Saratogo- British Journal
Journal of Captain Georg Pausch of the Hanau Artillery.
[October 7, ,1777] At this junction, our left wing retreated in the greatest possible disorder, thereby causing a similar rout among our German command, which was stationed behind the fence in line of battle. They retreated or to speak more plainly—they left their position without informing me, although I was but fifty paces in advance of them. Each man for himself, they made for the bushes. Without knowing it, I kept back the enemy for a while with my unprotected cannon loaded with shells. How long before this the infantry had left its position, I cannot tell, but I saw a great number advance towards our now open left wing within a distance of about 300 pacer,. I looked back towards the position still held, as I supposed, by our German infantry, under whose protection I, too, intended to retreat—but not a man was to be seen. They had all run across the road into the field and thence into the bushes, and had taken refuge behind the trees. Their right wing war, thus in front of the house I have so often mentioned, but all was in disorder, though they still fought the enemy which continued to advance.
In the mean time, on our right wing, there was stubborn fighting on both sides, our rear, meanwhile, being covered by a dense forest, which, just before, had protected our right flank. The road by which we were to retreat lay through the woods and was already in the hands of the enemy, v,~ho accordingly intercepted us. Finding myself, therefore, finally in my first mentioned position—alone, isolated, and almost surrounded by the enemy, and with no way open but the one leading to the house where the two ~ pound cannon stood, dismounted and deserted—I had no alternative but to make my way along it with great difficulty if I did not wish to be stuck in a damned crooked road.
After safely reaching the house under the protection of a musketry fire —which, however, owing to the bushes, was fully as dangerous to me as if the firing came from the enemy—I presently came across a little earth-work, r8 | feet long by 5 feet high. This I at once made use of by posting my two "non, one on the right, and the other on the left, and began a fire alternatelY with balls and with shells, without, however, being able to discriminate in favor of our men who were in the bushes; for the enemy, without troubling them, charged savagely upon my cannon, hoping to dismount and silence them.... I
A brave English Lieutenant of Artillery, by the name of Schmidt, and a f sergeant were the only two who were willing to serve the cannon longer. He came to me and asked me to let him have ten artillery-men and one subaltern from my detachment to serve these cannon. But it was impossible for me ~ to grant his request, no matter how well disposed I might have been towa" it. Two of my men had been shot dead; three or four were wounded. number had straggled off, and all of the infantry detailed for that purpose either gone to the devil or run away. Moreover, all I had left, for the serving | of each cannon, were four or five men and one subaltern. A six-pound can- I non, also, on account of its rapidity in firing, was more effectual than a twelve pounder, with which only one-third the number of shots could he fired; and furthermore, I had no desire to silence my own cannon, which I were still in my possession, and thereby contribute to raise the honor~, of f another corps. Three wagons of ammunition were fired away by my cannon which became so heated that it was impossible for any man to lay his hands on them. In front, and also to the right and left of my guns, I had conquered, for myself and for those who were in the same terrain, a pretty comfortable fort. But this state of things lasted only a short time, the fire behind us coming nearer. Finally, our right wing was repulsed in our rear; its
however, fortunately retreating in better order than our left wing had done. I still could see, as far as the plain and clearing reached, the road, on which I had marched to this second position, open, and a chance, therefore, to retreat. Accordingly, myself, the artillery-man Hausemann and two other artillery-men, hoping to save one of the cannon, dragged it towards this road. The piece of wood on the cannon made the work for us four men very difficult and, in fact, next to impossible. Finally, a subaltern followed with the other cannon and placed it on the carriage. We now brought up the other carriage, on which I quickly placed the remaining gun, and marched briskly along the road, hoping to meet a body of our Infantry and with them make a stand. But this hope proved delusive and was totally dispelled; for some ran in one, and others in another direction; and by the time that I came w ithin gunshot of the woods, I found the road occupied by the enemy. They came towards us on it; the bushes were full of them; they were hidden behind the trees; and bullets in plenty received us.
Seeing that all was irretrievably lost, and that it was impossible to save anything, I called to the few remaining men to save themselves. I myself took refuge through a fence, in a pick of dense underbrush on the right of the road, with the last ammunition wagon, which, with the help of a gunner, I saved with the horses. Here I met all the different nationalities of our division running pell mell—among them Capt. Schoel, with whom there was not a single man left of the Hanau Regiment. In this confused retreat all made for our camp and our lines. The entrenchment of Breymann was furiously assailed; the camp in it set on fire and burned, and all the baggage horses and baggage captured by the enemy. The three 6-pound cannon of mv brigade of artillery were also taken, the artillery men, Wacher and Fintzell, killed, and artillery-man Wall (under whose command were the cannon) severely, and others slightly, wounded. The enemy occupied this entrenchment and remained in it during the night. The approaching darkness put an end to further operations on the part of the Americans.