The Battle of Saratoga was fought in 1777 during the American Revolutionary War. The conflict involved the forces of Great Britain and 13 American colonies that declared independence from British rule. Taking place in New York, the battle was won by the colonists. The significant victory demonstrated that the Americans could hold their own against the powerful British Army and allowed the colonists to recruit allies that would shift the Revolutionary War in favor of the Americans.
Having historically dominated the American colonists, British forces aimed to put an end to the American uprising once and for all. Under the leadership of Gen. John Burgoyne, the British planned a multi-faceted attack in hopes of wresting New York away from the colonists. The plan called for British troops to attack colonist troops from the south, east, and north, ultimately merging at Saratoga.
Initially, Burgoyne’s tactic was successful, as British casualties were at a minimum and troops were able to capture forts in Ticonderoga and Hubbardton. His plan soon began to fall apart, however, as unfamiliar terrain slowed British forces down, giving American soldiers valuable time to prepare. Burgoyne also was relying on an additional 1,000 soldiers who were coming from Vermont with supplies. Those expected troops never arrived. Also, Native Americans fighting in the British army abandoned Burgoyne, further decimating his number of troops.
The Battle of Saratoga actually involved more than battle. The first battle, known as the Battle of Freeman’s Farm was fought on September 19, 1777, on land near a vacated farm. American troops successfully blocked the British from advancing. In the process, the Americans weakened the British army by fatally wounding a large number of British soldiers.
The second Battle of Saratoga was waged on October 7, 1777. American troops, led by Benedict Arnold and Horatio Gates, withstood another attack by the British during the Battle of Bemis Heights. The American forces achieved a decisive victory, forcing British forces to retreat.
Burgoyne and his troops attempted to flee by heading north. Rainy conditions made road conditions treacherous. American forces, led by Gates, pursued the British troops to the village of Saratoga. On October 17, 1777, the British found themselves surrounded by more than 20,000 American soldiers. Greatly outnumbered, the 5,000 British soldiers surrendered. The Americans allowed the captured British forces to return to England after the war in exchange for never stepping foot again on North American soil.
The Battle of Saratoga turned the tide for the Americans in the Revolutionary War. After the defeat of the British, Americans persuaded the French to become allies. The French provide troops and supplies that played a key role in the Americans securing a victory over the British in the American Revolutionary War.