December General Burgoyne concerted with the British ministry a plan for the
campaign of 1777. A large force under his command was to go to Albany by way of
Lakes Champlain and George, while another body, under Sir Henry Clinton,
advanced up the Hudson. Simultaneously, Colonel Barry St. Leger was to make a
diversion, by way of Oswego, on the Mohawk river. In pursuance of this plan,
Burgoyne, in June began his advance with one of the best-equipped armies that
had ever left the shores of England. Proceeding up Lake Champlain, he easily
forced the evacuation of Crown Point, Ticonderoga, and Fort Anne. But, instead
of availing himself of the water-carriage of Lake George, at the head of which
there was a direct road to Fort Edward, he advanced upon that work by land,
consuming three weeks in cutting a road through the woods and building bridges
over swamps. This gave time for Schuyler to gather the yeomanry together, and
for Washington to re-enforce that general with troops, under Morgan, from the
southern department. Burgoyne also lost valuable time and received a fatal check
by his disastrous attack on Bennington.
length, finding his progress stopped by the entrenchments
of Gates at Bemus's heights, nine miles south of Saratoga
(Schuylerville), he endeavored to extricate himself from his perilous position
by fighting. Two battles were fought, on nearly the same ground, on 19 September
and 7 October. The first was indecisive; the second resulted in so complete a
rout for the British that, leaving his sick and wounded to the compassion of
Gates, Burgoyne retreated to Saratoga. Here, finding that his provisions were
giving out, Stark in his rear, and that there was no chance of escape, he
capitulated with his entire army, 17 October 1777.
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