The Battle Of Saratoga 2 Essay, Research Paper
The Battle of Saratoga was in all likelihood the most important battle of the Revolutionary War. One misconception about this battle is that it was actually two battles right next to each other. These battles could have very easily been a glorious British victory, but the colonists outsmarted them, leading to a remarkable colonial victory. Without a doubt, these battles were the turning point in the war. There are two points of the importance of the American victory: first, it was the greatest victory for the Americans in the war, and second, France will enter the war on the colonist s side.
It all started with a very good British plan. The British General Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne proposed a plan to attack the northern colonies and cut them off from the others. Burgoyne was to lead a force coming from Montreal, Canada to Upstate New York, where he would meet up with forces from Barry St. Leger, coming from the west, and General Cornwallis coming from the south. They would then surround the colonists and claim victory. However, as the old saying goes, The best laid plans of mice and men most often go astray.
In June, 1777, General Burgoyne set out from Montreal, on his way to Upstate New York, with an army of close to 7,000 British soldiers, German mercenaries (also known as Hessians), Loyalists, and Indians. Burgoyne s force proceeded down Lake Champlain and recaptured Fort Ticonderoga on July 5, 1777. After this, he then led his troops towards Albany, where he was supposed to meet up with the other two British forces.
This well planned out meeting never took place. The British force led by General St. Leger never made it to Albany because they were held back by a force of colonial militiamen. They were stuck fighting the American army when they should have been in Albany. The other British force, led by General Cornwallis, was also drawn away from Albany. As they were moving north, Cornwallis s troops encountered a Continental Army led by General George Washington. Instead of continuing north, they followed Washington s troops, who went back south. This left the lone British force to fight against a large American force led by General Horatio Gates.
The two battles of Saratoga were at Freeman s Farm and Bemis Heights, two areas very close to each other. During both of these battles, General Gates just sat back patiently and waited for the aggressive British army to wear themselves out. This was a clever tactic. The battle of Freeman s Farm was fought on September 19, 1777. As a result of this battle, the British had 600 casualties, whereas the Americans only had 320. The second battle, the battle of Bemis Heights, was fought on October 7, 1777. At this battle, the British had 600 more casualties as opposed to roughly 150 American casualties. Outnumbered and surrounded, Burgoyne pretty much had no choice but to surrender. General Johnny Burgoyne surrendered to the colonial army on October 17, 1777.
The Battles at Saratoga were definitely the turning point in the war. They proved that the American s could win the Revolutionary War, which eventually happened. After this battle, the American forces got stronger for two reasons: France entered the war, and Prussian drillmaster Baron Von Steuben volunteered to help whip the Continental Army into shape. Following Von Steuben s training of the soldiers, the Americans looked like a completely different army. They were now disciplined, as well as educated in European fighting tactics. I don t think that any of these important events would have occurred had not the Americans been victorious at Saratoga. I don t even think the Americans would have won the Revolutionary War if they didn t win in Saratoga.
1) Battle of Saratoga , http://www.spa.net/battle/battle.htm
2) Leete Stone, William, Visit to the Saratoga Battle-Grounds, 1780-1880, Associated Faculty, January 1970
3) Revolutionary War in America World Book Encyclopedia World Book-Childcraft International, 1982