Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saratoga and the Rhetoric of War

October 7, 1777 saw the battle at Bemis Heights, the second of the two battles at Saratoga, and the retreat of Burgoyne to what is now known as "Victory Woods." A monument commemorates the battle:

On October 16, 1777, following days of negotiation, Burgoyne surrendered to Gates and they dined together at General Schuyler's house.  The entry in Burgoyne's orderly book for that day tells us:

"Gen. Burgoyne and the rest of the Staff Officers were escorted on Horseback.  They all dined at General Schuyler's.  At Table General Gates drank the King of Great Britain's Health.  Gen. Burgoyne in return thanked him, and in the next Glass drank the Continental Congress.  Gen. Burgoyne observed to Gen. Gates, he admired the Number, Dress and Discipline of his Army; but above all, the Decorum and Regularity that was observed; said, Your Funds of Men are inexhaustible, like the Hydra's Head, when cut off, seven more sprang up in its stead."

Today we live in a world where innocents starve to death, are drafted as children soldiers, and are raped and trafficked into prostitution, and still the dinners and the rhetoric flow.

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