28. Driving to Schuylerville: The British Retreat

Burgoyne leads a muddy seven-mile march north to escape the Rebels.

The Burial of General Simon Fraser after the Battle of Saratoga by John Graham. Courtesy of the British Museum.

October 8, 1777, the day after the second Battle of Saratoga, was dismal for the British. Their defensive position on the river, Breymann Redoubt, had been overrun. This was the second key defensive position they lost. Their hero General Simon Fraser was gravely wounded. And they were losing their ground.

When General Fraser died later that day of his wounds,  a great sadness spread through Burgoyne’s camp. At sunset he was buried at the Great Redoubt per his final wishes . Rebel fire fell all around as the solemn ceremony was performed. The Baroness Riedesel watched with terror as the generals buried Fraser.

With little prospects of success, Burgoyne planned his retreat. At 11PM, General Burgoyne’s army packed up what supplies they could and began a hasty retreat north. They lit fires and continually fired their cannons to make the Rebels believe they remained as they marched into the darkness.

A torrential downpour turned the seven-mile route into a muddy quagmire, compounding the misery of the soldiers. When morning came, Burgoyne’s army was spread out on the road back to Schuyler House. The troops were in a miserable condition as they rested for the evening.

During the hasty retreat, Burgoyne left the sick and wounded behind.

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