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The two Battles of Saratoga were fought 18 days apart, on September 19 and October 7, 1777, and the decisive victory turned out to be a significant turning point for the Americans over the British in the American Revolutionary War.
The Leaders of the Battle
- The leader of the British army was General John Burgoyne. He is often referred to as Gentleman Johnny because of his manners and he is best known for his role in the American Revolutionary War, when he designed an invasion scheme and commanded a force that moved south from Canada to split away New England and end the rebellion.
- The Americans were led by Major General Horatio Gates. Other significant leaders for the Americans in the Battles of Saratoga were Generals Benedict Arnold, Benjamin Lincoln, Colonel Daniel Morgan and General Enoch Poor.
The Lead Up to The Battle of Saratoga
- British General Burgoyne had a plan to defeat the colonies. Moving south from Canada, the General planned to split the 13 colonies and isolate New England by gaining control of the upper Hudson River valley. With the colonies divided, he thought he could end the revolution.
- Burgoyne planned to lead his army from Lake Champlain to Albany, New York. General Howe was expected to advance north along the Hudson River to meet the British army at Albany.
- Burgoyne and his army recaptured Fort Ticonderoga. They continued south, but General Howe didn’t go north to meet at Albany. Instead, he sailed his men sailed his army from New York City to capture Philadelphia, leaving Burgoyne in Philadelphia on his own.
The Battle of Bennington
- The Americans continued to attack the British as they moved south. Roads were blocked with cut down trees to slow their progress, and they took shots at British soldiers from the trees.
- General Burgoyne send some soldiers to Bennington, Vermont. The British were low on food and had lost horses in the American attacks. Bennington was heavily guarded by the American General, John Stark, and his nearly 1,000 men were killed or captured at the August 16 battle. This was a decisive victory that weakened the British.
- The victory at Bennington only increased support from the colonies. It was also thought to have played a key role in bringing France into the war on the rebel side.
First Saratoga: Battle of Freeman’s Farm
- The first battle of Saratoga was on September 19, 1777. The battle took place on the farmland of a British loyalist called John Freeman.
- Colonel Daniel Morgan led 500 specially selected riflemen spotted British advance troops in the field. They were skilled sharpshooters and took out a number of officers before the British could attack.
- The British suffered twice as many casualties as the Americans. While the British ended the battle in control of the field, they had suffered 600 casualties – double that of the American soldiers. Despite this, Burgoyne still claimed victory for this battle of Saratoga.
Second Saratoga: Battle of Bemis Heights
- On October 7, 1777, General Burgoyne tried to attack again. The Americans had already set up their defences at Bemis Heights and were well prepared for an attack.
- The attack on Bemis Heights failed miserably. The Americans held our against Burgoyne and his troops, and a counter-attack by Benedict Arnold pushed the British back even further until they were forced to retreat.
- The British army suffered 600 more casualties at the second battle of Saratoga. The American losses were less than 150 and the British found themselves surrounded by a much larger, and growing, American army.
- On October 17, General Burgoyne surrendered. He had asked for a ceasefire on October 13, 1777 but the American commander, Horatio Gates, asked for a surrender. They eventually agreed terms and the British surrendered.
The British Surrender
- Burgoyne surrendered his entire army. He surrendered a total of 5,752 men, 42 cannons, 7,000 muskets and all his supplies.
- British officers were separated from their men and placed on parole. Unlike the soldiers, the officers were allowed to keep their pistols.
- General Gates invited General Burgoyne to dine with him. It is said that the two men were on friendly terms and each toasted the other’s leader.
- British soldiers were marched to Boston. The agreement of surrender meant they were to be returned to England on a promise not to fight again in the Revolutionary War. Some did return to England, but Congress changed the terms and many were actually sent to prison in the colonies until the war was over.
What the Battles of Saratoga Meant for the Revolution
The surrender of the British General Burgoyne at the Battles of Saratoga is considered significant turning point in the American Revolution. Morale was boosted across the colonies and they now believed that they could win the war and gain their independence.
The victory for the Americans at Saratoga was also important because France decided to support the colonies by becoming an ally and providing military aid. Spain also joined France in the war against Britain.
The Battles of Saratoga Worksheets
This bundle includes 11 ready-to-use Battles of Saratoga worksheets that are perfect for students to learn these two Battles of Saratoga which were fought 18 days apart, on September 19 and October 7, 1777, and the decisive victory turned out to be a significant turning point for the Americans over the British in the American Revolutionary War.
This download includes the following worksheets:
- The Battles of Saratoga Facts
- The Saratoga Battle Cards
- Modified TRUE or FALSE
- Guess Who?
- Event Mapping
- The Battle Word Search
- Mark the Calendar
- Picture Analysis
- The Battle and The Revolution
- A Historical Article
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