and disciplined
army of two nations, equipped with all that power, wealth and skill could
devise and procure, and accompanied by artillery unparalleled at that time for
efficiency and splendor. As the guns roared out their farewell salute, and the
different corps moved back and forth in their preparations to embark, the
earth shook as though she would hasten tlieir departure ; and as they floated
towards the great lake, its waters quivered under the light of a hazy mystery
that seemed to entice them on to unimagined glories. What wonder if the
poet-soul of Burgo}nie reveled in enchanting fancies that clothed the end in
brightness. We have been accustomed to think of him in disgrace, as he
yielded his sword to his victorious enemy — or to dwell on liis pompous procla-
mations, his grandiose folhes. Another view may be taken of this hero of
misfortunes. He made undoubted and serious sacrifices in an attempt to con-
trol and humanize his savage allies; his high sense of honor cannot be ques-
tioned; his calmness and discretion under unjust public opprobrium and censure
are worthy of admiration and imitation. The brilliancy of his hope, the
persistency of his efforts to accomplish the desired end, his unflinching
assumption of entire responsibility, and the quiet dignity with which final
disaster was faced and borne, render him one of the most picturesque and
pathetic objects that fill for a moment the kaleidoscope of our revolutionary

We have a graphic description of Burgoyne's army on Lake Champlain,
given by Anburey, a young officer who accompanied the expedition, in one of
his delightful letters to a friend. " Let me just relate," writes he, " in what
manner the army passed up the lake, which was by brigades, generally
advancing from seventeen to twenty miles a day, and regulated in such a
manner that the second Brigade should take the place of the first, and so on


successively, for each Brigade to fill the ground the other quitted ; the time of
departure was always daybreak." ^

In another letter he writes : " I cannot forbear portraying to your imag-
ination one of the most pleasing spectacles I ever beheld. When we were in
the widest part of the lake, whose beauty and extent I have already
described, it was remarkably fine and clear, not a breeze was stirring, when
the whole army appeared at one view in such perfect regularity as to form
the most complete and splendid regatta you can possibly conceive. In the
front the Indians went with their birch-bark canoes, containing twenty or
thirty each ; then the advanced corps in regular line with the gun-boats, then
followed the Royal George and Inflexible, towing large booms — which are to
be thrown across two points of land — with the two brigs and sloops following ;
after them Generals Burgoyne, Pliillips and Riedesel in their pinnaces ; next
to them the second Battalion, followed by the German Battalion ; and the
rear was brought up with the sutlers and followers of the army. Upon the
appearance of so formidable a fleet you may imagine they were not a little
dismayed at Ticonderoga, for they were apprised of our advance, as we every
day could see their watch-boats."

While the main army from Canada was thus advancing towards Crown
Point and Ticonderoga, St. Leger, with nearly a thousand men, regulars and
Canadians, and Sir John Johnson with the Royal Greens, whose homes all
lay in the beautiful valley they now wished to ravish and conquer, moved up
the St. Lawrence and through Lakes Ontario and Oneida into Wood Creek,
by which to approach Fort Stanwix or Schuyler. This fort was garrisoned by
seven hundred and fifty Continental troops, and was under the command of
the brave Colonel Gansevoort.

Early in the year 1777 General Philip Schuyler, commanding the
northern division of the Continental Army, had been actively engaged in
preparations for the summer campaign in his Department. At that time he
had informed General Washington that it would be necessary for him to have
ten thousand additional troops to garrison Fort Ticonderoga and its adjacent
defenses, and two thousand for important points on the Mohawk. He was
making arrangements, under the direction and with the assistance of Wash-
ington, to collect and provide for as large a portion of this force as possible,
when, early in April, it became necessary for him to go to Philadelphia.
This was in consequence of the intrigues of his enemies, who had determined
that he should rehnquish the command of the Northern Department. Con-
gress had just before this sent General Gates to resume the command at Ticon-


deroga, and while General Schuyler was absent the control of the Department
devolved upon Gates.

General Schuyler, as second officer in rank in the Continental Army,
commanded the defenses of Philadelphia while in that city, and was ener-
getically engaged in that capacity ; he was also a delegate to Congress from
New York. About the last of May resolutions were passed in Congress
affording him an entire vindication from all charges brought against him, and
he was given " absolute command over every part of the Northern Depart-

On the 3d of June he arrived in Albany and resumed his command.
During his absence little had been done to carry forward his plans of defense,
or to increase the little army that garrisoned the widely separated posts of the
command. The Mohawk valley, always an object of especial care and solici-
tude to Schuyler, had been wholly neglected.

Upon his arrival in Albany he immediately wrote to General Herkimer to
hold the militia of Tryon county in readiness to repel any attack from the
west ; and he renewed his efforts to quiet and conciliate the Indians of the
Six Nations, with whom he had great influence.

He was soon informed of the movements of Burgoyue. His first impres-
sion was that Burgoyue would only make a feint upon Ticonderoga, while his
main army would march from St. Johns toward the Connecticut river,*and
make an attempt upon the New England States, who might receive a simul-
taneous attack on the sea coast from Lord Howe. He gave no time to idle
surmises, however, but hurried to Ticonderoga to inspect its defenses. The
additional works, projected at Mount Independence, opposite Ticonderoga,
were incomplete for want of troops and artisans. Schuyler, therefore, went
to Lake George, whence he forwarded workmen and provisions to Fort
Independence, and then returned to Albany, to hurry forward reinforcements
that were hourly expected from Peekskill.

Hearing at this time of Burgoyue's certain and speedy approach toward
Ticonderoga, he wrote most urgently to the Governor of Connecticut, the
President of the Council of Massachusetts, and the various Committees of
Safety, and to Washington, informing them of the impending danger, and
asking for assistance. He also used every exertion possible to collect the
militia of New York, with which he might advance at once to aid St. Clair,
whom he liad placed in command of Fort Ticonderoga. General Gates had
refused to remain in the Department after Schuyler's return, and had
obtained a leave to return to Philadelphia.


Schuyler's appeal for reinforcements met with a languid response. Wash-
ington alone seemed to understand the urgency of his need, and he could do
little to augment Schuyler's insignificant army. He, however, appealed also
to the New England States, urging upon them the danger to their own
boundaries if Burgoyne should gain any foothold in the Northern Depart-
ment. He also ordered Putnam at Peekskill to reinforce Schuyler with four
Massachusetts regiments.

At this time the main army under Washington consisted of but seven
thousand five hundred men, many of them militia, whose terms of service
would soon expire. With this small force, Washington, from the heights at
Middlebrook, watched and bafiled the movements of Lord Howe, whose army,
assembled at Brunswick, "had not its equal in the world."

Howe's main object was to entice Washington into a general engagement,
in which the British would have greatly the advantage. Such a victory would

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Online LibraryEllen (Hardin) WalworthBattles of Saratoga, 1777; → online text (page 1 of 21)