Today in History: British General Burgoyne surrenders his army at the Second Battle of Saratoga

October 17th, 2013

After fighting to a stalemate during the First Battle of Saratoga, the Continental Army won a crucial victory at the Second Battle of Saratoga on October 7, 1777. Ten days later, British General Burgoyne surrendered his army of 6,000, the first large-scale surrender of British forces in the Revolutionary War.

In the three weeks between the two battles of Saratoga, British General Burgoyne received little reinforcements compared to the American army. While the British came away with a slight victory during the first battle, their lack of reinforcements and dwindling rations forced Burgoyne to plan an attack against the Americans. Unbeknownst to Burgoyne, the Continental Army had been reinforced significantly despite tensions between Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold.

The Continental Army easily defeated British forces, ending Burgoyne’s Saratoga Campaign which had sought to gain control of the Hudson River area. On October 17, Burgoyne surrendered his 6,000 men while American musicians played “Yankee Doodle.” 

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