The Battles of Saratoga
Battle of Saratoga Definition: The Battles of Saratoga were a series of military conflicts fought during September and October 1777 between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in North America during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). The battlefield in which the British and American Forces fought during the Battles of Saratoga were located near Albany in Saratoga County, New York. The Battles of Saratoga ended in victory for the American colonists. The earlier Siege of Fort Stanwix and the Battle of Oriskany together with the Battle of Bennington were also part of the Saratoga campaign. The names of the conflicts detailed in this article on the Battles of Saratoga include the Battle of Freeman's Farm that took place on September 19, 1777 and the Battle of Bemis Heights that took place on October 7, 1777.
The Battles of Saratoga - The Plan of General John Burgoyne
Following the Battle of Princeton on January 03, 1777 the British army under General Howe and Lord Cornwallis abandoned nearly all their posts in New Jersey and positioned themselves in New York state. General Burgoyne was given command of the British forces charged with gaining control of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River valley. General John Burgoyne planned to cross Lake Champlain from Quebec and capture Ticonderoga before advancing on Albany, New York where he would rendezvous with the British forces under General Howe coming north from New York City and a smaller force advancing from the Mohawk River valley under Lieutenant Colonel Barry St. Leger thus dividing the colonies of New England from the southern colonies. The plan faltered when:
- St. Leger was forced to withdraw to Canada following the Siege of Fort Stanwix and the Battle of Oriskany
- The British defeat at the Battle of Bennington and their failure to gain new supplies and horses
- The Continental Army, led by George Washington, prevented General Howe from joining forces with General Burgoyne
- General George Washington realized that a major battle was imminent and called for any Militia to join the Continental Army in New York that resulted in a large contingent of regular troops and militia gathered in the Saratoga area
The Battles of Saratoga - Overview and Summary of the Battle of Freeman's Farm
The first crucial battle of Saratoga, the Battle of Freeman's Farm, took place on September 19, 1777. General John Burgoyne had begun his advance south, but was stopped about 10 miles below Saratoga fighting occurred in a clearing known as Freemanís Farm. A militia of sharpshooters from Virginia, under Daniel Morgan, harassed the British. Burgoyne lost two men for every one on the American side but were saved by the arrival of German Hessian forces under Riedesel. The German Hessians were therefore instrumental in the British victory at the Battle of Freeman's Farm.
The Battle of Freeman's Farm
The Battles of Saratoga - Overview and Summary of the Battle of Bemis Heights
The second crucial battle of Saratoga, the Battle of Bemis Heights, occurred on October 7, 1777. Following the initial battle at Freemanís Farm, the American forces of led by Horatio Gates were positioned in their fortification on Bemis Heights which was located nine miles south of Saratoga. Bemis Heights stood above the road that General John Burgoyne and his British army needed to follow to reach Albany. The British forces tried to push through the American line on Bemis Heights. Uncharacteristically, the Americans took the fight to the enemy and successfully assaulted the British line, forcing them into a retreat toward Saratoga. The defeat at Bemis Heights forced General John Burgoyne to surrender ten days later on October 17, 1777. Burgoyne surrendered 6222 men. Burgoyne returned to England in disgrace, and was never given another command.
Battle of Bemis Heights
The Importance and Significance of the Battle of Saratoga
Significance of the Battle of Saratoga: The significance of the conflict was that it proved to be the turning point of Revolutionary war and convinced the French of American strength which persuaded the French to support the Americans with military aid. The combined French and American forces achieved their first victory at the Battle of Monmouth.