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How the next day after the battle of Cressy they that were dead were numbered by the
land came from mass, such as had been
enemies." Then the king sent to search how many were slain and what they were. Sir Raynold Cobham and Sir Richard Stafford with three heralds went to search the field and country: they visited all them that were slain and rode all day in the fields, and returned again to the host as the king was going to supper. They made just report of that they had seen, and said how there were eleven great princes dead, fourscore banners, twelve hundred knights, and more than thirty thousand other. The Englishmen kept still their field all that night: on the Monday in the morning the king prepared to depart: the king caused the dead bodies of the great lords to be taken up and conveyed to Montreuil, and there buried in holy ground, and made a cry in the country to grant truce for three days, to the intent that they of the country might search the field of Cressy to bury the dead bodies.
THE BATTLE OF SARATOGA '
By E. S. CREASY
American colonies from England is,
and folly, and it was concluded in disaster and shame. But the contemplation of it cannot be evaded by the historian, however much it may be abhorred. Nor can any military event be said to have exercised more important influence on the future fortunes of mankind than the complete defeat of Burgoyne's expedition in 1777; a defeat which rescued the revolted colonists from certain subjection, and which, by inducing the courts of France and Spain to attack England in their behalf, insured the independence of the United States, and the formation of that transatlantic power which not only America, but both Europe and Asia now see and feel.3
1. This description of the defeat of Burgoyne is taken from The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, a very interesting historical work, written over sixty years ago by a man recognized as an eminent scholar, a professor of history and a judge of the English Courts.
2. It should be remembered in reading this account that the author is a patriotic Englishman. We shall have a chance to test his fairness, to see if he is too much prejudiced to be a good historian. What does the next sentence in the text indicate ?
3. The earlier part of the essay, from which this selection is taken, contains a brief sketch of the growth of the colonies, and an estimate of the position and importance of the United States at the time the essay was written. The author says that the United States was increasing so rapidly in wealth, power and influence, that any opinions he could form would soon be out of date. Nearly seventy years have passed since then, and we can appreciate the changes that have occurred by comparing his picture with our present condition. The whole world now sees and feels the power of the United States in a way that was not dreamed of sixty years ago.
Still, in proceeding to describe this "decisive battle of the world,” a very brief recapitulation of the earlier events of the war may be sufficient; nor shall I linger unnecessarily on a painful theme.
The five northern colonies of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont, usually classed together as the New England colonies, were the strongholds of the insurrection against the mother country. The feeling of resistance was less vehement and general in the central settlement of New York, and still less so in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the other colonies of the South, although everywhere it was formidably strong. But it was among the descendants of the stern Puritans that the spirit of Cromwell and Vane breathed in all its fervor; it was from the New Englanders that the first armed opposition to the British crown had been offered; and it was by them that the most stubborn determination to fight to the last, rather than waive a single right or privilege, had been displayed. In 1775 they had succeeded in forcing the British troops to evacuate Boston; and the events of 1776 had made New York (which the Royalists captured in that year) the principal basis of operations for the armies of the mother country.
4. What reasons can you give for the fact that the New England colonies were the strongholds of insurrection ?
5. What does he mean by “the central settlement of New York ?" Why was the feeling of resistance less vehement in the central settlement of New York? What was there in the nature of the colonists of Pennsylvania that made them still less inclined to resist? Why should the southern colonies partake of the nature of the New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians, rather than of the New Englanders? Find the answers to these ons in the characters of the early settlers. 6. If you are not familiar with the region described, study the map closely. It will make the text clearer.
A glance at the map will show that the Hudson River, which falls into the Atlantic at New York, runs down from the north at the back of the New England States, forming an angle of about fortyfive degrees with the line of the coast of the Atlantic, along which the New England States are situate. Northward of the Hudson we see a small chain of lakes communicating with the Canadian frontier. It is necessary to attend closely to these geographical points, in order to understand the plan of the operations which the English attempted in 1777, and which the battle of Saratoga defeated.
The English had a considerable force in Canada, and in 1776 had completely repulsed an attack which the Americans had made upon that province.? The British ministry resolved to avail themselves, in the next year, of the advantage which the occupation of Canada gave them, not merely for the purpose of defense, but for the purpose of striking a vigorous and crushing blow against the revolted colonies. With this view the army in Canada was largely re-enforced. Seven thousand veteran troops were sent out from England, with a corps of artillery abundantly supplied and led by select and experienced officers. Large quantities of military stores were also furnished for the equipment of the Canadian volunteers, who were expected to join the expedition. It was intended that the force thus collected should march southward by the line of the lakes, and thence along the banks of the Hudson River. The British army from New York (or a large detachment of it) was to make a simultaneous movement northward, up the line of the Hudson, and the two expeditions were to unite at Albany, a town on that river. By these operations, all communication between the northern colonies and those of the center and south would be cut off.' An irresistible force would be concentrated, so as to crush all further opposition in New England; and when this was done, it was believed that the other colonies would speedily submit. The Americans had no troops in the field that seemed able to baffle these movements. Their principal army, under Washington, was occupied in watching over Pennsylvania and the South. At any rate, it was believed that, in order to oppose the plan intended for the new campaign, the insurgents must risk a pitched battle, in which the superiority of the Royalists, in numbers, in discipline, and in equipment, seemed to promise to the latter a crowning victory. Without question the plan was ably formed; and had the success of the execution been equal to the ingenuity of the design, the reconquest or submission of the
7. This was the expedition under Montgomery and Benedict Arnold, which, though both armies reached Quebec, and attacked with vigor in December, was repulsed with great loss of life; in fact most of the assailants were either killed, wounded or taken prisoner.
8. The map shows you how excellent a military plan this was. The lakes and the river made a natural highway, both ends of which the British held. The Eastern colonies lay in a rude triangle, with the English, by land and sea, on two sides of them. When the British should hold the line along the Hudson, the third side of the triangle would be filled in, and the New England colonies would be entirely surrounded as well as cut off from the Middle and Southern colonies.