Battle of Saratoga I
Program InformationSeries: A Moment in Time
Year Produced: 2009
In 1777, an army led by British General John Burgoyne marched south from Quebec to end the rebellion in the colonies. Instead, it ended in disaster.
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Lead: In 1777, an army led by British General John Burgoyne marched south from Quebec to end the rebellion in the colonies. Instead, it ended in disaster.
Intro: A Moment In Time with Dan Roberts.
Content: In the summer of 1777, the British Army planned a military campaign that, if successful, would result in the occupation of Albany, New York and control of the Hudson River, thereby separating New England from the southern colonies and forcing an end to the rebellion.
Following the plan, General John Burgoyne (called "Gentleman Johnny" by his troops) led them south from Quebec toward Albany. There he would join forces with Brigadier General Barry St. Leger coming from the east and General William Howe coming northward from New York City. If it had worked, the plan would have been devastating. It failed. Benedict Arnold at Fort Stanwix halted St. Leger. Howe changed his plans by diverting his army south to capture Philadelphia.
Nevertheless, Burgoyne and his 7,500 soldiers advanced southward, easily recapturing Forts Ticonderoga and Edward on the Upper Hudson, but at that point his plan began to come unglued. A contingent of 800 Brits sent to Burlington, Vermont to seize supplies was ambushed by New England militiamen and virtually wiped out. Cutting a road through thick woods and underbrush, Burgoyne moved slowly along the west bank of the Hudson with heavy supply wagons, horse drawn cannons and two thousand dependents and camp followers. This slow movement gave American forces, under the command of Major General Horatio Gates, time to fortify an area about thirty miles north of Albany on a wooded plateau called Bemis Heights.
Next Time: Saratoga.
The producer of A Moment In Time is Steve Clark. At the University of Richmond, this is Dan Roberts.