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GRAHAM'S MAGAZINE, APRIL 1847 ***




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GRAHAM’S MAGAZINE.
VOL. XXX. April, 1847. No. 4.


Table of Contents

Fiction, Literature and Articles

The Fields of Stillwater and Saratoga
Mrs. Bell’s Ball
The Islets of the Gulf; or Rose Budd
Thomas Carlyle and His Works
Mr. Kerr Mudgeon
Abroad and at Home
A Coquette Conquered
Review of New Books

Poetry, Music, and Fashion

The Oriole’s Return
The Skater’s Song
Love Unrequited
Autumn
Stanzas
The Portrait
April
Pittsburgh
The Statue in the Snow
General Taylor’s Gallop
Lines to a Jews-Harp
Fanny’s First Smile
Le Follet

Transcriber’s Notes can be found at the end of this eBook.

* * * * *

[Illustration: Robert Hinshelwood Smillie & Hinshelwood

SARATOGA BATTLE GROUND AT STILLWATER.
Engraved expressly for Graham’s Magazine.]

* * * * *

GRAHAM’S MAGAZINE.

VOL. XXX. PHILADELPHIA, April, 1847. NO. 4.

* * * * *




THE FIELDS OF STILLWATER AND SARATOGA.


IN PART FROM ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS.


BY N. C. BROOKS, A. M.


In the Revolutionary war the plan of operations adopted by the British
Ministry for the close of the year 1777 was as follows. General Howe,
with a portion of the troops, was to occupy New York, and occasionally
act toward the South; while General Burgoyne would descend from Canada
and the lakes, reduce the contiguous country on his way, and by forming
near Albany a junction with a part of the forces from New York, cut off
all communication between the Eastern and Western States. As it was
confidently expected that the several fortresses in the descent of
General Burgoyne would fall into his hands, he was instructed by the
ministry to leave garrisons in them, and thus, by a chain of posts, bind
the entire country, while, from time to time, as occasion required, he
could make excursions for provisions into the Eastern Provinces
adjacent. General Burgoyne himself went over to England for the express
purpose of concerting this plan with the ministry, and every thing
relative to the expedition was arranged upon an extensive and liberal
scale. His troops, exclusive of the artillery, consisted of seven
thousand two hundred regulars, of whom three thousand two hundred were
Germans, and several regiments of Provincials and Canadians, with great
bodies of Indians. Besides these, he had a large number of batteaux-men
and axe-men, to transport and clear the way for the troops, and a
powerful train of battering and field artillery. This was about the
force which General Burgoyne considered necessary, and had stipulated
for, in the plan which he submitted to the British Minister.

The commander himself was a man of great ability and experience, active
in enterprise, and ambitious of military glory; and those appointed to
second his exertions, were officers of distinction. Major General
Phillips, of the artillery, had gained great renown in Germany, as also
Brigadier Frazer. The other Brigadiers, Hamilton and Powell, were
valuable officers. The Brunswickers, Major General Baron Reidesel, and
Brigadiers Specht and Gall, had also seen much service. And lastly, the
Indians were under the directions of Langdall and St. Luc, great
partisans of the French in the late war, the former of whom planned with
the nations he was to lead, the defeat of General Braddock.
Consequently, from the experience and bravery of the commander, and the
generals under him, the number of his troops, his splendid train of
artillery, and the magnitude of the entire appointments of his army, the
most sanguine expectations were entertained of the entire success of the
expedition.

Having detached Colonel St. Leger with a considerable force of regulars,
Continentals, and Indians, by way of Oswego, to make a diversion on the
Mohawk river, in favor of the army, General Burgoyne set out with his
troops from St. John’s on the 16th of June, 1777. Arrived at Crownpoint,
he entertained the Indians with a war-feast, according to the ceremonial
established among them, and addressed them relative to the objects of
his campaign, and the character of their own expected services. At
Ticonderoga, he issued a manifesto, in which it is difficult to say,
whether vanity or ferocity were the more conspicuous. After parading his
multitudinous titles, he recited the many delinquencies of the
Americans, set forth in a vaunting style the force of that power now put
forth, by sea and land, to crush the insurrection of the Colonies, and,
in the most appalling and sanguinary manner, denounced against the
enemies of the mother country, the terrible vengeance of the Indian
scalping-knife and tomahawk.

Carrying terror and ruin as they passed, the invaders steadily advanced.
Harassed and panic-struck, the people fled before them; the American
troops entrusted with the defence of passes and fortifications, were
unable to prevent the progress of so formidable an expedition; and the
fortresses of Ticonderoga, Mount Independence, Fort Anne, and others,
fell successively into the hands of the British. But the troops left to
occupy these works, reduced the forces of General Burgoyne in some
degree, the difficulties of obtaining provisions, became more
perplexing, and events shortly took place which turned the tide of war
against the invaders, and inspirited the Americans, while they carried
dismay to the breasts of their enemies.

General Burgoyne had learned that there was a large deposit of
provisions of every kind at Bennington, and anxious to procure these for
his troops, as well as to obtain carriages for his baggage, and horses
for mounting Reidesel’s dragoons, he dispatched for that purpose Colonel
Baum, with five hundred German troops, one hundred Indians, and two
pieces of artillery; to reinforce which he afterward sent five hundred
troops, under Lieutenant Colonel Breyman, with two additional pieces of
artillery. These forces, without accomplishing any thing, were beaten,
in two separate engagements, by the Massachusetts and New Hampshire
militia, under General Stark, and a body of Continentals, under Colonel
Warner, with the loss of the brave Colonel Baum, and two hundred and
seven others killed, and seven hundred wounded and prisoners, four brass
field-pieces, and a large quantity of small arms. This first reverse of
the invading army took place August 16th, and was followed on the 22d by
another.

Colonel St. Leger, dispatched up the Mohawk river some time before,
after investing Fort Stanwix with his regulars, Sir John Johnson’s
regiment of Tories, and a party of Indians, suffered so severely by the
American militia, under Gen. Herkimer, which came to succor the
garrison, that he himself was dispirited, and his Indian allies, who had
joined him in expectation of but little fighting and much plunder, began
to abandon him. At this conjuncture, opportunely for the garrison, Gen.
Arnold advanced with troops to raise the siege of Fort Stanwix, and by a
well-executed stratagem, so terrified the investing forces, that the
Indians deserted the British, and St. Leger himself, on the 22d, fled
with so much precipitation, that he left his tents standing in the
field; and all his artillery and stores fell into the hands of the
Americans. These two events reversed, in an extraordinary degree, the
spirits of the people, and disposed the militia with alacrity to flock
to the American camp at Stillwater, near Saratoga.

Gen. Burgoyne had hitherto been successful, but he had now reached that
point in the expedition, in which the position of the country, the state
of the troops, and the season of the year, all favored the American
cause, and insured the downfall of the British chieftain. But the brave
Gen. Schuyler, who, with great diligence and ability, had directed the
affairs of the northern department during so many difficulties and
discouragements, was not permitted to enjoy the triumph which his labors
had contributed so much to insure. He was at this time superseded by
Gen. Gates, and compelled to resign the fruits of his labors and the
well-earned fame that was about to crown them. Of him it may be truly
said, “he had labored, and others had entered into his reward.”

Confident of the success of the expedition of Baum, Gen. Burgoyne had
already pushed on with the advance of his troops to Saratoga, on his way
to Stillwater; but learning the loss of the detachment, he suddenly drew
back from his advanced position. At length, by great exertions, having
procured about thirty days’ provision, constructing a bridge of boats
over the Hudson, he crossed over on the 13th and 14th of September with
his array and artillery, and occupied the heights and plain of Saratoga.

Changing his position from near the village of Stillwater for one two or
three miles in front, Gen. Gates took possession of Bemis’ Heights, a
range of hills so called, from the owner of a tavern near the ground,
and threw up breast-works and batteries, under the direction of his
chief engineer, Thaddeus Koszkiusko, the Polish patriot. The position
was a strong one. A range of hills extended on the right bank of the
Hudson, between which and the river were alluvial flats, about half a
mile in width at the centre, and tapering toward the extremities. A spur
of the hills jutting out at the southern extremity of these flats,
formed a narrow defile, through which passed, near Bemis’ tavern, the
public road along the river margin. The encampment, in shape like the
segment of a semicircle, with its convex turned to the north,
threatening the advance of the enemy, extended from the narrow defile by
the river-side to a steep height at the west, about three-quarters of a
mile. In front, at the distance of a quarter of a mile, from right to
left of the centre, which it covered, ran a closely wooded ravine; from
this to the heights, at the western extremity of the encampment, the
ground was level and partially cleared, some of the trees being felled,
others girdled and still standing; north of this, in front of the
extreme left, to the distance of a mile and a half or two miles, were
small fields in imperfect cultivation, obstructed with the stumps and
trunks of trees, with a steep eminence forming the western boundary of
the whole. A line of breast-works formed of felled trees, logs, rails,
and brush, covered with dirt, ran around the encampment, and strong
batteries at the extremities, and in the centre, were planted so as to
sweep the advance of the enemy, and especially the road by the river
side leading through the defile, where the artillery of the enemy would
be compelled to pass. A breast-work also extended across the flats, near
the defile, having a strong battery immediately upon the river, with
another breast-work and battery somewhat in advance, where the road
crossed Mill-creek.

The American troops were disposed within their intrenchments as follows:
the main body, composing the right wing, and consisting of Glover’s,
Nixon’s, and Patterson’s brigades, was under the immediate command of
Gates, the general-in-chief and occupied the defile by the river side
and the adjacent hills; Gen. Learned, with Bailey’s, Weston’s, and
Jackson’s regiments of Massachusetts, and James Livingston’s, of New
York, occupied the plain or centre; and Poor’s brigade, consisting of
Cilly’s, Scammel’s, and Hale’s regiments, of New Hampshire, Van
Courtlandt’s and Henry Livingston’s, of New York, and Latimer’s and
Cook’s, of the Connecticut militia, and Morgan’s riflemen, and
Dearborn’s light infantry, were posted upon the left, and occupied the
heights. The troops of the centre and left, constituted a division, and
were under the command of Gen. Arnold, who had his quarters upon the
extreme left. Thus arranged, the American troops awaited the advance of
the British army.

Leaving Saratoga on the 15th, Burgoyne marched to Coveville, and halting
to repair the bridges and roads, he moved on the 17th to a place called
Sword’s House. Gen. Arnold, who was sent out on this day to gain
intelligence of the enemy, and harass him on his march, after some
ineffectual skirmishing, returned with two or three prisoners, from whom
he learned the intentions of the British. On the 18th, the British
general-in-chief continued his march till he came within a short
distance of the “North Ravine,” which forms Wilber’s Basin, at the
northern extremity of the flats afore-mentioned, and encamped about
three miles from the Americans, his left, consisting mainly of the
artillery and German dragoons, under Majors General Phillips and
Reidesel, resting on the river; the centre, under Burgoyne himself,
extending at right angles to it across the low grounds five or six
hundred yards to a range of lofty hills, which were occupied by his
left, consisting of the grenadiers under Frazer, and the light infantry
of Breyman, who formed the _élite_ of the army.

Determined to force his way through the American lines, the British
general formed his army in order of march, about ten o’clock on the
morning of the 19th of September. While Burgoyne with the centre, and
Frazer with the right wing were to make a circuitous route, concentrate
their forces near the head of Middle Ravine, (so called from being
equidistant from the North Ravine and South Ravine, in the rear of the
American camp,) and having turned the left wing of the Americans fall
upon their rear, Generals Phillips and Reidesel, with the artillery,
which moved slowly, were to advance along the river road, and, when
within half a mile of the American lines, at the time of the junction
between Burgoyne and Frazer, to be announced by two signal guns, make an
attack in front, and force their way through.

Information having been received through Col. Colburn that the enemy
were on their march, Gen. Arnold, anticipating the intentions of the
British commander, and anxious to derange his plan of operations by
checking the progress of his right wing, pressed upon Gen. Gates the
propriety of an attack in advance, and was ordered to detach Col.
Morgan’s rifle corps, and some infantry, to observe the motions of the
enemy, and harass their advance, and to support Morgan himself, if
necessary, with the entire troops of his division. Expecting upon his
right a powerful attack from the British artillery and the troops of
Reidesel, Gen. Gates was unwilling to weaken that wing by any drafts of
troops whatever.

In pursuance of the arrangement of the British commander, Frazer, with
the right wing, making a long circuit, arrived where the road to
Wilber’s Basin and that to Bemis’ Heights intersect each other, and
thence continued south to an eminence about half a mile west of
Freeman’s Cottage. At the same time Burgoyne, with a picket in advance,
and flankers, composed of Canadians, Provincials and Indians, following
the course of the North Ravine about three fourths of a mile, and then
marching in a southwest direction, had arrived a little south of
Freeman’s Cottage.

At this moment the advance of Morgan, under Major Morris, fell in with
the picket of Burgoyne, which had reached the Middle Ravine, and
attacking with that impetuosity for which he was remarkable, drove them
back till reinforced by a strong party under Major Forbes. The British
now advanced with spirit; a sharp conflict commenced, and they were
driven back to their line, which was forming beyond the Cottage. Now
pressing on again with vivacity, they repulsed the Americans in their
turn, and Morgan coming up with the rear, found the van of his command
broken and scattered in every direction. Capt. Van Swearingen, Lieut.
Moore, and twenty privates fell into the hands of the British.

Collecting his riflemen, and reinforced by a battalion of light infantry
under Major Dearborn, the battle was renewed again, about one o’clock,
and was vigorously maintained on both sides for some time, with varied
success. Forming upon the left of Morgan, the regiments of Scammel and
Cilley advanced to his support, and the contest proceeded with redoubled
energy.

There seemed to be a generous emulation between the commanders of these
regiments, in which their gallant troops fully participated. Col.
Scammel is cool and determined, and leads on his men close to the enemy
before he will suffer them to fire; Cilley is all vivacity and
animation, and dashes into the fight with the enthusiasm of a fox-chase:
they are equally brave, and the indomitable obstinacy of the one and
energy of the other alike make a serious impression upon the enemy.

Frazer, who by this time had joined with his command the centre under
Burgoyne, advanced with great resolution and attempted to cut off a
portion of the American troops, when Gen. Arnold, who now appeared upon
the field with the New York regiments and a part of Gen. Learned’s
brigade, rushed impetuously forward and endeavored to break the British
line, by penetrating between the right wing and the centre, and thus to
cut off and surround the troops of Frazer. Arnold exhibited his usual
bravery; his form towered before his troops; his voice, animating them,
resounded along the line like the notes of a trumpet; his men now spring
forward, and the fiery contest is close and bloody; the discharges of
musketry are quick, incessant and deadly; the Americans press on
steadily and close with their adversaries; the enemy resort to their
bayonets, but soon falter and give way till the Americans are drawn
within the shot of some regiments of German light infantry upon the
extreme right. These pour upon the American flank a murderous fire; and
after an obstinate resistance of more than an hour, in which the ground
is disputed inch by inch, the Americans fall back, sullenly firing, and
resume their place in the line.

About three o’clock in the afternoon, the troops were drawn up on each
side for a regular engagement. There was an oblong clearing in front of
Freeman’s Cottage, about sixty rods in length from east to west, and
containing from fifteen to eighteen acres. This field sloped gently down
toward the south and east, and was bounded upon the north by an
eminence, and a thin grove of pines, and on the south by a dense woods.
The British line, with Burgoyne at its head, was formed within the grove
of pines upon the north of the clearing mentioned above; and the
American line under Arnold within the dense woods. The British advanced
to the attack with the most determined bravery, and the action began
with great spirit, and was maintained with animation.

Preferring to receive the enemy with the advantages of their position,
the Americans kept, in a measure, within cover of the wood in which they
were posted, and poured upon the advancing British a destructive fire,
which compelled them to falter. Now pressing upon the enemy, the
Americans advanced in their turn, till they came within the fire of the
British line, and fell back toward their position in the wood. The
engagement waxed hot and obstinate, and a destructive fire was kept up,
principally between Hamilton’s brigade, consisting mainly of the
twentieth, twenty-first, and sixty-second British infantry, and the
brigade of Poor, and Morgan’s corps on the part of the Americans. The
British centre was severely pressed, and began at length to give way,
when General Phillips, who, with infinite labor, had made his way from
the left through the intervening woods, brought up a brigade of
artillery under the brave Captain Jones, and some grenadiers, and
restored the action. The artillery was posted near Freeman’s Cottage,
and gave the enemy a decided advantage, for, owing to the impracticable
nature of the ground, the Americans could not bring up any artillery
during the day to support their fire.

The action now became general. A quick fire ran from right to left along
the whole line of battle; the musketry peeled like the continuous roll
of a thousand drums; the heavy discharges of artillery with the roar of
thunder shook the hills around, and died in sullen echoes down the
valleys; while the battle raged tumultuous, like a stormy sea, over the
plain intervening between the woods. The contest was obstinate and
bloody—a succession of advances and retreats; a scene of daring and
destruction; of blood and carnage. The British rushed forward to the
very woods, but fled before the murderous fire of the Americans from
their covert. The latter in their turn pursued the British to their
line, but fell back from the resistance in front and the hot fire that
assailed them on the flanks. Major Hull, with a bravery that is some
relief to his dark cowardice in the late war, repeatedly charged and
took the enemy’s guns; but as the Americans had no means to bring them
off, or turn them against their owners, they remained at length with the
British.

The action continued without the least intermission, and Arnold in
directing the movements of the troops did every thing that a skillful
and active officer could accomplish. Finding the enemy reinforced by
Gen. Phillips from the left, he ordered out the remaining regiments of
Learned’s brigade, and sent to Gen. Gates for a part of the troops under
his command. But the general either still fearing the advance of the
enemy’s left upon him, and unwilling to weaken his right, or not wishing
to give Arnold any efficient support, merely sent him a single regiment,
Col. Marshall’s, of Patterson’s brigade. Had he promptly supported
Arnold’s division by either of the three brigades under his command,
there is no doubt the action would have been a decisive one.

The arrival of the last reinforcements infused a degree of renewed vigor
into the Americans; the contest deepened, maddened into a final effort,
and raged with destructive fury as the sun set upon the scene of
carnage, and the pall of night came down upon the dead and dying. The
last troops engaged were those of the brave Lieut. Col. Brooks, in
command of Jackson’s regiment, the eighth Massachusetts. He penetrated
as far as the extreme right of the British, and became engaged with a
part of Breyman’s riflemen, who had acted before but occasionally during
the action. Waiting for orders to return, he did not leave the field of
battle till near ten o’clock at night. This was the most obstinate
battle that had yet been fought, in which the Americans, both regulars
and militia, displayed all the bravery of the most hardy veterans.

The American loss fell chiefly upon Morgan’s corps and Poor’s brigade.
The regiment of Colonel Cilley, of New Hampshire, and that of Col. Cook,
of the Connecticut militia, suffered the most severely. Major Hull’s
detachment sustained a loss of nearly one half in killed and wounded.
The twentieth and twenty-first regiments of the enemy encountered severe
loss, and the sixty-second, under the brave Col. Anstruther, was
literally cut to pieces. The colonel himself, and the major, Harnaye,
were both wounded, and, of the six hundred men which the regiment
numbered on leaving Canada, but sixty men and five or six officers
remained fit for duty. The gallant Captain Jones, who commanded the
enemy’s artillery with so much effect, fell at the side of his guns, and
thirty-six of his forty-eight artillerists, and all the officers, except
Lieutenant Hadden, were killed or disabled. His escape was remarkable,
for the cap was shot off his head by a musket ball, while engaged in
spiking the guns.

The Americans had about three thousand men in the engagement, the
British three thousand five hundred. Both parties claimed the victory;
though it is evident all the advantages of the contest were in favor of
the Americans. The British lay upon their arms, with the intention of
renewing the battle next day, but abandoned that design in the morning,
and within cannon-shot of the Americans threw up a line of


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Online LibraryVariousGraham's Magazine, Vol. XXX, No. 4, April 1847 → online text (page 1 of 14)