This illustration depicts the area where
the British surrendered at Saratoga.
(Illustrations: Benson J. Lossing)
soldiers were quick to gather themselves after learning of his death
and the next morning returned from a scouting expedition with news
of a strong American force making a circle through the forest. The
movement of the Americans would put it at an advantage, being in
command of the road back to Saratoga.1 Soon after hearing this news,
it was with great reluctance that Burgoyne ordered a retreat to
take place. However, Burgoyne insisted on honoring his friend Fraser
before the retreat.2 To the Germans, especially von Riedesel and
his wife, the funeral for Fraser was respectable but a waste of
valuable time that should have been geared towards the British retreat
Toward the evening of Oct. 8, the British forces arrived in
Saratoga and set up camp. The Baroness was drenched from the rain
but was curious to know why the Army was not continuing on its
asked General Phillips and his response was: "Poor woman. I admire
you! Thoroughly drenched as you are, you still have the courage
to go on in this weather. If only you were our commanding general!
He thinks himself too tired and wants to spend the night here and
give us supper." 4
Burgoyne liked to have a jolly time and Saratoga was seemingly no
different. He enjoyed singing and drinking the night away in the
company of a commissary's wife, who was his mistress. She enjoyed
her champagne as much as Burgoyne did.5
On the 10th, after Burgoyne gave the order to burn patriot General
Schulyer's home, the retreat went sour. The entire British Army
was in favor of the retreat, and General von Riedesel said the retreat
could be successful if only the army had not wasted so much time.
Burgoyne could not make up his mind of whether to retreat or not.
It was because he could not make up his mind that in the end he
1 Gerald Howson, “Burgoyne of
Saratoga” (Times Books, New York 1979) 222.
Brown, “Baroness von Riedesel and the American Revolution: Journal
and Correspondence of a tour of duty 1776-1783” (University of
North Carolina Press: Published by Kingsport Press, Tennessee
6 lbid., 57.
Illustrations by Benson
J. Lossing and Felix Darley: Benson J. Lossing. "THE
PICTORIAL FIELD-BOOK OF THE WAR OF 1812; OR, ILLUSTRATIONS,
BY PEN AND PENCIL, OF THE HISTORY, BIOGRAPHY, SCENERY,
RELICS, AND TRADITIONS OF THE LAST WAR FOR AMERICAN
INDEPENDENCE." 1869. Courtesy of the Floyd Harwood
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