Saturday, September 19, 2009

The First Battle of Saratoga - September 19, 1777

As it turns out, the Battle of Saratoga was the turning point in the Americans' War of Independence. Actually, there were two battles at Saratoga, New York. The first began with Gen. John Burgoyne's offensive on September 19, 1777, the second with the climactic phase of the fighting during the Battle of Bemis Heights on October 7, 1777.

(Click on Map to Enlarge)

This map contains much important and interesting detail relative to this historic military action. Look closely to see the artillery positioned in a park, as well as the bridge of boats used by Burgoyne's army in crossing the Hudson River from Fort Edward to Stillwater. Notice also the location of the corps of riflemen under Col. Morgan to the north of the theater of action. And at the far left...on the western perimeter...the headquarters command of American General Gates.

In the first Battle at Saratoga, generally referred to by historians as Freeman's Farm, the British lost two men for every one American casualty. In terms of ground gained, however, both sides fought to a draw. The second Battle, otherwise known as Bemis Heights, British losses were four to one. The rebels' victory was overwhelming.

After protracted negotiations, Burgoyne officially surrendered on October 17. He returned to England in disgrace, and was never given another command.

When news of the American victory reached Europe, France entered the war on the side of the patriots. Money and supplies flowed to the American cause, providing Washington's Continental Army with the support necessary to continue its fight against Great Britain.

Britain's loss at Saratoga proved disastrous, in that it signaled to the European powers that the rebels were capable of defeating the English on their own. More than any other single event, it would prove decisive in determining the eventual outcome of the War

The Second Battle of Saratoga
Above, is a view of the battle field of the second battle of Saratoga with the climactic phase of the fighting during the Battle of Bemis Heights on October 7, 1777.

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