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structed, supported by twenty-two sunken piers made of large timbers. The spaces between these piers were filled with separate floats, each about fifty feet long and twelve feet wide, strongly fastened together with iron chains and rivets. On the north side of the bridge was a boom constructed of large timbers riveted together; and by the side of this boom a double iron chain, the links of which were an inch and a half square. This barrier was supposed to make the passage of a British fleet impossible, and was erected at great expense.
At the foot of Mount Independence, toward the lake, a breastwork had been thrown up, and this was strengthened by an abatis and a strong battery near the mouth of East Creek. The old French lines west of the fort had been strengthened and were guarded by a blockhouse. Half a mile in front of the French lines a small fort on Mount Hope protected the extreme left, while redoubts and batteries were placed in the low lands below the fort. An outpost was established at the old sawmills, one on the rapids at the outlet of Lake George, and another just above that place. At the northern end of Lake George a hospital and blockhouse were erected. Mount Defiance, seven hundred and fifty feet high, which commanded the outlet of Lake George and the entire works, was left unfortified, as it was supposed that it would not be possible to occupy that eminence.
The defences had been planned on a large scale, extending for more than two miles and a half in the form of a crescent, and needed at least ten thousand men to defend them. To man these works St. Clair had about two thousand, eight hundred regulars and nine hundred raw and undisciplined militia, poorly armed and
equipped, eight out of every nine men being without a bayonet. It was expected that an assault would be made upon the works, and among the weapons of defence provided were poles about twelve feet long with sharp iron points, designed to be used in repelling an attacking force.
Congress authorized Washington to call upon the Eastern States to raise and forward regiments for the defence of Ticonderoga. Following these instructions he wrote the President of the New Hampshire State Council on May 3: "You must be fully sensible of the vast importance of what is depending and the almost irreparable consequences that would result, should any misfortune happen to the post now threatened, as the loss of it would open an avenue for easy progress into the Eastern States; to prevent which it might probably be some time before an adequate force could be opposed. The pressing emergency of the occasion calls loudly for every effort in your power."
Gen. John Burgoyne was chosen in March, 1777, to command the Northern British army. He was an officer of considerable experience, who had won laurels in Portugal, a polished gentleman, a writer of plays, and a member of Parliament; but he did not understand the situation in America with anything like the thoroughness of Sir Guy Carleton's comprehension of the subject, and his appointment generally was considered a slight upon the Governor of Canada. Nevertheless, Carleton cooperated in every way possible to make the expedition by way of Lake Champlain a success. He kept the British squadron in repair, trained the regulars in man
œuvres suitable for forest warfare, and reserved only a small garrison to guard the Canadian posts.
The regular troops numbered rather more than four thousand men, and all were seasoned veterans. Gen. Simon Fraser, one of the three brigade commanders, had served under Wolfe at Louisburg and Quebec. Of General Phillips, who had won fame in the German wars, it is said: "It may well be doubted whether a better artillery officer, in quarters or on the field, ever held a commission." Lord Balcarras was a Colonel of light infantry, and although only thirty-five years old, had been in the service for twenty years.
The grenadiers were under Maj. John Dyke Acland, "heir apparent to the greatest family of English land owners, who have consented to remain commoners." He was a member of Parliament, and a cousin of Charles James Fox by marriage. The light infantry and grenadiers were said to be such a body of men as "could not be raised in a twelvemonth, search England through." The Indians, of whom there were about five hundred, having been allured to the British camp by the prospect of unlimited quantities of rum and the possibility of getting scalps, were commanded by La Corne St. Luc, whose name was a terror to the colonies, and a synonym of savage barbarity. There were also a few Canadian militia.
Part of Burgoyne's force consisted of more than three thousand German troops, not all of them, properly speaking, Hessians, as they have been called, many being Brunswickers. They had been secured by conscription. from the Landgrave of Hesse and the Duke of Brunswick, and came to England poorly clothed and shod.
They sailed for America without overcoats and suffered much from the rigors of a Canadian winter, and from homesickness. Fredrich Adolph von Reidesel was the principal German officer. He had been specially selected for his military experience, which covered a long period including the Seven Years' War.
Justin Winsor says the army was made up of four thousand one hundred and thirty-five British soldiers, three thousand one hundred and sixteen Germans, one hundred and forty-eight Canadians and five hundred and three Indians, a total of seven thousand nine hundred and two. Winsor also declares that this force was "probably the finest and most excellently supplied as to officers and private men that had ever been allotted to second the operations of any army." The equipment included a complete train of brass artillery of forty-two pieces.
Burgoyne reached Quebec in May, 1777, having visited England the previous winter, and early in June the British army left St. Johns. The plan of campaign was to cut the colonies in twain by isolating New England and the Hudson valley from the remainder of the country. Burgoyne was to proceed to Albany by way of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River, while General Howe was to come up the Hudson valley to meet him. Fraser's corps left St. Johns, June 5, and advanced that day to Point au Fer. On June 8 it arrived at the mouth of the Ausable River, and on June 12 it advanced to the mouth of the Boquet.
In a letter to General Harvey, written from Montreal, May 19, 1777, Burgoyne outlined his plan of campaign as follows: "My intention is, during my advance
to Ticonderoga, and siege of that post, for a siege I apprehend it must be, to give all possible jealousy on the side of Connecticut (probably meaning the Connecticut valley). If I can by manœuvre make them suspect that after the reduction of Ticonderoga my views are pointed that way, it may make the Connecticut forces very cautious of leaving their own frontiers, and much facilitate my progress to Albany."
As the fleet left St. Johns, under command of Captain Lutwidge, the royal standard was raised on the flagship and was saluted by all the shipping and forts. Head winds caused some delay, bad weather and bad roads also delaying land transportation, and at Cumberland Head a halt was made for the arrival of stores and ammunition. Seven hundred carts were brought for moving baggage and supplies at the portage between the lakes and the Hudson River, and one thousand five hundred horses were sent by land on the west side of the lake under a strong escort.
The army assembled at Cumberland Head between June 17 and June 20, the German troops arriving on June 18. On June 19 Fraser bought some cattle on the east side of the lake and distributed some of Burgoyne's proclamations. The whole army broke camp on June 20, General Burgoyne embarking on the Lady Mary "with great pomp." The war fleet made a brave spectacle, with music and banners, as it advanced southward, with the beautiful setting of midsummer on Lake Champlain. The scene recalls Abercrombie's advance down Lake George, about a decade earlier.
Capt. Thomas Aubrey, a young British officer, an eye witness, gave this description of the scene: "When in