General Clinton’s Dumbbell Code

Late in July, 1777, the British general John Burgoyne found himself trapped by a colonial army in the upper reaches of the Hudson; he was about to lose the Battle of Saratoga. In desperation he wrote to Sir Henry Clinton in New York, asking for reinforcements. But the only available troops, under Sir William Howe, were off in Maryland. Clinton’s discouraging answer was a letter which had no apparent meaning until Burgoyne’s staff fitted a prearranged dumbbell-shaped mask over it.Read more »

Burgoyne and America's Destiny.

Stickler for a point of honor, the General marched to defeat and helped to lose a war

Not long alter the distressing events—from a British standpoint—at Concord and Lexington, and while heavy reinforcements were pouring into Boston to aid the beleaguered General Gage, one ship was observed to have brought an indeed notable cargo. Aboard this lucky craft, the Cerberus, were three of His Majesty’s generals, all members (in absentia) of the House of Gommons, and all destined to play important roles in the years ahead: Major Generals Henry Clinton, William Howe, and John Burgoyne.Read more »