& /components/POIPage.mhtml, version=>'1', new=>'2012-08-07', updated=>'2012-08-18', license=>'CC-NC-SA', author=>'Richard Welty', owner=>'NA Websites', locationName=>"Saratoga Battlefield", campaigns=>@campaigns, websites=>@websites, references=>@references, books=>@books, type=>'battlefield', id=>'saratoga-index', introduction=>'
Two battles were fought over this ground in September and October of 1777. The battles here mark a major turning point, as the surrender of the much-diminished British force encouraged the French to enter the war on the side of the American Revolutionaries.
The battlefield was neglected until the 1920s, when New York Governer Franklin Roosevelt took an interest and the state bought the four farms that make up the core battlefield. The park tranferred from New York State to the National Park Service in the 1930s, during Roosevelt\'s presidency. Other elements of the Park, such as the Schuyler House and the Saratoga Monument, were added to the park later.', vnFoodServices=>'
The Visitors Center and battlefield are reasonably handicapped accessible. Most of the key trails are paved and there are suitable curb breaks. There are, though, a number of unpaved trails.
The Schuyler House is not at all handicapped accessible, lacking ramps.
The Saratoga Monument observation platform is only reachable by an internal staircase, there is no elevator.
There is a parking lot on Monument Drive that facilitates access to Victory Woods by the disabled. Much of the trail through Victory Woods is a boardwalk designed to be easily negotiable by the disabled. The remaining trails are a hardpacked, glued gravel which may possibly be negotiable by an athletic wheelchair user.
The Saratoga National Historic Park has four distinct units: the Battlefield, the Schuyler House, the Saratoga Monument, and Victory Woods.
The most visited unit is the battlefield itself, which can be quite crowded in September and October (you may not want to attempt a visit at this time of year.) The Visitors Center is located at the entrance to the Battlefield, and the directions from MapQuest are referenced to that point. The Center has a small museum, a 20 minute film and a gift shop. A driving tour takes visitors to various sites on the battlefield.
The Schuyler House is about 7 miles north of the battlefield on US Highway 4, on the southern edge of Schuylerville (which was called Saratoga at the time of the battle). It is the third house built on the site; the second house was burned by Burgoyne\'s forces during their retreat (The first house was destroyed during the French-and-Indian War). The current house was hurriedly built in the months after the surrender in order to complete it before winter. The house passed into the hands of the Park Service in 1950 after which they restored it to its late 1700s footprint and condition as best as they could.
The Saratoga Monument and Victory Woods are on County Route 338 at the top of the hill. The monument is 150 feet tall, and an internal staircase may be climbed to see views of the area. Victory Woods is nearby, and a trail leads there from the Monument.
Burgoyne\'s campaign southwards from Canada was intended to separate the troublesome New England states from the rest of the rebellious colonies. The progress of the campaign was successfully slowed by the resistance of the Continental forces, and by August of 1777 Burgoyne was seriously short of supplies. An effort to take supplies from storehouses in Bennington, Vermont failed disasterously with the Battle of Bennington. Burgoyne would continue south along the Hudson River until he encountered a well fortified Continental position on the bluffs on the west side of the river.
The Continental forces were under the command of General Horatio Gates, a former British officer who had emigrated to the Colonies and then thrown in with the revolution. Gates had replaced General Philip Schuyler, who had been blamed with the loss of Fort Ticonderoga to the north. One of Gate\'s subordinates was Benedict Arnold, who had previously gotten along well with Gates, but was now having issues with his superior.
The Continentals had established a position on Bemis Heights, taking a week to build fortifications designed by the brilliant Polish engineer Thaddeus Kosciusko. These fortifications presented Burgoyne with a very difficult tactical problem; they dominated the river road below the bluffs, and could only be flanked well inland.
On September 19th, Burgoyne attempted to force the Continental position. He directed Baron Riedesel to lead a column of mostly German troops south along the river road, while taking 2 columns inland, one to attack the center of the Continental position and the other to attempt to turn the positions left flank. Gates was inclined to wait in the fortifications for an assault, but his officers persuaded him to move forward and defend more agressively. The resulting battle of September 19th, The Battle of Freeman\'s Farm, would be a tactical victory for the British in that they held the field at the end of the day, but they took many more casualties than the Continentals and did not actually attack the Continental fortifications, which had been their original intent.
Believing that relief might come from the south, Burgoyne waited 3 weeks before making another move. In the meantime, Arnold quarrelled with Gates and was relieved of command at his own request, receiving orders to Washington\'s forces to the south, which he never actually carried out.
On October 7th, Burgoyne sent out a foraging party to a nearby wheatfield ("Barber\'s Wheatfield") which would also serve as a reconnaissance in force to probe for weaknesses in the Continental fortifications. Continental scouts observed this movement and forces were sent forward on both flanks of the British force. The British left flank was hit first, and Continental forces on the British right flank, on hearing the gunfire, immediately attacked the right flank. Both flanks folded up, and General Fraser was killed while attempting to organize a retreat to the two redoubts the British had constructed on the site of the previous battle. Balcarre\'s redoubt, the larger of the two, held, but Breymann\'s redoubt to the north would fall when Arnold, lacking a command, entered the battle anyway and led forces into the rear of the redoubt. Arnold was severely wounded in the leg in this assault and would never command Continental forces in the field again.
The British would withdraw to three redoudts on the bluffs immediately above the river ("The Great Redoubt"), and would then withdraw further up the river. They would end up in fortifications in what is now called Victory Woods, where they would be surrounded by the now substantially larger Continental forces, and would eventually surrender.