William Howe Goes His Own Way
William Howe Letter to John Burgoyne, July 17, 1777. Henry Clinton Papers.
General William Howe sent General John Burgoyne a secret dispatch on July 17, 1777. The dispatch consists of two, long narrow strips of paper, designed for insertion in the hollow quill of a large feather. Howe alerted Burgoyne that he would invade Pennsylvania rather than move up the Hudson to form a junction with Burgoyne’s northern army.
Even though Burgoyne knew that he could not count on Howe’s cooperation, he still continued his ill-fated advance up the Hudson River. Burgoyne’s determination may be explained by his personal ambition, professional honor, and faith in the superior fighting abilities of the British soldiers.