The Battle of Saratoga was a defining moment in the American War of Independence. It was in this battle that the British were defeated in the war and were forced to abandon plans to take over the northern colonies. Another historic Revolutionary site to visit in Upstate New York is Fort Ticonderoga which sat on a contested region of the colony.
Today the Battle of Saratoga is preserved in the Saratoga National Historical Park and is a great place to learn about the history of how the United States won its independence. While the Battle of Saratoga was a decisive battle, it did not win the war. The war would go on until another British army finally surrendered at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781.
The Battle Of Saratoga - A Turning Point Of The War
The Battle of Saratoga is notable not only for being a Continental victory but also for being the first time in world history that a British Army surrendered (few British armies have surrendered in military history). The victory relieved the pressure on the northern colonies as well as helped the Americans secure essential foreign recognition and support that would prove crucial in the conflict.
The Battle of Saratoga was actually a couple of battles where the British prevailed in the first engagement but were decisively defeated in the second.
- American Strength: 15,000 (Total by Battle's End)
- British Strength: 6,000
Casualties & Losses:
- American Losses: 330 (Inc. 90 Killed)
- British Losses: 1,135 (Inc. 440 Killed) and 6,222 Missing & Captured
In the wake of this battle, the French decided to recognize the independence of the United States and enter the war in support of the Americans (more out of rivalry with the British than the love of the Americans).
The Saratoga National Historical Park is located just 30 miles north of Albany in Upstate New York in the Town of Stillwater.
Saratoga National Historical Park Points Of Interest
The Saratoga National Historical Park was first authorized by New York as a historic preserve in 1927 and was incorporated into the National Park System in 1938.
There are a number of different points of interest to visit in the Saratoga National Historical Park. The units of the park are just a short drive from each other and are:
- The Saratoga Battlefield: 4 sq Miles Located In Stillwater
- General Philip Schuyler Hours: Located 7 Miles North of The Battlefield
- Saratoga Monument: A 155-foot Obelisk Commemorating The Victory
- Victory Woods: The Final British Encampment Before Their Surrender
- Saratoga Surrender Site: A Memorial Marking The Site of The British Surrender
One of the main attractions is the restored Schuyler House. It offers a peak into the colonial life of the era and was the country home of American General Philip Schuyler. He rebuilt the home after the British razed it during their retreat.
The house is open on certain days of the week and only part of the year. Tours are held at 10:00 am, 10:30 am, 11:00 am, and 11:30 am (on a First-come-first-served, no reservations). Check the website for current opening hours and seasons.
The Saratoga Surrender Site is open to the public from April to November during daylight hours.
The Saratoga Monument commemorates the British surrender. There is a Ranger-led presentation and climb up to the top of the monument. At the time of writing (September 2022) it was closed for climbing for ongoing works.
In the Victory Woods, visitors walk a trail and learn about the surrounding of the British army before their surrender. There are informational signs about British General John Burgoyne's surrounded army along the 1/2-mile boardwalk and trail. It is open daily during daylight hours.
Planning A Visit To The Saratoga National Historical Park
Visitors to the park can see a 20-minute orientation film in the Visitor Center as well as a fiber-optic light map, timeline, and various artifacts on display.
- Visitor Center: Open Daily from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
- Entry Fee: None (Free)
There are several miles of hiking trails at the Saratoga Battlefield, and these are for pedestrian use only. The only marked trail is the 4.5-mile-long Wilkinson Trail. The trails are not plowed or cleared in the winter months.
- Wilkinson Trail: The Park's Main 4.5-mile-long Trail
The visitor center boasts a stunning scenic overlook of the battlefield where visitors can picture what it was like on that fateful occasion.
Visitors will have several opportunities to meet park Rangers and touch real cannons used in the war.