The two battles of Saratoga opened the final chapter in the Revolutionary War.
British General John Burgoyne had charted a route down the Hudson River Valley that would take his troops into New York. There they would meet up with two other British armies coming down from Canada.
The British planned to attack the Americans from two sides, take New York, and cut off New England from the rest of the colonies, effectively crushing the rebellion. American forces, however, had built a defensive wall that lay directly in Burgoyne’s path.
The first battle on September 19, 1777, lasted less than six hours. The second on October 7, 1777, lasted only two hours. In that brief time, 1,500 British and 800 American troops lost their lives.
Ten days later, encamped at Saratoga and surrounded by American troops, Burgoyne surrendered. The American victory won the respect of the French, Spanish, and Dutch, who joined forces with the Americans, leaving the British few options if they wanted to avoid a war on multiple fronts.
Saratoga National Historical Park includes the battlefield, the home of American General Philip Schuyler, and a 155-foot monument to the American victory.