Saratoga National Historical Park
Trip Start Mar 04, 2005
253Trip End Dec 31, 2014
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By 1777, those darn British troops had managed to gain control of Canada along with New York City. They had decided that the best way to beat the Continental Army was to separate the New England states from the rest of the colonies. British Gen. John Burgoyne believed that the Hudson River was a strategic highway through the northeast.
Burgoyne left Canada on June 17,1777. His total force included 4,000 British regulars, 3,200 German auxiliaries, 250 Canadian and loyalists troops, 400 Iroquois and Algonquian warriors and about 1,000 non-combatants and camp followers. In July, after a four day siege, Burgoyne managed to take Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain and he continued his push south along the Hudson River Valley.
A series of set backs now occurred. Part of Burgoynes troops were stopped by American militia and retreated back to Canada. Another detachment came under attack on August 16 and they suffered over 900 casualties.
Despite these setbacks, Burgoyne continued his push to the south intending to take Albany. In mid- September he crossed the Hudson River at Saratoga and continued advancing south. After about four miles he came upon 8,000 American troops who had dug in at Bemis Heights, a strong position on the road to Albany.
On September 19, 1777 Burgoyne attacked. The ensuing battle, ironically held on the farm of soldier who had gone north to fight for the British cause, lasted over three hours. Burgoyne managed to make it to within one mile of the American lines before he decided to dig in.
Burgoynes plight was now critical. He faced a growing American army, with no hope of help from the south or north. His supplies were running out and his army weakened daily. On October 7, 1777 he risked a second battle and was once again pushed back. He was eventually surrounded by over 17,000 American troops. Faced with such overwhelming numbers Burgoyne chose to surrender on October 17, 1777. Under the terms of the Convention of Saratoga, Burgoyne's depleted 6,000 man army marched out of its camp 'with the Honor of war' and surrendered its arms along the Hudson River's west bank.
Thus ended one of the most decisive victories of the American Revolution. The British plan to separate the New England states from the rest of the colonies had been stopped. It would be another four years until the war was over however but historians mark the battles that occurred at Saratoga as a turning point in the war.
It is interesting to me that our travels today, we covered a little over 40 miles, took us to historical sites covering each century of our countries existence. From 1885 and U.S. Grant, to 1939 with the start of NASCAR and finally 1777 and a pivotal battle of the Revolutionary War. Is it any wonder that we love this life on the road??!!