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.
The Battle of Saratoga has justly been designated by Sir Edward Creasy " one of the fifteen decisive battles of history." It secured for the American colonies the French alliance, and lifted the cloud of moral and financial gloom that had settled upon the hearts of the people, dampening the hopes of the leaders of the Revolution, and wringing despairing words even from the hopeful Washington. From that auspicious day, belief in the ultimate triumph of American liberty never abandoned the nation till it was realized and sealed four years later, almost to a day, in the final surrender at Yorktown.
A century has elapsed since that illustrious event. All the actors in the great drama have passed away, and their descendants are now reaping the rewards of their devotion and suffering. And yet, no monument has arisen to commemorate that turning point of our national destiny. Lexington and Bunker hill have their imposing memorials to tell of the earliest bloodshed in the cause of Cisatlantic freedom ; and, in our own day, the self consecration of Antietam and Gettysburg are made enduring in granite records for the admiration of generations yet to be. The purpose is noble, the tribute deserved, for every such memorial stands as an educator to gratitude and patriotism.
Actuated by these sentiments, in 1859, Hamilton Fish, Horatio Seymour, Benson J. Leasing, John A. Corey, and other patriotic gentlemen organized the Saratoga Monument Association, under a perpetual charter from the state of New York, whose object was the erection of a fitting memorial on the site of Burgoyne's surrender.
It is proposed, whenever sufficient funds are raised, to make the structure of granite, and of the obelisk form and eighty feet square at the base, ten feet at the summit, two hundred and thirty feet in height. Within the monument the first story is one room designed for historical tablets, relics and memorials. On the four corners of the platform are to be mounted four of the large arid ornamental brass guns taken from the English at the time of the surrender. Of the large niches in the four gables, three are to be filled with appropriate groups of sculpture in bronze representing the three Generals, Schuyler, Gates, and Morgan, with their accessories, the fourth being vacant, with the word ARNOLD inscribed underneath. The association expect to obtain by purchase five acres of land from the Prospect Cemetery Association of Schuylerville as a site for the monument-the corner stone of which is to be laid, on the centennial of the surrender, Oct. 17th, 1877, with appropriate ceremonies. Hon. Horatio Seymour of Utica, N. Y., will deliver the oration, and Alfred B. Street of Albany, N. Y., the poem. It is a high bluff, sixty feet above the alluvial meadow bordering the river, and overlooks the spot where the British laid down their arms. It is as near, as can conveniently be placed, to where the head-quarters of Gates were situated, which witnessed the formal surrender of Burgoyne's sword, and the unfurling, for the first time, of the stars and stripes.1
<-Seal of the Saratoga Monument Association.
It is true, that a flag, intended for the stars and stripes, and made out
of a white shirt and some bits of red cloth from the petticoat of a soldier's
wife, first floated on captured standards on the ramparts of Fort Stanwix
5th, 1777), but the stars and stripes as we now see them-except as to the number of the stars - was first unfurled to grace the surrender at Saratoga, Oct. 17th, 1777.-Gen. J. Watts De Peyster's Justice to Schuyler. The
Fort Stanwix flag, is now in the possession of Mrs. Abram Lansing, of Albany, a descendant of Gen. Gansevoort, by whom it is cherished as a most precious relic.
A reliable guide book to the Saratoga battle ground-a work long needed-has been recently written and published by Mrs. Ellen Hardin Walworth, of Saratoga Springs-a grand-daughter of Col. Hardin of Kentucky who was in the battles, and present at the surrender.
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