"I cannot see the uncommon perseverance in every female grace, and exaltation of character of this Lady, and her very hard future without testifying that your attention to her will lay me under obligations"
While the story of Jane McCrea is one of the better known and sadder stories of women's perils to come out of the 1777 Saratoga Campaign, an equally important episode involved Lady Harriet Ackland, who was the subject of this week's installment from our Letters from the Front collection. Lady Ackland was married to Major John Dyke Ackland, who commanded one of the grenadier battalions attached to General John Burgoyne's Army. Lady Ackland accompanied her husband during the entire campaign and, when he was wounded in the fighting and captured by American forces. Unwilling to be separated from her husband, Lady Ackland obtained permission from General Burgoyne to cross the lines and seek out her husband, which she did, nursing him back to health. The two returned to England the next after, after the Major was exchanged, where he died. The document below provides a glimpse into the drama surrounding this story, showing us how General Burgoyne opened negotiations with his opposite number, Continental Army Genera Horatio Gates, to secure safe passage for Ackland. Burgoyne's words speak to the truly exceptional nature of the case, as well as the culture of honor that linked the officers of both armies. Our thanks to David Library research assistant David Swain for this transcript.
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