Saratogo- Death of McCrea
Death of Miss McCrea
Journal of Lieutenant William Digby of the Shropshire Regiment.
July 24th. We marched from Skeensborough, and tho but 15 miles to Fort Anne, were two days going it, as the enemy had felled large trees over the river, which there turned so narrow as not to allow more than one wagon abrest from whence we were obliged to cut a road through the wood, which was attended with great fatigue and labour, for our wagons and artillery. Our heavy cannon went over Lake George, as it was impossible to bring them off the road we made, and were to join us near Fort Edward, in case the enemy were to stand us at that place, it being a good road for cannon and about 16 miles. Fort Anne is a place of no great strength, having only a block house, which though strong against small arms is not proof against cannon.
We saw many of their dead unburied, since the action of the 8th, which caused a violent stench. One officer of the 8th regiment, Lieut Westrop, was then unburied, and from the smell we could only cover him with leaves. At that action, the 8th took their colors, which were intended as a present to their Colonel Lord Ligonier. They were very handsome, a flag of the United States, ~3 stripes alternate red and white, [with thirteen stars] in a blue field representing a new constellation.
In the evening, our Indians brought in two scalps, one of them an officer's which they danced about in their usual manner. Indeed, the cruelties committed by them were too shocking to relate, particularly the melancholy catastrophe of the unfortunate Miss McCrea, which affected the general and the whole army with the sincerest regret and concern for her untimely fate. This young lady was about 18, had a pleasing person, her family were loyal to the King, and she engaged to be married to a provincial officer in our army before the war broke out. Our Indians (I may well now call them Savages) were detached on scouting parties, both in our front and on our flanks, and can' to the house where she resided; but the scene is too tragic for my pen. She fell a sacrifice to the savage passions of these blood thirsty monsters, for the particulars of which I shall refer the reader to General Burgoyne's letter, dated 3rd September, to General Gates.... .
I make no doubt but the censorious world, who seldom judge but by outward appearances, will be apt to censure Gen Burgoyne for the cruelties committed by his Indians, and imagine he countenanced them in so acting. On the contrary, I am pretty certain it was always against his desire to give any assistance to the savages.