The Patriot Resource - American Revolution


British General John Burgoyne
John Burgoyne Born: February 24, 1722; Bedfordshire, England
Died: June 4, 1792; London, England

Battles: Saratoga



Early Life: 1722-1775
John Burgoyne was born on February 24, 1722. Starting in 1733, he was educated at the Westminster School where he met Thomas Gage. At the age of fifteen in 1737, his military career began as a sub-brigadier in the 3rd Troop of Horse Guards. In 1740, he became a cornet in the 13th Light Dragoons. In 1741, he purchased a lieutenant's commission. While serving with his regiment at Preston, he frequently visited the home of the eleventh Earl of Derby. He had become good friends with the Earl's son while at Westminster.

In 1743, he eloped with the Earl's daughter, Lady Charlotte Stanley. The earl disapproved of the marriage and gave his daughter a small dowry with which Burgoyne purchased a captaincy in the 13th Dragoons. After three years, Burgoyne he had to sell his commission and they moved to France. During this time, Burgoyne studied the French language and literature. Lord Derby finally accepted his son-in-law and used his influence to get Burgoyne back on active duty and purchased a captaincy in the 11th dragoons for Burgoyne on June 14, 1756. On May 10, 1758 he was appointed to Captain and Lt. Colonel of the Coldstream Guards. Burgoyne was present at the attacks on Cherbourg and St. Malo in 1758.

Burgoyne was a supporter of light cavalry and in August 1759, he was given authorization to raise one of two new light horse regiments, the 16th Dragoons. He showed a flair for appealing to the common soldier in his recruiting announcements for the regiment. As commander of the 16th Dragoons, he advised his junior officers to mingle with the enlisted men and go out of their way to treat them under their command with respect and in a firm, but friendly manner. As a result, he was well-liked among his men and earned the nickname of "Gentleman Johnny" for the humane treatment that he gave them. In 1761, he was elected to Parliament.

In 1762, Burgoyne commanded his regiment in Portugal, arriving there on May 6th. There he served under Count la Lippe. A dawn cavalry attack captured Valencia d'Alcantara, decimated a Spanish regiment, captured three flags and even money for sparing the city itself. from destruction. Three months after this attack, one of his officers, Charles Lee, took a Spanish depot at Villa Velha ending the campaign. Burgoyne was promoted to a field command of Brigadier General, while the King of Portugal gave him the captured flags and a diamond ring.

In 1763, Burgoyne was promoted to Colonel of the 16th Dragoons. In 1768 with the help of Lord Derby, he returned to Parliament where he showed abilities as a politician. His more leisurely pursuits included gambling and amateur acting. In 1769 he was made Governor of Fort William in Scotland. In 1772, he rose to prominance when he demanded an investigation of the East India Company. In 1772, he was promoted to Major General. By this time with his wife's family's influence and his Tory leanings, which were favorable to the current government, his commissions now brought 3,500 pounds a year. In 1774, "Made of the Oaks, " a play that he had written, was performed and again the following year by Garrick at Drury Lane.








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