#Onthisday in 1777, there was a new cry “All hail thou morning of the 17th of October, 1777”.
Baroness Frederika von Riedesel described the surrender: “At last, my husband sent to me a groom with a message that I should come to him with our children. I, therefore, again seated myself in my dear calash; and, in the passage through the American camp, I observed, with great satisfaction, that no one cast at us scornful glances.
On the contrary, they all greeted me, even showing compassion on their countenances at seeing a mother with her little children in such a situation.
I confess that I feared to come into the enemy’s camp, as the thing was so entirely new to me.
When I approached the tents, a noble looking man came toward me, took the children out of the wagon, embraced and kissed them, and then with tears in his eyes helped me also to alight. “You tremble,” said he to me, ” fear nothing.”
“No,” replied I, “for you are so kind, and have been so tender toward my children, that it has inspired me with courage.”
He then led me to the tent of General Gates, with whom I found Generals Burgoyne and Phillips, who were upon an extremely friendly footing with him.
Burgoyne said to me, ” You may now dismiss all your apprehensions, for your sufferings are at an end.”
I answered him, that I should certainly be acting very wrongly to have any more anxiety, when our chief had none, and especially when I saw him on such a friendly footing with General Gates.
All the generals remained to dine with General Gates. The man, who had received me so kindly, came up and said to me, “
It may be embarrassing to you to dine with all these gentlemen; come now with your children into my tent, where I will give you, it is true, a frugal meal, but one that will be accompanied by the best of wishes.” “
You are certainly,” answered I, “a husband and a father, since you show me so much kindness.”
I then learned that he was the American General Schuyler.
He entertained me with excellent smoked tongue, beef-steaks, potatoes, good butter and bread. Never have I eaten a better meal. I was content. I saw that all around me were so likewise; but that which rejoiced me more than every thing else was, that my husband was out of all danger.
As soon as we had finished dinner, he invited me to take up my residence at his house, which was situated in Albany, and told me that General Burgoyne would, also, be there. I sent and asked my husband what I should do.
He sent me word to accept the invitation; and as it was two days’ journey from where we were, and already five o’clock in the afternoon, he advised me to set out in advance, and to stay over night at a place distant about three hours’ ride. “
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, which historian John Brandow said, “In the 15th Century humanity cried for more room and Christopher Columbus by the grace of God, discovered a Continent. In the 18th Century, humanity cried for greater civil liberty and the citizen soldiery of America, under the smile of the Almighty, won it at Saratoga. All hail thou morning of the 17th of October, 1777!”
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.