"Heavens!" he complained, "is it not bad enough to move two thousand troops, a third of whom no man can understand the gibberish of, to say nothing of General de Riedesel's wife and children, but I must have other women to look out for? I wish that Governor Livingston would pardon less and hang more!"
Burgoyne, easily persuaded that the Tories in that region would aid his efforts, and thinking that he could alarm the country as well as secure the supplies of which he began to stand in great need, determined to detach Colonel Baum with a force of some six or eight hundred of Riedesel's dragoons for the attack upon Bennington.
Frazer's position was most critical; his bridge had been broken by a freshet, and for one whole day he was cut off from the main army. As soon as Breyman's worn-out men had straggled into camp, Burgoyne's fell back to Duer's again. Meantime, Frazer had repaired his bridge and hastily recrossed the Hudson. Riedesel's corps was sent back to Fort Edward.
While this was going on, on the west shore, Riedesel's Germans were moved up still nearer Mount Independence, on the Vermont shore, thus investing Ticonderoga on three sides. A more enterprising general would never have permitted his enemy to seize his communications with Lake George, without making a struggle for their possession, but St.
Indeed, at the moment when the British were really beaten and ready to give way, the sound of many voices, singing aloud, rose above the din of battle, and near at hand. At first neither of the combatants knew what such strange sounds could mean. It was Riedesel's Germans advancing to the attack, chanting battle hymns to the fierce refrain of the musketry and the loud shouts of the combatants.
Warner opposed a vigorous resistance, but a large body of his militia retreated and left him to sustain the combat alone, when the firing of Riedesel's advanced guard was heard and shortly after his whole force, drums beating and colors flying, emerged from the shades of the forest and part of his troops immediately effected a junction with the British line.
Riedesel's presence also gave much encouragement to the loyalists, who now joined Burgoyne in such numbers as to persuade him that a majority of the inhabitants were for the king. The information they gave, proved of vital consequence in determining Burgoyne's operations in the near future. Two routes were now open to Burgoyne.
Riedesel's camp, we remember, lay on the Vermont side, and so nearest to Mount Independence, and St. Clair's line of retreat. Burgoyne, therefore, ordered Riedesel to fall in behind Frazer, who had just marched, and give that officer any support he might be in want of. Thus, most of the hostile forces were in active movement, either by land or water, at an early hour of the sixth.