Battle of Saratoga II

Program Information

Series: A Moment in Time
Duration: 00:03:59
Year Produced: 2009
Description:

The Battle of Saratoga, a victory for the American rebels, not only served as a turning point in the Revolution but also transformed the diplomatic landscape.

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Transcript

Lead: The Battle of Saratoga, a victory for the American rebels, not only served as a turning point in the Revolution but also transformed the diplomatic landscape.

Intro: A Moment In Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the summer of 1777, British forces, led by General John Burgoyne, marched southward from Quebec along the Hudson River seeking to capture Albany, New York, seize control of the Hudson River, and thereby cut New England off from the south. It was bold move.

Burgoyne's plan failed, however, due to supply problems. Unable to secure supplies from the countryside, he had to haul all his provisions, arms and ammunition with him. This meant slow going and gave the Americans time to lay a trap on the Bemis plateau north of Albany. Burgoyne also did not receive promised help from British armies in and around New York. He was on his own when on September 19th he encountered a comparable America force, about 6,000 men, under General Horatio Gates. The ensuing conflict, the Battle of Freeman's Farm or First Saratoga, was indecisive but ominously the British casualty rate was twice as high as that of the rebels.

Instead of retreating to Canada, on October 7th Burgoyne tried to break through again and this time was shellacked at Bemis Heights by forces led by Benedict Arnold. Burgoyne then retreated northward to present day Schuylerville where he was surrounded by 17,000 rebels and forced to surrender on October 17, 1777. The two battles have taken the name Saratoga because it was the venue of surrender. The battles' diplomatic consequences were even greater than their military value. This first major rebel battlefield victory convinced the French to recognize the fledgling American republic and aid in the cause of independence.

Research assistance by Ann H. Johnson and David Kociuruba. The producer of A Moment In Time is Steve Clark. At the University of Richmond, this is Dan Roberts.