« ZurückWeiter »
telligence, he heard nothing from St. Clair, and was apprehensive of the total loss of the garrison. He fixed his headquarters at Fort Edward, on the Hudson, a ruinous fortification, fifty-seven miles above Albany, which merely served to give a name to the place. His force, even when joined by St. Clair, did not exceed 4,400 men, about half of which was militia, and the whole was illclothed, ill-armed, and dispirited by the recent disasters.
With that force General Schuyler could not face the British army; and to gain time was to him a matter of the utmost importance. For this purpose, he ordered detachments of his men to obstruct the navigation of Wood Creek above Fort Ann; to break down bridges; to cut trees so as to fall across the road from opposite sides, and intermingle their branches, particularly at places where the line of road could not be altered ; and to throw every obstacle in the way, in order to retard General Burgoyne's progress. He ordered all the horses and cattle out of the way of the royal army; and brought off from Fort George all the ammunition and stores, of which he stood much in need.
While General Schuyler made every effort to retard the progress of his opponent, he exerted himself vigorously to strengthen his own army. He solicited reinforcements of regular troops ; he called on the militia of New England to
join the army; and used all his personal influence in the surrounding country to inspire the people with military ardor and patriotic enthusiasm. As the dan ger was alarming, his unwearied exertions were actively seconded by Wash ington and the civil authorities. General Lincoln, who in a high degree pos sessed the confidence of the militia, was appointed to raise and command them. Arnold, who had a high reputation for gallantry in the field, was directed to join the northern army; and Colonel Morgan, with his corps of riflemen, was or dered to the same quarter. Colonel Warner, with his regiment, was sent toward the left of the British army, to threaten its flank and rear, and to assist in raising the militia. Tents, artillery, ammunition, and other necessaries, were diligently provided.
While General Schuyler made every exertion to strengthen and equip his army, General Burgoyne was obliged to halt at Skenesborough, in order to give some rest to his exhausted troops ; to reassemble and reorganize his army, which had been thrown into some disorder, and considerably scattered, by his rapid movements; to bring forward his artillery, baggage, and military stores ; and to make all the necessary preparations for advancing toward Albany.
During his halt at Skenesborough, General Burgoyne issued a second proclamation, summoning the people of the adjacent country to send deputies to meet Colonel Skene at Castletown, in order to deliberate on the measures which might still be adopted to save from destruction those who had not yet conformed to his first proclamation. General Schuyler issued a counter-proclamation, warning the people to be on their guard against the insidious designs of the enemy, and assuring them that they would be considered traitors, and punished accordingly, if hey complied with his propositions.
But this war of proclamations was soon followed by more active measures; for, after the necessary rest to his army in the vicinity of Skenesborough, General Burgoyne, much elated with his past success, and cherishing sanguine anticipations of suure victory, began to advance toward the Hudson. On proceeding up Wood criek, he was obliged to remove the impediments with which General Schuyler had encumbered the channel, and afterward to restore the roads and bridges which he had destroyed. The labor was great : above forty bridges were constructed, and others repaired, one of which, entirely of logwork, was «ver a morass two miles wide. This prodigious labor, in a sultry season of the year, and in a close country swarming with tormenting insects, the army performed with cheerfulness and untired perseverance. At length, with
little opposition from the enemy, on the 30th of July it reached Fort Edward, which General Schuyler had quitted a short time before, and retreated to Saratoga. General Burgoyne might have much more easily reached Fort Edward by the way of Lake George ; but he had been led up the South river in pursuit of the fleeing enemy; and he persevered in that difficult route, lest he should discourage his troops by a retrograde movement.
FIG. 112.-Lake George. At Fort Edward, General Burgoyne again found it necessary to pause in his career ; for his carriages, which in the hurry had been made of unseasoned wood, were much broken down, and needed to be repaired. From the unavoidable difficulties of the case, not more than one third of the draught horses contracted for in Canada had arrived ; and General Schuyler had been careful to remove almost all the horses and draught cattle of the country out of his way. Boats for the navigation of the Hudson, provisions, stores, artillery, and other necessaries for the army, were all to be brought from Fort George ; and although that place was only nine or ten miles from Fort Edward, yet such was the condition of the roads, rendered nearly impassable by the great quantity of rain that had fallen, that the labor of transporting necessaries was incredible. General Burgoyne had collected about 100 oxen; but it was often necessary to employ ten or twelve of them in transporting a single boat. With his utmost exertions he had only conveyed twelve boats into the Hudson, and provisions for the army for four days in advance, on the 15th of August.
In order to aid and facilitate the operations of St. Leger on the Mohawk, General Burgoyne wished to make a rapid movement down the Hudson; but it was not easy to procure provisions for his army. The difficulty of drawing his supplies from Lake George was every day to increase with the distance: and his left flank and rear were threatened by General Lincoln, who had been ordered by General Schuyler to join Colonel Warner, to collect the militia of New England, to endeavor to cut off the communication of the British army with Lake George, nr even to make an attempt on Ticonderoga. .
in these circumstances, General Burgoyne conceived the plan of procu