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was the senior major-general of the army, and assumed command at Philadelphia, strengthening defenses, hastening the recruiting of troops, and greatly aiding in the proper organization of the commissary department of the army. Early in May the committee made a report completely exonerating him from the odium cast upon him by Trumbull's insinuations, and also officially informing him that Congress entertained as high an opin ion of him as it did before the letter was written which evoked his censure. This rehabilitation of Schuyler provoked a long and animated discussion in Congress as to the status of Gates, a discussion which resulted in an avowal that it had not been the intention of Congress to advance him to the command of the northern department. hern department. Schuyler returned to his co
Schuyler returned to his command at Albany upon the 3d day of June, and Gates, who had not proceeded farther than that city, obtained leave to return to Philadelphia, while St. Clair took command at Ticonderoga. Though the action of Congress had been simply to define his position, Gates clung to his own interpretation of the matter, and persisted in regarding himself as degraded from command. He proceeded to Philadelphia; obtained admission to the floor of the House, by representing that he was the bearer of important news; then, after some trivial communication regarding Indian affairs, launched into an almost hysterical tirade concerning his treatment. The House was at last compelled to cause his withdrawal, and to give him notice that any future communications in the matter must be submitted in writing.
Affairs were in this condition when it was announced that General Burgoyne, who had returned from Canada to England during the previous year, had re-crossed the Atlantic and was preparing for a movement in force, through Lake Champlain and the Hudson, to effect a junction with the army of General Howe. This news reached Washington early in June, and Schuyler at once proceeded to devise means for strengthening the garrisons and defenses at the North. The main hope of the Americans lay in defending Ticonderoga, and in completing and holding Fort Independence, then in course of construction upon a lofty hill, directly across the lake from that fort. The lake is there very narrow and had been spanned by a broad bridge of boats, by a log boom and a heavy chain, which were deemed, in conjunction with the guns from either shore, quite sufficient to prevent a passage by water. It may be stated that these obstructions, which had required nine months of constant and costly labor to stretch across the lake, were cut by the British in about four hours. The principal depot of stores for the army was upon Lake George and the maintenance of communication between the forts upon Lake Champlain, and the base of supplies, was of the first importance.
Burgoyne set out from St. Johns on the 16th of June with an army made up as follows: of the British rank and file, three thousand seven hundred and twenty-four; three thousand and sixteen Brunswickers; two hundred
and fifty Canadians; four hundred Indians, and four hundred and seventythree artillerymen, making in all seven thousand eight hundred and sixtythree men. The army was provided with a magnificent train of brass cannon, and with baggage and impedimenta enough to have put Braddock to the blush. From St. Johns, Burgoyne dispatched a detachment of seven hundred regulars and Canadians, under Colonel St. Leger, who it was intended should land at Oswego, on Lake Ontario, effect a junction with Sir John Johnson and his tory followers, obtain an Indian contingent, and, capturing Fort Stanwix, lay waste the valley of the Mohawk, and rejoin Burgoyne at Albany. The plan was admirably laid and the possibility of failure did not once enter as an element into Burgoyne's calculations.
On the 30th Burgoyne, having made a landing some distance above Ticonderoga, began a simultaneous movement towards the American works, -the main body, under his personal command, on the west shore of the lake; the Germans, under Baron de Riedesel on the east, with the fleetfrigates, transports and bateaux;abreast of his march. The garrisons were looking for reinforcements, but were well provisioned and confident of sustaining a defense until they should be relieved. Four miles north of Fort Ticonderoga, Burgoyne halted, entrenched himself and sent out scouts and reconnoitering parties to observe the strength of the fort. On the 2d of July St. Clair abandoned his outworks, burned a number of mills and other buildings, and concentrated his force in the fort. Unfortunately, he failed to garrison an outpost about half a mile in advance of the extreme left of his line, which had been erected to cover a weak point in the old French works. This was taken possession by the British, mounted with heavy guns, and thus the communication with Lake George was effectually cut off. Worse, however, remained behind. Sugar hill, a ridge extending like a backbone, between the two lakes, lay back of Fort Ticonderoga, presenting a precipitous descent of six hundred feet to the water of Lake Champlain. The fortification of this point had often been urged but it was claimed to be out of range and inaccessible with artillery. The British disproved both of these assertions. Having pretty thoroughly invested Ticonderoga below, they opened a brisk cannonade from the work which has been mentioned, and, undetected, cut a road up the mountain, hauled their guns from tree to tree, and twenty-four hours after the first blow was struck, the garrison below was appalled to discover the height occupied by red-coated British, and a work well advanced, from which Forts Ticonderoga and Independence might easily be laid in ruins about the ears of their garrisons, without the loss of a man to the British. Recognizing the futility of a defense, St. Clair determined upon evacuating the fort for the preservation of his army. This resolve was made about 3 o'clock on the afternoon of the 5th of July. At nightfall the sick, wounded, non-combatants, provisions, and ammunition were loaded upon bateaux and, under cover of a few gun-boats, dis
patched to Skenesborough (now Whitehall), at the head of the lake. The heavy artillery was spiked. It was contemplated that the garrison of Ticonderoga should cross and cut the bridge, and being joined by that of Fort Independence, take a circuitous route on the east side of the lake and place themselves in the stockaded fort at Skenesborough. All went well until about three o'clock in the morning. Then, St. Clair having crossed the bridge with his main body, some one at Fort Independence set fire to a house which, burning brilliantly, revealed to the British the American army in full retreat. An alarm was at once raised, and, before the American rear-guard, under Colonel Francis, could cross, General Fraser was in Fort Ticonderoga with his pickets. The men comprising the American rear dispersed into the woods and for the most part made their escape. In the meantime the English flag floated from both forts; a strong force was in hot pursuit of St. Clair, and by nine o'clock the feet had cut the boom and chain, and were following the bateaux of the Americans. The latter reached Skenesborough in safety, but before the galleys, which escorted them, had come up, they were overtaken by the British gunboats, two of thein captured and the three remaining, sunk. Those who had landed at Skenesborough set fire to everything combustible and fled to Fort Anne. Schuyler was at Fort Edward, but a few miles distant, with fifteen hundred men whom he was leading to the reinforcement of Fort Ticonderoga. A portion of these he sent to the relief of Colonel Long, who commanded the party at Fort Anne. A body of British coming up, Long, after a gallant fight, set fire to Fort Anne, and, retreating, joined Schuyler at Fort Edward. The main body of the American army forced its retreat on the first day to Castleton, a distance of thirty miles. Early on the following morning it was overtaken and attacked by General Fraser with about eight hundred and fifty men. The cowardly failure of two militia regiments to support the rear-guard as ordered, saved the British advance from destruction and prolonged the battle until Baron de Riedesel with the main body of the pursuers came up and the Americans were put to flight with heavy loss. More than two hundred were killed outright; six hundred men were wounded, and two hundred and ten were made prisoners. St. Clair pushed on from the scene of this battle to Rutland, and learning of the fate of Skenesborough, from thence made his way to Fort Edward and joined Schuyler. There, too, came most of the stragglers of the army,and, notwithstanding its miserable plight, Schuyler at once set about its reorganization, bringing stores and equipments from Lake George, and straining every nerve to procure reinforcements of regulars, and to raise the militia ot the northern colonies. By such exertions he soon had at least an organization with which to oppose Burgoyne. One of the few men in the colonial army who did not sincerely mourn the loss of Ticonderoga, was General Gates. In the narrowness of his jealousy he saw in it only a justification of