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Having thus outlined the plan of invasion, let us now look at the means allotted for its execution. There were in Canada ten thousand British soldiers; in New York, thirty thousand. Burgoyne was to take with him seven thousand, of whom three thousand were Germans in the pay of England.[15] Indiscipline, spirit, and equipment, this was by far the best little army that had yet taken the field in America.

Good judges said that England might be searched through and through before such battalions could be raised. Forty cannon, splendidly served and equipped, formed its artillery train. All the generals, and most of the soldiers, were veterans. In short, nothing that experience could suggest, or unlimited means provide, was omitted to make this army invincible. It was one with which Burgoyne felt he could do anything, and dare everything.

Besides these regular troops, we have said the government had authorized and even attempted to justify to the world, the employment of Indians. Four hundred warriors joined the army when it marched, and as many more when it reached Lake Champlain. They were to scour the woods, hang like a storm cloud about the enemy's camps, and discover his every movement. For this service, they had no equals. In the woods, they could steal upon an enemy unawares, or lie in wait for his approach. In the field, they were of little use. Much of the terror they inspired came from the suddenness of their onset, their hideous looks and unearthly war cries, and their cruel practice of scalping the wounded.

To these were added about an equal number of Canadians, and American refugees, who were designed to act as scouts, skirmishers, or foragers, as the occasion might require. Being well skilled in bush-fighting, they were mostly attached to Frazer's corps, for the purpose of clearing the woods in his front, getting information, or driving in cattle. With his Indians and irregulars,[16] Burgoyne's whole force could hardly have numbered less than ten thousand men.

Taken as a whole, this army was justly thought the equal of twice its own number of raw yeomanry, suddenly called to the field from the anvil, the workshop, or the plow. Its strongest arm was its artillery; its weakest, its Indian allies.

Burgoyne divided his force into three corps, commanded by Generals Frazer, Phillips, and Riedesel,--all excellent officers. Frazer's corps was mostly made up of picked companies, taken from other battalions, and joined with the 24th regiment of the line. As its duty was of the hardest, so its material was of the best the army could afford. Next to Burgoyne, Frazer was, beyond all question, the officer most looked up to by the soldiers; in every sense of the word, he was a thorough soldier. His corps was, therefore, Burgoyne's right arm. Phillips commanded the artillery; and Riedesel, the Germans.

In the middle of June, this army embarked on Lake Champlain. Of many warlike pageants the aged mountains had looked down upon, perhaps this was the most splendid and imposing. From the general to the private soldier, all were filled with high hopes of a successful campaign. In front, the Indians painted and decked out for war, skimmed the lake in their light canoes. Next came the barges containing Frazer's corps, marshaled in one regular line, with gunboats flanking it on each side; next, the Royal George and Inflexible frigates, with other armed vessels forming the fleet. Behind this strong escort, the main body, with the generals, followed in close order; and, last of all came the camp followers, of whom there were far too many for the nature of the service in hand.

In the distance, the American watch-boats saw this gallant array bearing down upon them, in the confidence of its power. Hastening back to Ticonderoga, the word was passed along the lines to prepare for battle.

For the Mohawk Valley expedition, St. Leger, who led it, took with him about seven hundred regular troops, two hundred loyalists, and eight guns. At Oswego, seven hundred Indians of the Six Nations joined him. With these, St. Leger started in July for Fort Stanwix, which barred his way to the Hudson, just as Ticonderoga blocked Burgoyne's advance on the side of Lake Champlain.


[15] SOLDIERS WERE HIRED from the petty German princes for the American war. The Americans called them all Hessians because some came from the principality of Hesse. George III. also tried to hire twenty thousand Russians of Empress Catharine, but she gave him to understand that her soldiers would be better employed. There was good material among the Germans, many of whom had served with credit under the Great Frederick; but the British showed them little favor as comrades, while the Americans looked upon them as paid assassins. Not one in twenty knew any English, so that misconception of orders was not unfrequent, though orders were usually transmitted from headquarters in French. Jealousy also grew up out of the belief that Burgoyne gave the Germans the hardest duty, and the British the most praise. At Hubbardton, and on the 19th of September, the Germans saved him from defeat, yet he ungenerously, we think, lays the disaster of October 7th chiefly at their door.

[16] INDIANS AND IRREGULARS. It is impossible to give the number of these accurately, as it was constantly fluctuating. Though Burgoyne started with only four hundred Indians, the number was increased by five hundred at Skenesborough, and he was later joined by some of the Mohawks from St. Leger's force. In like manner, his two hundred and fifty Canadians and Provincials had grown to more than six hundred of the latter before he left Skenesborough. Most of these recruits came from the Vermont settlements. They were put to work clearing the roads, scouting, getting forward the supplies, collecting cattle, etc. Their knowledge of the country was greatly serviceable to Burgoyne. In the returns given of Burgoyne's _regular troops_, only the rank and file are accounted for. Staff and line officers would swell the number considerably.