Today, New York State will serve as a backdrop for the American rebellion
during 1777. We'll explore other parts of the world in the next few weeks.
January finds our cast members, lesser and greater, assembling to play their
parts in the drama. John Cumming, a Loyalist from the Hudson Valley, aware
he's in a rather delicate situation, travels down to New York City to confer
with British officials. He's offered an army commission but declines.
In London, General John Burgoyne (Gentleman Johnny) begins laying plans
to shatter the rebel forces in the colony.
In March John Cumming is arrested by his neighbors as being a danger to
the rebellion. More of a danger is rebel general Charles Lee, now in British
hands in New Jersey, who aids General Howe with plans for his part in the
July finds all plans under way, with Albany the common target. Burgoyne
moves south from Canada, down New York's waterways, capturing Fort Ticonderoga
from Horatio Gates along the route. Barry St. Leger moves southeast up the
Oswego River from Lake Ontario. The third prong is expected to move up the
Hudson from New York City, but there are delays.
It's at this point that things really begin unravelling. Native tribes with
Burgoyne's forces murder settler Jane McCrea, rallying colonial resistance,
slowing the British pace. St. Leger lays siege to Fort Stanwix. Colonial
general Benedict Arnold slows their progress by strewing dis-information
in his path, while a rescue party under Nicholas Herkimer attempts to lift
the siege. Herkimer loses his life, but Stanwix is not taken. Burgoyne suffers
a defeat at Saratoga in mid-September at the hands of rebel generals Morgan
John Cumming escapes from jail this same month, but is recaptured. Meanwhile,
forces under Sir Henry Clinton, under sail at last, pass through the Hudson
highlands. On October 16th, the fleet burns the town of Esopus, later to
be known as Kingston, then inexplicably sail back to New York, ignoring
Burgoyne's plight. They are blissfully unaware that nine days earlier the
forces of Gates, Morgan and Arnold have captured the bulk of Burgoyne's
army, still mired at Saratoga.
And John Cumming? He will be paroled and finally, in May of 1780, return
to his native Scotland.
For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor.
© 1997 David Minor / Eagles Byte
EAGLES BYTE HOME PAGE