Re-enactment of the Battle of Saratoga
The Turning Point of the American Revolution
Lieutenant William Cumberland Wilkinson

Lieutenant Wilkinson is an assistant engineer in General Burgoyne's army. He mapped locations on their positions and the Americans. He also plans how to defend their position, based on local geography.

The Lieutenant is actually self-taught, and has no real formal training. The Chief Engineer, Lieutenant Twist, went to the an engineering school in Britain. Unlike most officers who buy their commissions, Lieutenant Wilkinson was promoted to be an engineer.

Most British were very supportive of the King's rules and directives, and wanted the crown the remain in charge. The Lieutenant's encampment was trying to get to Albany to divide New England away from the other colonies, thereby cutting off communications and establishing posts along the Hudson River, so that troops could not pass along the river without the British knowing.

Lieutenant Wilkinson was supposed to get paid four shillings and eight pence a day. However, the officers and soldiers got subsistences taken out of their pay, which was three shillings and six pence of their original pay. Actually, the troops had this huge tax taken out of their pay. A soldier, supposed to be paid eight pence a day, only gets about one or two pence a day. These taxes paid for the regimental surgeon, the regimental chaplain, their uniforms, and their food.

The officers, who often bought their commissions, were not well informed about their duties. Their only qualification was money. They didn't know how to drill troops or to line soldiers and bring them to battle. The army was also occasionally divided by previous allegiances. Supplies, too, were a problem. Food was scarce, so soldiers had to forage for it. Often the troops were forced to simply take what they needed from the inhabitants.

Sir William Howe, the commander-in-chief in America was misinformed about the magnitude of the Revolution. He believed that the Americans could be more easily suppressed, and he might actually have been in support of the revolution. The situation was more serious than he ever thought it to be.

Main Page
Major General Benjamin Lincoln
Helen Smith: Wife of a Soldier
Lieutenant in the Light Infantry
Lieutenant William Cumberland Wilkinson

Wife of a Soldier

Hired German Soldiers
The American Encampment

The British Encampment