Saratoga - New York Historic Site
Battle of Saratoga - New York Historic Site

Battle of Saratoga - current site

Where is Saratoga?

The Saratoga Battlefield is located in Stillwater New York at 648 Route 32, Stillwater, NY 12170.

Saratoga Battlefield Map

Did you know: The Americans got the support of the French during the Revolutionary War after word of their victory over British General Burgoyne reached King Louis XVI of France, who then decided to throw his support to the colonies.

THE BATTLE OF SARATOGA

One of the first “turning points” in the Revolutionary War was British General Burgoyne’s surrender near Saratoga, New York in 1777. The Battle of Saratoga was actually two clashes at nearby locations: one at Freeman’s Farm on September 19th and a second conflict on October 7th at Bemis Heights, both near the Hudson River in New York. General Horatio Gates had been given command of the Northern Army just as luck was beginning to favor the Americans. On August 16, 1777 Colonel John Stark engineered a stunning victory against British General John Burgoyne at the Battle of Bennington. As the British strategists intended major victories in and around upstate New York, this was a major setback. Two more were to come in the following weeks.

An incident involving overzealous Indians may have caused some of Burgoyne’s troubles. Fighting over who would escort a young colonial woman into camp to turn over to their British comrades, some local natives captured, shot and scalped Jane McCrea, the fiancé of a loyalist officer. When news of the incident came to General Gates, he was outraged and sent a letter of protest to British General Burgoyne. The letter was also distributed and re-printed throughout New England, stirring up fervor against the British and inspiring large numbers of men to join the fight against the barbarians. Gates ranks swelled up to 7,000; Burgoyne’s went the other way, his troop levels falling to below 6,000. Burgoyne also got more bad news- he would have no back-up support in upcoming conflicts, as General Howe had sailed for the Delaware Bay a few weeks before.

On September 13th- 14th, 1777, Burgoyne’s Army crossed over the Hudson River and camped near Sword’s Farm. General Gates had a better position, occupying high ground overlooking the river reinforced with entrenchments constructed by Polish engineer Thaddeus Kosciuszko. On September 19th, the two armies clashed in the thickly overgrown woods near Freeman’s Farm. General Benedict Arnold performed brilliantly along with Daniel Morgan and his riflemen, who inflicted heavy casualties on the British and their German troops under Riedesel. British losses were twice those of the Americans and even though he held the field at the end of the day, Burgoyne suffered a serious blow to his Army.

Burgoyne needed all the help he could get after local Indians began withdrawing their support and Tory sympathizers backed off. He got some assistance with the enmity that existed between General Gates and General Benedict Arnold, who Gates soon relieved and replaced with Benjamin Lincoln. Arnold remained a superb officer and proved it a few weeks later on October 7th, when the two armies clashed again at Bemis Heights. Burgoyne’s troops suffered serious losses and after consulting his senior officers, the British General decided to surrender to Gates, giving the Americans a major victory early in the war.

Today the site is part of the Saratoga National Historic Park where you can take a self-guided tour of the grounds, stop at the visitor center and visit the Schuyler House.