Battle of Saratoga (Summary)
The Battle of Saratoga was an American Revolutionary War battle fought between the Continental Army, led by Horatio Gates, and the British Army, commanded by John Burgoyne, from September 19 to October 17, 1777, on the Hudson River, in Saratoga, New York. It consisted of two military engagements: the Battle Freeman’s Farm and the Battle of Bemis Heights, and the final British surrender at Saratoga on October 17. After this American victory, the course of the conflict changed as France entered the war on the American side.
In order to cut off New England from the rest of the colonies, General John Burgoyne had advanced south from Canada, toward Albany, where his forces would be reinforced by Red Coats, under General Howe. However, his advance was slowed down because of logistical complications. On September 19, Burgoyne’s forces defeated the Continental Army, under Horatio Gates, at Freeman’s Farm. Eighteen days after his victory, Burgoyne’s army was attacked by the American forces at Bemis Heights; the British were forced to fall back when the Americans captured a redoubt (defensive fortification) on a slope defended by 320 Hessian and British troops under Heinrich von Breymann, breaching the British first line. About 1,000 Red Coats were killed. Having retreated, Burgoyne’s troops were surrounded by a larger American army. Finally, on October 17, the British General surrendered.
British Army: 7,500 Red Coats and Hessians
British commander: General John Burgoyne
Continental Army: 8,000+ men
American commander: Horatio Gates
Weapons: Brown Bess, a .75-caliber flintlock musket; De Vallière 24-pdr cannons.