William Leete Stone.

Ballads and poems relating to the Burgoyne campaign; online

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THE OLD CATAMONT TAVERN, BENNINGTON.

From Harper s Magazine. Copyright, 1377, by Harper & Brothers.



BALLADS AND POEMS



RELATING TO THE



BURGOYNE CAMPAIGN



ANNOTATED BY

WILLIAM L. STONE,
i|

AUTHOR OF THE " LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR WILLIAM JOHNSON, BART.;" " BUR-
COYNE S CAMPAIGN AND ST. LEGER S EXPEDITION;" "MEMOIRS OF
GENERAL AND MADAME RIEDESEL ;" " HISTORY OF NEW YORK
CITY;" "LIFE AND WRITINGS OF COLONEL WILLIAM L.
STONE;" " REMINISCENCES OF SARATOGA AND BALLS-
TON ;" "THE STONE GENEALOGY;" "THE
STARIN GENEALOGY," ETC., ETC., ETC.



" Land of Song ! " said the warrior bard,
"Though all the world betray thee,
One sword at least thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee !"

MOORE.



ALBANY, N. Y.

JOEL MUNSELL S SONS

1893



0. 20



TO

(general 3. Watts be pester,

OF DUTCHESS CO., S. N. Y M

WHOSE WRITINGS, BOTH ON REVOLUTIONARY AND EUROPEAN HIS_
TORIES AND OUR LATE CIVIL WAR, ENTITLE HIM TO THE FIRST RANK
AS A MILITARY CRITIC, AND WHOSE PATRIOTISM AND EFFORTS IN
EVERYTHING WHICH TENDS TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE PUBLIC
WEAL DEMAND THE GRATITUDE OF EVERY TRUE CITIZEN OF THE
UNITED STATES,

THIS WORK

IS DEDICATED BY HIS FRIEND

tl)e



M202557



TABLE OF CONTENTS.



PAGE

BALLADS RELATING ESPECIALLY TO GENERAL BURGOYNE i

BALLADS ON THE DEATH OF GENERAL FRASER in

BALLADS ON THE DEATH OF JANE MCCREA 128

POEMS ON THE BATTLE OF ORISKANY 208

POEMS ON THE BATTLE OF BENNINGTON 215

POEMS ON THE BATTLES OF BEMUS HEIGHTS AND SARATOGA 234



APPENDICES.



CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE FORCES UNDER BURGOYNE AND GATES 275

II. SKETCH OF GENERAL GATES 279

III. BURGOYNE S PROCLAMATION 285

IV. SKETCH OF " TIM" MURPHY, THE SHARPSHOOTER 290

V. SKETCH OF LADY HARRIET ACLAND 303

VI. SKETCH OF JONES, THE LOVER OF JANE MCREA 319

VII. SKETCH OF GENERAL J. WATTS DE PEYSTER 328

VIII. SKETCH OF "PARSON" ALLEN, THE HERO OF BENNINGTON.... 335
IX. HISTORY OF THE "OLD CATAMOUNT TAVERN" AT BENNING
TON 337

X. SPELLING OF THE NAME OF BEMUS 342

XL SKETCH OF DR. A. W. HOLDEN 349



PREFACE.



IN giving to the public, and especially to those who
have my u Burgoyne s Campaign and St. Leger s Ex
pedition," a few words are, perhaps, necessary to
explain the purpose of the present work.

During my researches while engaged upon that par
ticular episode of our Revolutionary history, I came
across a number of quaint ballads relating to that
campaigner excellence* and it occurred to me that
my subscribers to " Burgoyne s Campaign" would
gladly welcome an addenda, so to speak, of that work.

Hoping, therefore, that those of my friends who
have so kindly aided me in my former publications
will appreciate the spirit in which this volume has been
prepared, I have published it, though at a pecuniary
sacrifice to myself.

My thanks are due for help in this compilation to Gen-

* I use this phrase advisedly, since all historical
students know that Frank Moore has given us a little
volume on " Revolutionary Poems." This collection,
however, though admirable, does not include, save in
a very few instances, those which particularly relate to
the campaign of Burgoyne.



12 Preface.

eral John Meredith Read, Consul-General to France at
Paris during the Franco-German War, the siege of
that city and the Commune, and for many years
United States Minister to Greece ; Mr. James A.
Holden, of Glens Falls, N. Y. ; Mr. Charles M. Bliss,
of Bennington, Vt. ; Mrs. Charles Stone, of Sandy
Hill, N. Y. ; Mr. Franklin Burdge, of New York
City ; Mr. Jared C. Markham, the architect of the
Saratoga Monument, of Jersey City, N. J. ; Mr. Theo
dore F. Dvvight, of the Boston Public Library ; Mr.
William T. Peoples, of the New York Mercantile
Library ; Mr. George Watson Cole, of the Jersey City
Free Library ; Mr. Frederick Saunders, of the Astor
Library ; Dr. Smith Ely, of Newburgh, N. Y. ; Mr.
John W. Jordan, of Philadelphia, Pa. ; Mr. Bauman
L. Belden, of Elizabeth, N. J. ; Hon. Charles S. Les
ter and Hon. Winsor B. French, of Saratoga Springs,
N. Y., and Mr. August Hund, of Hoboken, N. J. to
all of whom I here return my hearty thanks.*

* Mrs. Julia C. Dorr, of Rutland, Vt, the deservedly
celebrated poetess, contributed to the Bennington
Centennial an exquisitely beautiful poem entitled
" Vermont." As, however, it contains only one or two
incidental allusions to the battle of Bennington, and
does not, therefore, come within the scope of this work,
it is not given in this collection.

WILLIAM L. STONE.
MT. VERNON, N. Y., October i, 1893.



THE BURGOYNE BALLADS.



SKETCH OF GENERAL BURGOYNE.

IT seems eminently proper for a just appreciation of
the circumstances under which the following ballads
were written, that the reader should have a sketch of
the personage who called them forth.

JOHN BURGOYNE, a British soldier, was born on
February 24th, 1723. He was the eldest son of John
Burgoyne and Anna Maria, daughter of Charles
Burneston of Hackney, in Middlesex. The popular
belief that he was a natural son of Lord Bingley is
pure fiction, and had its rise in the malicious gossip of
that prince of gossips Horace Walpole. Burgoyne
was educated at Westminster, and entered the army at
an early age. While at Preston with his regiment he
eloped with Lady Charlotte Stanley, daughter of the
eleventh Earl of Derby ; and the earl, becoming rec
onciled to the marriage, obtained for him a captaincy
in the Eleventh Dragoons, June i4th, 1756. He was
in the attack on Cherbourg in 1758, and also in the
abortive attempt on St. Malo the same year; was ap
pointed, May loth, 1758, captain-lieutenant in the
Coldstream Guards, and the following year was pro
moted to the command of the Sixteenth Dragoons,
called subsequently " Burgoyne s Light-horse." He
was elected to Parliament in 1762, held his seat in that



2 The Burgoyne Ballads.

body continuously until his death, and took an active
part in matters relating to India, hence incurring the
displeasure of "Junius," by whom he was severely
criticised. He was made major-general, May 25th,
1772. Appointed to a command in America, he arrived
in Boston, May 25th, 1775, and witnessed the battle
of Bunker Hill, of which he gave a graphic descrip
tion in a letter to his brother-in-law, Lord Stanley. He
was commissioned, January ist, 1776, lieutenant-gen
eral in America only, and took part in the opera
tions of that year for expelling the Americans from
Canada ; but in November, dissatisfied with his sub
ordinate position under Carleton, he returned to Eng
land. In December of that same year he concerted
with the British ministry a plan for the campaign of
1777. A large force under his command was to go to
Albany by way of Lakes Champlain and George, while
another body, under Sir Henry Clinton, advanced
up the Hudson. Simultaneously, Colonel Barry St.
Leger was to make a diversion, by way of Oswego, on
the Mohawk River.

In pursuance of this plan, Burgoyne, in June, began
his advance with one of the best-equipped armies that
had ever left the shores of England. Proceeding up
Lake Champlain, he easily forced the evacuation of
Crown Point, Ticonderoga and Fort Anne. But in
stead of availing himself of the water-carriage of Lake
George, at the head of which there was a direct road
to Fort Edward, he advanced upon that work by land,
consuming three weeks in cutting a road through the
woods and building bridges over swamps. This gave
time for Schuyler to gather the yeomanry together, and
for Washington to re-enforce that general with troops,
under Morgan, from the Southern Department. Bur
goyne, also, lost valuable time and received a fatal



The Burgoyne Ballads. 3

check by his disastrous attack on Bennington. At
length, finding his progress stopped by the entrench
ments of Gates at Bemus Heights, nine miles south
of Saratoga (Schuylerville, N. Y.), he endeavored to
extricate himself from his perilous position by fighting.
Two battles were fought on nearly the same ground
on September iQth and October 7th, 1777. The
first was indecisive: the second resulted in so com
plete a rout for the British, that, leaving his sick and
wounded to the compassion of Gates, Burgoyne re
treated to Saratoga. Here, finding that his provi
sions were giving out, Stark in his rear, and that there
was no chance of escape, he capitulated with his en
tire army, October i7th, 1777. This event was the
turning-point in the American Revolution. It se
cured the French alliance, and lifted the clouds of moral
and financial gloom that had settled upon the leaders,
even the hopeful Washington.

Burgoyne, until his unfortunate campaign, stood
very high in his profession. He had made a most
brilliant record on the banks of the Tagus for dash
under that master in the art of war, the famous Count
Schaumberg-Lippe. He also added to a prepossessing
exterior the polished manners and keen sagacity of a
courtier. He was likewise witty and brave, but he
was also hasty and self-willed. Desirous of doing
everything himself, he rarely consulted with others ;
yet he never knew how to keep a plan secret. While
in a subordinate position he was continually carping
at his military superiors ; yet when given a separate
command, he was guilty of the same faults that he
had reprehended in others. His boastful ways as
will be seen in some of the following ballads drew
upon him the nicknames of "Sir Jack Brag" and
"Chrononnotonthologos," a character in a burlesque



4: The Burgoyne Ballads.

play by Henry Carey. Being a sybarite, he often
neglected the duties of a general ; and while he was
enjoying his wines and choice food, his army suffered
the keenest want. Early in 1778 he returned to Eng
land, and justly threw the failure of the expedition
upon the Ministry, since, in arranging the campaign,
he had most strenuously insisted that success depended
upon Howe s co-operation. Had he been properly
supported, he would, despite mistakes, have unques
tionably reached Albany, as Gates would not have
been at Bemus Heights to oppose him. On his
arrival in England he was received very coldly by the
court and people, the king, indeed, refusing to see
him.* Having in vain demanded a court-martial, he
finally succeeded in obtaining a hearing on the floor
of Parliament; and in 1780 he published a narrative
of the campaign and a vindication of himself in a
work entitled "A State of the Expedition." Joining
the opposition, he resigned, in 1779, all his offices.
Upon a change in the ministry, he regained somewhat
of his popularity, and in 1782 was restored to his
rank in the army, and appointed prize-councillor and
commander-in-chief in Ireland. In 1784 he retired
from public life, and, possessing considerable literary
ability, amused himself in writing numerous comedies
and poems, which were published in two volumes in
1808. He had already, while in America, written two
farces, entitled respectively " The Siege of Boston" and
" The Maid of the Oaks," both of which were performed
with great eclat. Two other dramas, both of which

* Indeed, had the king granted him an audience, it
would have been tantamount to acknowledging that
he, George III., had erred and when was a king,
especially this one, ever known to admit a mistake !



Burgoyne Ballads. 5

were equally successful, were " The Lord of the Manor"
and " Richard Cosur de Lion." He was also the
author of a comedy entitled " The Heiress," which had a
great run, and has been pronounced by competent
critics "one of the best productions of the modern
British drama."

The tale of " The Lord of the Manor" seems, in some
degree, to have been disguised in the modification
of the character and circumstances by the incident
of his own matrimonial connection ; for, as above
stated, his was a clandestine and unauthorized mar
riage, at a time when he held only a subaltern s com
mission in the army, and is said to have excited at
first the resentment of the lady s father to such a
degree that he declared his resolution never to admit
the offenders into his presence. As we have seen, a
reconciliation was effected, and was succeeded by a
warm and lasting attachment. It is probable; also,
that the memory of his wife, who died in 1776, at
Kensington Palace, during his absence in America, is
embalmed by the affectionate regrets of Burgoyne in
that beautiful air of his composition :

11 Encompassed in an angel s frame,

An angel s virtues lay ;
Too soon did heaven assert the claim,
And call its own away.

" My Anna s worth, my Anna s charms,

Must never more return !
What now shall fill these widow d arms,
Ah me ! my Anna s urn !"*

* One would suppose from this affectionate effusion
that his devoted attachment to his wife and of that
fact there seems to be no doubt would have pre-



6 Tlie Burgoyne Ballads.

Burgoyne, also, was one of the managers of the
trial for the impeachment of Lord Hastings, but he
did not live to see the result of that famous trial, his
death occurring in London, on August 4th, 1792,
caused by gout in the stomach. There were, how
ever, not a few of his enemies who did not scruple to
say that he was a suicide, one American Loyalist,
who was in England at the time, and resided within a
few doors of his (Burgoyne s) dwelling, writing home
as follows : " He fell by his own hand, a prey to dis
appointment and neglect." There seems, however, to
be no real foundation for this statement.

By his wife, Burgoyne had but one daughter, who
died in childhood ; but by Miss Susan Caulfield, after
his wife s death, he had four children, of whom the

vented the licentious conduct of Burgoyne during his
American campaign (see the account of his revelling
in the arms of his mistress during the sufferings of his
army, just before his surrender, as given by Mrs. Gen
eral von Riedesel, " Letters of Madame von Riedesel,"
Munsell & Son, Albany, N. Y.) ; but these inconsis
tencies are hard to account for. Indeed, public men
of that time seem to have thought that the breaking
of their marriage vows was but a venial offence. On
this subject see Alexander Hamilton s account of his
liaison with a woman, given unblushingly to the public
as a defence against the charge of his having, while
Secretary of the Treasury, been careless in money
affairs. This pamphlet, in which Hamilton gave this
statement to the public, is now extremely rare, the
only two copies of it in existence, as we are aware,
being one in the library of the New York Historical
Society, and the other in the possession of Mr. B. L.
Belden, of Elizabeth, N. J.



The Burgoyne Ballads. 7

late Sir John Burgoyne, of Crimean fame, was the
eldest. His descendants have filled many honorable
positions in the British army and navy, and several of
them are still (1893) living. For an exhaustive
sketch of Burgoyne and an analysis of his campaigns,
See " Hadden s Journal," edited by that indefatigable
and authoritative writer, General Horatio Rogers, of
Providence, R. I *



BURGOYNE S PROCLAMATION^

[A burlesque ballad by Governor William Livingston, of New Jersey.
First published in the New York Journal, September 8th, 1777.]

BY John Burgoyne and Burgoyne John, sir,
And grac d with titles still more higher,

* As there are a number of allusions in the follow
ing ballads to the forces of the two contending armies,
and as scarcely any writer, either contemporary
or otherwise, agrees in the number, it is thought
entirely germane to the present work to give in
Appendix No. I. a correct authorized statement both
of the beleaguering army, under Gates, and of those
who surrendered to it, under Burgoyne.

f As a prelude to his operations, Burgoyne issued
from Crown Point, on Lake Champlain, a pompous,
grandiloquent, and haughty-minded proclamation, in
which, after reciting a number of his own titles, eked
out with a string of et cetczras, to indicate the rest, he
made a magnificent parade of the number and strength
of his army, and displayed in formidable view the body
of savages by which he announced he was going
to accomplish great things ; at the same time com
manding the Americans to lay down their arms



8 The Burgoyne Ballads.

For I m lieutenant-general too,

Of Georgie s troops both red and blue,

and return to their duty, and promising them mercy
upon their speedy submission, but threatening them
with the most terrible vengeance if they persisted
in their rebellion. The effects of this proclama
tion, however, were entirely different from what its
author surmised would be the case. Instead of the
terror which he thought it would excite, it produced
throughout the colonies only indignation and con
tempt. Governor Livingston, of New Jersey (and
not Francis Hopkinson, as some have supposed), by
turning it ingeniously into Hudibrastic verse, made
the proclamation an object both of general derision and
of diversion. John Holt, of New York City, an old
and highly respectable editor, published it in his
newspaper, the Gazette, in Poughkeepsie, heading it
with " Pride Goeth before Destruction, and a Haughty
Spirit before a Fall." u It is," says Dr. Dwight, in his
"Travels," remarkable that the four most haughty
proclamations issued by military commanders in mod
ern times have prefaced their ruin this of General
Burgoyne, that of the Duke of Brunswick, when he
was entering France, that of Bonaparte in Egypt,
and that of General Le Clerc, on his arrival at St.
Domingo." To this list might also be added that of
General Lee of the Confederate Army in our late Civil
War, just previous to his surrender.

Governor William Livingston, the author of this
poem and the Governor of New Jersey, was born in
Albany, N. Y., November 30th, 1723, and died in
Elizabethtown, N. J. (now Elizabeth), July 25th,
1790. He was graduated at Yale in 1741, at the head
of his class, and then began the study of law under



The Burgoyne Ballads. 9

On this extensive continent,
And of Queen Charlotte s regiment
Of eight dragoons the colonel,
And governor eke of Castle Will,
And furthermore when I am there,
In house of commons there appear,
(Hoping ere long to be a peer)
Being a member of that virtuous band
Who always vote at North s command,
Directing too the fleets and troops
From Canada as thick as hops ;
And all my titles to display,
I ll end with thrice et cetera.

The troops consign d to my command,
Like Hercules to purge the land,
Intend to act in combination
With th other forces of the nation,

James Alexander, completing his course under
William Smith. He served with distinction in many
civic and State offices, and in 1787 was a delegate to
the convention that framed the United States Consti
tution. He was also one of the original trustees of the
New York Society Library, and in 1751 was made
one of the trustees of King s (now Columbia) College,
but declined to qualify when he found that the Presi
dent must be a clergyman of the Church of England.
He was the author of various works of distinction
in their day. As President Dwight says, " His imag
ination was brilliant, his wit sprightly and pungent, his
understanding powerful, his taste refined and his con
ceptions bold and masterly. His views of political
subjects were expansive, clear and just. Of freedom,
both civil and religious, he was a distinguished cham
pion."



10 The Burgoyne Ballads.

Displaying wide thro every quarter

What Britain s justice would be after.

It is not difficult to show it,

And every mother s son must know it,

That what at first she meant to gain

By requisitions and chicane,

She s now determined to acquire

By kingly reason ; sword and fire.

I can appeal to all your senses,

Your judgments, feelings, tastes and fancies ;

Your ears and eyes have heard and seen,

How causeless this revolt has been ;

And what a dust your leaders kick up,

In this rebellious civil hickup,

And how upon this curs d foundation,

Was rear d the system of vexation,

Over a stubborn generation.

But now inspired with patriot love
I come th oppression to remove ;
To free you from the heavy clog
Of every tyrant demagogue,
Who for the most romantic story,
Claps into limbo loyal Tory,
All hurly burly, hot and hasty,
Without a writ to hold him fast by ;
Nor suffers any living creature
(Led by the dictates of his nature),
To fight in green for Britain s cause,
Or aid us to restore her laws ;
In short the vilest generation
Which in vindictive indignation,
Almighty vengeance ever hurl d
From this to the infernal world.
A Tory cannot move his tongue,
But whip, in prison he is flung,



T/ie Burgoyne Ballads. 11

His goods and chattels made a prey
By those vile mushrooms of a day,
He s tortur d too, and scratch d and bit
And plung d into a dreary pit ;
Where he must suffer sharper doom,
Than ere was hatched by church of Rome.

These things are done by rogues, who dare
Profess to breathe in freedom s air.
To petticoats alike and breeches
Their cruel domination stretches,
For the sole crime, or sole suspicion,
(What worse is done by th inquisition ?)
Of still adhering to the crown,
Their tyrants striving to kick down,
Who by perverting law and reason,
Allegiance construe into treason.
Religion too is often made
A stalking horse to drive the trade,
And warring churches dare implore
Protection from th Almighty Pow r ;
They fast and pray, in Providence
Profess to place their confidence ;
And vainly think the Lord of all
Regards our squabbles on this ball ;
Which would appear as droll in Britain
As any whims that one could hit on ;
Men s consciences are set at naught
Nor reason valued at a groat ;
And they that will not swear and fight
Must sell their all, and say good-night.

By such important views they re pres t to,
I issue this, my manifesto.
I, the great knight of de la Mancha,
Without Squire Carleton my sancho,



12 The Burgoyne Ballads.

Will tear you limb from limb asunder,

With cannon, blunderbuss and thunder ;

And spoil your feathering and your tarring ;

And cagg you up for pickled herring

In front of troops as spruce as beaux, *

And ready to lay on their blows,

I ll spread destruction far and near :

And when I cannot kill I ll spare,

Inviting by these presents all,

Both young and old and great and small,

And rich and poor and Whig and Tory,

In cellar deep or lofty story ;

Where er my troops at my command

Shall swarm like locusts o er the land.

(And they shall march from the North Pole,

As far at least as Pensacole,)

To break off their communications,

That I can save their habitations ;

For finding that Sir William s plundersf

Prove in the event apparent blunders,

* " Spruce as beaux," in allusion to the fact that
during the entire march of the British troops under
Burgoyne, the officers seemed to look upon the expe
dition as a kind of gala day, and, clothed in their best
regimentals in most dandified fashion, they escorted the
ladies of the party through the forest in the most
gallant style. This march through the wilderness is
graphically illustrated in one of the bronze tablets in
the Saratoga Monument at Schuylerville, N. Y.,
built by Booth Brothers, of New York City, and by
whom its corner-stone was presented to the Saratoga
Monument Association.

fSir William Howe is here alluded to. He was, as
is well known, depended on both by the British min-



The Burgoyne Ballads. 13

It is my full determination
To check all kinds of depredation ;
But when I ve got you in my povv r,
Favor d is he I last devour.

From him who loves a quiet life,

And keeps at home to kiss his wife,

And drink success to King Pygmalion,

And calls all congresses rebscallion,

With neutral stomach eats his supper,

Nor deems the contest worth a copper,

I will not defalcate a groat,

Nor force his wife to cut his throat ;

But with his doxy he may stay,

And live to fight another day ;

Drink all the cider he has made

And have to boot a green cockade.

But as I like a good Sir Loin,

And mutton chop when e er I dine,

And my poor troops have long kept Lent,

Not for religion but for want,

Who e er secretes cow, bull, or ox,

Or shall presume to hide his flocks,

Or with felonious hand eloign

Pig, duck, or gosling from Burgoyne,



istry and by Burgoyne to effect a diversion in the latter s
favor by advancing up the Hudson, toward Albany,
thus directing the forces under Gates. Why he did
not do so is now plain his special instructions to that
effect having been by accident pigeoned-holed, and
never having reached him. See Stone s " Burgoyne"
and Rogers s " Hadden."



14: The Burgoyne Ballads.


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Online LibraryWilliam Leete StoneBallads and poems relating to the Burgoyne campaign; → online text (page 1 of 22)