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Proposition of Burgoyne to surrender his Troops. Terms proposed by Gates. Terms finally agreed upon.
Toward evening a flag was sent to General Gates, with a note, intimating that General Burgoyne was desirous of sending a field officer to him upon a matter of great moment to both armies, and wishing to know at what hour the next morning it would suit General Gates to receive him. The reply was, “At ten o'clock, at the advanced post of the army of the United States.” Accordingly, Lieutenant Kingston, Burgoyne's adjutant general, appeared at the appointed hour and delivered the following note from his commander: “After having fought you twice, Lieutenant-general Burgoyne has waited some days in his present position, determined to try a third conflict against any force you could bring against him. He is apprized of your superiority of numbers, and the disposition of your troops to impede his supplies, and render his retreat a scene of carnage on both sides. In this situation, he is impelled by humanity, and thinks himself justified by established principles and precedents of state and war, to spare the lives of brave men upon honorable terms. Should Majorgeneral Gates be inclined to treat upon that idea, General Burgoyne would propose a cessation of arms during the time necessary to communicate the preliminary terms by which, in any extremity, he and his army mean to abide.”
General Gates had already prepared a schedule of terms upon which he was willing to treat. It enumerated the distresses of the British army, and declared that they could only be allowed to surrender as prisoners of war, and that they must lay down their arms in their camp. Burgoyne replied, with spirit, that he would not admit that the retreat of his army was cut off while they had arms in their hands, and that the degrading act of laying down their arms within their own camp would not be submitted to. The latter condition was waived, and in the afternoon General Gates ordered a cessation of hostilities till sunset. Negotiations continued until the 16th, when every thing was agreed upon and adjusted, ready for the signatures of the contracting parties. This last act was to be performed on the morning of the 17th.
The substance of the “Convention between Lieutenant-general Burgoyne and Majorgeneral Gates,” as the British commander superscribed it, was, 1st. That Burgoyne's troops were to march out of their camp with all the honors of war, the artillery to be moved to the verge of the Hudson, and there left, together with the soldiers' arms—the said arms to be piled by word of command from their own officers; 2d. That a free passage should be granted the troops to Great Britain, on condition of their not serving again during the war; 3d. That if any cartel should take place by which Burgoyne's army, or any part of it, should be exchanged, the foregoing article should be void as far as such exchange should extend ; 4th. That the army should march to the neighborhood of Boston by the most expeditious and convenient route, and not be delayed when transports should arrive to receive them ; 5th. That every care should be taken for the proper subsistence of the troops till they should be embarked; 6th. That all officers should retain their carriages, horses, bat-horses, &c., and their baggage, and be exempt from molestation or search; 7th. That on the march, and while the army should remain at Boston (the port selected for their embarkation), the officers should not be separated from their men; 8th. That all corps whatsoever, whether composed of sailors, bateaux-men, artificers, drivers, independent companies, or followers of the army, of whatever country they might be, should be included in the fullest sense and to the utmost extent of the articles, and comprehended in every respect as British subjects, whose general had capitulated for them;' 9th. That all Canadians and persons belonging to the Canadian establishment should be permitted a free return to Canada, should be conducted by the shortest route to the British posts on Lake George, should be treated in all respects like the rest of the army, and should be bound by the same conditions not to serve during the war, unless exchanged; 10th. That passports should be immediately granted for three officers, to carry Burgoyne's dispatches to General Howe at Philadelphia, to Sir Guy Carleton in Canada, and to the government of Great Britain by way of New York; 11th. That all officers, during their stay in Boston, should be admitted to parole, and from
* This was to afford protection to the loyalists or Tories.
Message to Burgoyne from General Clinton. Disposition of Burgoyne to withhold his signature. Laying down of Arms.
first to last be permitted to wear their side-arms; 12th. That if the army found it necessary to send for their clothing and other baggage from Canada, they should be permitted to do so, and have the necessary passports granted them; 13th. That these articles should be signed and exchanged on the following morning at nine o'clock, the troops to march out of their intrenchments at three o'clock in the afternoon. Appended to these articles was an addendum or postscript, signed by General Gates, declaring that General Burgoyne, whose name was not mentioned in the above treaty, was fully comprehended in it.”
... Q- FAC-SIMILE of THE SIGNATUREs or BURGoyNE AND GATES To the “ConvenTion.”
/ o/ 7 7 / During the night of the 16th Captain Campbell
succeeded in eluding the American sentinels, and reached the British camp with dispatches from Sir Henry Clinton announcing his capture of the forts among the Hudson Highlands, and the expedition of Vaughan and Wallace as far up the river as Esopus. Here was a ray of hope, and Burgoyne felt disposed to withhold his signature from the “convention.” General Gates was apprized of this, and of the cause which had excitcd new hopes in the British commander. He was better acquainted, too, with the threatening aspect below than Burgoyne, and he knew that “delays are dangerous.” He drew up his army on the morning of the 17th in order of battle, and then sent a peremptory message to Burgoyne, that if the articles were not signed by him immediately, he should open a fire upon him. Under the circumstances, the terms were exceedingly humane and honorable; far more so than might be expected if the negotiation should be here broken off and again commenced. With reluctance Burgoyne subscribed his name, and preparations were immediately made for the ceremonies of surrender. The British army left their camp upon the hills, and marched sorrowfully down upon the “green” or level plain in front of old Fort Hardy,” where the different companies were drawn up in parallel lines, and, by order of their several commanders, grounded their arms and emptied their cartridge-boxes. They were not subject to the mortification of thus submitting under the gaze of an exulting foe, for General Gates, with a delicacy and magna
*A copy of these articles, said to be in the handwriting of General Gates, and signed by the two commanders, is in the possession of the New York Historical Society, from which the above fac-similes were copied.
* Fort Hardy was situated at the junction of the Fish Creek with the Hudson River, on the north side of the former. It was built of earth and logs, and was thrown up by the French, under Baron Dieskau, in 1755, when Sir William Johnson was making preparations at Albany to march against the French on Lakes Champlain and George. It was abandoned by the French, and named by the English Fort Hardy, in honor of Sir Charles Hardy, who was that year appointed Governor of New York. The lines of the intrenchments of the fort inclosed about fifteen acres, bounded south by the Fish Creek and east by the Hudson River. This fort was a ruin at the time of the Revolution; yet, when I visited it (July, 1848), many traces of its outworks were still visible. Its form may be seen by reference to the map, page 77. Many military relics have been found near the fort, and I was told that, in excavating for the Champlain Canal, a great number of human skeletons were found. The workmen had, doubtless, struck upon the burial. place of the garrison.
Courtesy of General Gates. The Place of Surrender. First personal Meeting of Gates and Burgoyne.
nimity of feeling which drew forth the expressed admiration of Burgoyne and his officers had ordered all his army within his camp, out of sight of the vanquished Britons." Col. onel Wilkinson, who had been sent to the British camp, and, in company with Burgoyne selected the place where the troops were to lay down their arms, was the only American officer present at the scene.” - The sketch here presented, of the place where the British army surrendered, was made from one of the canal bridges at Schuylerville, looking east-northeast. The stream of water in the - fore-ground is Fish Creek, and the level ground seen between it and the distant hills on the left is the place where the humiliation of the Britons occurred. The tree by the fence, in the center of the picture, designates the northwest angle of Fort Hardy, and the other three trees on the right stand nearly on the line of the northern breast-works. The row of small trees, ap.
VIEw of THE PLACE when E THE BRITISH LAID Down THEIR ARMs.
parently at the foot of the distant hills, marks the course of the Hudson; and the hills that bound the view are those on which the Americans were posted. This plain is directly in front of Schuylerville, between that village and the Hudson. General Fellows was stationed upon the high ground seen over the barn on the right, and the eminence on the extreme left is the place whence the American cannon played upon the house wherein the Baroness Reidesel and other ladies sought refuge. As soon as the troops had laid down their arms, General Burgoyne proposed to be introduced to General Gates. They crossed Fish Creek, and proceeded toward headquarters, Burgoyne in front with his adjutant general, Kingston, and his aids-de-camp, Captain Lord Petersham and Lieutenant Wilford, behind him. Then followed Generals Phillips, Reidesel, and Hamilton, and other officers and suites, according to rank. General Gates was informed of the approach of Burgoyne, and with his staff met him at the head of his camp, about a mile south of the Fish Creek, Burgoyne in a rich uniform of scarlet and gold, and Gates in a plain blue frock-coat. When within about a sword's length, they reined up and halted. Colonel Wilkinson then mamed the gentlemen, and General Burgoyne, raising his hat gracefully, said, “The fortune of war, General Gates, has made me your prisoner.” The victor promptly replied, “I shall always be ready to bear testimony that it has not
* Letter of Burgoyne to the Earl of Derby. Stedman, i., 352. Botta, ii., 21. * See Wilkinson.
Humiliating Review of the British Prisoners. Burgoyne's Surrender of his Sword. The Spoils of Victory, Yankee Doodle.
been through any fault of your excellency.” The other officers were introduced in turn, and the whole party repaired to Gates's headquarters, where a sumptuous dinner was served." After dinner the American army was drawn up in parallel lines on each side of the road, extending nearly a mile. Between these victorious troops the British army, with light infantry in front, and escorted by a company of light dragoons, preceded by two mounted officers bearing the American flag, marched to the lively tune of Yankee Doodle.” Just as they passed, the . two commanding generals, who were in Gates's marquee, came out together, and, fronting the procession, gazed upon it in silence a few moments. What a contrast, in every partic ular, did the two present Burgoyne, though possessed of coarse features, had a large and commanding person; Gates was smaller and far less dignified in appearance. Burgoyne was arrayed in the splendid military trappings of his rank; Gates was clad in a plain and unassuming dress. Burgoyne was the victim of disappointed hopes and foiled ambition, and looked upon the scene with exceeding sorrow; Gates was buoyant with the first flush of a great victory. Without exchanging a word, Burgoyne, according to previous understanding, stepped back, drew his sword, and, in the presence of the two armies, presented it to General Gates. He received it with a courteous inclination of the head, and instantly returned it to the vanquished general. They then retired to the marquee together, the British army filed off and took up their line of march for Boston, and thus ended the drama upon the heights of Saratoga. The whole number of prisoners surrendered was five thousand seven hundred and ninetyone, of whom two thousand four hundred and twelve were Germans and Hessians. The force of the Americans, at the time of the surrender, was, according to a statement which General Gates furnished to Burgoyne, thirteen thousand two hundred and twenty-two, of which number nine thousand and ninety-three were Continentals, or regular soldiers, and four thousand one hundred and twenty-nine were militia. The arms and ammunition which came into the possession of the Americans were, a fine train of brass artillery, consisting of 2 twenty-four pounders, 4 twelve pounders, 20 sixes, 6 threes, 2 eight inch howitzers, 5 five and a half inch royal howitzers, and 3 five and a half inch royal mortars;" in all forty-two
* See Wilkinson. * This view is taken from the turnpike, looking south. The old road was where the canal now is, and the place of meeting was about at the point where the bridge is seen. * Thatcher, in his Military Journal (p. 19), gives the following account of the origin of the word Yankee and of Yankee Doodle: “A farmer of Cambridge, Massachusetts, named Jonathan Hastings, who lived about the year 1713, used it as a favorite cant word to express excellence, as a yankee good horse or yankee good cider. The students of the college, hearing him use it a great deal, adopted it, and called him Yankee Jonathan ; and as he was a rather weak man, the students, when they wished to denote a character of that kind, would call him Yankee Jonathan. Like other cant words, it spread, and came finally to be applied to the New Englanders as a term of reproach. Some suppose the term to be the Indian corruption of the word English—Yenglees, Yangles, Yankles, and finally Yankee. “A song, called Yankee Doodle, was written by a British sergeant at Boston, in 1775, to ridicule the people there, when the American army, under Washington, was encamped at Cambridge and Roxbury.” The original song will be found in another part of this work. “Two of these, drawings of which will be found in this work, are now in the court of the laboratory of the West Point Military Academy, on the Hudson.
The Germans and Hessians. Their Arrival at Cambridge and wretched Appearance. Kindness of the People
pieces of ordnance. There were four thousand six hundred and forty-seven muskets, and six thousand dozens of cartridges, besides shot, carcasses, cases, shells, &c. Among the English prisoners were six members of Parliament." Cotemporary writers represent the appearance of the poor German and Hessian troops as extremely miserable and ludicrous. They deserved commiseration, but they received none. They came not here voluntarily to fight our people; they were sent as slaves by their masters, who received the price of their hire. They were caught, it is said, while congregated in their churches and elsewhere, and forced into the service. Most of them were torn reluctantly from their families and friends; hundreds of them deserted here before the close of the war; and many of their descendants are now living among us. Many had their wives with them, and these helped to make up the pitiable procession through the country. Their advent into Cambridge, near Boston, is thus noticed by the lady of Dr. Winthrop of that town, in a letter to Mrs. Mercy Warren, an early historian of our Revolution: “On Friday we heard the Hessians were to make a procession on the same route. We thought we should have nothing to do but view them as they passed. To be sure, the sight was truly astonishing. I never had the least idea that the creation produced such a sordid set of creatures in human figure—poor, dirty, emaciated men. Great numbers of women, who seemed to be the beasts of burden, having bushel baskets on their backs, by which they were bent double. The contents seemed to be pots and kettles, various sorts of furniture, children peeping through gridirons and other utensils. Some very young infants, who were born on the road; the women barefooted, clothed in dirty rags. Such effluvia filled the air while they were passing, that, had they not been smoking all the time, I should have been apprehensive of being contaminated.” The whole view of the vanquished army, as it marched through the country from Saratoga to Boston, a distance of three hundred miles, escorted by two or three American officers and a handful of soldiers, was a spectacle of extraordinary interest. Generals of the first order of talent; young gentlemen of noble and wealthy families, aspiring to military renown; legislators of the British realm, and a vast concourse of other men, lately confident of victory and of freedom to plunder and destroy, were led captive through the pleasant land they had coveted, to be gazed at with mingled joy and scorn by those whose homes they came to make desolate. “Their march was solemn, sullen, and silent; but they were every where treated with such humanity, and even delicacy, that they were overwhelmed with astonishment and gratitude. Not one insult was offered, not an opprobrious reflection cast;” and in all their long captivity“ they experienced the generous kindness of a people warring only to be free.
* Gordon, ii., 267.
* Women of the Revolution, i., 97.
* Mercy Warren, ii., 40.
* Although Congress ratified the generous terms entered into by Gates with Burgoyne in the convention at Saratoga, circumstances made them suspicious that the terms would not be strictly complied with. They feared that the Britons would break their parole, and Burgoyne was required to furnish a complete roll of his army, the name and rank of every officer, and the name, former place of abode, occupation, age, and size of every non-commissioned officer and private soldier. Burgoyne murmured and hesitated. General Howe, at the same time, was very illiberal in the exchange of prisoners, and exhibited considerable duplicity. Congress became alarmed, and resolved not to allow the army of Burgoyne to leave our shores until a formal ratification of the convention should be made by the British government. Burgoyne alone was allowed to go home on parole, and the other officers, with the army, were marched into the interior of Virginia, to await the future action of the two governments. The British ministry charged Congress with positive perfidy, and Congress justified their acts by charging the ministers with meditated perfidy. That this suspicion was well founded is proved by subsequent events. In the autumn of 1778, Isaac Ogden, a prominent loyalist of New Jersey, and then a refugee in New York, thus wrote to Joseph Galloway, an American Tory in London, respecting an expedition of four thousand British troops which Sir Henry Clinton sent up the Hudson a week previous: “Another object of this expedition was to open the country for many of Burgoyne's troops that had escaped the vigilance of their guard, to come in. About forty of these have got safe in. If this expedition had been a week sooner, greater part of Burgoyne's troops probably would have arrived here, as a disposition of rising on their guard strongly prevailed, and all they wanted to effect it was some support near at hand.”