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Saratoga: Turning Point of the American Revolution


On Friday, October 17, 1777, British General John Burgoyne surrendered his entire army of more than 5,752 troops to American General Horatio Gates at Saratoga, New York.

After invading south from Canada into New York, Burgoyne’s force faced the Northern Department of the Continental Army under Gates in two bloody battles nine miles south of the village of Saratoga. Fought on September 19 and October 7, General Benedict Arnold, one of Gates’s subordinates, fearlessly led American troops in combat during both of those clashes, and as one of his soldiers later wrote, proved he was “the very genius of war.” Colonel Daniel Morgan’s elite Virginia riflemen and the Polish engineer, Colonel Thaddeus Kosciuszko also rendered invaluable service.

After his failed attack on the 7th, Burgoyne retreated to Saratoga and his army was quickly surrounded by Gates’s force, compelling the British commander to capitulate after a week of negotiations.

The American victory at Saratoga was the turning point of the Revolutionary War, bringing France openly into the conflict. In February 1778, the government of King Louis XVI and the United States forged a military alliance pledged to American Independence. With the emergence of Britain’s ancient enemy into the struggle, the American Revolution became a world war.


George Washington's Mount Vernon: Saratoga.

National Park Service: Saratoga - History & Culture.

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