Skip to main content

tv   Technology and the 1777 Battle of Saratoga  CSPAN  November 19, 2016 10:25pm-12:01am EST

10:25 pm
you're watching american history tv on c-span 3. >> in 1972, the saratoga national park hired archaeologist dean snow to conduct excavations at the revolutionary war battlefield. next, professor emeritus dean snow talks about his findings at the national historical park and how the archaeology work inspired his book, "1777: tipping point at saratoga." the new york military affairs symposium hosted this 90 minute event. snow's previous books include "archaeology of native north america" and "the iroquois." in all 20 books, he is known for his research into paleo demography of prehistoric
10:26 pm
populations, his new york research included major projects on the saratoga battlefield and in the lake george region and in the mohawk valley. snow moved to pennsylvania state university in 1995, where he served as head of the department of anthropology for the next 10 years. in 2005, he was a fellow at dumbarton oaks in washington, d.c., the four returning to penn state as professor of anthropology. he served as president of the society for american archaeology from 2007 to 2009. he has also been closely involved with the development of digital antiquities, a cyber infrastructure program for the archiving of archaeological data , initiated with funding from andrew andrew -- the andrew
10:27 pm
mellon foundation. he lives in pennsylvania with his wife of 52 years. dr.'s note is a company -- dr. snow is accompanied hereby with by theirter, -- here daughter, who you may recognize. we welcome dr. dean snow. [applause] dr. snow: thank you very much. i'm delighted to be here tonight. i hope that i can get through this quickly so we can get to ie question period, because find that to be the most entertaining for me part of any presentation. i thought i would talk to you of thingsout a number that i think would be of particular interest to people in
10:28 pm
this organization. --s is [inaudible] the book has only been out for the best of a month. what i found out was that somebody at the printers didn't have anything to do with the people here that produced the book in new york city, but the printer apparently forgot to include the url of the companion website that goes with the book. i have some cards appear that them,his web address on if you are interested in looking at that. please come get one of those cards. back behind, there are some additional copies of the card. i'm eager for people to look at the website, because there are things there that are too expensive to put in any print
10:29 pm
version of a book. there are color maps, for example. the maps are interactive. if you are interested in the battle of saratoga, you can see where the troops were hour-by-hour on the two days of fighting, in addition to the day following the second battle and 10 days later, when the british were surrounded in the little village of saratoga, which is .ow called schuylerville i don't want anybody to miss being able to access that, since is not in the book, you wouldn't be able to find out about it otherwise. i wanted to talk tonight about a few specific subjects. how the book came to be written, particularly how it came to be written the way it was. battlefield archaeology generally, in my experience as an archaeologist, how this book
10:30 pm
is different and how the armies were organized and some supplementary materials that i thought might be of interest to you, then finally a little discussion on the role of the militia, because the militia was very important in the american revolution. how i got involved at saratoga began with a phone call from this gentleman. this is john connor -- john carter -- john cotter. in 1972, he called me and said we really need you to help us out. we are getting ready for the american bicentennial. we are a little concerned about the saratoga battlefield, because we are not absolutely convinced that they have put the interpretive signs exactly where they ought to be. we don't want anyone to be misled about the nature of these battles. i was in my early 30's at the time. when he presented me with the notion that i should do the archaeology of an area that is
10:31 pm
over five square miles in size and he was going to give me $2500 to do this, i thought, why not? [laughter] when you are 32 years old, that kind of request is seen as a challenge rather than the impossible task that it -- that anybody with more sense would have thought it to be. here's what the battlefield looks like today. the white boundary line is the modern -- the current boundary. back in the 1970's, the park was slightly smaller. it's pretty much the same as you see it now. what they were interested in finding out more about was the location of the british fortifications and the location secondarily of where the american lines were in 1777. we had the benefit on the british side of some maps drawn by a british officer named william wilkinson.
10:32 pm
he had the job of going around in the period between the two battles, when there was no fighting going on of any major , but any major scale during which there was an awful ,ot of skirmishing going on pickets being captured by patrols from both armies, desertions going on from time to time as people deserted the british army and came over to the american side, for the most part. his map is really very, very useful to us. and you can see over here -- whoops. the top button. sorry. over here, major construction of british fortifications at this far end of the british line. from our end perspective, the left flank of the line was resting on the hudson river.
10:33 pm
a mile or two away, off the bottom of this screen, where the american lines. they were, in effect, the mirror image of the british lines for the 32 days that there were people on this battlefield. ok. the archaeological objectives then worked it explore -- then worked to explore the redoubts the british had built. these were their major fortifications. a year later, they gave us a new contract. we explored the great redoubt. i will come back to that and talk about what it was. the location of a house or the remains of it, called the taylor thee, some exploration of american lines. the following year, we looked more at the american lines and went back to some of the central
10:34 pm
british fortifications. the archaeological techniques that i would use if i were to go back and do this kind of project now would be these. half of them worked available in 1971 -- half of them were not available in 1971. we had maps from 1977. we were able to find an airline service that would fly low level aerial photographs, and we could do very precise and very extreme topographic maps. we had a magnetometer, but it was brand-new technology. you couldn't buy one, but you could rent one from the company that was developing it. soil samplers and metal detector were also available. resistivityvy -- survey was not available. ground penetrating radar had not been invented yet. give me aomputers --
10:35 pm
break. nobody had a portable computer in 1971. electronic surveying did not exist. gps. everybody has that in their cars now. it wasn't even dreamed of in 1971. so, what i had was an .nthusiastic bunch of students there was a lot more hair in those days. [laughter] mes guy with a black hair is -- with the black hair is me. the colors changed in those years, too. a number of the students went on to have careers in archaeology. one became a park ranger. another ended up working in the new york state museum. my first doctoral student went on to have a significant career in teaching at suny owner onto -- at suny oneonta. .hat was my crew
10:36 pm
let's take a look at the purse on a -- personnel that were involved with the battle. here we go. i don't know what happened to her ratio, but he is not there to horold ratio -- atio, but he's not there. john burgoyne was a british commander at saratoga. it was his idea that he hatched out in 1775 while he was involved with the siege of boston am a battle of bunker hill, and the events in eastern massachusetts that were part of the early stages of this war -- he conceived of the notion of driving south from montréal and having other british troops move north from new york city, converging on albany. the idea was to split the new england colonies off from the other colonies, to separate the new englanders from the new yorkers and the pennsylvanians
10:37 pm
and the other people farther south. the idea was that the hotbed of the revolution was in new england, and if they could just keep those new englanders from influencing the rest of the colonials, maybe the loyalists in new york city and farther south would be able to be recruited to the british cause more effectively. so, it was a good idea. it was one shared by a number of others in the british army. it was the notion that are going -- that for going -- the notion that burgoyne was able to sell. horatio gates, whose picture the program chooses -- i can see it on my screen. he was a former british officer. had been in the same outfit when they were young men and lieutenants. of what wasth part the finest army in the world then. gates had later realized that he didn't have much of a future in
10:38 pm
the british army has he could not afford to buy the commission that would've -- that would enable him to move up in the ranks. if you were a british soldier in those days, you had to buy a commission. you did not get there by merit. you got there by negotiating and by getting financial backing from someone. thate case of burgoyne, came from a reluctant father-in-law. once his wife had a baby girl, the father-in-law changed his attitude about this guy's worse. he was known as gentleman johnny for a reason. he had a gambling habit. he liked to party. he had to sell his commissioner earlyn -- his commission on in order to get money to live on. it gives you some idea of what the terms of enlistment were in the british army. there were other people involved at saratoga that i should
10:39 pm
mention. here are two of them. thaddeus was a polish military man who had engineering experience and a lot of talent. and presented himself to george washington and said, i would like to help out. there were a number of these people who did this, lafayette being the most famous of them. some of them very successful. lafayette certainly was. but there were others who ,asically were just adventurers looking for an interesting diversion out here in america. there was one with gates that i might have time to talk about later. turned out to be talented and very serious. washington said, well, all right, you're on. he didn't say you're hired, but because he didn't have anything to pay the guy.
10:40 pm
he agreed to let kosciuszko help out the american army. kosciuszko came up to new york and eventually all the way up the hudson to the albany area. it was he who chose the location for the american lines up north of albany. it was he who decided where that northern army was going to make its stand was the right place to do it. it was the best ground. we also had benedict arnold, who, at the time, was very ambitious and had done fairly well. he had had a disastrous attempt on canada. we don't have time to talk about that tonight. he had also proven himself .orthy on lake champlain he was well thought of at the time. washington particularly liked benedict arnold as an officer. but arnold had a narcissistic
10:41 pm
personality. he's the kind of person who would step into the vacuum anytime there was a low in the in theation -- a lull conversation. he always had an opinion. wrong.never this eventually got him into a lot of trouble, as we will see. there were other books -- there are other books about saratoga. here are two very good ones. these are books about the campaign. they start in canada. they finish up in saratoga county, but they cover the whole campaign. they cover it in detail. because they cover it in that fashion, they are, like most general history books -- i've just finished one on antietam, for example -- told at 30,000 feet. they are very, very abstract, from the point of view of the people who are -- were actually on the ground doing the
10:42 pm
fighting. they are very good books, but they are not the book that i was interested in writing. i thought i was going to do a the that involved archaeology as much as the history, because the archaeology is what i was familiar with. that was what i was intending to do three years ago when i finally had the time to turn to writing the book that resulted from my work way back in the 1970's. but it turned out that another book was being prepared, and they asked me to write a chapter on the archaeology of the british fortifications, which is mostly what i had done in thetoga back in this -- 1970's, and i agreed, partly because it freed me from having to include too much archaeology. it's kind of a crazy thing for an archaeologist to say, i suppose, but that's how it worked out. i have a chapter in this book
10:43 pm
that covers the archaeology and made it unnecessary for me to do that again in my own book. another thing that happened was i had been reading and rereading this book for years. i discovered it decades ago. gettysburg. on i live not far from gettysburg now. it's a fascinating place. i love it, like a lot of americans do. it's a great place to visit. this book really tells you that story in a beautiful way, in an intimate, personal kind of way, and i thought, that sounds to me like the way to write a history book. but this is historical fiction. it's the book that ted turner chose when he decided he wanted to do a movie on gettysburg. this was the basis for the gettysburg movie, which a lot of people have seen. if you go to gettysburg, watch that movie the night before you go, and it makes it a much better experience when you get
10:44 pm
there. this is my personal copy. you can see that it's pretty dogeared. i pulled it -- pull it off the shelf every once in a while and open it up at random and just read a few pages. it's that good. you can read any part of it just for a little while and it's a very entertaining experience. the other thing that happened to me was that i was invited with my wife to a little garden party it was a 1995, and goodbye party. it was a going away party that a couple of friends through for us -- threw for us. there were eight of us. charlie and his wife and the women were off someplace else. the other two guys that were there were these two men. a picture from the "schenectady gazette."
10:45 pm
i did find this picture of fred sawada online. spending experience of 20 minutes or a half hour standing there with a glass of wine in my hand while these two guys discovered that they had fought each other in world war ii. dr. mauet had lived down the street for me for a quarter of a century -- from me for a quarter of a century. i assumed he had come to the united states before the second world war, that he had gone out of germany before things got bad. there was another local doctor that i had used professionally, i had gone to as a patient, who was the kind of german expatriate. he had escaped from germany, came here, and set up a practice. this guy, however, had been erected into the german army and had been sent to the russian front -- had been drafted into the german army and had been sent to the russian front.
10:46 pm
fred so wally -- fred so wate had grown up in hawaii. he and his brother had volunteered for the army reserves. when the war broke out, he was activated. the battalion was sent to europe. it was the niece i -- the japanese-american unit that was so important for -- important in saving american lives during the battle of the bulge. these guys have both ended up in the coal valley of northern italy -- in northern italy. fred was there as the american troops push north -- pushed north in italy. rudolf was there because the russian front had collapsed and they were pulled back and reassigned to northern italy. i discovered these guys had
10:47 pm
actually fought each other. the thing about that conversation was that these men talked about the experience as if they had been both at the same football game. it's as if -- i was there last saturday night when penn state beat ohio state. conversation of that i might have with an ohio state fan a year or two from now about that game. it was an amazing conversation. i've never experienced anything quite like it. these guys talked about their experience in world war ii the the world war ii vets that i knew growing up on the prairies of southern minnesota talked about their experience. the older they got, the more forthcoming they seemed to be. the sharp edges of the horrible experience these guys both went through in italy had been blunted over the years.
10:48 pm
now they were talking about it as if it had been a soccer match for a football game. it was an amazing conversation. he talks about being a doctor in the german army. working to keep the men in his woundedm being further by evacuating them when the russians got too close. this guy talked about what it was like to be an american soldier. he turned to me and said, you know, the german army was really very good. [laughter] the ohio state football team is very good, too. they lost, but they are a very good team. what amazed me was that, later, i found out more about these guys. what rudolf didn't tell me is that he won two iron crosses for bravery, saving the men in his care. what fred didn't tell me as he was wounded four times or fou -- on four separate occasions.
10:49 pm
he talked about being pinned down one day. this was his example of how good the german army was. in this openas field. i was pinned down. i couldn't move. i had to stay there all day and into darkness so that i could get off the field without being shocked by the machine gun nest over on the other side of the field -- being shot by the machine gun nest over on the other side of the field." what he didn't tell me was he earned a silver star that day. if you read the citation, there was a lot more to it than him being pinned down. that's a purple heart. probably should have three more of them someplace. remarkable men. i thought, if i'm going to write this book on saratoga, i want to write it like these guys would talk about their experience in world war ii. i want it to be personal and intimate. i want people to understand what it was like for those guys who were out there. as it turns out, there were some women, too, even in the
10:50 pm
revolution, who were out there getting shot at. that's why the book has the appearance that it does. it's not a traditional history book. it's the way an archaeologist may tell a story. we tend to be detail people. and archaeologist can spend a whole summer digging in an area the size of his room, and we think that's -- this room, and we think that's the big view. enough of that. i wanted to also point out to how the armies were organized, so that i don't use confuse.t will threeerican army had divisions -- two divisions at the beginning. each division had three or four brigades to start. each per day and was made up of a few regiments -- each brigade was made up of a few regiments.
10:51 pm
these were divided into companies, then the individual soldiers. other terms that were added later, that you will hear in the military history of the united states army, were not developed yet. these were the basic -- this was the basic vocabulary of how the army of the united states was organized at that time. remember that the army was only two years old in 1777. it had been formed out of a bunch of crack militia group units that have been regiments that had been fighting around boston. that was the core of the continental army as it was created in the summer of 1775. a day later, they appointed george washington as commander in chief. the other thing we should note is that, during the revolution, the words regiment and battalion were used almost interchangeably . it took me a long time to figure out why that was, like figuring out where they put the pickles in the grocery store.
10:52 pm
regiment is anat administrative term, whereas the battalion is an operational term . you can have regiments that operate as battalions. they might be referred to as battalions. but they are also units that are assembled from pieces of regiments that were then called exclusively battalions. they would never be called regiments. for example, in the british me, they had 10 companies per regiment. had 10british army, they companies per regiment and two of those were flank. one would be grenadier's, the other light infantry. it was customer -- customary to detach the grenadiers and put them into grenadier battalion's. they would take the light infantry companies out of the regiments and put them together in a separate battalion. all right. we will be coming back to that.
10:53 pm
here's how the army of canada was organized. another point that i should make here is that there were structural deficiencies in the way the british were doing things that made it very difficult for them to do their business. there were brigadier generals here, but there were guys that had the rank of colonel. they were elevated just for this expedition to the rank of brigadier general, so that they could have commanders for the brigades. this seemed to make sense at the time, but it meant that, for example, over here, burgoyne's second in command, major general william phillips, was a major general here at saratoga, but he was, i think, a lieutenant colonel in the artillery -- in .he british army in the artillery, he was a major. there was this confusion of
10:54 pm
terms when it came to rank. you didn't know really who you are dealing with half the time. -- who you were dealing with half the time. if burgoyne had been successful and if he had linked up with the british troops here in new york city at all -- albany, then general howe would have taken and thesell command temporary ranks would have been vacated and these guys would have gone back to being kernels or even -- colonials -- being co lonels or even lieutenants. it was a deficiency in how the managed their ranks. the northern army of general gates was divided into two divisions at the beginning. was undereft division the command of major general benedict arnold. gates' division was one that he chose to manage himself, until
10:55 pm
such time as benjamin lincoln arrived. benjamin lincoln was also a major general. the idea was when he finally came into camp, he would take over this division and gates would be the overall commander. --y were all major general's generals, but they were subordinate to one another in , sos of the time in line that arnold had fewer days of service than gates. in fact, this is one of the things he was annoyed about. congress had done to him, he thought unfairly -- when benjamin lincoln arrived, arnold was going to be a subordinate to him, simply because he had not accumulated as much service at rank as lincoln had. this was one of the problems -- structural problems on the american side. arnold's division included -- mos core of rifleman
10:56 pm
--n's corps of rifleman riflemen and light infantry. on the other side, gates had patterson -- paterson's brigade, nixon's brigade, and glover's brigade. glover's men were largely mariners. it was clever and his men that got washington across -- glover and his men that got washington across the river. they knew which end of the boat went first. which was not necessarily the case for the other troops. so, here we are. these are the american lines as they were laid out by kosciuszko. you can see that they are sort
10:57 pm
of roughly relet -- they sort of roughly reflect the mirror image of the british lines, which i showed you before. what kosciuszko figured out was that these bluffs here, if they were fortified and if we moved all of our cannons, all of our artillery onto those bluffs, it would make it impossible for burgoyne to push down the river road. or is swamping ground here. the road angles away from the river and right towards those bluffs. by putting the american guns up here, he made the british advance along the river road virtually impossible. and as a consequence, when the first battle broke out on september 19, the british troops swung to the interior. ps right here was commanded by simon fraser.
10:58 pm
they went farthest inland, stopped about here. hamilton's british division swung on some woods trails to there. the german commander -- commander of the german troops that were here, some hessians, mostly brunswick are -- brunswickers. the english could not pronounce the german word. he stayed down here by the river. the americans moved their rif lemen up here and the light infantry under dearborn over here initially. gates sadid, "fine, will do that -- we'll do that." these are arnold's men. what happened next was what became problematic between gates and arnold. arnold started sending more units out. gates said you are leaving the american lines undefended. i want to fight a defensive
10:59 pm
battle between these lines. arnold was saying, wait a minute, those lines are not even complete over here. they could turn our flank. they are good. this is a really good army. you don't want to leave this flank open down here. we've got to make them out here on friedman's farm -- to meet them out here on friedman's farm. gates kept objecting. arnold kept sending units from his division forward anyway. arnold even went and recruited volunteers from units that he did not command. because of his personality, a lot of these guys said, sure, i will go along. this resulted in gates getting more and more angry about what was happening. is the farm. at about 11:00 in the morning on this 19th -- on september 19. you can see that the farm is not a very big clearing.
11:00 pm
the clearing is still today as it was then. the british are about to come out of these words appear. -- up here. was theith his riflemen first out here. he had been told by gates to harass the british army, not get engaged. do what you can to harass them. morgan's men did not have harassment in mind. they had their rifles they moved up here and took over the freeman farm house. nd then they waited. major forbes came out of the woods with skirmishers. morgan moved up into this position and a firefight started. the difference here was that the skirmishers, the british skirmishers were armed with muskets. they were light infantrymen and hey were very good, but they
11:01 pm
had muskets and they weren't accustomed to aiming at anything. the british technique was to mass musketry and have everybody hold their barrels parallel, level, and fire massive volleys. they didn't eep -- even pull the gun up and aim down the barrel. they would shoot with the butt of the musket here against the shoulder held down this way. the idea was to be precise, keep the guns level, the muskets all had to be level, and so on. the americans were hunters. when they fired, they aimed first. especially the riflemen. the problem with the rifles is they weren't designed for military combat. the morgan's riflemen would need about two minutes minimum to load a rifle with one shot. a musketeer could load and fire in 15 seconds.
11:02 pm
and then another 15 seconds be ready to fire another shot. wildly, perhaps, but he was ready. the riflemen were very, very precise. some of these men could hit a pie plate at a hundred yards. with these weapons. so when forbes came out on the field, he found himself suddenly without men because they were being picked off so rapidly that he had to retreat very quickly. they were being picked off by riflemen who now had empty rifles and needed time to reload. so when the british came out of the woods shall the riflemen scattered. morgan thought he was done. now, i'm showing you these because this is the stuff that's on that website. these maps are in the book, too. but they're black and white in the book. on the website you can really see the detail as we work
11:03 pm
through the course of the afternoon of september 19th. so here is more. eventually, under orders these american units move up. ates is app plep tick -- a poplectic. stop sending so many units up. we'll lose too many men. cook's militia from connecticut moved up. morgan gathered his men and they got up into these trees over here. then the british started to advance across freeman's farm especially the central regiment, the 62nd. morgan's job as he saw it was to pick off the officers. this was regarded as unsportsman like by the british officer corps. but it was very effective.
11:04 pm
they went back and forth across these fields seven times. every time the british advanced they'd push the americans back into these woods. heir technique was to push and fire volley after volley and then run up and charge. this was their favorite tactic. the problem was the new hampshire men would fall back into the woods and the woods prevented the bayonet charge from being effective. now the british have exhausted their bayonet charge and they've got empty muskets. all they can do is start retreating back again. the americans meanwhile in the woods have reloaded and they push out and they end up going back this way. the artillery the british have brought along were taken by the americans and then retaken by the british over and over again. the americans would have carried those guns off except
11:05 pm
all the horses were dead. and they didn't have any horses down here to bring the artillery off. so this is how the afternoon ended. we're down to about 5:30 now. it's going to start getting dark. finally, the general down by the river sends a couple regiments over and these guys appear and attack from what the american right flank. and that is how it ends. between the two battles, the british moved into these positions. so here we have the right flank of the british line, which is secured by something and down here the fortification where i spent a lot of my time investigating british construction techniques. the other regiments are scattered down this way. then we have the great redoubt over here where the concentration of administrative
11:06 pm
stuff was. the americans, for their part, went back to their lines on the outh side of the battle field. technically, that meant he could claim a victory, because he held the ground that he had fought over that day. arnold the two battles, and gates have towering arguments. gates basically tells arnold, you have no business here. you're out of it. i'm not going to use you anymore. hose of you who use a lot of computers, will recognize that when something is grayed out like that, it's not available anymore, he never really dismissed arnold. he never officially dismissed arnold or anything. he gave him a pass to go to philadelphia because arnold requested one, but arnold never left. neither did he have a command.
11:07 pm
so here we see horatio gates the commander of the left division now, benjamin lincoln appears finally and takes over the right division that gates used to have for himself. look what else happens between the battles. militia units come in especially from albany but also from connecticut and new hampshire and so on. the american army is swelling ery rapidly. lincoln's right division also of additional units, some them militia. here we have one of the most heavily administered brigades ever. we have the brigadier general. we have all kinds of officers. we've got maybe a couple hundred men tops. there's enough officers in this brigade to run about five regiments but they have only 200 men or so. this is one of the problems with militia.
11:08 pm
the other militiamen were saying, i'd really lake to help out but i don't think i can make it this weekend. that's how, in the militias operated at a time which is why the general staff didn't like using militia. a lot of them would not use militia units if they could avoid it. all right. that brings me to the next topic the death of simon fraser which is likely to be the most controversial part of my book. fraser was mortally wounded at about 3:30 in the afternoon on october 7 in the heat of the second battle at saratoga. this was the tipping point. if saratoga was the tipping point of the revolution, inside the battle of saratoga this was the tipping point of the second battle. this was the moment at which the german and the british troops broke.
11:09 pm
it was also the case that although they were the finest army in the world at the time they were completely unprepared for what was about to come at them. the americans were without uniforms, poorly armed, practically untrained. but there were 15,000 of them. and they were upset. so that was the difference. simon fraser was an excellent general. he was from a long line of military men from scotland and he fell where this monument now stands. i'm pretty sure that the monument is properly positioned. this is where he was shot. he was on housing authority back. he was shot, however, by an albany militiaman, not by timothy murphy. anybody who reads any of the
11:10 pm
books that have been written up saratoga ut the battles will be told -- you will read that the guy that shot simon fraser was timothy murphy. that nobody wever, attributed the shot to timothy murphy until long after murphy's death. about 1845, a local historian published a book in which he said murphy was the guy that shot simon fraser. this was despite a fact there had been an eyewitness account already published in the saratoga newspaper by an artilleryman who said i was standing next to an old guy from one of the albany militia units. he shot simon fraser. i saw him do it. simon taylor was hauled off to the taylor house not the british hospital, which some sources say is where he was
11:11 pm
taken, and he died the next rning and he was buried on a bluff inside the great redoubt area over by the hudson river, but it wasn't the southern bluff. it was the middle bluff. and he was is intered prior to october 17, probably by treasure hunters, but certainly not by the fraser family. i have checked twice with the fraser family. nobody ever came from the family to disinter his remains and take them back to scotland for reburial. so these are all popular myths about simon fraser, and there are people who believe these myths who aren't going to like what i said in the book but i'll stand by what i said. the redoubt was built between the battles. you saw the same map earlier where the first battle took place. and when simon fraser fell and his line broke the men fled ck mostly to here in large
11:12 pm
numbers. so this redoubt, this fortification was over manned. at the same time the next redoubt, which is north of here, was severely under manned. because the troops fled to the closest sanctuary. they didn't go back necessarily to where they had been deployed from to begin with. fraser was on his way back to the british lines at that point. this is about 1:00 in the afternoon. what happens next is that the americans come here very disorganized but very enthusiastic. and they start attacking the balcarres redoubt. they swept over this little outlying fortification quickly and easily but then they came p against the main line of the
11:13 pm
balcarres redoubt which is where i did much of my work in 197 it. this is what it looks like today. the picture was actually taken in 1971. when the park service still had what they thought was a good imitation of what freeman's farm house probably looked like. but nobody knows what his farm house looked like. and they decided rather than have an incorrect reconstruction they shouldn't have any at all so they removed t. this is what happened at 4:00 p.m. on that day when the americans assailed that position. you can see there are a lot of british troops up there behind the redoubt walls defending their position, and you can see a large number of americans here with benedict arnold on a big brown horse charging around in their midst. we even know the name of the horse, by the way. what's wrong with this picture is that the artist has shown -- this is on the cover of the book -- what's wrong with it is the artist has shown these guys
11:14 pm
in blue coats. we didn't have uniforms yet at this point. they were wearing whatever they happened to have. some of them had old uniforms left over from the french and indian war. some had hunting clothes on. others were just, you know, catch as catch can as far as clothing goes. so there is again the balcarres redoubt this time from the map wilkinson drew at that time. and here is my crew excavating the wall of that redoubt to try to find out what kind of construction the british had done there. and to ensure that the park service was actually interpreting it correctly. anybody that's done any gardening knows two feet of top soil doesn't occur naturally in this part of the world. it was heeped up top soil. it's still there. here's some stones that were thrown into a vertical post
11:15 pm
that was put there to try to anchor that post. the british soldiers did this between the battles. here's another one. another post was put here with keep it upright. there's a wood chuck burrow there but that is a 1971 wood chuck burrow. here's what we found. we found a trench. we picked it up through all these excavation squares. down here we didn't find a trench but we found post holes instead. it looks like they had an entry point there, a place where the troops could go in and out of the fortification. a sallyport they would call that. later, i decided this line was the probable location of the top of the parapet on the outside of that trench. i was misled, however, by the park historian at the time. he said i should expect to find the trench on the outside of the fortification not on the
11:16 pm
inside. and this had a crucial effect on my interpretation initially. here's what we expected to find because of what i was told, but this is the kind of structure you would build if you were trying to build a fort in that era that you expected to use for several years. these guys knew they were only going to be there for a week or two. the ditch on the outside of the fortification with the glasses here to provide the firing plane for the men standing back here didn't exist. what we found instead was the ditch was on the inside. all right. here's the difference. this is to scale now. so if we have a musketeer behind the parapet and he's in a permanent fort, this is a very good position for him to be in. down here we see, however, that you get the same kind of protection if you put a foot
11:17 pm
trench here and a parapet here. but cheated a little bit. he's not -- these are not really to scale, are they? if we do this, you'll see that they were able to get much more bang for their buck. we're only going to be here for a couple weeks. we want a fortification we can do quickly and easily that will be effective. so we have a foot trench and we have a parapet here. it's much less earth moving than would have been necessary o do something loo ick this. it was a temporary fortification. we dug this section up and then we put in other trenches down here to see if we could pick up the fortification there as well. we had here the remains of some excavation that was done by another archeologist in 1941 that we worked into the overall interpretation. but down here we found a
11:18 pm
burial. first thing we found was a femur. this is the knee joint down here. this is the back of a femur. and that meant that if this was -- we didn't know if we just had a femur, a thigh bone, or a complete burial. but we knew we're going to have to do something with this because this is the very spot where the park service had determined they were going to put a little rest stop on the hiking trail. they were going to have benches here. they were going to dig holes. they were going to do all kinds of -- so all right. we've got to find out what we've got. o we opened up a big area to excavate and since these kids were doing this for college credit, so the ones that found the burial were joined by all the other ones who would watch and then they would take turns. i wanted them to all get the experience of doing this kind of excavation. and the way you do this
11:19 pm
archeologically is like the flar of an elevator going down. you take the dirt away without disturbing the burial. and here we are working down on this burial until we finally i made my ed and inferences about it. the first shock i had was when i called my buddy, the biological anthropologist to come out and help me with this, what was the initial assessment? he said, what do you think this is? i said, i think this is an american soldier that was killed in the assault on balcarres redoubt because he was in the trench and i was still thinking the ditch was on the outside of the redoubt because that's what the historian told me to expect. he said, well, he said, we can be pretty certain it was a battle casualty, not to get into the details here, but she was shot in the face. and we had the clear evidence of what had happened to this person.
11:20 pm
on october 7. but, he pointed out, this individual was at least 60 years old. and quite possibly as old as i am now. and i'm no spring chicken. [laughter] i thought it was in the outside ditch. i thought it was male. i thought it was american. and i was wrong. was on an inside ditch, i later discovered, because we found this burial early in the process. it wasn't male. and it wasn't american. what on earth was a little old lady doing out there? she was, at the time she died, about five feet tall, at least 60 years old, and she was a battle casualty at saratoga. what is going on here? well, that dragged me deeper and deeper into the historical record. and that was what fueled my interest in this sort of personal approach to what had happened on that battle field.
11:21 pm
it turns out that there were over 200 women with the british army. they were largely the wives of british noncommissioned officers. and they were there with their husbands. they marched south from montreal along with their husbands and when this battle became really desperate on the afternoon of october 7, i think that a lot of these women were inside the balcarres redoubt frantically loading muskets and handing them forward to the men who would fire them and hand them back. this made them more efficient. the women were helping out. and she just happened to look over the pair pet at -- parapet at the worst possible moment and died. so we learned from our mistakes. in 1972, i thought it was a battle casualty and i was right about that. i was right about the age. i was right about the date it happened. but i was wrong about it being
11:22 pm
in an outside ditch. i was wrong about it being male. i was wrong about it being an american. it was almost certainly a female, british wife of one of the noncommissioned officers. when she died, instantly, she fell into that foot trench. face first. they didn't move her. and they didn't strip her clothes. we found her buttons. at that time, typically, officers would be buried in single graves if they were found dead on the battle field, but enlisted men would be put in group graves and would be stripped of their clothing. ing was very valuable. there was one american guy who was wounded in one of these battles. came staggering back into camp stark naked. he had been shot in the head. he'd been unconscious for a long time. he woke up and he had been stripped of his clothing. the poor guy had to make his way back to the american line stark naked. it happened.
11:23 pm
okay. the other redoubt was to the north. and this was the right flank of the british line. this was where arnold in the second battle exhibited his heroism. we did a good job for the park service because they had this thing put in the wrong place. they also had the arnold monument in the wrong place. so we got that fixed. you can see why. they were working from this map and we were working from the archeology. we found the main redoubt line archeologically. we were able to describe it in detail. we excavated sections to make sure we knew exactly where it was. we found the place where the canadians had been positioned. they ran for it. they were way out numbered. so they left. this left this back side of the redoubt area open. there was a 400-meter gap
11:24 pm
between these two redoubts that was left unprotected by the british essentially. and we took -- the americans took advantage of it and swept . behind right about here and there's dearborn's light infantry came up behind arnold. arnold was shot right about here through the femur. the same shot apparently killed his horse. henry dearborn rushed up and he and some men tried to get the -- roll the dead horse off of his good leg, which was pinned under it. and a young american soldier decided he was going to shoot the german soldier that had shot benedict arnold. arnold said, don't hurt him. he was just doing his duty. and so the soldier desised and the man was taken prisoner. arnold then said to henry
11:25 pm
dearborn, i wish that it had passed my heart. how do we view this man today if that had happened? was the hero of this battle. everyone knew it. gates had to chew on his tongue, because arnold had been insubordinate in being out here at all. he didn't have a command. and gates had somebody chasing him through the whole afternoon to try to get him to come back to headquarters. and this guy's name was armstrong. i know one of his descendents. i said your ancestor worked really hard that day but arnold had a faster horse. anyway, here's the monument that was put up to arnold and it's still there. you can visit it. it's the famous boot monument. he wasn't shot in his lower leg, however. he was shot in the thigh. and so the boot is a little
11:26 pm
inappropriate but they had to do something. and if you look here, this is the inscription on that monument. he was desperately wounded here, winning for his countrymen a decisive battle in the american revolution and for himself the rank of major general. so it never mentions him by name. and it misses the fact that he already had his rank of major general at this point. this isn't something that he earned by being brave at saratoga. okay. a couple more things here. these favorite myths, seven of them, one of these myths is that the saratoga was the war's turning point. do think it was an important you only know things in history from the benefit of hindsight. it has to be well informed hindsight. and at the time things are happening, you're not going to have the same perspective as
11:27 pm
you will 20 years later on. at the end of these two battles, the british officers were saying to each other, you're not going to win this thing. it is time for us to go home. the war lasted another six years. but the people who were involved at the time saw it for what it was. because of saratoga the french came in on our side. because of saratoga we got uniforms. we got training. we got weapons. all kinds of things happened that enabled us, enabled america to win that war. the other one i want to concentrate on, though, is the militia was useless. the militia was problematic. let's talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of the militia in that war. what was good about it was there was a long tradition of this. there had been militia units all oaf new england especially but all throughout the colonies for a long time. the best new england regiments had been turned into the
11:28 pm
continental army in 1775. they were committed. and they eventually evolved into what we call the national guard now. what was bad about the militia was that it was what scientists call an emergent phenomenon. it was self-organizing. hey, guys. i think we should have a militia unit here. what do you think? men would get together and create militia units called regiments usually. but the enlistments were short term. the regiments were local. thus they tended to be parochial. the men regarded orders to be suggestions or requests. they often thought that they should be able to elect their officers and to replace them promptly if they gave orders that the men didn't like. and so they regarded the service to be kind of ad hoc and situational. this is why the generals didn't like militia regiments. not because they were cowards or would flee at the first
11:29 pm
opportunity but because they were organizationally hard to deal with. the ugly was that they were poorly equipped. they didn't have fire arms that amounted to much. and they didn't have uniforms and supplies. they were poorly trained. they were as they were called "rabble in arms" the title kenneth roberts used for his book. here are the militia units of connecticut which i like to use as an example. this is how they were in the middle 1700's and as the war got closer, they became more and more numerous. they were turned into brigades, grouped into brigades. john latimer's and thaddaeus cook's two militia units served very well at saratoga. and these -- well, we won't spend any time on that. those have been recently described in great detail. the other thing that happened
11:30 pm
was that the mounted men in these militia units were pulled out and formed into five separate militia regiments of cavalry, light horse in connecticut. and my ancestor belonged to one of those. so the myth that they were useless is not true. they were not a jot less serviceable according to him. they could be cranky and insubordinate. they had other obligations. they all wanted to go home and bring in the crop but they were very effective at saratoga. without them we would not have won that battle. so thank you very much. i would like to thank especially -- [applause] - my wife and my kids. friends and colleagues and oxford university press, which has had enough faith in me to publish my book. oh, and here's a pretty
11:31 pm
picture. yes. yes, sir? >> thank you. thank you. the battle of saratoga in europe is called the battle of bennis heights. my question is, if that's true then all these battles on the flank were unnecessary and not in any way decisive. even if they had succeeded, they'd just have come up against the fortification. mr. snow: that is certainly true for the battle of beam isis heights. the first battle which was fought a couple weeks earlier is usually called the battle of freeman's farm. at that time the fortification, the american fortifications were not yet complete. i think arnold was probably right and the other generals agreed with him. it was gates that was reluctant to send the men forward to fight out in no-man's land. he wanted to make it a defensive battle. but i think that arnold and the other generals were correct that the left flank was insufficiently protected and
11:32 pm
they could have been flanked pretty easily by the british. the british had really struck hard in that -- on that first day. but it took until noon to get themselves organized. that was part of the problem. >> my question would be if that was true, the battle of beimis heights then he would get the credit for winning the battle and it would have given time r the militia to show up and mass has a quality all its own. quantity has a quality all its own. i think gates participated and it was just a matter of time before the militia piled on which would make arnold not only insubordinate but in this sense incompetent. mr. snow: you can make that argument. well, yeah. we can spend a lot of time talking about that. thank you. >> thank you very much. two questions. after saratoga, did people ask what size of an army the british would need to win in
11:33 pm
the colonies? and, secondly, you mentioned the deserters especially from the british army. i presume they tended to be german, so there was even a focus on the weakness of that particular unit? mr. snow: they lost a lot of men over time. as they moved south, they got weaker. they went beyond their supply lines. they weren't able to supply themselves effectively after they crossed the river. and there was no way to reinforce their units. they did get some reinforcements but not enough. at the same time the americans were getting stronger and stronger and had very little difficulty bringing supplies up. now, during the first battle on the 19th of september, only gates knew that all they had for powder and shot was what the men were carrying.
11:34 pm
he knew that. he was waiting for new wagon loads of shot and powder to arrive from albany. it hadn't got there yet. and he was thinking, what if he renews the attack tomorrow? so that was part of the reason he was holding a lot of men back. the whole rank division saw almost no action in the first battle. but that meant that those men still had shot and powder. the guys that did most of the fighting on that first battle were -- they didn't realize it, either. when they got back to camp they weren't going to find powder and shot to restock their pouches. so it was kind of a near thing. it actually, one of the arguments that arnold and gates had was over that point. arnold said, why didn't you tell me that we were almost out of ammunition?
11:35 pm
and gates said, basically, what tinches would it have made? that better that i carry burden myself rather than get everybody else concerned. as it turned out, within a couple days all the powder and shot they needed arrived from albany. >> when i was a kid, they -- one of the things we learned about the battle of saratoga as what occurred shortly before. that when bourgoines was coming down from canada the indian allies had attacked a farm house or whatever and killed a young american woman, a young woman. the militia nsed and those militia were probably the ones that came down to join up with gates, etcetera. the second thing is an army captain who fought in vietnam wrote two books. one was the most important
11:36 pm
military leaders of all time and the other one was important battles of all time. he had, and i know a lot of people disagree with this, but he had included tom flemming. -- he had myths washington as the greatest military leader of all time because, most important, i should say, because that was -- he helped create the victory, he helped create the united states. and the second one was york town as being the most influential battle. so i would like to hear what you have to say about those things. thank you. mr. snow: well, of course, york town was the end of the war. lord york got the news from -- lord north got the news from york town and said it's over. that's it. we're done. the british leadership in london finally recognized that they had lost this one. york town was the last straw. that was the second time in
11:37 pm
british history that an entire ritish army surrendered. saratoga was the first time that an entire british army had laid down its arms and surrendered. now, they didn't call it a surrender. he wanted to be called a convention. and, you know, gates' attitude was call it mashed potatoes. doesn't matter. as soon as you put your muskets in a pile, you're mine. and he was right about that. [question inaudible] mr. snow: jane mccray was her name and this was a propaganda coup that fell into gates' lap that was just terrific for him. the newspapers, we had a lot of newspapers then and they would get news from the battle field and have it in the papers the next day. in 1777. it really is true it was a. so the albany papers were full of this stuff. it was amazing.
11:38 pm
gates realized he had a propaganda coup on his hands, even though jane mcrae was a loyalist, she was engaged to be married to a british officer, she was trying to make her way to the british officer's quarters over on the hudson, and it was the job of a couple of the indian allies to get her there. they got into an argument about who was going to get credit for delivering her. one of them killed her because he didn't want the other guy to get the credit. this didn't work out so well for bourgoines because even though she was a loyalist it incensed the american public. it didn't matter that she was a loyalist. she was blonde and beautiful and these guys killed her. you know, that was enough. [question inaudible] mr. snow: well, yeah.
11:39 pm
washington was very good at not losing. that's one thing you have to remember about him. you know, he was fighting to not lose. a bunch of the time. somebody have a microphone? there you are. >> yes. why do you suppose other than the fact that his name is so difficult to pronounce his contribution to the revolution in general is so consistently under valued? mr. snow: i don't think it's under valued in upstate new york. you know, but i think your point would be that he just hasn't received the attention he deserves probably in the history books. eah. [question inaudible] mr. snow: i don't know. i find him to be a kind of a sad figure for other reasons. you know, he went back to europe and he really, really
11:40 pm
wanted poland to have independence. this was the beginning of a dark period for poland. and, you know, the poor guy struggled. he tried to have the success in europe that he had over here. he really -- it didn't work out for him. [question inaudible] r. snow: yes, yes. >> nobody knows. [inaudible] mr. snow: he deserves more than he got. thank you for a great presentation. mr. snow: thank you. >> good luck with the book. i tried to find it in barnes & noble today but it's not on the shelf yet and the public library doesn't have it so i'm glad you brought copies. i've been to the battle field and i've seen the monument. most of the units you have are in my miniatures collection. you really did an excellent job. you'll get another invitation real soon. two things. one, you mentioned arnold's monument and where it was located. were you involved in locating
11:41 pm
that? the other point was, saratoga is the battle and reel twoy battles usually laid out but also the campaign. before this happened, the saratoga battle, there is the action at bennington. i saw it was mentioned in your index. i don't want to -- mr. snow: yeah. it's in the book. i didn't have time to mention it tonight. >> say a word about bennington. i have relatives who live up there. ut also, talk a little bit about locating arnold's monument. mr. snow: my ancestor who was at saratoga was in the connecticut light horse. he liked it up there so much that he moved to the bennington area and lived just half a mile from the new york state bennington monument park. so, yeah. he said, bourgoines sent an expedition. detached them from his main expedition. sent them to bennington because
11:42 pm
they thought they could get some horses and splaze there. he had 2,000 horses and it wasn't enough. his drag on as were unmounted despite the fact that he had 2,000 horses. he had five or six of his own so that if he had one shot out from under him he would have a fresh one to ride. a horse requires 20 pounds of forge a day. the americans were denying forage from the british army. you run the numbers. 2,000 horses, each one needs 20 pounds of grass. a day. and the americans aren't letting you graze your horses. the horses were dying. the oxon were dying. he was pulling an enormous artillery train. he thought he was going to have to lay siege to albany. so, you know, things were not going his way. bennington turned out awfully because john stark was over there. with his militia. and these guys were vermonters. vermont had just declared
11:43 pm
itself a state, by the way. it wasn't yet accepted into the united states. twa is a 14th state but in effect in 1777 it was an independent little country. and stark said, i'm not going to submit to being ordered around by the commanding general of the northern army. if you want me to do something like that you got to make me a brigadier general. congress hadn't done that yet. eventually they did and by the time of the surrender stark did bring his men in to help with the final surrounding of what is now skylerville. but bennington had a huge effect because it drained him f some of his men and it -- he lost a lot of men there. either killed or captured. he lost the entire expedition. he lost two cannons. and forth. some of his men went over to try to save these guys. got wounded.
11:44 pm
and came back injured. so there are a lot of problems with that bennington expedition. it was a major blow to his effort. i just told the park service, you've got that over there on that hill. that's not where it belongs. that hill was over run by the americans very quickly. it was never a point of fighting because the german troops that were in it went back to the main fortification. you really should think about moving it. so they did. they decided where to move it to. which is pretty close to where he was wounded. >> one of the really interesting details in your book is you have a lot on what food he brought with him and also the price of food and that was a problem for him. i just wondered is that just historical sources, memoirs, whatever records the british had? or is there any archeological
11:45 pm
information? mr. snow: of his supplies? we know where the -- he put his headquarters because it was littered with wine bottles and champagne bottles. he had a huge supply of wine and champagne. and he had the assistance of e wife of one of the commisarries. he enjoyed playing cards all night long and he enjoyed the company of women. he enjoyed gambling with his senior officers, especially if they were of noble ballad. he, himself, illegitimate. his biological father had arranged for him to get an inheritance, which is what he used to buy his first commission. but then he blew it gambling and had to resign his commission and sell the commission in order to have food to live on in the early part of his career.
11:46 pm
>> and second, a lot of historians argue after beamis heights the only option then was to at that point burn his baggage and make a run for it back to canada. i wonder if you agree that he could have escaped that way or -- mr. snow: if he had made the decision earlier he might have been able to get back to canada, but this army that he had was this clanking, cumbersome army that moved one, two miles a day on a good day. and the americans were very good at dropping trees over the only road to canada. and the americans were very good at burning every bridge before he got to them. so every day for him coming south involved clearing away trees so that he could drag this huge artillery train down the road and because the oxon can't climb over trees men had to clear these trails. -- i'm losing my
11:47 pm
thought here. he had to also ford streams because the bridges had all been burned or he had to have crews out there rebuilding bridges. so often he had soldiers that were building bridges and then twice as many soldiers there to protect them so that the americans couldn't pick them off as they were rebuilding bridges. it was, you know, a huge logistical chore for him. and the americans knew how to make it hard. >> i've been to the battle field several times over the years and it's a confusing battle field even for someone who is familiar with both the battles because if you take the auto tour it swerves back and forth between the two. and so you end up being quite confused by the sequence of events. unless you're able to say, ah, this is the beamis heights battle portion that i've driven into or the freeman's farm portion i've driven into, it is very hard even for someone
11:48 pm
versed with the battle to keep track of it. i imagine most average visitors are quite confused by it. but the point i wanted to make was a few details about the initial engagement you had between morgan and fraser's avant guard at freaman's farm. morgan's men he did pick off a lot of the pickets that fraser had and then they rationally charged out into open, morgan's men, unloaded rifles without bayonets. and then they came slam into -- they slammed into the light infantry battalion who shredded them with several volleys. mr. snow: yes. >> they were thrown back in complete disorder and probably would have been chased off the battle field and not dearborn's light infantry who had been sent forward to specifically support them and had bayonets were able to protect them and rally. mr. snow: that's almost the case. it turns out that dearborn saw
11:49 pm
men off to his left and he was afraid they were going to fall on morgan's flank. so he went -- he didn't follow up on morgan to give him direct support. he went farther west in order to prevent a flanking attack from that direction. so part of the reason that morgan's men got dispersed was that dearborn wasn't there to support them. but dearborn had made a hard choice. un, i could take you out there and show you where dearborn's men were and where morgan's men were but they were too far apart. that's why morgan at one point according to wilkinson who might have been lying because he was a liar, but according to wilkinson morgan was in tears. he said, i'm ruined. my men are scattered. that's the famous incident where he uses his turkey call to reassemble them. we got them back together and then of course they participated later in the battle and everything worked out. but you're right.
11:50 pm
the riflemen were badly abused by the british troops in the opening. >> my second point, briefly, would be do you think if howe had cooperated instead of going off on his own to philadelphia and brought the bulk of the my up to albany, would bourgoines been able to successfully link with him at albany and would it have had decisive impa kt for the revolution in 1777? mr. snow: you never know. it might have. you can't run the experiment. if howe had stayed in new york and all those men available to go up the hudson at least it would have the three pincers would have been able to join forces at albany. by the way, as far as traveling the battlefield, when i take friends out there and show them the battlefield, i try to do it twice. i say, okay. we're going to look at the first battle and then we go around a second time to do the
11:51 pm
second battle. the problem is of course both battles were fought on the same ground and the park service tried to interpret both at the same time. it's very confusing. very, very confusing. how much time do we have? >> i have two questions. mr. snow: okay. >> first of all, general earborn, is he the same person who founded fort dearborn of dechambeau, michigan? mr. snow: yes. he was a major at saratoga and he had a military career after that. rose to rank of general and fought in the war of 1812. >> okay. mr. snow: he named his son dearborn and el alexander was one of the regimental commanders from new hampshire that everybody loved. he's in the book. -- girlfriend's name was na
11:52 pm
abby bishop and he kept writing letters saying i want to get married in the worst way but we have to fight this war first nd he was killed at york town. >> the second person this wilkinson or wilkerson -- mr. snow: wilkinson. >> the name sounded familiar. when you mentioned, well, he might have lied, is he the same wilkinson who met aaron burr on the expedition to montreal and they established a long relationship which ended -- which culminated in the attempt to detach part of the united states, part of the southwestern states or southwestern territories from the united states in the next century? mr. snow: yes, it's him. . ere is a recent book out the word i think treason is in the title. i can't remember the exact name
11:53 pm
of the book but it is about james wilkinson, who was only 20 years old and was adjutant to gates at saratoga. he had a later military career. he was cashiered at one point, came back. he ended up being a spy for the spanish. he was simultaneously employed in the american military and as an agent of the spanish government. he ended up going to mexico city where he had some sort of land deal and he died in mexico city and is buried there. there was another wilkinson who was william wilkinson that made the wonderful maps for the british. there is a third wilkinson who s my best friend in albany who is a blomingal anthropologist who did the workup on the skeletal remains we found in 1972. got to keep your wilkinsons straight. >> i'm a vermonter and i would lose my vermont credibility if
11:54 pm
of n't mention the battle hubbardton. the battle nobody ever heard of. mr. snow: it turns out there is a really good report on the battle that is unpublished. it was done by archeologists ho were complying with a requirement, a state and federal requirement that archeological work be done ahead of any major construction so that if there are any resources that are put at risk we'll know about them. and it turns out to be a terrific report. and not much else has been written about hubbardton but it should be. acklund was the head the gren deers shall the commander of the battalion, was wounded at hubbardton and because of that his wife harriet who was up in montreal and had promised to
11:55 pm
stay away said i'm coming down to the front. i'm going to nurse my husband back to health and you can't stop me. nobody stopped harriet from doing anything. she was one of these women who was so gracious and so widely admired she was the kind of woman who causes men to become unglued in her presence. and the whole british army thought that she was just the most wonderful of women. and then of course he gets wounded again in the second battle and shea asks permission to go through the lanes to the american side so she can nurse her husband yet again. and bourgoines allows her to do that and actually dearborn receives her in the boat that comes down the river, takes her back to the hospital. she accompanies her husband to albany and nurses him back to health again. then they get sent back to england and the dope got himself into a duel because
11:56 pm
somebody said something disparaging about americans and by this time he thought americans were pretty nice guys. and he said, sir, he won't tolerate that. he gets into a duel and he gets killed. and she's left with two little kids. >> one more question about terminology. the war of independence is often called the american revolution by the british. and yet this battle would seem to have made it genuinely a war. because the spanish french came in. what do you think would be the significance of the british still calling it a revolution and us calling it a war of independence? mr. snow: i've wondered what we call this war for a long time because sometimes it's called the war of independence. sometimes it's called the american revolution. i've never understood if there is some sort of etiquette about this. my experience is that the british don't talk about it at all. they don't teach anything about the american -- this war,
11:57 pm
whatever you call it. they don't teach it in school over there. they would rather not discuss it. so i've been hoping, this is oxford press, after all. and one of the reasons i got excited about publishing with oxford press is, this is my publicist over here. one of the reasons i got excited about doing this, i thought, you know, i think the brits ought to read this. i wrote it like, you know, these two old guys that fought each other talked about their experiences. a lot of time has gone by. we've been in wars with, on the same side as the british now several times. so i would think at this point they would be willing to read a book which treats them i think fairly and, you know, there were decent people on both sides up at saratoga. and they became friends during -- you see it happening when these officers on both sides
11:58 pm
sit down and start negotiating the agreement. they become buddies very quickly. this is just the way men are. there's also one story in there about a couple irishmen, brothers that recognized each other during the truce. read the book. you'll see it. >> last question. mr. snow: okay. >> how did the americans handle deserters especially the german speaking ones? mr. snow: the deserters were taken back to albany temporarily. hyde's connecticut light horse was in charge of escorting the prisoners during the course, before the surrender, and then after the surrender the connecticut light horses corted most of the enlisted men to virginia as the other officers were sent east into boston. and eventually exchanged. which is how they got back to england as quickly as they did. a lot of the enlisted men, particularly the germans, just
11:59 pm
ttled and, you know, their descendents are still here. they became americans. a lot of the british did, too. but it was more the germans than the british. the germans' case was kind of interesting because early in the fighting they were told, do not let yourself get captured by the americans. do not dessert to the american side. they are cannibals. they have learned all these awful practices from these indians. you know about indians. so, you know, as far as -- that's what the officers were telling the men in the german regiments. do not allow yourself to be captured. you're a dead man if you do. and it didn't take very long before they found out otherwise. and there was a hemorrhaging of desertion of the british forces, particularly german troops. some entire units came over.
12:00 am
an entire company with, you know, noncommissioned officer and all the men would come over together there was a lot of desertion as we got closer to the surrender. >> thank you so much. [applause] >> everybody should have one of these cards so you can go online and cd maps -- see the maps. >> are there any books for autographing? i think you can go right up front. i believe there are books for sale at the entrance. >>


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on