« AnteriorContinuar »
British Invasion from Canada—The Plan-Composi
tion of the Invading Army-Schuyler on the Alert -His Speculations as to the Enemy's Designs, Burgoyne on Lake Champlain-His War-Speech to his Indian Allies—Signs of bis Approach Descried from Ticonderoga-Correspondence on the Subject between St. Clair, Major Livingston, and Schuyler - Burgoyne Intrenches near Ticonderoga–His Proclamation-Schuyler's Exertions at Albany to Forward Reinforcements—Hears that Ticonderoga is Evacuated—Mysterious Disappearance of St. Clair and his Troops-Amazement and Concern of Washington-Orders Reinforcements to Schuyler at Fort Edward, and to Putnam at Peekskill— Advances with his Main Army to the Clove-His Hopeful Spirit Manifested.
HE armament advancing against Ticon
deroga, of which General St. Clair had given intelligence, was not a mere di
version, but a regular invasion; the plan of which had been devised by the king, Lord George Germaine, and General Burgoyne,
the latter having returned to England from Canada in the preceding year. The junction of the two armies—that in Canada and that under General Howe in New York-was considered the speediest mode of quelling the rebellion ; and as the security and good government of Canada required the presence of Governor Sir Guy Carleton, three thousand men were to remain there with him ; the residue of the army was to be employed upon two expeditions; the one under General Burgoyne, who was to force his way to Albany, the other under Lieutenant-Colonel St. Leger, who was to make a diversion on the Mohawk River.
The invading army was composed of three thousand seven hundred and twenty-four British rank and file, three thousand and sixteen Germans, mostly Brunswickers, two hundred and fifty Canadians, and four hundred Indians ; beside these there were four hundred and seventy-three artillery-men, in all nearly eight thousand men. The army was admirably appointed. Its brass train of artillery was extolled as perhaps the finest ever allotted to an army of the size. General Phillips, who commanded the artillery, had gained great reputation in the wars in Germany. BrigadierGenerals Fraser, Powel, and Hamilton, were
plans of tbe Invading Army
also officers of distinguished merit. So was Major-General the Baron Riedesel, a Brunswicker, who commanded the German troops.
While Burgoyne with the main force proceeded from St. John's, Colonel St. Leger, with a detachment of regulars and Canadians about seven hundred strong, was to land at Oswego, and, guided by Sir John Johnson at the head of his loyalist volunteers, tory refugees from his former neighborhood, and a body of Indians, was to enter the Mohawk country, draw the attention of General Schuyler in that direction, attack Fort Stanwix, and, having ravaged the valley of the Mohawk, rejoin Burgoyne at Albany, where it was expected they would make a triumphant junction with the army of Sir William Howe.
General Burgoyne left St. John's on the 16th of June. Some idea may be formed of his buoyant anticipation of a triumphant progress through the country, by the manifold and lumbering appurtenances of a European camp with which his army was encumbered. In this respect he had committed the same error in his campaign through a wilderness of lakes and forests, that had once embarrassed the unfortunate Braddock in his march across the mountains of Virginia.
Schuyler was uncertain as to the plans and force of the enemy.
If information gathered from scouts and a captured spy might be relied on, Ticonderoga would soon be attacked; but he trusted the garrison was sufficient to maintain it. This information he transmitted to Washington from Fort Edward on the 16th, the very day that Burgoyne embarked at St. John's.
On the following day Schuyler was at Ticonderoga.
The works were not in such a state of forwardness as he had anticipated, owing to the tardy arrival of troops, and the want of a sufficient number of artificers. The works in question related chiefly to Mount Independence, a high circular hill on the east side of the lake, immediately opposite to the old fort, and considered the most defensible. A star fort with pickets crowned the summit of the hill, which was table land ; half way down the side of the hill was a battery, and at the foot were strongly intrenched works well mounted with cannon. Here the French General de Fermois, who had charge of this fort, was posted.
As this part of Lake Champlain is narrow, a connection was kept up between the two forts by a floating bridge, supported on twenty-two sunken piers in caissons, formed of very strong timber. Between the piers were separate floats, fifty feet long and twelve feet wide, strongly connected by iron chains and rivets. On the
Scbuyler at Fort George
north side of the bridge was a boom, composed of large pieces of timber, secured by riveted bolts, and beside this was a double iron chain with links an inch and a half square. The bridge, boom, and chain were four hundred yards in length. This immense work, the labor of months, on which no expense had been spared, was intended, while it afforded a communication between the two forts, to protect the upper part of the lake, presenting, under cover of their guns, a barrier, which it was presumed no hostile ship would be able to break through.
Having noted the state of affairs and the wants of the garrison, Schuyler hastened to Fort George, whence he sent on provisions for upwards of sixty days; and from the banks of the Hudson additional carpenters and working cattle. Business will go in better train, and I hope with much more spirit,” writes he to Congress; “and I trust we shall still be able to put everything in such order as to give the enemy a good reception, and, I hope, a repulse, should they attempt a real attack, which I conjecture will not be soon, if at all ; although I expect they will approach with their fleet to keep us in alarm, and to draw our attention from other quarters where they may mean a real attack."