Lady Acland: The Wounded Left Behind

Lady Acland. Courtesy of the British Museum.

During the hasty retreat from Schuylerville, General Burgoyne left the sick and wounded behind. Among them was Major John Acland. His wife, Harriet Acland, had accompanied him on the excursion and remained with the Baroness Riedesel well behind enemy lines. When she learned of the orders to retreat, she petitioned Burgoyne to allow her to go to her husband. She set out from near the Schuyler House (in present-day Schuylerville) in the boat, accompanied by the British chaplain Brudenell, her waiting-maid, and her husband’s valet, who was wounded during his search for his master. They travelled north on the Hudson River during a violent storm and across enemy lines, bearing a flag of truce

Lady Acland joined her husband as a prisoner of war, though they were then invited to stay at General Schuyler’s Albany mansion, where the Baroness and her husband, General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel, were also staying as prisoners of war. There she attempted to nurse her husband back to health. They were permitted to return to England in spring of 1778, but Major Acland died soon thereafter, on October 31 at the age of 34.

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