On October 17, 1777, British General John Burgoyne surrendered his army to American forces under the command of General Horatio Gates. This marked the end of an ambitious campaign to isolate the rebellious New England colonies from the rest with a three pincer movement, all leading to Albany, New York.
There were two battles at Saratoga. The first, the Battle of Freeman’s Farm, took place on September 19. The second, the Battle of Bemis Heights, took place on October 7. One patriot, Henry Sewall, wrote;
“Perhaps an unprecedented Instance that near 6,000 British & foreign Troops, under the command of an accomplish’d General, should surrender themselves Prisoners of War in the field to an Army of raw Continental Troops & Militia!”
Burgoyne led his army south from Quebec, expecting to meet Colonel Barry St. Leger and General William Howe in Albany. Instead, Burgoyne’s plan unraveled and his defeat marked the turning point of the American War for Independence. The American rebels proved to the world that they could sustain the fight and match the British in the field. That all changed at Saratoga. The pro-American voices in Parliament grew louder, while France quickly recognized American independence and drastically increased aid to its new ally. However, it would be six long years before the new United States of America would know peace.
This episode was written by Michael Gabbe-Gross.
Michael Gabbe-Gross received his Masters Degree in History from the California State University, Sacramento. His thesis project analyzed the Phoenix Program, a CIA counterinsurgency operation during the Vietnam War.