‘Gentleman Johnny’ Burgoyne had returned to England in 1776, after a somewhat ineffectual command at Boston. While home, it was said, Burgoyne ‘took the waters’ at Bath, and was revitalized, both physically and mentally. He devised a plan to divide New England from the southern colonies, and thereby more easily conquer one half of the colonies first, and then the other half at his leasure. The fifty-two year old Major General was so sure of his plan, that he placed a wager in the betting-book of the fashionable Brooks’ Club in London, which stated: "John Burgoyne wagers Charles Fox one pony that he will be home victorious from America by Chriƒtmas Day, 1777".

   General Burgoyne put his plan into the form of a written proposal, which he titled: Thoughts For Conducting The War From The Side Of Canada. The proposal was submitted to Lord George Germain, Secretary of State for America, on 28 February, 1777. It called for a force of 8,000 men to sweep southward from Canada by Lake Champlain, taking Fort Ticonderoga enroute, to meet a smaller force traveling by way of the Mohawk River from Oswego. The two forces would join at the Hudson River above Albany, the ultimate object of the campaign. General Sir William Howe would then lead a force up the Hudson River to join in the assault on Albany. The taking of Albany from the Rebels, and the coincident control of the Hudson River would effectively seal off the New England colonies from the southern colonies. On the 3rd of March, Sir William Howe submitted his own proposal to Lord Germain. Howe wanted to ferry an army from New York to the Chesapeake Bay in order to mount an attack on Philadelphia. Lord Germain was agreeable to both plans, assuming that Howe would complete the Philadelphia campaign in time to move northward to assist Burgoyne.

   General Burgoyne’s Thoughts follows:

When the laƒt ƒhips came from Quebec, a report prevailed in Canada, ƒaid to have been founded upon poƒitive evidence, that the rebels had laid the keels of ƒeveral large veƒsels at Skeneƒborough and Ticonderoga, and were reƒolved to exert their utmoƒt powers, to conƒtruct a new and formidable fleet during the winter.
I will not, however, give credit to their exertions, in ƒuch a degree as to imagine the King’s troops will be prevented paƒsing Lake Champlain early in the ƒummer, but will ƒuppoƒe the operations of the army to begin from Crown Point.
But as the preƒent means to form effectual plans is to lay down every poƒsible difficulty, I will ƒuppoƒe the enemy in great force at Ticonderoga; the different works there are capable of admitting twelve thouƒand men.
I will ƒuppoƒe him alƒo to occupy Lake George with a conƒiderable naval ƒtrength, in order to ƒecure his retreat, and afterwards to retard the campaign; and it is natural to expect that he will take meaƒures to block up the roads from Ticonderoga to Albany by the way of Skeneƒborough, by fortifying the ƒtrong ground at different places, and thereby obliging the King’s army to carry a weight of artillery with it, and by felling trees, breaking bridges, and other obvious impediments, to delay, though he ƒhould not have power or ƒpirit finally to reƒiƒt, its progreƒs.
The enemy thus diƒpoƒed upon the ƒide of Canada, it is to be conƒidered what troops will be neceƒsary, and what diƒpoƒition of them will be moƒt proper to proƒecute the campaign with vigor and effect.
I humbly conceive the operating army (I mean excluƒively of the troops left for the ƒecurity of Canada) ought not to conƒiƒt of leƒs than 8000 regulars, rank and file. The artillery required in the memorandums of General Carleton, a corps of watermen, 2000 Canadians, including hatchet-men and other workmen, and 1000 or more ƒavages.
It is to be hoped that the reinforcement and the victualling ƒhips may all be ready to ƒail from the Channel and from Corke on the laƒt day of March. I am perƒuaded that to ƒail with a fleet of ƒhips earlier, is to ƒubject Government to loƒs and diƒappointment. It may reaƒonably be expected that they will reach Quebec before the 20th of May, a period in full time for opening the campaign. The roads, and the rivers and lakes, by the melting and running off of the ƒnows, are in common years impracticable ƒooner.
But as the weather long before that time will probably have admitted of labour in the docks, I will take for granted that the fleet of laƒt year, as well batteaux as armed veƒsels, will be found repaired, augmented, and fit for immediate ƒervice. The magazines that remain of proviƒions, I believe them not to be abundant, will probably be formed at Montreal, Sorel and Chamblee.
I conceive the firƒt buƒineƒs for thoƒe entruƒted with the chief powers, ƒhould be to ƒelect and poƒt the troops deƒtined to remain in Canada; to throw up the military ƒtores and proviƒion with all poƒsible diƒpatch, in which ƒervice the above mentioned troops, if properly poƒted, will greatly aƒsiƒt, and to draw the army deƒtined for operation to cantonments, within as few days’ march of St. John’s as conveniently may be. I ƒhould prefer cantonments at that ƒeaƒon of the year to encampment, as the ground is very damp, and conƒequently very pernicious to the men, and more eƒpecially as they will have been for many months before uƒed to lodgings, heated with ƒtoves, or between the decks of ƒhips; all theƒe operations may be put in motion together, but they ƒeverally require ƒome obƒervation.

I ƒhould wiƒh that the troops left in Canada, ƒuppoƒing the number mentioned in my former memorandum to be approved, might be made as follows:
The 31st regiment, Britiƒh, excluƒive of their light company of grenadiers…………………...……..……………..………..448
Maclean’s corps……….…………..…………….....…..….300
The 29th regiment………………………………....……….448
The ten additional companies from Great Britain..………560
Brunƒwick and Heƒse-Hanau to be taken by detachments or complete corps, as Major-General Riedeƒel ƒhall recommend, leaving the grenadiers, light infantry and dragoons complete……….…………………….650
Detachments from the other Britiƒh brigades, leaving the grenadiers and light infantry complete and ƒquaring the battalion equally….…600

My reaƒon for ƒelecting the 31st regiment for this duty is, that when I ƒaw it laƒt it was not equally in order with the other regiments for ƒervices of activity.
I propoƒe Maclean’s corps, becauƒe I very much apprehend deƒertion from ƒuch parts of it as are compoƒed of Americans, ƒhould they come near the enemy.
In Canada, whatƒoever may be their diƒpoƒition, it is not ƒo eaƒy to effect it.
And I propoƒe making up the reƒidue by detachment, becauƒe by ƒelecting the men leaƒt calculated for fatigue or leaƒt accuƒtomed to it, which may be equally good ƒoldiers in more confined movements and better provided ƒituations, the effective ƒtrength for operation is much greater and the defenƒive ƒtrength not impaired.
I muƒt beg leave to ƒtate the expeditious conveyance of proviƒion and ƒtores from Quebec, and the ƒeveral other depoƒitories, in order to form ample magazines at Crown Point, as one of the moƒt important operations of the campaign, becauƒe it is upon that which moƒt of the reƒt will depend. If ƒailing veƒsels up the St. Lawrence are alone to be employed, the accident of contrary winds may delay them two months before they paƒs the rapids of Richelieu, and afterwards St. Peter’s Lake; delays to that extent are not uncommon, and they are only to be obviated by having a quantity of ƒmall craft in readineƒs to work with oars. From the mouth of the Sorrell to Chamblee, rowing and tacking is a ƒure conveyance if ƒufficient hands are found. From Chamblee to St. Thereƒe (which iƒ juƒt above the Rapids) land-carriage muƒt be uƒed, and great authority will be requiƒite to ƒupply the quantity neceƒsary.
A buƒineƒs thus complicated in arrangement, in ƒome parts uƒual in practice and in others perhaps difficult, can only be carried to the deƒired effect by the peremptory powers, warm zeal, and conƒonant opinion of the Governor; and though the former are not to be doubted, a failure in the latter, vindicated, or ƒeeming to be vindicated, by the plauƒible obƒtructions that will not fail to be ƒuggeƒted by others, will be ƒufficient to cruƒh ƒuch exertions as an officer of a ƒanguine temper, entruƒted with the future conduct of the campaign, and whoƒe perƒonal intereƒt and fame therefore conƒequently depend upon a timely out-ƒet, would be led to make.
The aƒsembly of the ƒavages and the Canadians will alƒo entirely depend upon the Governor.
Under theƒe conƒiderations, it is preƒumed, that the general officer employed to proceed with the army will be held to be out of the reach of any poƒsible blame till he is clear of the province of Canada, and furniƒhed with the propoƒed ƒupplies.
The navigation of Lake Champlain ƒecured by the ƒuperiority of our naval force, and the arrangements for forming proper magazines ƒo eƒtabliƒhed as to make the execution certain, I would not loƒe a day to take poƒseƒsion of Crown Point with Brigadier Fraƒer’s corps, a large body of ƒavages, a body of Canadians, both for ƒcouts and works, and the beƒt of our engineers and artificers well ƒupplied with entrenching tools.
The brigade would be ƒufficient to prevent inƒult during the time neceƒsary for collecting the ƒtores, forming magazines, and fortifying the poƒts; all which ƒhould be done to a certain degree, previous to the proceeding in force to Ticonderoga; to ƒuch a degree I mean as may be ƒuppoƒed to be effected in time of tranƒporting artillery, preparing faƒcines, and other neceƒsaries for artillery operations; and by keeping the reƒt of the army back during that period, the tranƒport of proviƒions will be leƒsened, and the ƒoldiers made of uƒe in forwarding the convoys.
But though there would be only one brigade at Crown Point at that time, it does not follow that the enemy ƒhould remain in a ƒtate of tranquillity. Corps of ƒavages, ƒupported by detachments of light regulars, ƒhould be continually on foot to keep them in alarm, and within their works to cover the reconnoitring of general officers and engineers, and to obtain the beƒt intelligence of their ƒtrength, poƒition, and deƒign.
If due exertion is made in the preparations ƒtated above, it may be hoped that Ticonderoga will be reduced early in the ƒummer and it will then become a more proper place for arms than Crown Point.
The next meaƒure muƒt depend upon thoƒe taken by the enemy, and upon the general plan of the campaign as concerted at home. If it be determined that General Howe’s whole forces ƒhould act upon Hudƒon's River, and to the ƒouthward of it, and that the only object of the Canada army to effect a junction with that force, the immediate poƒseƒsion of Lake George would be of great conƒequence, as the moƒt expeditious and moƒt commodious route to Albany; and ƒhould the enemy be in force upon that lake, which is very probable, every effort ƒhould be tried, by throwing ƒavages and light troops around it, to oblige them to quit it without waiting for naval preparations. Should thoƒe efforts fail, the route by South Bay and Skeneƒborough might be attempted, but conƒiderable difficulties may be expected, as the narrow parts of the river may be eaƒily choaked up and rendered impaƒsable, and at beƒt there will be neceƒsity for a great deal of land carriage for the artillery, proviƒion, etc. which can only be ƒupplied from Canada. In caƒe of ƒucceƒs alƒo by that route, and the enemy not removed from Lake George, it will be neceƒsary to leave a chain of poƒts, as the army proceeds, for the ƒecurities of your communication, which may too much weaken ƒo ƒmall an army.
Leƒt all theƒe attempts ƒhould unavoidably fail, and it become indiƒpenƒably neceƒsary to attack the enemy by water upon Lake George, the army at the outƒet ƒhould be provided with carriages, implements, and artificers, for conveying armed veƒsels from Ticonderoga to the lake.
Theƒe ideas are formed upon the ƒuppoƒition, that it be the ƒole purpoƒe of the Canada army to effect a junction with General Howe, or after cooperating ƒo far as to get poƒseƒsion of Albany and open the communication to New York, to remain upon the Hudƒon’s River, and thereby enable that general to act with his whole force to the ƒouthward.
But ƒhould the ƒtrength of the main American army be ƒuch as to admit of the corps of troops now at Rhode Iƒland remaining there during the winter, and acting ƒeparately in the ƒpring, it may be highly worthy conƒideration, whether the moƒt important purpoƒe to which the Canada army could be employed, ƒuppoƒing it in poƒseƒsion of Ticonderoga, would not be to gain the Connecticutt River.
The extent of country from Ticonderoga to the inhabited country upon that river, oppoƒite to Charles Town, is about ƒixty miles, and though to convey artillery and proviƒion ƒo far by land would be attended with difficulties, perhaps more than thoƒe above ƒuggeƒted, upon a progreƒs to Skeneƒborough, ƒhould the object appear worthy it is to be hoped reƒources might be found; in that caƒe it would be adviƒeable to fortify with one or two ƒtrong redoubts the heights oppoƒite to Charles Town, and eƒtabliƒh poƒts of ƒavages upon the paƒsage from Ticonderoga to thoƒe heights, to preƒerve the communication, and at the ƒame time prevent any attempt from the country above Charles Town, which is very populous, from moleƒting the rear or interrupting the convoys of ƒupply, while the army proceeded down the Connecticutt. Should the junction between the Canada and Rhode Iƒland armies be effected upon the Connecticutt, it is not too ƒanguine an expectation that all the New England provinces will be reduced by their operations.
To avoid breaking in upon other matter, I omitted in the beginning of theƒe papers to ƒtate the idea of an expedition at the outƒet of the campaign by the Lake Ontario and Oƒwego to the Mohawk River, which, as a diverƒion to facilitate every propoƒed operation, would be highly deƒirable, provided the army ƒhould be reenforced ƒufficiently to afford it.
It may at firƒt appear, from a view of the preƒent ƒtrength of the army, that it may bear the ƒort of detachment propoƒed by myƒelf laƒt year for this purpoƒe; but it is to be conƒidered that at that time the utmoƒt object of the campaign, from the advanced ƒeaƒon and unavoidable delay of preparation for the lakes, being the reduction of Crown Point and Ticonderoga, unleƒs the ƒucceƒs of my expedition had opened the road to Albany, no greater numbers were neceƒsary than for thoƒe firƒt operations. The caƒe in the preƒent year differs; becauƒe the ƒeaƒon of the year affording a proƒpect of very extenƒive operation, and conƒequently the eƒtabliƒhment of many poƒts, patroles, etc., will become neceƒsary. The army ought to be in a ƒtate of numbers to bear thoƒe drains, and ƒtill remain ƒufficient to attack anything that probably can be oppoƒed to it.
Nor, to argue from probability, is ƒo much force neceƒsary for this diverƒion this year, as was required for the laƒt; becauƒe we then knew that General Schuyler with a thouƒand men, was fortified upon the Mohawk. When the different ƒituations of things are conƒidered, viz, the progreƒs of General Howe, the early invaƒion from Canada, the threatening of the Connecticutt from Rhode Iƒland, etc., it is not to be imagined that any detachment of ƒuch force as that of Schuyler can be ƒupplied by the enemy for the Mohawk. I would not therefore propoƒe it of more (and I have great diffidence whether ƒo much can be prudently afforded) than Sir John Johnƒon’s corps, and a hundred Britiƒh from the ƒecond brigade, and a hundred more from the 8th regiment, with four pieces of the lighteƒt artillery, and a body of ƒavages; Sir John Johnƒon to be with the detachment in perƒon, and an able field officer to command it. I ƒhould wiƒh Lieutenant Colonel St. Leger for that employment.
I particularize the ƒecond brigade, becauƒe the firƒt is propoƒed to be diminiƒhed by the 31st regiment remaining in Canada, and the reƒt of the regiment drafted for the expedition being made alƒo part of the Canada force, the two brigades will be exactly ƒquared.
Should it appear, upon examination of the really effective numbers of the Canada army, that the force is not ƒufficient for proceeding upon the above ideas with a fair proƒpect of ƒucceƒs, the alternative remains of embarking the army at Quebec, in order to effect a junction with General Howe by ƒea or to be employed ƒeparately to cooperate with the main deƒigns, by ƒuch means as ƒhould be within their ƒtrength upon other parts of the continent. And though the army, upon examination of the numbers from the returns here, and the reenforcements deƒigned, ƒhould appear adequate, it is humbly ƒubmitted, as a ƒecurity againƒt the poƒsibility of its remaining inactive, whether it might not be expedient to entruƒt the latitude of embarking the army by ƒea to the commander-in-chief, provided any accidents during the winter, and unknown here, ƒhould have diminiƒhed the numbers conƒiderably, or that the enemy, from any winter ƒucceƒs to the ƒouthward, ƒhould have been able to draw ƒuch forces towards the frontiers of Canada, and take up their ground with ƒuch precaution, as to render the intended meaƒure impracticable or too hazardous. But in that caƒe it muƒt be conƒidered that more force would be required to be left behind for the ƒecurity of Canada, than is ƒuppoƒed to be neceƒsary when an army is beyond the lake, and I do not conceive any expedition from the ƒea can be ƒo formidable to the enemy, or ƒo effectual to cloƒe the war, as an invaƒion from Canada to Ticonderoga. This laƒt meaƒure ought not to be thought of, but upon poƒitive conviction of its neceƒsity.
   J. BURGOYNE Herford-Street, Feb. 28th, 1777

  Lord Germain did indeed approve the proposal, and General Burgoyne, newly promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General, received his men and supplies. Of British and German soldiers, the force raised for the campaign amounted to 7,173 men. Of this number, sone 3,217 were Brunswick Germans.

  On 06 May, 1777 Burgoyne landed between the red cliffs of Levis and the massive rock upon which Quebec was situated.

  Just about everything was looking good for the campaign. The German troops who had been quartered at Quebec through the winter of 1776/77 were ready to get about the business of war. The winter had been so unusually mild, that the inhabitants called it the "German winter". The subordinate British officers were first-class. Even Sir Guy Carleton, seemed unfazed by the fact that, despite being the Governor of the Canadian colony, and the man with whom a campaign should at least have been discussed, he had been shamelessly ignored by Germain.