Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

Border Wars

The 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. II.


The army which took the field in July, 1777, consisted of seven battalions of British infantry , viz. : 9th, 20th, 21st, 24th, 47th, 53d, and 62d regiments, of each of which (as also of three regiments left in Canada) the flank companies were detached to form a corps of grenadiers and light infantry, under Majors Ackland and the Earl of Balcarras. The German troops consisted of a few Hessian rifles (the regiment of Hesse-Hanau), a corps of dismounted dragoons, and a mixed force of Brunswickers. The artillery was composed of 511 rank and file, including 100 Germans, with a large number of guns, the greater part of which, however, were employed only on the lakes. The ordnance which accompanied the force on their line of march, consisted of thirty-eight pieces of light artillery attached to columns, and a pair of six twenty-four pounders, six twelve pounders, and four howitzers.

The royal army was divided into three brigades under Major General Phillips,1 of the royal artillery, and Brigadier Generals Fraser and Hamilton. The German troops were distributed among the three brigades, with one corps of reserve under Colonel (Brigadier General) Breymann, and were immediately commanded by Major General Riedesel, Colonel Kingston, and Captain Money acted as adjutant and quarter-master general, and Sir James Clerke (killed at Saratoga in the action of Oct. 7th), and Lord Petersham (afterward Earl of Harrington), were aides-de-camp to General Burgoyne.

The total force was--rank and file :
British ..................................... 4,135
German, ...................................3,116
Canadian militia.......................... 148
Indians,...................................... 503
Total........................................ 7,902

Of these numbers General Burgoyne was obliged to detach nearly 1,000 men to garrison Ticonderoga before he crossed the Hudson. - Fonblanque's Burgoyne.

1 The employment of artillery officers in command of infantry brigades was at that time contrary to regulation, and General Burgoyne, in a letter to General Hervey of II July, '77, excuses himself for having made this arrangement by the statement that " the service must suffer in the most material degree if the talents of General Phillips were not suffered to extend beyond the artillery; and I hold myself fully justified in continuing this great use."


A great deal has been written in condemnation of the English government employing Germans in the war for the subjugation of her revolted American colonies. But does any soldier work for pure patriotism and not for hire ? Besides, at that time, the German soldier belonged body and soul to him to whom he had sold himself: he had no country, he was severed from every tie- in fact, he was, in every sense of the word, the property of his military lord, who could do with him as he saw fit. Again, it may well be asked, wherein did this action of the British government differ from that of the United States, employing in our late civil war recruiting agents in the different German ports for the express purpose of filling up her depleted armies, and also purchasing substitutes in Canada.

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