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Celebration of Burgoyne’s Surrender

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II.  Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

Poetry, music, rhyme, and satire in Revolutionary War America.

October 18.—Yesterday the anniversary of the surrender of General Burgoyne’s army was celebrated at Peekskill, in New York, by the officers of the Third Massachusetts brigade, in a manner which would have given satisfaction to any gentlemen who are sensible of the important events of the day. Colonel commandant Greaton gave an elegant entertainment, at which were present Major-General Heath and suite, the officers of the brigade, and a number of other gentlemen.

The recollection of the glorious victory which was completed on that day, and the prospect of events equally glorious, animated every breast with the most pleasing sensations, and diffused a lively joy on every countenance. An elegant concert of music attended the entertainment, and after dinner the following toasts were drank:—1. The ever memorable 17th of October, 1777; 2. The 19th of September, 1777; 3. The 7th of October, 1777; 4. The memory of those gallant officers and soldiers who fell in acquiring the glory of the day we now celebrate; 5. The United States of America, and Congress; 6. His most Christian Majesty; 7. General Washington; 8. Count de Grasse; 9. Count de Rochambeau;1 10. The fleet and the allied army, employed on the glorious expedition in Virginia; 11. General Greene, and the brave army under his command; 12. Our ambassadors at foreign courts; 13. May freedom, peace, and happiness be established in America, and extend throughout the world:—

While scenes of transport every breast inspire,
The muse too triumphs in her kindling fire;
Blest in this bliss, she lifts a bolder wing,
Aids every wish, and tunes the harp to sing,
To their glad concert wakes the accordant strain,
And mingles with the music of the plain.
“Joy to the bands!” her voice arose,
Who charmed that veteran host of foes;
Who bade Britain’s glory fade,
And placed the wreath on fair Columbia’s head.
Hail the day and mark it well,
When the scourge of freedom fell,
When your dawning glory shone;
Mark it, freemen! ’tis your own.
Now recount your toils with pleasure,
View the strife and sum the treasure,
Run the battles o’er again,
Sound the charge and sweep the plain.
Here behold the foe pursuing,
How he drives his headlong way,
Whelming towns and realms in ruin,
Sure to seize the distant prey.
Fear and faithless tribes adore him,
Join the shout and yield him room;
Now Albania! fall before him,
Now rebellion learn your doom;
But dread Bemis to the skies
Bade the opposing stand and rise,
And arms dispute the day,
On that proud height
You dared the fight,
Till welcome night
Concealed their flight,
And swept the war away.
Hail the day and mark it well,
When the scourge of freedom fell,
When your dawning glory shone;
Mark it, freemen, ’tis your own.
Again the well-known hill they try,
Again they fall, again they fly,
Again you sweep the field,
Till thundering batteries cease to roar,
They give the fancied conquest o’er,
And trembling thousands yield.
Hail the day and mark it well,
Then the pride of Britain fell,
Then your dawning glory shone;
Mark it, heroes, ’tis your own.
And soon the rival day shall shine,
The task, great Washington, be thine,
To give it equal fame;
Another vaunting host to thee,
Now swell their pride, now bend the knee,
To crown thy finish’d name.
Then every glad blessing thy country shall lend,
When her foes and her slaughter shall cease,
Shall arise to the hero who bade her ascend
To conquest, to glory, and peace.2

 

1 Commander of the French army.
2 New York Packet, October 25.

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