1231 Horseshoe Bend Rd.
Pontotoc, MS 38863
Pontotoc High School
123 Main St.
Pontotoc, MS 38863
During the course of the Revolutionary War, between 1775 and 1783, there were many battles that took place, but the battle of Saratoga was one of the most significant battles of the war. It consisted of two battles at Freeman’s Farm and Bernis Heights, occurring on September 19, 1777 and October 7, 1777, in Saratoga, New York. The battle resulted in an American victory and the surrender of British General John Burgoyne. These events gave the Americans a huge boost of confidence and shifted the momentum to their side, resulting in the turning point of the war.
Before the battle of Saratoga, the British army led by General Burgoyne had just demolished the Americans by capturing Fort Ticonderoga. After capturing Ticonderoga the British general marched south moving very slowly, allowing the Americans time to strengthen their lines and giving them time to prepare for their next battle under new General, Horatio Gates. Also, General George Washington sent Benedict Arnold, Daniel Morgan and his Virginia sharpshooters and two units of continentals from the Hudson Highlands to help out the group of Americans marching south under Gates. This strengthened Gate’s forces to about sixty five hundred men. When they arrived the Americans established a defensive fortification with the help of a polish engineer, Thaddeus Kosciusko, along the Hudson River called Bernis Heights. The position dominated all movement through the Hudson River valley. General Burgoyne and his troops were fully dependent on the river for transporting supplies therefore making it impossible to dodge.
General Burgoyne heard of the Americans position and tried to move inland to avoid the dangers of the American fortifications. On September 19 the two infantries collided at the abandoned farm of John Freeman. All throughout the day both armies tried repeated strategic offenses in order to take the field. Towards the afternoon the British lost their entire momentum and the Americans had Burgoyne pinned in place making it impossible to retreat. As a result, the British received heavy gunfire from the Americans as the British tried to hold their ground. The Americans had an opportunity to break through the British lines but lost the initiative when Horatio Gates hesitated in responding to Benedict Arnold’s proposal of bringing in reinforcements to aid the Americans leaving the British in the possession of the farm. As the battle came to a close, the British had suffered many priceless casualties. General Arnold, who was granted permission to lead the Americans, was raged with Gates hesitation of his command to send in reinforcements. General Burgoyne decided to hold the little ground that he had maintained and fortify it. At this point, the General was in a demand for supplies as he was running very low. He decided to proceed by using a flanking tactic on October 7th. The Americans caught on to his strategy to flank. The Americans and the British met south of Saratoga and broke up General Burgoyne’s army capturing eighty-six percent of his command. The Americans then forced General Burgoyne and the rest of his army back to their fortifications. The British at this point were very weak and depressed, but they still continued to stay put instead of retreating due to logistic reasons and stubbornness by General Burgoyne. He prepared to attack the Americans, but before he could the Americans rallied and attacked the British on October 9th, 1777, beginning the battle of Bernis Heights. Gates by this time had resumed command of the American forces, but Benedict Arnold came in and won the battle single-handedly crushing the British lines. General Burgoyne attempted to retreat with what remained of his army. Handicapped by bad roads that had been made...