History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Campaign of Lieut. Gen. John Burgoyne
and The Expedition of Lieut. Col. Barry St. Leger.
by William L. Stone.
Albany, NY, Joel Munsell. 1877.
No. VIII. continued
CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN GATES AND BURGOYNE.
The following is the correspondence between the two generals referred to by Sergeant Lamb. It will be seen to differ somewhat from the copy extract given by him.
GENERAL BURGOYNE TO GENERAL GATES.
"SIR : Lady Harriet Ackland, a lady of the first distinction by family rank and by personal virtues, is under such concern on account of Major Ackland her husband, wounded and a prisoner in your hands, that I cannot refuse her request to commit her to your protection.
Whatever general impropriety there may be in persons acting in your situation
and mine to solicit favors, I cannot see the uncommon perseverance in every
female grace, and exaltation of character of this lady, and her very hard
fortune without testifying that your attentions to her will lay me under obligation.
" I am Sir,
" Your obedient servant,
" J. BURGOYNE.
" Oct. 9th, 1777.
" Maj. Gen. Gates."
GENERAL GATES TO GENERAL BURGOYNE.
Oct. 11th, 1777.
" SIR : I have the honor to receive your excellency's letter by Lady Ackland. The respect due to her ladyship's rank, the tenderness due to her person and sex were alone sufficient securities to entitle her to my protection if you consider my preceding conduct with respect to those of your army whom the fortune of war has placed in my hands. I am surprised that your excellency should think that I could consider the greatest attention to Lady Ackland in the light of an obligation.
" The cruelties which mark the retreat of your army, in burning gentlemen's and farmers' houses as they pass along, is almost, among civilized nations, without a precedent. They should not endeavor to ruin those they could not conquer. This conduct betrays more of the vindictive malice of a bigot, than the generosity of a soldier.
" Your friend. Sir Francis Clerke, by the information of Dr. Potts, the director-general of my hospital, languishes under a dangerous wound. Every sort of tenderness and attention is paid him, as well as to all the wounded who have fallen into my hands, and the hospital, which you were obliged to leave to my mercy.
" At the solicitation of Major Williams I am prevailed upon to offer him and Major Wiborn in exchange for Colonel Ethan Allen. Your excellency's objections to my last proposals for the exchange of Colonel Ethan Allen I must consider trifling, as I cannot but suppose that the generals of the royal armies act in equal concert with those of the generals of the armies of the United States.
The bearer delivers a number of letters from the officers of your army taken
prisoners in the action of the 7th.
" I am, Sir,
" Your Excellency's most humble servant,
" HORATIO GATES.
" Lt. General Burgoyne."
MEMORANDUM OF A MESSAGE DELIVERED BY MAJOR KINGSTON FROM LIEUTENANT GENERAL BURGOYNE TO GENERAL GATES IN ANSWER TO THE ABOVE LETTER.
" The general from a great deal of business did not yesterday answer your letter about the officers, but intended it.
" In regard to the reproaches made upon this army, of burning the country, they are unjust ; General Schuyler's house, and adjacent buildings remained protected till General Gates's troops approached the ford. General Burgoyne owns the order for setting fire at that time to any thing that covered the movement.
The barracks, particularly took fire by mere accident, and measures were taken,
though ineffectual, to save them. If there has been any vindictive spirit
in burning other buildings on the march, it "has probably been employed
by some secret well-wishers to the American cause, as General Burgoyne has
been informed some of the buildings belonged to supposed friends of the king.
The general does not think that General Gates has a right, from any thing
that has appeared in his conduct or reasoning, to make use of the term TRIFLING
; and he still persists, that he cannot interfere with the prisoners in General
Howe's army, and more especially in a case that has been under negotiation
between General Howe and General Washington."
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