#Onthisday in 1777, the first complete British army would surrender in world history.
British Lieutenant William Digby of 53d Regiment of Foot described the morning:
About 10 o’clock, we marched out, according to treaty, with drums beating & the honours of war, but the drums seemed to have lost their former inspiriting sounds, and though we beat the Grenadiers march, which not long before was so animating, yet then it seemed by its last feeble effort, as if almost ashamed to be heard on such an occasion. As to my own feelings, I cannot express them. Tears (though’ unmanly) forced their way, and if alone, I could have burst to give myself vent. I never shall forget the appearance of their troops on our marching past them ; a dead silence universally reigned through their numerous columns, and even then, they seemed struck with our situation and dare scarce lift up their eyes to view British Troops in such a situation. I must say their decent behaviour during the time, (to us so greatly fallen) meritted the utmost approbation and praise.'”
The Visitor Center at Saratoga National Historical Park is the best place to start to learn about the Battles of Saratoga. Here you will find the National Park Service Information Desk, Visitor Center artifacts, interactive displays, a overview video, special exhibit gallery, bookstore, and restrooms. 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, which historian and Governor Horatio Seymour said, “From the day that victory was won, the American soldier felt himself to be the equal of all who could be brought against him, and he knew that he was animated by higher and nobler purposes than those which moved the ranks of his enemies. The whole spirit of the contest was changed. Our armies reaped a double triumph on this field.”
In 1877, Historian and co-founder of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Ellen Hardin Walworth wrote “The importance of this triumph upon the fortunes of the American struggle for Independence is undisputed. The Battle of Saratoga is declared upon high authority to be one of the fifteen decisive battles of the world. The reactionary feeling it called forth in the Colonies after the disasters and anxieties of the campaign of the previous year in Canada, strengthened public sentiment in favor of the patriotic cause, and filled the depleted ranks of the army. It led directly to the indispensable assistance received from France, and thus to the later recognition of other foreign Governments.”
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.