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In the beginning of Oétober, General Burgoyne thought it expedient, from the uncertainty of his fitu. ation, to lessen the soldiers ratios of provisions ; a measure, which however disagreeable to an army, was now submitted to with a clicarfulness which merited the highest regards, and did the greatest honors to the troops.
Things continued in this state until the 7th of October, when there being no appearance or intelligence of the expected co-operations, and the time limited for the stay of the army in the present camp within four or five days of being expired, it was judged adviseable to make a movement to the encmy's left, not only to discover whether there were any possible means of forcing a passage, should it be judged necessary to advance, or of dislodging them for the convenience of the retreat, but also to cover a torage of the army, which was exceedingly diftrefsed by the present scarcity.
A detachment of 1500 regular troops, witlı two twelve pounders, two howitzers, and fix fix pounders, were ordered to move, being commanded by the General in person, who was seconded by those excellent officers, the Majors General Philips and Reide. fel, with Brigadier General Frazer. No equal number of men was ever better cominanded, and it would have been difficult indeed to have matched the men with any equal number.--The guard of the camp upon the high grounds was committed to the Brigadiers General Hamilton and Speight ; that of the redoubts and the plain near the river, to Brigadier Goll. The force of the enemy immediately in the front of the lines, was so much fuperior, that it was not thought fafe to angment the detachment be: yond the number we have stated.
The troops were formed within three quarters of a mile of the enemy's left, and the irregulars were pushed on through bye ways to appear as a check on their rear.
But the further intended operations of the detachment were prevented, by a very sudden and most rapid attack of the enemy upon the British grenadiers, who were posted to support the left wing of the line.
Major Ackland, at the head of the grenadiers, sustained this fierce attack with great resolution ; but the numbers of the enemy enabling them, in a few minutes, to extend the attack along the whole front of the Germans, who were pofied immediately on the right of the grenadiers, it became impracticable to move any part of that body, for the purpose of forming a second line to support the Aank, where the great weight of the fire still fell.
The right was still unengaged; but it was soon perceived that the enemy were marching a strong body round their flank, in order to cut off their retreat.To oppose this bold and dangerous attempt, the light infantry, with a part of the 24th regiment, which were joined with them at that post, were thrown into a fecond line, in order to recover the retreat of the troops into camp.
Whilst this motion was yet in process, the enemy pushed a fresh and strong reinforcement to decide the action on the left, which being totally overpowered by so great a superiority, was compelled by dint of force to give way ; upon which, the light infantry and 24th regiment, were obliged, by a very quick movement, to endeavour to save that wing from being totally ruined.--It was in this movement, that the brave Brigadier General Frazer was morially wound. ed. An officer whose loss would have been general.
ly felt, and his place with difficulty supplied, in a corps of the most accomplished officers.
The situation of the detachment was now exceedingly critical ; but the danger to which the lines were exposed were still more alarming and serious. Philips and Reidesel were ordered to cover the retreat, and those troops which were nearest, or most disengaged, returned as fast as they could for their defence. The troops in general retreated in good order, tho' very hard preffed. They were obliged to abandon fix pieces of cannon, the horses not only being de ftroyed, but most of the brave artillery-men, who had as usual, under ihe couduct of Majos Williams, difplayed the utmost skill and ability in their profession, along with the most undaunted resolution, being ei. ther killed or dangeroully wounded.
The enemy pursued their success with great eagerness. The troops had scarce entered the the Americans itormed it in different parts with uncommon fierceness; rushing to the lines through a fevere fire of grape fhot and small arms, with the utmost fury. Arnold led on the attack with his usual impetuosity, against a part of his entrenchments into which the light infantry under Lord Balcarres, with a part of the line, had thrown themselves by order.
He there met with a brave and obílinate resistance. The action continued very warm for some time, each fide seeming to vie with the other in ardour and perseverance.
In this critical moment of glory and danger, Arnold was grierously wounded, just as he was forcing his way into, or had already entered the works. This could not fail to damp his party, who after long and repeated efforts were finally repulsed.
Affairs were not so fortunate in another quarter. Colonel Breyman, who cominanded the German reserve, being killed, the entrenchment defended by that corps were carried sword in hand, and they were totally roured wich the loss of their baggage, tents, and artillery. This misfortune was not reprieved, altho' orders for the recovery of the post were dispatched by the General; and his relation of the transaction seems to imply fome blame to those who failed in the execution. By this means the enemy gained a dan. gerous opening on our right and rear. The night only put an end to the engagement.
It would seem that nothing could now exceed the distress and calamity of the army. They bore it with that excellency of temper, and that unconquerable firmness and resolution, which are natural to, and were worthy of British soldiers. It was evidently impor. sible to continue in their present situation, without submitting to a certainty of deftruction on the ensuing day. A total change of position was accordingly undertaken, and as it seems to have been conceived with great judgment was carried into execution during the night, with a degree of coolness, filence, order, and intrepidity, which has seldom been equalled, and will certainly never be exceeded. It was not the movement of a wing or a part, it was a general remove of the whole army, of the camp and artillery, from its late ground to the heights above the hospital ; thus, by an entire change of front, to reduce the ene. my to a necessity of forining an entire new difpofition. All this was accomplished in the darkness, and under the doubt and apprehension of such a night, fo fatally ushered in, and accompanied throughout with circumstances of such uncominon peril, as were sufficient to XX
disturb the best formed mind, and to shake the firmeft resolution, without loss, and what was still more, witho'ut disorder.
Many brave men fell on this unfortunate day. The officers suffered exceedingly. Several who had been grievously wounded in the late action, and who difdained an absence from any danger in which their fellows were involved, were again wounded in this.Among those of greater note, or who were distinguithed by higher rank, who fell, besides General' Frazer and Colonel Breyman, whom we have mentioned, Sir James Clarke aid de camp to Gen. Burgoyne, was mortally wounded and taken prisoner--Major Williams of the artillery, and Major Ackland of the grenadiers, were also taken, the latter being wounded. Upon the whole, the lists of killed and wounded, though avowedly imperfect, and not including the Germans, were long and melancholy.
On the next day, the army, being sensible nothing less than a fuccessful and decisive action could extricate. them from their present difficulties, continued without effe&t, during its course, to offer battle repeatedly in their new position, to the enemy. They were pres paring with great coolness, the carrying of measures into exccution, which were less dangerous," though not less effe&tual, than the attack of a brave and defe perate enemy, in strong and fortified ground. A.continued succession of skirmishes were, however, carried on, and these did not pass without loss on both sides.
In the mean time, the British general discovered, that the enemy had pushed a strong body forward to turn his right, which if effected, he would have been completely enclosed on every side. Nothing was lest to prevent this fatal consequence, but an immediate