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Battle of Saratoga - History

Battle of Saratoga - History


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Burgoyne felt he had no option but to press on to Albany. The American army, however, was blocking his way at Bemis Heights. The British made two attempts to break through American defenses, but failed. After the second attempt, they withdrew to Saratoga, where they were surrounded by American troops. The British had no choice but to surrender which they did on October 13, 1777. One quarter of the British forces in North America thus surrendered, and, while many battles were yet to be fought, American Independence was assured.

.

Burgoyne continued southward, even as his options and support began to crumble. He crossed the Hudson on September 13th 1777 heading towards Albany. Burgoyne was down to 6,500 troops.

American General Gates was waiting for Burgoyne with 7,000 men. Gates was entrenched in Bemis Heights. The heights had been selected by his engineer, Thaddeus Kosciusko. They were anchored on the right by the Hudson, and on the left by a forest with steep bluffs. Burgoyne had no choice. If he wanted to make his way to Albany, then he had to take on Gage and his army.

Burgoyne sent 2,000 men, under General Fraser, on a flanking movement to the west, and then towards the American line. The main attack was to take place by General Hamilton's forces in the center. A third attack was to proceed straight down the river road. Burgoyne was handicapped by his limited knowledge of American positions.

Early in morning of the 19th of September 1777, the British troops set off. The Americans became aware of the British movements. At the insistence of Arnold, Gates agreed to send a force out from the fortification to determine British intentions. As a result, the battle developed at a clearing near Freeman's Farm. First, Morgan's riflemen ran into Fraser's left flank, cutting them down. The forces sent by Gates were, in turn, decimated by part of Hamilton's brigade. It went this way for most of the day, with piecemeal parts of the American and British forces being thrown at each other.

However, at the end of the day, the Americans still held the Heights. The British had lost 600 killed, and wounded or captured. Time was not on Burgoyne's side, with the nights getting longer and colder, food beginning to run low, and no option of local foraging. He had lost his Native American scouts, and the ranks of the American forces were swelling every day. Finally, in a desperate move to break out, Burgoyne sent 1,500 of his men on an attack on the western flank of the American forces. They were immediately attacked by Morgan's men, and a general British retreat soon ensued.

The Americans were not content with driving the British back. Soon a force under Arnold was attacking a section of the British defensive lines known as "the Horseshoe". After a fierce fight, the "Horseshoe" was captured. Burgoyne's position became untenable. That night, he pulled his forces back toward Saratoga. Burgoyne left behind his wounded and much of his supplies, after losing another 600 men. Once he arrived in Saratoga, it became clear Burgoyne would not be able to sustain his position. Gates had followed him, and soon had Burgoyne surrounded.

On October 12th, Burgoyne called a Council of War with his officers. The officers unanimously agreed there was no choice but to surrender. The next day, Burgoyne asked for terms, to which the parties agreed. Burgoyne surrendered. At this point, one quarter of the British troops in North America had been captured. The effects were far reaching, for the American victory had convinced the other European powers that an American victory was possible. As a result, aid was soon forthcoming.


Battle of Saratoga

Washington's defeats at Brandywine and Germantown caused negative reactions in Congress compared to Horatio Gates's stunning victory at Saratoga. Faced with an investigation of the army, Washington wrote to Congress about the Continental Army's many challenges and possible solutions.

The Battle of Saratoga fought in two stages on September 19 and October 7, 1777, proved to be a turning point in the American struggle for independence. It also had a direct impact on the career of General George Washington. Without the victory at Saratoga, American forces would likely not have received critical assistance from the French, and faith in the war effort would have been weakened. But the victory of General Horatio Gates at Saratoga also led to a serious but ultimately unsuccessful effort to replace Washington with Gates as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.

The battle of Saratoga took place on the fields of upstate New York, nine miles south of the town of Saratoga. In accordance with British plans, General John Burgoyne was attempting to invade New England from Canada with the goal of isolating New England from the rest of the United States. Burgoyne had under his command an army of 7,200 troops with which he hoped to establish British dominance throughout the state of New York. Opposing Burgoyne was General Horatio Gates with a force of 9,000 soldiers, later joined by 2,000 additional troops. The ensuing battle was divided into two encounters, the first on September 19 and the second on October 7.

The first on September 19, 1777, also known as the Battle of Freeman&rsquos Farm, took place when the British attacked the entrenched Americans. Because Benedict Arnold anticipated the British maneuver, however, a significant contingent of American forces had been placed between the British and the main body of the American army. While the British managed in the end to overrun the Americans, their losses were significant. Almost 600 British soldiers were killed or wounded, which was roughly twice the American losses. 1

Before the second battle occurred, Burgoyne waited in vain for reinforcements, and by October 7, concluding he wait no longer, he launched a second attack. This time, the American forces held against the British assault and were able to counterattack to regain any lost ground. Burgoyne and his troops, defeated, began a march to the town of Saratoga where they entrenched themselves once again in hopes of escaping. Within a fortnight, however, Gates's army had surrounded them and forced them to surrender. 2

Following the American victory, morale among American troops was high. With Burgoyne's surrender of his entire army to Gates, the Americans scored a decisive victory that finally persuaded the French to sign a treaty allying with the United States against Britain, France's traditional enemy. The entrance of France into the war, along with its financial and military support, in particular its navy, was in the end crucial to Washington&rsquos victory at the Battle of Yorktown in October 1781, which effectively ended the war. 3 But the French were not alone in supporting the Americans following the Battle of Saratoga. The Spanish and later the Dutch provided support as well, eager to seize the opportunity to weaken their British rival. 4

In the aftermath of his victory at Saratoga, General Gates enjoyed widespread popular support and some campaigned behind the scenes to have him replace Washington as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. In an episode that became known as the "Conway Cabal," Gates's supporters began to conspire against Washington, but their plot was discovered when a drunken officer, Colonel James Wilkinson, stated publicly that General Thomas Conway had praised Gates as the savior of the Revolution while at the same time disparaging Washington. 5 Specifically, Conway had said that &ldquoHeaven has been determined to save your Country or a weak General and bad Counsellors would have ruined it.&rdquo 6

It was only through the premature discovery of this plot and the strong backing of key figures in both the army and Congress that Washington was able to maintain his command. 7 The Conway Cabal had taken Washington by surprise, but in the aftermath of its failure it was Gates who found himself in the weaker position. He apologized to Washington, who retained his command for the remainder of the war and, supported by French forces on land and sea, received the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781.

Troy Smith
George Mason University

1. Douglas R. Cubbison, Burgoyne and the Saratoga Campaign: His Papers (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2012), 109-115 Jim Lacey and Williamson Murray, Moment of Battle: The Twenty Clashes That Changed the World. (New York: Bantam Books, 2013), 216-22.

2. Richard M. Ketchum, Saratoga: Turning Point of America&rsquos Revolutionary War (New York: Henry Holt, 1997), 391, 427.

3. Lacey and Murray, Moment of Battle,224.

4. John E. Ferling, The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon (New York. Bloomsbury Press, 2009), 137.

6. &ldquoFrom George Washington to Horatio Gates, 4 January 1778,&rdquo Founders Online, National Archives, Source: this is an Early Access document from The Papers of George Washington.


#1 The battle was part of Great Britain’s campaign to isolate New England

New England region of US which initiated the Revolutionary War was proving troublesome for the British. British command devised a plan according to which General John Burgoyne, commanding a large army, was to invade America from Canada by advancing down the Hudson Valley to Albany while British troops under Sir William Howe were to march up the Hudson Valley from New Jersey. The purpose of this was to isolate the rebellious New England colonies from middle and southern colonies. It would also give Britain command of Hudson River and demoralize Americans and their allies.


American Preparations

The Northern Department of the Continental Army under Major General Philip Schuyler had been in a state of steady retreat after Burgoyne&rsquos capture of Fort Ticonderoga.

This led to many in Congress being disgruntled with General Schuyler which resulted in him being given a different assignment and Major General Horatio Gates taking command.

Once Gates was in command the Continental forces began to rise based on many facts such as the death of Jane Mcrae, local governors encouraging militia support, the success of the Battle of Bennington and Commander-in-chief George Washington sending many of his forces to Gates to keep Burgoyne in check.

General Washington decided to keep a close watch on Howe who was in Philadelphia so he sent Gates some of his best men.

He sent an aggressive field general named Benedict Arnold, a newly formed elite rifle corps under Daniel Morgan, General Benjamin Lincoln and 750 men of Israel Putnam&lsquos men.

Upon their arrival, Gates and his men moved towards Bemis Heights.


Britain's 5 Largest Losses in Military History

Key point: No matter how good, no military is perfect.

For centuries, the sun never set on the British Empire. But eclipses there were, and more than a few that stained British arms.

Like the Romans, the British fought a variety of enemies. They also had the distinction of being defeated by a variety of enemies, including Americans, Russians, French, Native Americans, Africans, Afghans, Japanese and Germans. Even in defeat, there is something glorious in losing to so many different foes.

As the saying goes, victory has many fathers, but defeat is an orphan. Yet in Britain's case, defeat has multiple sires, from overconfidence to racism. Those Americans who would sneer at the Limeys should be mindful that the same reasons have also resulted in U.S. defeats.

Here are the five greatest British military failures:

Imagine an entire U.S. Army brigade surrendering to the Taliban, and now you grasp the impact of the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. A British force of 7,000 men had laid their arms before an army that European experts had dismissed as colonial rabble.

Saratoga was a battle that should never have been fought. Britain always had a small army for a major European power, and a particularly small army for subduing an area the size of eastern North America. Yet Britain did have the Royal Navy, which conferred a strategic mobility that allowed the British to concentrate or evacuate their forces with a speed that George Washington's Continentals couldn't match.

So in the best British tradition of contempt for the enemy, the British chose to mount an overland expedition deep in the North American wilderness in autumn 1777, as far from naval support as the Moon. General "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne would lead 7,000 men down from Canada into Upstate New York, where he would rendezvous near Albany with another force under General William Howe moving north from New York City. In theory, this would isolate that troublesome nest of revolutionaries in New England from the rest of the rebellious colonies.

Unfortunately, the British command was as divided as their forces. Instead of assisting Burgoyne, Howe chose to occupy Philadelphia. Burgoyne had managed to recapture Fort Ticonderoga, but now found himself low on supplies, with winter approaching. Instead of retreating back to Canada, he chose to press on to Albany. Meanwhile, the Americans eventually mustered a force of 15,000 militia backed by reinforcements sent by General Washington, including Daniel Morgan's riflemen and Benedict Arnold (actually a competent American commander before his defection).

It wasn't only the British who suffered from divided command Arnold quarreled with Horatio Gates, the ostensible commander of the American force. But after two small battles at Freeman's Farm and Bemis Heights, Burgoyne's army found itself outnumbered, surrounded and isolated at Saratoga, far from any reinforcement or succor.

Gentleman Johnny surrendered on October 17, 1777, thus preserving the lives of his men from a hopeless battle. But the fact that the revolutionaries had destroyed a British army in the field helped convince France to ally with the fledgling American revolutionaries and declare war on Britain, later followed by Spain. The impact on world history would be immense.

Being defeated by the Americans was bad enough, yet at least the Americans were Europeans by ancestry and culture. But surely spear-waving African natives would be no match for a force of well-armed and well-trained British troops? Even today, that image is perpetuated by the 1964 movie Zulu, where a handful of British troops fight off human waves of African warriors at the Battle of Rorke's Drift.

Such a racist stereotype was shattered by the Battle of Rorke's Drift and was preceded by the defeat of Isandlwana, where the Zulus annihilated 1,700 British regulars and colonial auxiliaries at the Battle of Isandlwana on January 22, 1879. Britain had invaded Zululand, ostensibly to revenge the murder of British subjects, but in reality to create a Southern African confederation, which in turn required smashing the Zulu Empire.

As at Saratoga, the British recklessly maneuvered themselves into a deadly position. British commander Lord Chelmsford split his 15,000-strong force into three separate columns on the theory that this would enable the British to surround the Zulu army (of course they'll flee, old chap). Chelmsford commanded the main column of 5,000 men, which set up camp at Isandlwana just five miles from a Zulu army that British scouts hadn't detected. Not only didn't he entrench his position, but he also split his force again by sending most of the column chasing after what he thought was the main Zulu army, leaving just 1,700 men to guard the camp.

But the main Zulu army of 20,000 strong was actually hidden near the camp. When British scouts finally detected them, the Zulus attacked. They wielded Iron Age spears and shields in the Industrial Age of steamships and machine guns, but the Zulus proved what the highly organized, motivated and tactically mobile troops could accomplish despite technological inferiority. Their favorite tactic was the izimpondo zankomo ("horns of the buffalo"), where the older warriors of the Zulu force engaged the enemy from the front while the younger warriors circled around both flanks and attacked. Such tactics had won the Zulus a fierce reputation and an African empire. Now they would destroy the British.

Battle of the Denmark Straits:

One couldn't fault the Royal Navy for lack of aggressiveness. When news came in May 1941 that the battleship Bismarck was sailing from Germany into the North Atlantic, the British reacted quickly. A German battleship, let loose among the shipping lanes that sustained Britain with food and weapons, would be like a tiger in a chicken coop.

The Bismarck was a formidable battleship, newer and more advanced than most of its British and American counterparts in 1941. Accompanied by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, it would have been a tough match in any battle. But as the German raiders passed through the Denmark Straits, it was the Royal Navy's misfortune that the two ships that intercepted them on May 24 were the battleship Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser Repulse.

The Prince of Wales was fresh out the shipyard and still had dockyard workers aboard to finish the ship. The Repulse had been launched in 1918, while World War I still raged. As a battlecruiser, faster but less well armored than a battleship, it wasn't meant to slug it out with a modern battleship like the Bismarck. Even for a battlecruiser, it had weak deck armor, which left it vulnerable to plunging fire coming down on top of the ship instead of the sides.

Rather than wait for reinforcements, the British closed for battle in a fight where the odds were even at best. It was a classic clash of capital ships, with none of those pesky aircraft or aircraft carriers to ruin the proceedings. Yet the Prince of Wales had gun malfunctions that reduced its rate of fire. Yet it was the Repulse that made it a dark day for the Royal Navy. After a few German salvoes, the battlecruiser exploded with the loss of more than 1,300 sailors. The cause was probably—though not definitively—a magazine explosion caused by a German shell that penetrated its deck armor.

The Prince of Wales inflicted three hits on the Bismarck, including a bow hit that caused some flooding and deprived the Bismarck of precious fuel oil in her forward tanks. But the fact was that the Repulse—one of the proudest ships in the Royal Navy—had been sunk and the Germans had lived to sail away.

But not for long. The loss of the Repulse would be avenged. From the British Admiralty came a simple three-word order that would go down in history: "Sink the Bismarck!" Just as it was poised to reach safety in France, the Bismarck was crippled by antiquated Swordfish torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier Ark Royal, and finally sunk by the British fleet.

After being beaten by impudent American colonists and fierce natives, who else would the British underestimate? Never fear, by the 1940s, it was Japan's turn. Prewar British experts discounted the Japanese on racist grounds—a big mistake.

That racism bore bitter fruit in the first six months of the Pacific War, when the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy disemboweled the Western powers across Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. Nowhere this was better symbolized than the fall of the British fortress of Singapore.

Singapore had been considered an impregnable bastion of Britain's Asian empire. That was largely mythical budgetary penny-pinching had left the island-city a Potemkin fortress far from invulnerable. Nonetheless, with a garrison of 80,000 men, Singapore was expected to hold out for a while, perhaps until help arrived.

Help wouldn't arrive. The U.S. Pacific Fleet was mostly destroyed at Pearl Harbor. The battleship Prince of Wales and battlecruiser Repulse were sunk by Japanese torpedo-bombers off Malaya on December 8, depriving Singapore of its naval shield.

But much of the British disaster was incomprehensible, rather than inevitable. Royal Air Force pilots, cocky from their victory over the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain, found themselves outmatched by better-trained Japanese pilots and their deadly Zero fighters. The Japanese force that landed on the Malay Peninsula north of Singapore on December 8 was smaller than that of the defenders, but it outmaneuvered and outfought poorly trained and led British, Australian and Indian troops.


Timeline Saratoga

October 7: Despite heavy losses, Burgoyne won the second battle of Saratoga, and his army escaped back to safety in Canada.

October 22: Battle of Red Bank, a Hessian force sent to take Fort Mercer on the Delaware River just south of Philadelphia are decisively defeated by an inferior force of Colonial defenders.

November 25: Battle of Gloucester in his first battlefield action, the Marquis de Lafayette made a successful night attack on a Hessian picket.

December 5–8: Battle of White Marsh driven north of Philadelphia, Washington defeats Howe in a series of skirmishes, ending British hopes of directly engaging the Patriot forces before the onset of winter.

February 6: France and the American rebels sign the 'Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce' giving the rebels international recognition, and foreign military support.

March 18: Battle of Quinton's Bridge: a minor skirmish of British and Patriot foraging parties, ends in a humiliating Patriot defeat.

April 24: North Channel Naval Duel, John Paul Jones defeats the British Sloop-of-War Drake in the Irish Sea.

May 1: Battle of Crooked Billet, Major John Graves Simcoe launched a surprise attack against Brigadier General John Lacey and three regiments of Pennsylvania militia, who were literally caught sleeping: a humiliating Patriot defeat.

May 20: Battle of Barren Hill, a British force under Howe attempted to entrap a Patriot army under the Marquis de Lafayette the Continentals escaped, but not without loss.

May 25: Battle of Freetown, Patriot militia and a British naval vessel skirmish inconclusively, with little loss to either side

June 25: Benedict Arnold defects to the British Army.

June 28: Battle of Monmouth, As the British returned to New York, George Washington's forces clashed inconclusively with the British rearguard under Clinton.

June 30: Battle of Alligator Bridge, Georgian invasion of Florida fails when a Patriot attempt to ambush a Tory force is itself ambushed.

July 3: Battle of Wyoming, a British force of Tories and Iroquois destroy a Patriot militia force, causing panic on the northwest frontier.

July 4: Capture of Kaskaskia: George Rogers Clarke captures the town of Kaskaskia, securing much of the Illinois territory for the rebels.

July 27: First Battle of Ushant, British and French fleets duel inconclusively.

August 6: Treaty of Saratoga, the 'Province of Vermont' is provisionally recognized by British colonial authorities, pending ratification by the British government: Vermont becomes neutral.

August 21-October 19: Siege of Pondicherry, British take control of all of French India.

August 29: Battle of Rhode Island, a Patriot and French army unsuccessfully attempted to take back control of Rhode Island strategic victory for the British.

September 7-18: Siege of Boonesborough, Kentucky settlers successfully repel a Shawnee attack.

September 18-25: Grey's raid, Major General Charles Grey raided the Massachusetts communities of New Bedford and Martha's Vineyard. Troops under his command destroyed storehouses, shipping, and supplies in New Bedford, where they met with light resistance from the local militia. At Martha's Vineyard, he requisitioned 10,000 sheep and other supplies, leaving promissory notes for payment.

September 27: Baylor Massacre, Maj. Gen. Charles Grey dispatched light infantry and Royal Dragoons to capture a force of Patriots under Col. George Baylor quartered in a nearby village: the entire force was killed or captured at little loss to the British.

October 6: Battle of Chestnut Neck, British and Tory troops under Captain Patrick Ferguson destroy much-needed supplies bound for Washington's army at Valley Forge.

October 7: Little Egg Harbor massacre, Patrick Ferguson launched a devastating night attack against Patriot troops under Kazimierz Pułaski.

October 24: Carleton's Raid, British troops under Major Christopher Carelton raid across Lake Champlain and cause devastation in New York some locals accuse Vermont militia of participating in the raid, further straining relations between New York and Vermont.

December 17: Battle of St. Lucia, despite being heavily outnumbered on both sea and land, British forces under admiral Samuel Barrington and Maj. Gen Grant deal a stinging defeat to French forces under Admiral Jean Baptiste Charles Henri Hector Comte d'Estaing, dealing heavy casualties and capturing the strategic island of St. Lucia.

December 29: Capture of Savannah, A British army under Archibald Campbell captures Savannah, Gaorgia, entirely intact, along with over half the defending army under Robert Howe with the aid of a local slave.

February 3: Battle of Beaufort, British regulars and Patriot militia skirmish on Port Royal Island a narrow victory, which does much to help Patriot morale in the south.

February 14: Battle of Kettle Creek, Loyalist militia are ambushed by Patriot militia, and take heavy losses.

February 23: Battle of Vincennes, Clarke recaptured the town of Vincennes, capturing the British governor, Henry Hamilton.

March 3: Battle of Brier Creek. in a resounding victory, a British force under Mark Prevost utterly destroyed a larger Patriot army under John Ashe, securing much of South Carolina.

April 12: Treaty of Aranjuez, France and Spain agree to aid one another in recovering territory from Britain in the Seven Years' War, particularly in America.

May 5: Battle of Chillicothe, a force of Kentucky militia attack a Shawnee village, but are repulsed.

June 20: Battle of Stono Ferry, a Patriot army under Benjamin Lincoln is roundly defeated in an attack on a British rearguard under Lieutenant Colonel John Maitland.

June 24-February 7, 1783: Great Siege of Gibraltar, Spanish and French troops and ships lay siege to the strategic British fortress of Gibraltar on the Spanish coast.

July 6: Battle of Grenada, British and French fleets meet off the coast of Granada. The British fleet is driven away, and the French take possession of Grenada.

July 6-11: Tryon's Raid, a British force under command of Maj. Gen. William Tryon raided the shores of Connecticut, capturing ships and goods, and burning public and private buildings.

July 15-16: Battle of Stony Point, in a nighttime surprise attack, elite Continental forces capture Stony Point, New York, along with its British garrison.

July 19-22: Battle of Minisink, Joseph Brant raided the northern Delaware valley, then defeated a pursuing militia force at Minisink Ford.

July 24-August 12: Penobscot Expedition, The largest naval expedition ever made by the Patriots suffers a humiliating defeat at the hands of British forces in Maine.

August 19: Battle of Paulus Hook, Light Horse Harry Lee leads a night attack on a British fort in Paulus Hook, New Jersey, capturing a large number of prisoners before retreating.

August 29: Battle of Newtown, A combined British-Indian force under John Butler and Joseph Brant turn back a Patriot force under John Sullivan intent on razing Iroquois towns.

September 7: Capture of Fort Bute, a Spanish colonial force under governor Bernardo de Gálvez invades British West Florida from Louisiana and captures the small British post of Fort Bute.

September 10: Battle of Lake Pontchartrain, the armed schooner USS Morris captures the much smaller HMS West Florida under false colors Captain William Pickles is branded a pirate by the British.

September 16-October 18: siege of Savannah, combined Patriot/French forces under Benjamin Lincoln and the Comte d'Estaing, besiege a British force in Savannah under Augustine Prevost: after an assault on October 9 failed with heavy casualties, the French forces withdrew: this marked the last time Patriot forces attempted to drive the British from the Southern Colonies.

September 20-21: Battle of Baton Rouge, with reinforcements from Canada, the British army decisively defeats the Spanish army at the Battle of Baton Rouge. The British cement their hold on West Florida, and are able to directly support the Cherokee Nation against the Overmountain Men

September 23: Battle of Flamborough Head, a combined Patriot/French fleet battles a pair of British convoy escorts though the allies are victorious, the entire convoy escapes unhindered.

October 16-20: First Battle of San Fernando de Omoa, A British force under Commodore John Luttrell capture the strategic Spanish fortress with few losses, along with two shipos carrying over three million silver pesos.

October 25-29: Second Battle of San Fernando de Omoa, A Spanish force under Matías de Gálvez laid siege to the fort, attempting to storm the walls on the 29th: though repelled, the disease-wasted garrison withdrew during the night.

December 18: First Battle of Martinique, A fleet under Hyde Parker cut out nine vessels from a vital French supply convoy before a French fleet under Admiral de la Motte intervened to save the rest: Parker and de la Motte dueled inconclusively for the rest of the day.

January 8: Action of 8 January 1780, a British fleet under Sir George Brydges Rodney caught a military convoy commanded by Don Juan Augustin de Yardi, and captured every Spanish ship.

January 16: Battle of Cape St Vincent, in one of the very few nighttime battles of the age of sail, a British squadron of 18 ships under Admiral Rodney decisively defeated a Spanish fleet of 11 Sail under Juan de Lángara, destroying one ship and capturing four, including de Lángara's, though two were later reclaimed by their Spanish crews.

February 3: Battle of Young's House, A minor skirmish between the British and Patriot armies facing each other in New York an elite British/German force drove off a force of continentals and burned the house.

March 2: Attack on New Orleans, a small Royal Naval force raided the Spanish armys base at New Orleans, forcing General Bernardo de Gálvez to detach troops from his army in West Florida to guard against further attacks

March 29-May 12: Siege of Charleston, A combined force under General Clinton and Admiral Arbuthnot capture the city of Charleston, South Carolina, along with a Continental army of over 5,000 men, a large number of munitions, and three signers of the Declaration of Independence widelt considered the turning point of the war, the capture of Charleston drove the last regular Patriot troops from South Carolina: though scattered partisan fighting would continue until the end of the war, the colony remained firmly under British control.

April 14: The Battle of Monck's Corner, Banastre Tarleton attacks a Patriot force under Isaac Huger, decimating it and completely cutting off besieged Charleston from Patriot support.

April 17: The Second Battle of Martinique: British and French fleets under Rodney and the Comte de Guichen, respectively, duel inconclusively: a British strategic victory, as the French were compelled to give up a planned invasion of Jamaica.

May 6: Battle of Lenud's Ferry, despite being outnumbered more than 2-1, Banastre Tarleton attacked a Patriot cavalry force under Anthony Walton White William Washington, capturing 67 men and 100 horses, for the cost of 2 men and 4 horses, ending Charleston's last hope of relief.

May 25-August 4: Bird's invasion of Kentucky, Captain Henry Bird invaded Kentucky to divert Clarke from interfering in the attack on St. Louis.

May 26: Battle of St. Louis, A large force of Indians, militia, and British regulars under Emanuel Hesse capture the Spanish town of St. Louis and the nearby Patriot-held fort of Cahokia, gaining control of much of northern Louisiana.

May 29: Battle of Waxhaws, Banastre Tarletons mounted force attacked and routed a much larger force of Virginia Regulars in the confusion of the fighting, some Patriots tried to surrender while others fought on, causing a great deal of controversy, and leading the Patriots to label it 'The Waxhaw Massacre'.

June 7: Battle of Connecticut Farms, The British army from New York under Wilhelm von Knyphausen attempted to attack the Patriot army at Hobarts Gap, New Jersey, but were delayed by New jersey militia von Knyphausen called off the attack after causing considerable damage.

June 13: Battle of New Orleans, a British attack on New Orleans is defeated.

June 20: Battle of Ramsour's Mill, Tory and Patriot militia battle inconclusively near Lincolnton, North Carolina, but the Patriots withdrew shortly after, giving the Loyalists control of the area.

June 23: Battle of Springfield New Jersey, A British army under Clinton and von Knyphausen again attempt to attack Hobart's Gap the attack is called off because of unexpectedly stiff resistance by New Jersey militia, though the Patriots suffered heavy casualties.

July 10: General Rochambeau and 6,000 French soldiers land at Newport, Rhode Island to support the Continental Army under George Washington.

July 12: Battle of Williamson's Plantation, Loyalist militia and British troops clash with Patriot troops.

July 30: Battle of Rocky Mount: Patriot militia under Thomas Sumter attack the Loyalist post of Rocky Mount, commanded by George Turnbull, but are turned back with heavy casualties.

August 8: George Rogers Clarke invaded the Illinois country, burned five Shawnee villages, but suffered heavy casualties at this battle, including his own cousin.

August 9: Action of 9 August, 1780, a large Franco-Spanish fleet under Admiral Luis de Córdova y Córdova intercepted a British convoy of 63 ships, capturing 55 of them.

August 16: Battle of Camden, a British army under Cornwallis utterly crushed a Patriot army under Horatio Gates, killing and capturing over two-thirds of the Patriots troops.

August 18: Battle of Fishing Creek, Banastre Tarleton with 160 men attacked Thomas Sumter's force of 800 men and two cannons, capturing all their supplies and munitions, freeing Loyalist prisoners, and capturing over 300 men.

September 26: Battle of Charlotte, Patriot militia skirmish with lead elements of Cornwallis' army, before withdrawing northward.

October 7: Battle of King's Mountain, a force of the Overmountain Men, depleted by battle with Cherokee, is destroyed by Patrick Ferguson at the Battle of King's Mountain.

October 19: Battle of Klock's Field, A British-Indian force devastated much of Palatine Township in Montgomery County, New York.

November 5: La Balmes Defeat: a French force in the Illinois Country is destroyed by Chief Little Turtle and his Miami warriors.

November 9: Battle of Fishdam Ford, British troops under James Wemyss attack Thomas Sumter's Patriot militia they lost the advantage of surprise, and were routed.

November 20: Battle of Blackstock's Farm, Patrick Ferguson decisively defeated Thomas Sumter.

January 1: Pennsylvania Line Mutiny, 2,400 men of the Pennsylvania line mutiny over a number of greavances, including deplorable treatment, violation of enlistment agreements, lack of pay, use of corporal punishment, and other grievances. Though the mutiny was settled amicably, and the mutineers refused an overture from General Clinton, well over half of the Pennsylvania Line(nearly 1,300 men) returned home, never to bear arms again.

January 6: Battle of Jersey, A French army attacked the British channel isle, but was defeated and all French troops were killed or captured.

January 7: Second Battle of Fort Bute, A small force of British, Germans, and Muscogee recaptured Fort Bute from the Spanish.

January 17: the Battle of Cowpens: Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton decisively defeats Brig. Gen Daniel Morgan, destroying much of his force, and nearly capturing the rebel general.

February 1: Battle of Cowan's Ford, a force of Patriot militia under William Lee Davidson attempt to delay Cornwallis' army at the Catawba river, in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

March 6: Battle of Wetzell's Mill, Patriot and Tory militia skirmish inconclusively.

March 15: the battle of Guilford Court House: Cornwallis' British army narrowly defeated General Greene's Continental forces. But Greene's retreat turned to a rout, and almost the entire rebel army was destroyed, most of the militia deserting to return home though scattered skirmishing continued until the end of the war, this battle permanently won the Southern campaign for the British.

March 16: Battle of Cape Henry, British and French fleets fight inconclusively.

April 16: Battle of Porto Praya, British and French squadrons battle to a draw in the Cape Verde islands, a French strategic victory, that prevented the British taking control of the Cape of Good Hope.

April 25: Battle of Blandford, British seaborne raiders, under the command of Benedict Arnold and William Phillips, devastate much of the Virginia countryside, in a diversionary attack that cleared the way for Cornallis' army to clear North Carolina of the last Patriot regular troops and move into Virginia.

April 25: Battle of Hobkirk's Hill, Nathaniel Greene attempted to force Cornwallis to retreat to Charleston by threatening his supply line, but was defeated by Lord Francis Rawdon in this unlikely victory, and was ordered to retreat to Virginia to oppose Cornwallis' invasion.

April 29-30: Battle of Fort Royal, A French fleet under the Comte de Grass skirmished with a British squadron under Sir Samuel Hood near Martinique, driving the British squadron away.

May 23-June 2: Invasion of Tobago, a French fleet and army under the Comte de Grasse seize the British-held island of Tobago.

June 26: Battle of Spencer's Ordinary, British and Patriot outriders skirmished as Cornwallis advanced on Williamsburg.

July 6: Battle of Green Springs: generals Lafayette and Wayne were lured into a trap the Patriot army escaped encirclement and retreated to the coast, closely pursued by two columns under Banastre Tarleton and Patrick Ferguson.

July 8, 1781- August 5, 1783 Siege of Yorktown, the continental army under the Marquis de Lafayette and Anthony Wayne take refuge in the port of Yorktown, surrendering the rest of Virginia to Cornwallis.

July 21: Naval battle off Cape Breton, A pair of French frigates attack a British convoy, capturing two warships and three merchant vessels.

July 28: a combined American-French army under George Washington and the Comte de Rochambeau attacks the British stronghold of New York: the attack is repelled with heavy losses.

August 5: Battle of the Dogger Bank, a bloody battle between British and Dutch squadrons, both escorting convoys: tactically inconclusive, it was strategically a British victory, as the Dutch fleet never left port for the rest of the war.

August 19, 1781–February 5, 1782: Invasion Of Minorca, a Spanish army landed on the strategic island and captured it, though the British garrison held out in St. Phillip's Castle for several months until forced to surrender by scurvy.

August 24: Lochry's Defeat, Joseph Brant, temporarily in the west, ambushes a force of Pennsylvania militia moving to reinforce Clarke, in preparation for an attack on the British-held town of St. Louis.

September 1: Second Battle of St. Louis a combined Patriot and Spanish force commanded by George Rogers Clarke attacks the British-held town of St. Louis: Indian attacks on their rear, and strong fortifications about the town forced them to withdraw.

September 5: Battle of the Chesapeake, a French squadron defeated a British fleet in the Chesapeake bay, and brought in supplies and reinforcements to the Marquis de Lafayette's army besieged in Yorktown.

September 6: Battle of Groton Heights, A British raiding force under Benedict Arnold attacked a Patriot stronghold in Connecticut, destroying the local militia.

September 12: Battle of Richmond, while a British force laid siege to the continental army under Lafayette in Yorktown, Cornwallis led his main force to subdue the rest of the colony Nathaniel Greene fought a skirmish at Richmond before retreating northward.

September 13: Battle of Lindley's Mill, Patriot militia attempted to rescue Governor Burke of North Carolina, but were defeated by Tory soldiers.

October 21-November 11: Siege of Negapatam, An Anglo-Indian force captures the Dutch port of Negapatam, ejecting the Dutch from India.

October 25: Battle of Johnstown, A British-Indian raiding force from Canada defeats local militia to join with the British army from New York: New England is cut off from the rest of the rebellious colonies.

December 12: The Second Battle of Ushant, A British squadron intercepted a French supply convoy though greatly outnumbered by the French naval escort, they captured 3/4 of the transports, before the convoy was scattered by a hurricane.

January 11: Capture of Trincomalee, A British force captures the Dutch port on the Island of Ceylon, gaining control of the whole island.

February 22: Sir Guy Carleton is appointed Commander-in-Chief of North America

January 25-26 Battle of St Kitts, despite a brilliant operation by Admiral Hood, a far superior French force captured St. Kitts and Nevis.

January 28: Battle of Hobart's Gap, The British army under Clinton and Knyphausen reaches Hobart's Gap, New Jersey(third time's the charm) and decisively defeat George Washington's Continental army: an aggressive pursuit led by the Black Brigade under 'Colonel' Tye force the Patriots to evacuate all of New Jersey.

February 17: Battle of Sadras, a British fleet under Admiral Sir Edward Hughes and a French fleet under the Bailli de Suffren battle off the east coast of India tactically indecisive, the British fleet suffered the most damage, and the troop transports that Suffren was protecting were able to land their troops at Porto Novo.

January 17: 'Colonel' Tye is commissioned a captain in the British Army as 'John Tye' the first black commissioned officer in the British Army.

March 16: Battle of Roatan, A British fleet tried to retake the island from its Spanish garrison, but were repelled with heavy losses.

March 22: Battle of Little Mountain, in one of the bloodiest engagements of the Kentucky frontier, a force of Wyandots under chief Sourehoowah engaged a force of Kentucky militia under James Estill: though the battle was a draw, both sides nearly destroyed, the battle forced George Rogers Clarke to give up his attempts to conquer the Illinois Country to secure Kentucky.

April 9-12: Battle of the Saintes, A British fleet under Sir George Rodney soundly defeated a French fleet under the Comte de Grasse, defeating a Franco-Spanish invasion of Jamaica before it began.

April 12: Battle of Providien, a French fleet under the Bailli de Suffren won a narrow victory over a British fleet under Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes off the east coast of Ceylon, near a rocky islet called Providien, south of Trincomalee.

April 15: George Washington surrenders at Philadelphia with his army of 5,000 men the last massed surrender of the revolution.

April 16: the Continental Congress is captured near to Philadelphia by the Black Brigade and the Queen's Rangers they issue an order for all remaining rebel forces to lay down arms 'to spare the further effusion of blood' but Patriot forces continue to fight, particularly in New England and partisan forces in the Carolinas.

May 6: Sir Guy Carleton arrives in New York and assumes command.

June 4-21: Ferguson's Career, Patrick Ferguson with 200 dragoons armed with his fast firing breech-loading rifle, supported by 500 cavalry and mounted infantry, ride from Albany, New York, to Boston in 7 days: they fought three minor battles at Northampton, Brookfield, and Worcestor and seven skirmishes, defeating in total well over 7,000 militia before reaching Boston they turned back from formidable fortifications before the city, and returned to New York unopposed.

July 6: The Battle of Negapatam, Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes won a minor battle with the Bailli de Suffren off the coast of India, near to Negapatam.

July 17: Siege of Boston, a British army under Benedict Arnold landed around Boston against little opposition, then emplaced artillery and began siege operations.

July 20: The Massachusetts Legislature voted to continue resistance, pending negotiations with the British.

July 21: Negotiations begin between the Massachusetts Legislature and Benedict Arnold.

July 22: Second Battle of Bunker Hill, a small band of Loyalists seize Bunker Hill, completing the encirclement of Boston though of little tactical value(the British already occupied Breed's Hill) the loss of the hill had a great morale effect.

July 23: The Massachusetts Legislature agrees to surrender, and orders all Massachusetts forces to cease fighting.

August 8: Hudson Bay Expedition, a French fleet under Jean-François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse, attacked Fort Prince of Wales in the Hudson Bay, and carried off much merchanddise of the Hudson Bay Company.

August 11: The Connecticut Legislature sends a courier to New York, indicating their willingness to discuss terms.

August 13: Patrick Ferguson, preparing for another 'career' seized the initiative and rode into Hartford, Connecticut, and forced the legislature there to surrender.

August 19: Battle of Blue Licks, a force of about 50 British rangers and 300 American Indians ambushed and routed 182 Kentucky militiamen. It was the worst defeat for the Kentuckians during the war, and one of the last battles in the west.

August 25-September 3: Battle of Trincomalee, A French naval-land force under the Bailli de Suffren captured the port of Trincomalee from its British garrison, then fought to a draw with a British fleet under Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes.

September 4: Rhode Island agreed 'to give up further armed struggle.'

September 5: The New Hampshire Legislature passes a measure of surrender by one vote the war in New England is over.

October 18: Action of 18 October 1782, after a long chase, the French 74 Ship of the Line Scipion was forced on rocks by HMS London and Torbay the Scipion was a total loss.

October 20: Battle of Cape Spartel, a Franco-Spanish fleet under Admiral Luis de Córdova y Córdova fought indecisively with a British fleet under Admiral Howe during a successful British campaign to maintain supply routes to Gibraltar.

February 7: The Great Siege of Gibraltar ended in failure: the Franco-Spanish forces withdrew, having suffered over 6,000 casualties over a siege lasting nearly three years: the largest battle of the war.

February 15: Thomas Oliver is appointed Royal Governor of Massachusetts

March 6: Capture of Sumter, Three forces, one Cherokee, one composed mostly of Freedmen, and an elite cavalry force under Banastre Tarleton converge on and trap Thomas Sumter's partisan force: Sumter was hanged after the battle, and his entire force was killed or captured, removing the last threat to British rule in the Carolinas.

June 20: Battle of Cuddalore, Admiral Sir Edward Hughes and the Bailli de Suffren fought another inconclusive battle off the coast of India near Cuddalore.

September 3: Treaty of Paris is signed between Britain, France, and Spain: the war is officially ended.

August 5: upon receipt of the surrender document, the Marquis de Lafayette surrendered the Continental army in Yorktown: the last force of Patriot soldiers to surrender in the war. Though further unrest would take decades to settle, there was no more open combat in North America.

August 17: First Great Trek, 3,000 Patriots, with much of their property(including slaves) leave South Carolina for Spanish Louisiana.

September 4: End of the Yankee-Pennamite War British troops and Connecticut militia expel Pennsylvania militia from the contested lands.

September 29: at General Clinton's order, slavery is abolished in New Jersey the new Freedmen are recruited into militias to help put down the last few Patriot partisans there.

October 4: Second Great Trek, 5,000 Patriots leave Virginia for Lousiana.

December 17: Declaration of Transport, Carleton declares that all Patriots unwilling to swear an oath of loyalty will be given free transportation to Louisiana 46,000 Patriots immediately accept.

January 3: The first of 46,000 'transported' Patriots land in Spanish Louisiana the Spanish authorities are initially unwilling to allow them to settle, but after Patriots threaten violence, they reach a negotiated settlement, and the Patriots begin to settle along the Mississippi river valley.

January 15: British parliament ratifies the Treaty of Saratoga, recognizing the Province of Vermont.

January 28: William Tryon re-assumes power as civil governor of New York.

February 10: John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, officially re-assumes his duties as The Royal Governor of Virginia.

February 16: The colony of New Ireland is formed from former Massachussetts possession of Maine Loyalist John Nutting appointed the first Royal Governor the new colony is opened to settlement by displaced loyalists, and British and German soldiers the Germans in particular came to settle there, until German became the second language of New Ireland.

April 2: Martial law is lifted in the colony of South Carolina.

June 18: Third Great Trek, over 4,000 Kentuckians start through Indian lands to reach the Mississippi river.

A map of Eastern North America, circa December, 1785

August 21: William Augustus Bowles(Estajoca) declares the 'State of Muskogee'

Cherokee Nation aligns itself with the State of Muskogee Cyrus Watson, an indentured servant escaped from South Carolina, becomes the Cherokee Nation's ambassador to the Court of Saint James.

June 10: Abbé Sieyès moved that the Third Estate abrogate to themselves more powers on June 17 they declared themselves the National Assembly, and invited the other orders to join them, but made it clear they intended to rule France with or without them.

June 20: Tennis Court Oath, the deputies of the National Assembly declare themselves the supreme state power start of the French Revolution.

December 11: the New Madrid Earthquake shook the Muscogee lands and the Midwest. While the interpretation of this event varied from tribe to tribe, one consensus was universally accepted: the powerful earthquake had to have meant something.


Problems Executing the Plan

General Howe, however, had different plans. Howe brought his army south from New York and invaded the Patriot capital of Philadelphia. Although he succeeded in capturing the city and forcing Congress to flee to York, Pennsylvania, he decided to camp his army in the capital for the winter, rather than proceeding with the plan and marching to Albany. Furthermore, stubborn Patriot resistance under the infamous General Benedict Arnold kept St. Leger from making it to Albany, and Burgoyne's progress was slowed by excess baggage and entire groves of trees felled by the Patriots to make his travels even more difficult. Slow on supplies, Burgoyne sent a detachment to capture an American supply base at Bennington, Vermont. The detachment was defeated by John Stark and the Green Mountain Boys, causing Burgoyne to withdraw to Saratoga, N.Y.

"Gentleman" John Burgoyne


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Contents

In early 1777, General William Howe asked London to approve his plan to attack Philadelphia. This would destroy the rebellious American government. [3] In Canada, General John Burgoyne submitted a plan to move down through New York and meet General Howe at Albany. This would divide the colonies. London approved both plans. [3] Burgoyne began moving down the Hudson River valley from Canada. He split his force into two columns. One, under Colonel Barry St. Leger moved east from Lake Ontario down the Mohawk Valley. They attacked the Americans at Fort Stanwix. The Americans sent two parties to relieve the fort. The second, under the command of Benedict Arnold, drove the British away from the fort. St. Leger's column retreated back to Lake Ontario. Burgoyne continued south with his own column of about 7,000 British and Hessian soldiers. [4] He was joined by about 500 native Americans, allied to the British. [4]

Burgoyne made a proclamation to his Indians to go out and strike at the enemy. [4] He added that women and children, or any who did not oppose them should not be killed. But men, women and children were killed. [4] One famous incident upset all the colonists. A young woman named Jane McCrea was engaged to marry one of Burgoyne's young tory officers. Indians bringing her to Burgoyne fought over her, killed and scalped her. Burgoyne wouldn't punish the Indian who killed her. This proved he could not even protect friendly colonists. Newspapers in the colonies spread the story. As a result, a great many Americans who had been neutral took up arms against the British. [5] The story even reached England. In the House of Commons Edmund Burke spoke out against the British policy of using Native American allies. [6]

Howe had captured Philadelphia. But it took so long he did not send any forces north to support Burgoyne. [3] On September 19 Burgoyne attacked the Americans who were entrenched on Bemis Heights near Saratoga. [7] He again fought Americans at Freeman's Farm. This time it was American riflemen under the command of Daniel Morgan. American Marksman killed a large number of British and Hessian officers. [7] This was intended to cause confusion among the British forces. Burgoyne lost about 600 casualties. He claimed victory although he was still held in place by the Americans.

Burgoyne tried and failed to attack the Americans again on October 7. [7] But the Americans held out against him. A counterattack led by Benedict Arnold pushed the British back further until they finally retreated back to Saratoga. [7] This battle cost Burgoyne another 600 casualties. The American losses were less than 150. [7] Burgoyne's army was now surrounded by a much larger and growing American army. On October 13, 1777 Burgoyne asked for a Ceasefire. Horatio Gates, the American commander asked for Burgoyne's surrender. But Burgoyne stalled and did not give an answer. The terms given by Gates were harsh. [8] Finally Gates offered better terms. On October 17, Burgoyne surrendered.

Burgoyne surrendered his whole army of 5,752. [8] He gave up 42 cannons, 7,000 muskets and all his supplies. Officers were separated from their men and placed on parole. Unlike their men they were allowed to keep their pistols. Gates invited Burgoyne to dine with him. The two men were friendly. Each toasted the other's leader. [8] The British and Hessian soldiers were marched to Boston. Per the agreement they were to return to England on their promise not to fight again. While some did return to England, Congress changed the terms. Many were sent to prisons in the colonies to wait out the war. [7]


Watch the video: History Brief: The Battle of Saratoga (May 2022).