BATTLE OF SARATOGA
The Battle of Saratoga refers to two battles that took place a mere 18 days apart from each other on September 19, and October 7 of 1777. The legacy of these battles would be that it would be the final necessary blow to the British forces in their attempt to maintain control over the colonists. Like so many other crucial battles throughout the war, the British were coming off of a decisive victory, in this case, it was the seizing of Fort Ticonderoga. With these victories came a false sense of safety that the colonists could not withstand the power of the almighty British forces, who were slowly making their way south to Stillwater, New York in Saratoga county where they assumed another victory was imminent.
During this painfully slow trek over the mere 75 miles from Ticonderoga to Stillwater, the American’s had time to regroup. General George Washington sent Benedict Arnold, his best infantry commander; Colonel Daniel Morgan and his riflemen; and two brigades of Continentals from northern New York to fight under Horatio Gates who was heading the fight in the North. The new fleet of 650 men were paired with perfectly designed fortifications on Bemis Heights overlooking the Hudson River and the American forces were far better prepared for the fight than British General John Burgoyne was anticipating.
The first battle took place at a place just North of Albany known as Freeman’s Farm. Most of the action took place on the flank, as Benedict Arnold lead his own men, as well as Morgan’s and the light infantry of Henry Dearborn to the woods to prevent a British flanking column from reaching the gates. Although The British would take control of the gates eventually, even after arnold sent reinforcements after reinforcements at the Redcoats, the victory came at a steep price. There were far more casualties on the British side than the colonists. It was estimated that Burgoyne's’ army lost over 500 men, while the Americans lost an estimated amount of 280. It was believed that Burgoyne needed this victory to sustain momentum, and even though they seized the land, it was apparent to all that the real victory was won by the colonists.
Eighteen days later, the second battle would take place south of the town of Saratoga when Burgoyne would go on the attack and approach the American army that was positioned between Albany and the British Army. It was a debacle for the British. An approximated number of 86 percent of Burgoyne’s command was captured and Burgoyne himself would surrender 10 days later. The fight would be a turning point for the American forces in the Revolutionary War. The main return was that this fight gave the French confidence that they could join the American cause with the intent on winning the war. The French assistance in terms of financial help and troops in battle would turn out to be massively important to the Colonist’s victory.