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hind Mount Independence, as far as East Creek. From this place, by stretching more forward, it might easily occupy the ground comprehended between East Creek and South River, or Wood Creek, and thus deprive the Americans of their communication with Skeenesborough by the right bank of the latter stream. But the most interesting post for the English, was that of Mount Defiance, which so completely commanded the fortress that it was beyond all doubt, if batteries were planted there, that the garrison must immediately evacuate the place, or surrender at discretion. This eminence being therefore attentively examined by the British generals, they believed it possible, though with infinite labor and difficulty, to establish their artillery upon its summit. This arduous task was immediately undertaken and pushed with such spirit and industry, that on the fifth day, the road was completed, the artillery mounted, and ready to open its fire on the following morning. The garrison were afraid to sally out, in order to annoy, or even to retard the besiegers, in these works; they were, therefore, in danger of losing all way of retreat. St. Clair knew very well that after the loss of Mount Defiance, there was no longer any resource for Ticonderoga, and that he could not even aspire to the honor of a short resistance. The only way of escape that he had left, was the narrow passage between East Creek and Wood Creek, which Reidesel could shut up at any mon,ent. In these circumstances, St. Clair, having convened in council the principal officers of the garrison, represented to them the critical situation in which they were placed, thus pressed by the enemy, and upon the very point of being hemmed in on every side. He asked them if they did not think it would be proper to evacuate the place without loss of time; they were all in favor of the measure.
It is impossible to blame this determination of the council of war of Ticonderoga ; for, independently of the progress already made by the besiegers, the garrison was so feeble that it would not have been able to defend one half of the works, or to sustain, for any length of time, the consequent excess of fatigue. By remaining, therefore, the fortress and the garrison were both lost, by departing, only the first and the second might be saved. It was known also to St. Clair, that general Schuyler, who was then at Fort Edward, far from being able to bring him succour, had not even forces sufficient for his own defence. But here an objection presents itself which has never yet been satisfactorily answered. Since the American generals found their force insufficient for the defence of the place, why did they not evacuate it in time, and when they might bave done so with safety? They would thus have been sure of saving at least their baggage, stores and artillery. If they were deceived respecting the real force of the enemy, and therefore, at first, believed themselves able to resist him, even this error, could only have proceeded from a defect of military skill, so extraordinary as to admit of no excuse. VOL. II.
However it was, baviog taken their resolution, they thought of nothing but executing it with promptitude, and in the night of the fisth of July, they put themselves in motion. General St. Clair led the vanguard, and colonel Francis the rear. The soldiers had received orders to maintain a profound silence, and to take with them sustenance for eight days. The baggage of the army, the furniture of the hospital, with all the sick, and such artillery, stores and provisions as the necessity of the line would permit, were embarked with a strong detachment under colonel Long, on board above two hupdred batteaux and five armed gallies. On beginning to strike the tents, the lights were extinguished. These preparations were executed with much order at Ticonderoga ; but not without some confusion at Mount Independence. The general rendezvous was appointed at Skeenesborough, the batteaux proceeding under convoy of the gallies, up Wood Creek, and the main army taking its route by the way of Castletown, upon the right bank of that stream. St. Clair issued from Ticonderoga at two in the morning; Francis at four. The English had no suspicion of what was passing, and the march commenced under the most favorable auspices. But all at once a house wbich took fire on Mount Independence, roused by its glare of light the attention of the English, who immediately perceived all that had taken place. The Americans finding themselves discovered, could not but feel a certain agitation. They marched, however, though in soine disorder, as far as Hubbardston, where they halted to refresh themselves, and rally the dispersed. But the English were not idle. General Frazer, at the head of a strong detachment of grenadiers and light troops, commenced an eager pursuit by land, upon the right bank of Wood Creek. General Reidesel, behind hiin, rapidly advanced with his Brunswickers, either to support the English, or to act separately, as occasion might require. General Burgoyne determined to pursue the enemy by water. But it was first necessary to destroy the boom and bridge which the Americans had constructed in front of Ticonderoga. The British seamen and artificers immediately engaged in the operation, and in less time than it would have taken to describe their structure, those works, which had cost so much labor and so vast an expense, were cut through and demolished. The passage thus cleared, the ships of Burgoyne immediately entered Wood Creek, and proceeded with extreme rapidity in search of the enemy; all was in movement at once upon land and water. By three in the afternoon, the van of the British squadron, composed of gun boats, came up with, and attacked the Ameri, can gallies, near Skeenesborough Falls. In the meantime, three regiments which had been landed at South Bay, ascended and passed a mountain with great expedition, in order to turn the enemy above Wood Creek, to destroy his works at the falls of Skeenesborough, and thus to cut off his retreat 10 Fort Anne. But the Americans
eluded this stroke by the rapidity of their flight. The British frigates having joined the van, the gallies, already hard pressed by the gun boats, were completely overpowered. Two of them surrendered; three were blown up. The Americans now despaired; having set fire to their works, mills, and batteaux, and otherwise destroyed what they were unable to burn, they escaped as well as they could up Wood Creek, without halting till they reached Fort Anne. Their loss was considerable ; for the batteaux they burnt were loaded with baggage, provisions and munitions, as necessary to their sustenance as to military operations. The corps which had set out by land was in no better situation. The vanguard, conducted by St. Clair, was arrived at Castletown, thirty miles distant from Ticonderoga, and twelve from Skeenesborough; the rear, commanded by coloncis Francis and Warner, had rested the night of the sixth at Hubbardston, six miles below Castletown, towards Ticonderoga.
At five o'clock in the morning of the seventh, the English column under general Frazer made its appearance. The Americans were strongly posted, and appeared disposed to defend themselves. · Frazer, though inferior in point of number, had great confidence in the valor of his troops. He also expected every moment to be joined by general Reidesel; and being apprehensive that the enemy might escape if he delayed, he ordered the attack immediately. The battle was long and sanguinary. The Americans being commanded by valiant officers, behaved with great spirit and firmness; but the English displayed an equal obstinacy. After several shocks with alternate success, the latter began to fall back in disorder; but their leaders rallied them anew, and led them to a furious charge with the bayonet; the Americans were shaken by its impetuosity. At this critical moment, general Reisesel arrived at the head of his column, composed of light troops and some grenadiers.' He immediately took part in the action. The Americans, overpowered by numbers, fled on all sides, leaving their brave cominander, with many other officers, and upwards of two hundred soldiers, dead on the field. About the same number, besides colonel Hale, and seventeen officers of inferior rank, were made prisoners. Above six hundred were supposed to be wounded, many of whom, deprived of all succour, perished miserably in the woods. The loss of the royal troops in dead and wounded amounted to about one hundred and eighty. General St. Clair, upon intelligence of this discomfiture, and that of the disaster at Skeeneshorough, which was brought him at the same time by an officer of one of the gallies, apprehending that he should be interrupted if he proceeded towards Fort Anne, struck into the woods on his left, uncertain whether he should repair to New Englaod and the upper part of Connecticut, or to Fort Edward. But being joined two days after at Manchester by the remains of the corps of colonel Warner, and having collected the fugitives, he proceeded to Fort Edward, in order to unite with general Schuyler.
While these events were passing on the left, the English generals resolved to drive the Americans from Fort Anne, situated higher up towards the sources of Wood Creek. Colonel Hill was detached for this purpose from Skeenesborough, and to facilitate his operations, the greatest exertions were made in carrying batteaux over the falls of that place ; which enabled him to attack the fort also by water. Upon intelligence that the Americans had a numerous garrison there, brigadier Powell was sent with two regiments to the succour of colonel Hill., The American colonel Long, who with a great part of his corps had escaped the destruction of the boats at the falls, commanded the garrison of Fort Anne. Having heard that the enemy was approaching, he gallantly sallied out to receive him. The English defended themselves with courage, but the Americans had already nearly surrounded them. Colonel Hill finding himself too hard pressed, endeavored to take a stronger position. This movement was executed with as much order as intrepidity, amidst the reiterated and furious charges of the enemy. The combat had lasted for more than two hours, and victory was still doubtful, when all at once the Americans heard the horrible yells of the savages, who approached ; and being informed at the same instant that the corps of Powell was about to fall upon them, they retired to Fort Anne. Not thinking themselves in safety even there, they set it on fire, and withdrew to Fort Edward on the river Hudson.
General Schuyler was already in this place, and St. Clair arrived there on the twelfth, with the remains of the garrison of Ticonderoga. It would be difficult to describe the hardships and misery which these troops had suffered, from the badness of the weather and the want of covering and provisions, in their circuitous march through the woods, from Castletown to Fort Edward. After the arrival of these corps, and of the fugitives, who came in by companies, all the American troops amounted to little over four thousand men, including the militia. They were in want of all necessaries, and even of courage, by the effect of their recent reverses. The Americans lost in these different actions, no less than one hundred and twenty-eight pieces of artillery, with a prodigious quantity of warlike stores, baggage and provisions, particularly of flour, which they left in Ticonderoga and Mount Independence. To increase the calamity, the whole of the neighboring country was struck with terror by this torrent of disasters, and the inhabitants thought more of providing for their own safety, than of flying to the succour of their country in jeopardy.
In a conjuncture so alarming, general Schuyler neglected none of those cares which become an able commander, and an excellent citizen. Already, while the eneiny was assembling at Skeenesborough, he had endeavored to interrupt, with all manner of obstacles, the navigation of Wood Creek, from that place to Fort Anne, where it
determined even for batteaux. The country between Fort Aane and Fort Edward (a distance of only sixteen miles) is excessively rough and savage; the ground is unequal, and broken with numerous creeks, and with wide and deep morasses.
General Schuyler neglected no means of adding by art to the difficulies with which nature seemed to have purposely interdicted this passage. Trenches were opened, the roads and paths obstructed, the bridges broken up; and in the only practicable defiles, immense trees were cut in such a manner, on both sides of the road, as to fall. across and lengthwise, which, with their branches interwoven, présented an insurmountable barrier; in a word, this wilderness, of itself so horrible, was thus rendered almost absolutely impenetrable. Nor did the American general rest satisfied with these precautions; he directed the cattle to be removed to the most distant places, and the stores and baggage from Fort George to Fort Edward, that articles of such necessity for his troops, might not fall into the power of the enemy. He urgently demanded that all the regiments of regular troops found in the adjacent provinces, should be sent, without delay, to join him; he also made earnest and frequent calls upon the militia of New England and of New York. He likewise exerted bis utmost endeavors to procure himself recruits in the vicinity of Fort Edward and the city of Albany; the great influence he enjoyed with the inhabitants, gave him, in this quarter, all the success he could desire. Finally, to retard the progress of the enemy, he resolved to threaten his left flank; accordingly he detached colonel Warner, with bis regiment, into the state of Vermont, with orders to assemble the militia of the country, and to make incursions towards Ticonderoga. In brief, general Schuyler neglected no means that could tend to impede or defeat the projects of the enemy.
Wbile he thus occupied bimself with so much ardor, general Burgoyne was detained at Skeenesborough, as well by the difficulty of the ground he had to pass, as because he chose to wait for the arrival of tents, baggage, artillery and provisions, so absolutely necessary before plunging bimself into these fearful solitudes. His army at this time was disposed in the following manner; the right occupied the heights of Skeenesborough, the German division of Reidesel forming its extremity; the left, composed of Brunswickers, extending into the plain, rested upon the river of Castletown, and the brigade of Frazer formed the centre. The regiment of Hessians, of Hanau, was posted at the source of East Creek, to protect the camp of Castletown, and the batteaux upon Wood Creek, against the incur-, sions of Colonel Warper. In the meantime, indefatigable labor was exerted in removing all obstacles to the navigation of this stream, as also in clearing passages, and opening roads through the country about Fort Anne. The design of Burgoyne was, that the main body of the army should penetrate through the wilderness we have just