women and infants would be a common prey.18
In a subsidiary operation on the right flank of the main force, a body led by Col. St. Leger and including a large number of warriors from the Six Nations achieved a notable success over the New York militia at Oriskany. Yet the les- son drawn by regular officers from this operation was not the effect of tactical surprise achieved by the Indians but their refusal to help in the attack upon Fort Stanwic, an action which compelled the lifting of the siege. 19 The outcome of Indian participation in the Burgoyne campaign served only to reinforce most British professional soldiers in the low opinion they already held of the effec- tiveness of such allies.
Nor did this failure deter Germain from his other stated objective, the launching of Indian attacks upon American frontier settlements from the interior posts. The immediate cause of Germain's decision was a despatch from Lieuten- ant-Governor Henry Hamilton at Detroit. Hamilton had proposed attacks upon the Virginia and Pennsylvania frontiers by white-led parties of Indians, but Carleton had forbidden any such activity even though Hamilton had assured him that the interior tribes were eager for war. In ordering Carleton to undertake of- fensive operations from the posts, Germain showed his willingness to use Indian resources to the full.
There can be little doubt that the Indians ... will readily and eagerly engage in any enterprise in which it may be thought fit to employ them under the direction of the King's officers; and as it is His Majesty's Resolution that the most rigorous efforts should be made and every means employed that Providence has put into His Majesty's Hands for crushing the Rebellion and Restoring the Constitution it is the King's Command that you should direct Lieutenant-Governor Hamilton to assemble as many of the Indians of his District as he conveniently can, and placing proper persons at their Head... to conduct their parties and restrain them from committing vio- lence on the well-affected and Inoffensive Inhabitants and employ them in making a Diversion and exciting an alarm upon the Frontiers of Virginia and Pennsylvania. 20
This despatch was the charter under which the Indian and Loyalist raids upon the northern and western frontiers were conducted. Beginning in late 1777, the raids continued well past the conclusion of formal hostilities on the seaboard. Memo- ries of them, and the horrors and "massacres" associated with them, are firmly entrenched in the American mythology of the Revolution, and just as firmly en- trenched is the view that such raids were made possible only through the support of hypocritical British professional soldiers who protested their humanity but connived in butchery.