Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chaplain Tries to Avert Disaster

"General Carleton' s late conduct was only designed to deceive: his affected clemency is to be dreaded. Expect not mercy from an enemy who are fighting in support of tyranny: it cannot, it will not be shown any longer than it is for their interest."--Rev. William Mackay Tennant, chaplain to Connecticut troops serving near Lake Champlain, in a sermon Sunday, Oct. 20, 1776.

The decision by Sir Guy Carleton, British Governor of Canada, to switch from severity to leniency with American prisoners was dangerous to the American Cause. Capturing General David Waterbury and 110 other Americans, Burgoyne treated the wounded, dined with the General, served drink to the men, and released them the next day. Historian Max M. Mintz wrote, "The liberated prisoners were so loud in their praises of Carleton that Gates feared their effect on the garrison's morale. He isolated them and the same night hurried them off...to their homes for discharge." Max M. Minzt, The Generals of Saratoga: John Burgoyne and Horatio Gates (New Haven: Yale University Press), 1990, page 106.
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