#Onthisday in 1777Baroness Frederika von Riedesel described the conditions during the Siege in Saratoga:
On the morning of the 16th of October, my husband was again obliged to go to his post, and I once more into my cellar. On this day, a large amount of fresh meat was distributed among the officers, who, up to this time, had received only salted provisions, which had exceedingly aggravated the wounds of the men. The good woman who constantly supplied us with water, made us capital soup from the fresh meat. I had lost all appetite, and had the whole time taken nothing but crusts of bread dipped in wine.
The diary or journal of the German Baroness von Riedesel offers a vivid picture of British General John Burgoyne and the British army’s march from Canada to surrender at Saratoga. It also details the Baroness’ subsequent journey through America. Her journal is the famous narrative by a woman from the entire war (and one of the most famous from the Northern Campaign of 1777). Because she was traveling with her husband, a Brunswick General in Burgoyne’s army, the Baroness was subject to his fate. After the British surrender at Saratoga, the Baroness, her husband, their three children and almost 6,000 captured British and Hessian soldiers were marched to Boston. There the Baroness and her family were detained in comfortable surroundings for more than a year. During their stay in New York, the Baroness gave birth to a daughter, who was named America.
When you are dealing with such rich historical series of events like the Battles of Saratoga, there may be some questions that pop up as you learn more about this fascinating junction in our nation’s history. You can visit the Saratoga National Historical Park in the towns of Saratoga and Stillwater. The park website is at http://ift.tt/2cxkI82
The Schuylerville Public Library http://ift.tt/2dYYY7C and all the libraries in the region have a number of books on the Battles of Saratoga. One of the more popular and well written books is Richard M Ketchum’s Saratoga: Turning Point of America’s Revolutionary War. (1997) New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 978-0-8050-6123-9. OCLC 41397623
The Saratoga Campaign in 1777 was an attempt by the British to gain military control of the strategically important Hudson River valley during the American Revolutionary War. It ended in the surrender of a complete British army. In 1877, Governor Horatio Seymour said, “the interests excited in our minds by this occasion, are not limited to a battle fought, or an army captured; they reach even beyond the fact that it was a turning point of the revolutionary struggle. We are led to a consideration of a chain of events and of enduring aspects of nature, which have shaped our civilization in the past, and which now and throughout the future, will influence the fortunes of our country. Burgoyne did not merely surrender here an army, he surrendered the control of a continent. Never in the world’s history, was there a transfer of a territory so vast, and of influences so far reaching, as that made a century ago where we now stand.”
Saratoga is known for being the turning point of the American Revolution. The Americans’ determined resistance at Saratoga, coupled with British strategic blunders, resulted in a stunning defeat and surrender for a British army. This timely victory reversed American military fortunes, boosted patriot morale, and gained them international recognition and support, including military assistance. That is why studying the Battles of Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of the American freedoms.