General John Burgoyne 

 

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General BurgoyneBurgoyne, SIR JOHN, military officer; born in England, February 24, 1723; was liberally educated, and entered the army at an early age. While a subaltern he clandestinely married a daughter of the Earl of Derby, who subsequently aided him in acquiring military promotion and settled $1,500 a year upon him. He served with distinction in Portugal in 1762. The year before, he was elected to Parliament, and gained his seat as representative of another borough, in 1768, at an expense of about $50,000. In the famous Letters of Junius he was severely handled. Being appointed to command in America, he arrived at Boston May 25, 1775; and to Lord Stanley he wrote a letter, giving a graphic account of the battle on Bunker (Breed's) Hill. In December, 1776, he returned to England, and was commissioned lieutenant-general. Placed in command of the British forces in Canada, he arrived there early in 1777, and in June he began an invasion of the province of New York by way of Lake Champlain and the Hudson Valley.

Burgoyne Meeting IndiansHe left St. Johns on the Sorel (June, 1777) with a brilliant and well-appointed army of 8,000 men, and ascended Lake Champlain in boats. At the falls of the Bouquet River, near the western shore of the lake, he met about 400 Indians in council, and after a feast (June 21, 1777) he made a stirring speech to them. On July 1 he appeared before Ticonderoga, which was inadequately garrisoned. General St. Clair, in command there, was compelled to evacuate the post, with Mount Independence opposite (July 5 and 6), and fly towards Fort Edward. on the upper Hudson, through a portion of Vermont. In a battle at HUBBARDTON the Americans were beaten and dispersed by the pursuing British and Germans. St. Clair had sent stores in boats to Skenesboro (afterwards Whitehall), at the head of the lake. These were overtaken and destroyed by the pursuing British. Burgoyne pressed forward almost unopposed, for the American forces were very weak. The latter retreated first to Fort Edward, and then gradually down the Hudson almost to Albany. The British advanced but slowly, for the Americans, under the command of General Philip Schuyler, harassed them at every step. An expedition sent by Burgoyne to capture stores and cattle, and procure horses in this region and at Bennington, Vermont, was defeated in a battle at Hoosick, New York (August 16), by a force hastily gathered under General Stark.

Already another invading force of British regulars, Canadians, Tories, and Indians, under Colonel St. Leger, which was sent by Burgoyne, by way of Oswego, to march down the Mohawk Valley and meet the latter at Albany, had been defeated in a battle at Oriskany (August 6). Schuyler was superseded by Gates in command of the northern army. Gates formed a fortified camp on Bemis's Heights to oppose the onward march of Burgoyne down the Hudson Valley. There he was attacked (September 19) by the British; and, after a severe battle, the latter retired to their camp on the heights of Saratoga (afterwards Schuylerville) to await the approach of Sir Henry Clinton from New York. The latter captured forts on the Hudson Highlands, and sent marauding expeditions up the river that burned Kingston. Again Burgoyne advanced to attack Gates. He was defeated (October 7), and again retired to his camp. Finding it impossible to retreat, go forward, or remain quiet, he surrendered his whole army, October 17, 1777. See BEMIS'S HEIGHTS.

Burgoyne Surrender

Surrender of General Burgoyne

The vanquished troops made prisoners to the Americans by a convention for the surrender of them, made by Gates and Burgoyne, were marched through New England to Cambridge, near Boston, to be embarked for Europe. The Congress had ratified the agreement of Gates that they should depart, on giving their parole not to serve again in arms against the Americans. Circumstances soon occurred that convinced George Washington that Burgoyne and his troops intended to violate the agreement at the first opportunity, and it was resolved by the Congress not to allow them to leave the country until the British government should ratify the terms of the capitulation. Here was a dilemma. That government would not recognize the authority of the Congress as a lawful body; so the troops were allowed to remain in idleness in America four or five years. Burgoyne, alone, was allowed to go home on his parole. The British ministry charged the Congress with absolute perfidy; the latter retorted, and justified their acts by charging the ministry with meditated perfidy. Owing to the difficulty of finding an adequate supply of food for the captive troops in New England, the Congress finally determined to send them to Virginia. Commissioners sent over, in the spring of 1778, to tender a scheme of reconciliation, offered a ratification of the convention, signed by themselves; but Congress would recognize no authority inferior to the British ministry for such an act. Finally, in pursuance of a resolution of Congress (October 15, 1778), the whole body of the captives (4,000 in number), English and German, after the officers had signed a, parole of honor respecting their conduct on the way, took up their line of march, early in November, for Charlottesville, Virginia, under the command of Major-General Phillips. Col. Theodoric Bland was appointed by Washington to superintend the march. It was a dreary winter's journey of 700 miles through New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. The routes of the two nationalities were sometimes distant from each other, and sometimes the same, until they reached Valley Forge, when they went in the same line until they had crossed the Potomac River. They remained in Virginia until October, 1780, when the danger that the captives might rise upon and overpower

 

 

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