#Onthisday in 1777 Elihu Ely wrote to his family telling them about the Battles of Saratoga. His letter was kept by his family into it was presented to the National Park Service in 1967.
The Saratogian reported the gift on 28 August 1967
SCHUYLERVILLE – A letter written to his family by a soldier who participated in the Battles of Saratoga just prior to the Surrender of General Burgoyne to General Gates Oct. 17, 1777, is that of Elihu Ely to John Pratt Colchester, Conn, under date of Oct 16, 1777. This letter was recently presented to the National Park Service to be exhibited at Saratoga National Historical Park by Mrs William G. Geary, Tulsa, Okla., and Mr and Mrs. Richard Cass, Sumner, Iowa. The letter has been in the Pratt Family through the years and as Mrs. Cass wrote “was carried to School when the students came to the Battles of Saratoga in American History.” Mrs. Geary and Mrs.Cassi are sisters and they visited here in 1966. Mr. Ely, who participated in the second battle at Freeman’s Farm (2nd Battle of Saratoga) during the Revolution and assumed to be a member of the New England Militia wrote: “Loving Brother and Sister: These with my Love to you and ye Children may inform that through Divine goodness, I enjoy a Comfortable State of Health and hope that you Enjoy the Same Blessing. There has been a sessation of arms here. It took place the Day before yesterday and I understand that this Day Mr. Burgoin (Burgoyne) and his army are to resign themselves prisoners of war an be conducted through Albany and so on to Boston.” “The Tuesday before Last there was a smart Engagement Between the troops of General Gates and General Burgoin (Burgoyne) when the former came to Victorious and the Latter retreated about 8 miles to this Place as fast as their surcumstances would admit of our troops followed them and so surrounded their Camp that they were obliged to comply as above mentioned as is reported and Depended on in Camp tho the Particulars of the Capitulation on has not yet made Publick. I have no time to write about Subscribe myself Yr. Loving Brother, Elihu Ely.”
The National Park has digitized this letter and has it on-line. http://ift.tt/2e8tF9w
Elihu Ely served in the Battles as a member of Captain Jonathan Calkin’s Company, of Colonel Jonathan Latimer’s Regiment of Connecticut militia.
To learn wish to learn more about the Battles of Saratoga, 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 recent books that mention Ely’s letter is Saratoga Campaign: Uncovering an Embattled Landscape. Edited by William A. Griswold & Donald W. Linebaugh. (2016) New Hampshire: University Press of New England. ISBN 2015027048
Saratoga is known for being the turning point of the American Revolution. In 1777 −− the second year of America’s War for Independence −− the British sought to quell the rebellion with a single decisive military campaign. The British plan depended on using an invading army to divide the colonies along a natural corridor of rivers and lakes stretching from Canada to New York City. 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.