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General Burgoyne Surrenders

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

October 17. –General Burgoyne having been defeated in a second trial on the field at Stillwater,1 and finding himself encircled without the least chance of escape, to-day surrendered to the Americans. General Gates, in a letter to his wife, written from Albany three days after the surrender, says: —

General Burgoyne
General Burgoyne. Engraved by A. H. Ritchie.

The voice of fame, ere this reaches you, will tell how greatly fortunate we have been in this department. Burgoyne and his whole army have laid down their arms, and surrendered themselves to me and my Yankees. Thanks to the Giver of all victory for this triumphant success. I got here the night before last, and the army are now encamped upon the heights to the southward of this city. Major-General Phillips, who wrote me that saucy note last year from St. John’s, is now my prisoner, with Lord Petersham, Major Ackland, son of Sir Thomas, and his lady, daughter of Lord Ilchester, sister to the famous Lady Susan, and about a dozen members of Parliament, Scotch lords, &c. I wrote to T. Boone, by Mr. Fluck, an engineer, whom I permitted to pass to Canada, and who goes immediately from thence to England. I could not help, in a modest manner, putting him in mind of the fête champêtre that I three years ago told him General Burgoyne would meet with if he came to America. If Old England is not by this lesson taught humility, then she is an obstinate old slut, bent upon her ruin. I long much to see you, and have therefore sent the bearer to conduct you to Albany by the way of Reading, where you will be received and entertained by Mrs. Potts. Before you leave Reading, you must take advice whether to come by Nazareth or Bethlehem; after that your road up the country by Van Camp’s, through the Minnisinks, to Hurley and Esopus, is plain, and well known to the bearer. Don’t let Bob’s zeal to get to papa, hurry you faster than, considering the length of your journey, you ought to come. If you come by Bethlehem, there is a Mr. Oakley, who holds an office under Mifflin, who will provide you with every thing you may have occasion for, and will introduce you to Madame Langton, and the bishop, and Mrs. Ilsley, &c. Perhaps you may get ruffles to your apron; if they are not finished I desire you will bespeak them.

Tell my dear Bob not to be too elated at this great good fortune of his father. He and I have seen days adverse, as well as prosperous. Let us through life endeavor to bear both with an equal mind. General Burgoyne has promised me to deliver any letters I please to commit to his care in England. I think to send a few to some principal men there. Perhaps they may have a good effect for both countries. I would fain have the mother reconciled to her child, and consent, since she is big enough to be married, to let her rule and govern her own house.

I hope Lady Harriet Ackland will be here when you arrive. She is the most amiable, delicate little piece of quality you ever beheld. Her husband is one of the prettiest fellows I have seen, learned, sensible, and an Englishman to all intents and purposes; has been a most confounded Tory, but I hope to make him as good a Whig as myself before he and I separate. You must expect bad and cold days up the journey, therefore prepare against it. I thank God I am pretty well; have had a bad cold, with loss of appetite from being continually harassed with so much business; but I hope to find some rest in winter and much comfort in yours and Bob’s company. I will try to get some good tea for you from some of the English officers. Accept my tenderest wishes for your health and safety, and assure my dear Bob how much I am interested in his welfare. Heaven grant us a happy meeting.2


1 On the 7th of October.
2 Gates Papers, New York Historical Society. Rivington, in his paper of November 1, says: –“As no accounts, properly authenticated, of the situation of the northern army, have yet been brought to New York, the printer entreats the public to excuse his inserting any of the reports that have been circulated, until he may be warranted by intelligence derived immediately from General Burgoyne.”

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