Saratoga Campaign, an important series of engagements in the American Revolutionary War. The campaign, sometimes called the turning point of the war, secured upper New York state for the revolutionists and induced France to make an alliance with the United States. The field of the two final battles, between Schuylerville and Still-water, New York, is a national historical park.
Early in 1777 the British planned to divide the rebellious colonies by converging three armies on Albany, New York. Lord William Howe's army was to proceed northward from New York City, but it failed to do so because of a delay in orders, caused by the failure of Lord George Germain, Britain's secretary of state for colonies, to coordinate the campaign. General John Burgoyne moved southward from Canada and in July captured Fort Ticonderoga, between Lakes George and Champlain.
Colonel Barry St. Leger's men marched eastward from Fort Oswego and in August besieged Fort Stanwix (then called Fort Schuyler) on the Mohawk River. His forces were beaten back by the fort's defenders, and he abandoned efforts to subdue it on the approach of an American army led by General Benedict Arnold. Meanwhile, General Philip Schuyler's Continental troops destroyed crops along Burgoyne's route, creating an acute supply problem for the British commander. In mid-August, units of Burgoyne's forces went on a foraging expedition near Bennington, Vermont, where they were decisively defeated in the Battle of Bennington.
In September, Burgoyne, 10 miles (16 km) south of the village of Saratoga (now Schuylerville), New York, met a force led by General Horatio Gates. On September 19, at the battle of Freeman's Farm, Burgoyne's men succeeded in gaining control of the battlefield, but they failed to dislodge Gates's forces from their hilltop position on Bemis Heights.
Burgoyne, after waiting in vain for aid from Howe, was forced by lack of supplies to make some kind of move. On October 7 he ordered a detachment of his forces to advance. American units also advanced, and in the ensuing battle of Bemis Heights the Americans, partly due to the bold leadership of Arnold, routed the British. The British army retreated to Saratoga. There, on October 17, 1777, Burgoyne surrendered his army of some 5,000 men to Gates's army of some 15,000 men.