Burgoyne and his rattled men drove the Patriots from the field at Freeman’s Farm, but could advance no farther and decided to lick their wounds for a few days while awaiting reinforcements. The help wasn’t coming, and while disease and desertion ravaged Burgoyne’s camp, Gates’ force swelled as colonial militiamen from all around smelled blood in the water.
Burgoyne attempted another attack at Bemis Heights and was nearly killed, with Patriot shots hitting his hat, coat and horse. Outnumbered, isolated and short on supplies, Burgoyne was forced to surrender, conceding a defeat that stunned Britain, not to mention most of Europe. Aside from the better-known Battle of Bunker Hill (1775), it’s hard to think of any more important clash in the American Revolution than that of Saratoga.
Justin Vernold is a copy editor at The Daily Star. Contact him at email@example.com.