Don’t the soldiers who played crucial roles in the decisive Battles of Saratoga deserve to be recognized? These heroes demonstrated remarkable courage during this pivotal moment in history as they answered the call when their nation needed them most. Countless patriots served and sacrificed on the hallowed ground above the Upper Hudson River in the early autumn of 1777. Shouldn’t this incredible victory be brought to the widest possible audience?
Saratoga is one of the most important victories in both western civilization and world history.
In 1777, the American Revolution was on the brink of collapse. The British had delivered crushing defeats to the American Army at Quebec and Long Island that left them in control of Canada to the North and New York City to the South. They devised a complex plan to help end the rebellion once and for all which called for the British army to seize control of the entirety of the Champlain and Hudson valleys in order to completely cut-off the hotbed of New England – the very head of the snake – from the rest of the disloyal colonies.
In the late summer and early autumn of 1777, during one of the darkest hours of the war, with freedom itself in the balance, wave after wave of citizen soldiers – close to 11,000 plus – answered the urgent call and steadily streamed in from the “four corners” to fortify the outmatched American Army that was dug in at Bemus Heights above the Hudson River in a desperate, defensive effort to stop General John Burgoyne’s determined advance to Albany. For the first time, the mightiest army in the world had surrendered to the newest. Ceremoniously, British General John Burgoyne was forced to hand over his sword to American General Horatio Gates.
Saratoga ultimately became the war’s turning point as it enabled Benjamin Franklin to forge a desperately needed alliance with the French.
Timeline of Events
The Turning Point of the Revolution
February – March 1777
Gen. John Burgoyne submits his battle plans, which are ultimately approved on March 2, 1777.
Gen. John Burgoyne arrives in Canada with British reinforcements.
June 30, 1777
British forces appear near Fort Ticonderoga.
July 5, 1777
American forces evacuate peacefully, and the British take control of the fort.
Burgoyne attempts to raid the supply depot in Bennington, Vermont and the British are ultimately defeated.
September 19, 1777
Burgoyne divides his army, numbering about 7,500, into three columns to probe American defenses at Freeman’s Farm.
The British sustains heavy casualties, losing twice as many soldiers as the Americans. While the British remain stuck, the American army is replenished and grows to 13,000 strong.
October 7, 1777
Burgoyne sends a reconnaissance force to attack Americans at Bemis Heights, but the patriots get wind of the plan and force the British to withdraw to their well-defended Balcarres Redoubt.
October 8, 1777
Burgoyne retreats and the British army attempts to escape north, but a cold, hard rain forces them to stop and encamp near the town of Saratoga. Hungry, weary, and out of options, they dig in and prepare to defend themselves.
October 13, 1777
The Americans have the British surrounded.
October 17, 1777
After negotiations, Burgoyne’s army surrenders.
The American defeat of the British army lifted patriot morale, furthered the hope for independence, and helped to secure the foreign support needed to win the war.
The victory at Saratoga rescued a revolution that was on the verge of collapse.
Without this convincing triumph in the early autumn of 1777, America’s “great experiment” in self-government would not have happened and world history would have taken a very different course.
May all of you, as Americans, never forget your heroic origins and never fail to seek divine guidance… We are forever indebted to those that have given their lives that we might be free.
— PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN