The Saratoga Campaign in the Revolutionary War

If it weren’t for the Saratoga Campaign during the Revolutionary War, the U.S. might still be a British colony. Okay, that seems a bit extreme, and it’s entirely possible that one other victory might have clinched “the win” to use baseball terms, but the campaign certainly was a major turning point in the war.

John Trumbull’s “Surrender of General Burgoyne”

Between June 14 and September 17, 1777, the Saratoga Campaign took place. It protected what is now Upstate New York, keeping it from falling into the hands of the British. This bit of brilliant maneuvering started with General George Washington determining exactly where the British would head, then being able to cut them off, leaving part of the British army, under General Burgoyne, without proper supplies for months on end.

In June, 1777, the fledgling American army took up positions throughout the forested areas of Upstate New York and Vermont. The British were coming in from the north, as they were on protected ground in Canada, which was a British colony. Fort Ticonderoga was their first target, and the British easily gained the upper hand, winning control of it. The British held the upper ground at Sugar Loaf, which gave them a tactical advantage. However, some still believe that the Americans were betrayed by their own leaders, particularly General Arthur St. Clair and General Philip Schuyler, who were accused by some of taking bribes from the British in exchange for an easy surrender at the fort.

This led to the Battle of Bennington, which took place in August of that same year. This bloody battle took out around 1,000 of Burgoyne’s soldiers, and gave the Americans hope that things would turn around. They were right, as several more significant victories were to come, including the Battles of Saratoga, which took place over a month and led to Burgoyne’s surrender.

March on Albany

Burgoyne’s downfall began with his march on Albany and his heading towards the Hudson River. American troops managed to outflank and outmaneuver the British by attacking Fort Ticonderoga while the Burgoyne (already down to around 6,000 troops) was distracted. This led to quite a battle, and the surrender of Burgoyne. The Americans won the Battle of Saratoga!

In the end, this battle showed that the Continental Army was able to determine a solid course of action and put it into play. This pivotal moment led to their eventual victory, and the founding of the United States as a country.