There is a symmetry between the folly of Burgoyne’s march south to Saratoga and that of Cornwallis’s march north to Yorktown. Military historians debate why Burgoyne risked marching south from Fort Edward in the same way that they question why Cornwallis advanced north beyond North Carolina into Virginia. Although Cornwallis had none of the outward vanity of Burgoyne, the two men were similar in that they were both junior generals and neither of them was commander in chief of the British army in America. Both blamed their subsequent failures on rigid orders and insufficient latitude. They both expected to march through predominantly friendly territory. They both ignored the chain of command and went over the heads of their superiors to communicate independently with Lord George Germain. They both allowed their supply lines to become overextended and their forces suffered harassment by enemy militia. They presided over the two most decisive defeats of the American Revolutionary War.
Places to Visit
|Place||City Sort descending|
|Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site||Bristol||Includes unearthed remnants of Fort William Henry and Fort Frederick.|
|Fort George||Castine||Built by the British in 1789 and location of the largest American amphibious operation of the war.|
|Montpelier – The General Henry Knox Museum||Thomaston||Built in 1794, Montpelier was constructed as the retirement home of Henry and Lucy Knox, and was in use by the family until 1854; it was razed in 1871. The current Montpelier is a recreation built in 1930 and includes some of Knox’s personal effects.|
|Sayward-Wheeler House||York Harbor||Well-preserved home of Jonathan Sayward, a merchant and a loyalist, originally built in 1718 and then enlarged.|
The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire (2013)