Saratoga Campaign > Battles of Saratoga

Battles of Saratoga

Background

The British campaign for the year 1777 in America involved the operations of two armies moving from opposite and distant points. The lack of co-operation between the two led to the loss of one of them. This was General Burgoyne's force of 7000 men which marched from Canada in June 1777 with the view of reaching the upper Hudson and combining with British troops from New York to isolate New England from the colonies below. Lord Howe, commander-in-chief of the British in America, who had received no instructions binding him in detail to co-operate with Burgoyne, moved southward and captured Philadelphia. In drawing Washington after him he claimed to be assisting Burgoyne.

Burgoyne pushed down by way of Lakes Champlain and George and approached the American army under General Horatio Gates in its fortified camp near Stillwater on the W. bank of the Hudson, about 24 m. N. of Albany. On the 19th Burgoyne attacked the American left under General Benedict Arnold. The battle, fought in densely wooded country till nightfall, was severe but indecisive. The British suffered heavy losses, especially in officers. This is variously known as the First Battle of Saratoga, the Battle of Freeman's Farm, the First Battle of Bemis Heights or the First Battle of Stillwater.

Burgoyne fortified himself on the site of the action, and on October 7th made another attempt to turn the American left. An engagement still more severe than that of the 19th, known as the Second Battle of Saratoga, followed, in which the Americans under Benedict Arnold, E. Poor and D. Morgan drove the enemy into their works. Among many British officers killed was Brigadier-General Simon Fraser, who had been the life of the expedition. Crippled to an alarming extent, Burgoyne retreated. He was closely followed and harassed, and on the 16th of October nearly surrounded. On the 17th he surrendered, with about 6000 men, near the present village of Saratoga Springs.

Saratoga Campaign Battles

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

See W. L. Stone, Campaign of Lieut.-Gen. John Burgoyne (Albany, 1877).

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 24

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