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His idea was that, while their fleet and a small body of troops might appear before Ticonderoga, and keep up continual alarms, the main army might march from St. François and St. John's towards the Connecticut River, and make an attempt on the Eastern States. “A manquvre of this kind,” observes he, “would be in General Burgoyne's way, and, if successful, would be attended with much honor to him.
I am the more confirmed in this conjecture, as the enemy cannot be ignorant how very difficult, if not impossible, it will be for them to penetrate to Albany, unless in losing Ticonderoga we should lose not only all our cannon, but most of the army designed for this department.”
In the meantime, Burgoyne, with his amphibious and semi-barbarous armaments was advancing up the lake. On the 21st of June he encamped at the River Boquet, several miles north of Crown Point; here he gave a war feast to his savage allies, and made them a speech in that pompous and half poetical vein in which it is the absurd practice to address our savages, and which is commonly reduced to flat prose by their interpreters. At the same time he was strenuous in enjoining humanity toward prisoners, dwelling on the difference between ordinary wars carried on against Tbickening Alarms
a common enemy, and this against a country in rebellion, where the hostile parties were of the same blood, and the loyal subjects of the crown might be confounded with the rebellious. It was a speech intended to excite their ardor, but restrain their cruelty, a difficult medium to attain with Indian warriors.
The garrison of Ticonderoga, meanwhile, were anxiously on the lookout. Their fortress, built on a hill, commanded an extensive prospect over the bright and beautiful lake and its surrounding forests, but there were long points and promontories at a distance to intercept the view.
By the 24th, scouts began to bring in word of the approaching foe. Bark canoes had been seen filled with white men and savages. Then three vessels under sail, and one at anchor, above Split Rock, and behind it the radeau Thunderer, noted in the last year's naval fight. Anon came word of encampments sufficient for a large body of troops, on both sides of Gilliland's Creek, with bateaux plying about its waters, and painted warriors gliding about in canoes; while a number of smokes rising out of the forest at a distance beyond, gave signs of an Indian camp.
St. Clair wrote word of all this to Schuyler, and that it was supposed the enemy were wait
ing the arrival of more force; he did not, however, think they intended to attack, but to harass, for the purpose of giving confidence to the Indians.
Schuyler transmitted a copy of St. Clair's letter to Washington. “If the enemy's object is not to attack Ticonderoga,” writes he, “I suspect their movement is intended to cover an attempt on New Hampshire, or the Mohawk River, or to cut off the communication between Fort Edward and Fort George, or perhaps all three, the more to distract us and divide our force.” He urged Washington for reinforcements as soon as possible. At the same time he wrote to St. Clair, to keep scouts on the east side of the lake near the road leading from St. John's to New Hampshire, and on the west, on the road leading to the north branch of the Hudson. This done, he hastened to Albany to forward reinforcements and bring up the militia.
While there, he received word from St. Clair, that the enemy's fleet and army were arrived at Crown Point, and had sent off detachments, one up Otter Creek to cut off the communication by Skenesborough; and another on the west side of the lake to cut off Fort George. It was evident a real attack on Ticonderoga was intended. Claims for assistance came hur
Schuyler's Urgent Letters
rying on from other quarters. A large force (St. Leger's) was said to be arrived at Oswego, and Sir John Johnson with his myrmidons on his way to attack Fort Schuyler, the garrison of which was weak and poorly supplied with cannon.
Schuyler bestirs himself with his usual zeal amid the thickening alarms. He writes urgent letters to the Committee of Safety of New York, to General Putnam at Peekskill, to the governor of Connecticut, to the president of Massachusetts, to the committee of Berkshire, and lastly to Washington, stating the impending dangers and imploring reinforcements. He exhorts General Herkimer to keep the militia of Tryon County in readiness to protect the western frontier and to check the inroad of Sir John Johnson, and he assures St. Clair that he will move to his aid with the militia of New York, as soon as he can collect them.
Dangers accumulate at Ticonderoga according to advices from St. Clair (28th). Seven of the enemy's vessels are lying at Crown Point; the rest of their fleet is probably but a little lower down. Morning guns are heard distinctly at various places. Some troops have debarked and encamped at Chimney Point. There is no prospect, he says, of being able to defend T conderoga unless militia come in, and he has
thought of calling in those from Berkshire. “Should the enemy invest and blockade us," writes he, “we are infallibly ruined ; we shall
; be obliged to abandon this side of the lake), and then they will soon force the other from us, nor do I see that a retreat will in any shape be practicable. Everything, however, shall be done that is practicable to frustrate the enemy's designs; but what can be expected from troops ill-armed, naked, and unaccoutred?"
Schuyler's aide-de-camp, Major Livingston,* who had been detained at Ticonderoga by indisposition, writes to him (June 30th) in a different vein, and presents a young man's view of affairs.
“The enemy, after giving us several alarms, made their appearance early this morning off Three Mile Point, in eighteen gunboats, and, about nine, landed a party of two or three hundred Indians and Canadians. These soon fell in with a scout from us, but being superior in number, obliged them to retreat, though with
loss on our side. The Indians then marched to the front of the French lines, drove in a picket guard, and came so near as to wound two men who were standing behind the
* Henry Brockholst Livingston : in after years judge of the Supreme Court of the United States.