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1777)

ADOPTION OF A NATIONAL FLAG.

239

to-night,” said Prescott, as they landed, beyond the reach of pursuit. “We have done as well as we could," answered Barton. Congress rewarded this gallant act by presenting Barton a sword and promoting him to the rank of colonel.

333. In July, 1777, Congress adopted a national flag, consisting of thirteen stripes, alternately red and white, with thirteen white stars in a blue field. The number of stars was afterwards increased, a new one being added for each new state admitted into the Union.

[graphic]

FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES.

CHAPTER XI.

BURGOYNE'S CAMPAIGN AND SURRENDER.

334. WHILE Howe was endeavoring to bring Washington to an engagement, Gen. Burgoyne, who had concentrated an army of 10,000 men in Canada, was advancing towards the head-waters of the Hudson. His object was to effect a junction with the southern army, after garrisoning the important posts on his route and thus cutting off Washington's communication with the eastern states. On the 21st of June he gave a war-feast, on the west bank of Lake Champlain, to 400 Indians, among whom was Little Turtle, afterwards the leader of a powerful confederacy. The chiefs promised their aid, and, as they looked on his splendid array, believed his boastful promise of a speedy triumph over the “rebels”.

The invading host soon reached Ticonderoga, which was

334. Meanwhile, who had succeeded to the command in Canada ? Give an account of Burgoyne's movements and object. On the 21st of June, what took place? What post did Burgoyne soon reach ? Who commanded at Ticonderoga ?

commanded by Gen. St. Clair, and garrisoned by about 3,000 Americans. St. Clair had determined to hold out to the last extremity ; but, to his dismay, he soon saw the British erecting batteries on Mount Defiance (see Map, p. 169], a rocky height commanding the fort, which he had deemed inaccessible. A speedy retreat was necessary. Before daylight on the 6th of July, the ammunition and stores were on the

way to Skenesborough [skeenz'-bur-ro], now Whitehall, at the head of the lake. At the same time the army silently crossed and took the road for Fort Edward, to join Gen. Schuyler (ski'-ler] and the rest of the northern army. The British, after pursuing St. Clair and defeating his rear-guard, took Skenesborough and the valuable stores there collected. Early in July, Burgoyne had issued a proclamation offering pardon and protection to all who would abandon the rebel cause, and threatening those who adhered to it with the severest punishment. This was met by Schuyler with a counter-proclamation, in which he reminded his countrymen of the protection that had been extended to the people of New Jersey, and warned them against listening to the deceitful promises of the enemy.

335. The loss of so many strongholds in the north, without a blow in their defence, produced general alarm, and led many to charge Schuyler and St. Clair with inefficiency; but an investigation instituted by Congress proved that they had done all that the means at their command allowed. Some of the ablest officers in the American service were ordered to the north, to aid in arresting Burgoyne's advance: among these were Lincoln, to whom the Massachusetts troops were intrusted; Arnold, noted for his fiery courage; and Morgan, with his famous corps of riflemen. Burgoyne's advance was slow, for it was necessary to remove the obstructions which the Americans had placed in his way. On the 30th of July, he reached Fort Edward, which Schuyler was compelled to What had St. Clair resolved? What altered his determination! Give an account of the retreat. What were Burgoyne's next movements ? What proclamation had Burgoyne issued ? How did Schuyler reply? 335. With what were Schuyler and St. Clair charged? What was the result of an investigation into their conduct? What officers were sent to the north? What is said of Burgoyne's ad

What place was reached, July 30th ? On what places did Schuyler suc

yance ?

1777]

TRAGICAL FATE OF JANE M'CREA.

241

abandon. The American army fell back successively on Saratoga, Stillwater, and the Mohawk, near its junction with the Hudson.

336. The Indians who had promised Burgoyne their friendship, accompanied his army, committing their usual barbarities whenever opportunity offered. One of their bloody acts at this time excited universal abhorrence. Near Fort Edward, in the family of her brother, lived Jane M'Crea [ma-krā'], who was engaged to Lieutenant Jones, of the British army. When Burgoyne's approach was announced, Mr. M'Crea, being a whig, started for Albany; but Jane, in the hope of meeting her lover, ventured to remain with a Mrs. McNeil [neel], a neighbor and friend, who, being a loyalist and cousin of the British General Frazer, apprehended no danger from the approaching army. On the 27th of July, however, the house was surrounded by Indians, and Mrs. McNeil and Jane were seized and hurried off by different parties. An alarm having been raised in the American camp, they were pursued and fired upon. Mrs. McNeil was forced to the ground by her captors that the bullets might pass over her, and reached the British

camp

in safety. Soon after, another party of Indians came in, and Mrs. McNeil, to her horror, recognized among the scalps in their possession the long glossy hair of her friend. The Indians were charged with having murdered her on the road. They asserted, however, that she was killed by an American ball, while they were trying to bring her off, and that they had then scalped her to obtain the bounty which the British were in the habit of paying. Lieutenant Jones secured this sad memento of his betrothed, and resigned his command. His resignation not being accepted, he deserted. More than fifty years, we are told, he lived remote from society, a heart-broken man, observing each anniversary of the day that proved fatal to his happiness.

337. Before leaving Canada, Burgoyne had detached Col. St. Leger, with about 700 men, to reduce the valley of the

cessively fall back! 336. By whom were many barbarities committed ? Tell the story of Jane M'Crea. What became of Lieut. Jones ? 337. Before leaving Cana

Mohawk. His force being doubled by Indians and tories, who joined him as he advanced from Oswego, he devastated the country, and laid siege to Fort Schuyler, previously called Fort Stanwix, on the site of the present village of Rome, N. Y. This post was bravely defended by Col. Gan'se-voort, but the ammunition and supplies of the garrison were insufficient for a siege. Gen. Her'-ki-mer, while advancing to their relief with a body of militia, fell into an ambuscade at O-ris'-ka-ny, was defeated and mortally wounded. The only hope of aid now rested on Gen. Schuyler. Two officers of the garrison undertook to inform him of their critical situation. Leaving the fort at night, during a violent storm, they crept to the Mohawk, crossed it on a log, threaded their way through hostile Indians, and at last reached Schuyler's camp. Arnold and 800 men volunteered to relieve the beleaguered fort. Unwilling to risk an engagement with a superior force if it could be avoided, Arnold had recourse to stratagem. A tory prisoner under sentence of death was pardoned on condition that he would go to St. Leger's camp and spread the report that a large American army was within a few hours' march. His statements, confirmed by a scout also sent by Arnold, produced such a panic among the Indians and British, already discouraged by the brave resistance of the garrison, that they precipitately fled, leaving their tents, baggage, provisions, and artillery behind them. St. Leger's force was completely. dispersed.

338. Meanwhile Gen. Schuyler was collecting reënforcements, and strengthening his position at the mouth of the Mohawk, where he had determined to make a stand against the enemy. Burgoyne, on the other hand, finding it difficult to obtain provisions, and hearing that the Americans had large supplies at Bennington, sent Col. Baum thither

da, what expedition had Burgoyne sent out? By whom was St. Leger joined ? What place did he besiege ? By whom was Fort Schuyler defended! Under what disadvantages did the garrison labor! Who attempted to relieve them? What befell Gen. Herkimer? How was Schuyler informed of the danger of Fort Schuyler ? Who volunteered to go to its relief? Relate Arnold's artifice. What was the result? 338. What was Gen. Schuyler doing in the mean time? What

17771

BATTLE OF BENNINGTON.

243

with 500 regulars and tories and a number of Indians, to seize on whatever he could find. A few miles fron Bennington, Baum was met by Gen. Stark, with a body of New Hampshire militia, and such volunteers as could be hastily raised. The two armies came in sight of each other on the 15th of August, but a violent rain prevented them from engaging. A minister who had come with part of his flock to strike a blow for his country, was impatient at the delay; but Stark comforted him with the promise, that, if the next day was clear, he should have fighting enough. And he kept his word.

Early on the 16th, Stark prepared for the attack. As he beheld the enemy's columns forming, he exclaimed, “See, men! There are the red-coats. We must beat to-day, or Molly Stark's a widow.” For two hours the battle raged furiously. At last the British were driven from the field, with the loss of their artillery and baggage. A few hours after, a detachment which had been sent to the aid of Baum, shared the same fate. In these engagements, the British had 207 killed, and about 600 taken prisoners; the American loss amounted to 200 in killed and wounded. Four brass cannon and ammunition-wagons, 900 swords, and 1,000 stands of arms, were secured by the victors.

339. The patriotism which actuated the Americans at this time is illustrated in the case of an old man who had five sons at the battle of Bennington. A neighbor who had just come from the field, told him that one of them had been unfortunate. “Has he proved a coward or traitor ?” anxiously asked the father. “Worse than that,” was the answer; “he has fallen, but while fighting bravely.” “Then,” said the father, “I am satisfied.” The true-hearted patriot afterwards declared it was the happiest day of his life, to know that his five sons had fought nobly for freedom, though one had fallen in the conflict.

expedition did Burgoyne send out for provisions ? By whom was Baum met! On what day? What anecdote is told of a minister who had joined the army! Give an account of the battle of Bennington. What was the loss on each side? What spoils were taken by the Americans ? 339. What story is told of a patriot who

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