#Onthisday in 1777, Alexander Scammell wrote his brother describing the battle of 19 September 1777:
The 19th inst. we had a very hot Engagement with his whole Army [Burgoyne’s] except about 2000 Foreigners Deserters inform – Their light Camp under Gen’l Frazer appeared about 1 o’clock, our Riflemen & light infantry attacked them and drove them about a mile with considerable [loss?]…I was formed in the line of Battle which was then exceeding hot at 3 o’clock P.M. where, with the above mentioned Troops about 1,500 we sustained the hottest Fire of Cannon and Musquetry that I ever heard in my Life two hours nearly against Gen’l Burgoyne in person when Gen. Poor with the remainder of our Brigade came to our assistance when almost surrounded by the enemy…I believe it was the severest Battle ever fought in America…A ball passed through the breech of my Gun and another through my overalls and just scraped my legg whilst my Serg’t Major had both Cords of his Ham cut off with a Ball at my side…The Enemy’s loss must have been very great by sustaining an American Fire for at least 4 Hours. The ground…was thickly scattered with their dead Bodies, and I nothing doubt at the lowest compilation we killed took and wounded 1,500 of the enemy.
Scammell commanded the 3rd New Hampshire Regiment at Saratoga, and distinguished himself bravely in the battles of Freeman’s Farm and Bemis Heights, and was possibly wounded in the latter battle (In letters to his brother he did not indicate being wounded and that bullets had passed through his clothing and hit the breech of his weapon).
Saratoga has been defined by the people who by choice or by chance participated in the Battles. It is the determination of our forefathers, including Alexander Scammell in surmounting overwhelming odds that help define the American spirit – the will and ability to shape a better future. It is the people it is that define this community by choice or by chance have changed this country and even the world political development. That is why studying the people of Saratoga is helpful in the understanding of the condition of being human.