State of the Expedition from Canada

John BURGOYNE

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Item#: 124788 price:$13,500.00

State of the Expedition from Canada
State of the Expedition from Canada
State of the Expedition from Canada
State of the Expedition from Canada

"LET ALL NEW ENGLAND RISE AND CRUSH BURGOYNE" (WASHINGTON): EXCEEDINGLY SCARCE FIRST EDITION OF BURGOYNE'S ACCOUNT OF HIS 1777 SURRENDER TO AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY FORCES AT SARATOGA, "ONE OF THE BEST SOURCES OF THE CAMPAIGN" (STREETER), WITH SIX LARGE HAND-COLORED FOLDING MAPS ENGRAVED BY FADEN

(AMERICAN REVOLUTION) BURGOYNE, John. A State of the Expedition from Canada, as Laid Before the House of Commons by Lieutenant-General Burgoyne, and Verified by Evidence; with a Collection of Authentic Documents… Written and Collected by Himself, and Dedicated to the Officers of the Army He Commanded. London: Printed for J. Almon, 1780. Quarto, modern three-quarter brown calf, marbled boards and endpapers; pp. i-viii, 1-140, i-lxii, [2]. $13,500.

First edition of British officer Burgoyne's dramatic justification of his 1777 defeat by American Revolutionary forces at Saratoga. Intended to win the war for the British, it became "the turning point" in the war that "brought France openly into the struggle. And it led to a change in the British command and a fundamental alteration in strategy" (Wood, American Revolution), containing six large engraved folding maps and plans with handcolored details, two with hinged overslips illustrating changes in troop positions and movements, handsomely bound.

When British officer John Burgoyne arrived in the rebellious colonies in May 1775, "the fateful march to Lexington had already occurred, and Bunker Hill was only three weeks away." Burgoyne was soon taken aback by the Americans' fighting spirit in the siege of Boston and noted that the English had taken "a step as decisive as the passage of the Rubicon, and… [we] find ourselves plunged at once into a most serious war" (Weintraub, 38-47). When Burgoyne was attached to the Canadian command of Sir Guy Carleton, he grew frustrated with Carleton's inaction and returned to Britain, where, "at the request of the prime minister he drew up a plan of campaign for the next year. He proposed that an army of 12,000 men, accompanied by 2000 Canadians as guides and pioneers, and 1,000 Indians as scouts, should advance from Canada, take Ticonderoga, and then advance for 200 miles through the forests to Albany… His energy impressed the king… and he returned to America in the spring of 1777 with supreme command of a force to make this march" (DNB). That same year, on the "evening of 4 July, the second anniversary of the Declaration of Independence," Burgoyne's forces surrounded the Americans at Fort Ticonderoga and pursued the colonial army in its flight up river. Burgoyne's success seemed certain, until, in August, he wrote of "sinister events" (Weintraub, 114).

It was at this point that Washington "saw his opportunity. 'Now,' he said, 'let all New England rise and crush Burgoyne," and he sent as many troops into the battle as he could spare (Hibbert, 182). In late September, Burgoyne's army faced 20,000 American soldiers entrenched at Behmus' Heights, and he led a bloody if futile attack. General Gates, however, "would not allow him to escape; he harassed every mile of the retreat, and at last surrounded him at Saratoga. All Burgoyne's provisions and ammunition were expended, and he found himself obliged to surrender on October 17, 1777" (DNB). As "one of the rebel bands derisively played 'Yankee Doodle Dandy" at the sight of the defeated British, Burgoyne faced Gates. "'The fortunes of war, General,' Burgoyne said, 'have made me your prisoner" (Hibbert, 197). Although Burgoyne's campaign was intended to end the colonial rebellion, his defeat at "Saratoga was the turning point." Not only had an American force been victorious in the field, but an American army had defeated a British army. This "brought France openly into the struggle. And it led to a change in the British command and a fundamental alteration in strategy" (Wood, American Revolution, 81). Recognizing that his military reputation had been severely damaged, Burgoyne published A State of the Expedition, in which he defends the campaign's strategy. "The work is one of the best sources on the campaign" (Streeter). With six large hand-colored folding maps: "part of a series of the battles of the American Revolution engraved and issued by William Faden" (two with hinged overrslips) (Adams 80-12a). Containing an extensive appendix featuring Burgoyne's letters, speeches, journals and minutes. Howes B968. Sabin 9255. ESTC W34205. Streeter II:794. Stevens 27. Staton & Tremaine 503.

Text very fresh, only light offsetting to maps, much lighter than usual, occasional small closed tears at foldlines. A handsome about-fine copy.

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