The First Battle of Saratoga
On the 19th of September 1777, British Forces under the command of General Burgoyne advanced south in three separate columns upon the American Forces who had set up defenses here. Two of the columns headed through the forests covering the region just west of the Hudson River; the third, composed of German troops, marched down the old military road along the river.
American scouts detected Burgoyne's army in motion and notified General Gates, who ordered Col. Daniel Morgan's Virginia riflemen to track the British march. Shortly after 12 p.m., some of Morgan's men made contact with the advance guard of Burgoyne's center column. The contact took place in a clearing known as the Freeman Farm, which is Tour Stop 1.
The battle that followed swayed back and forth over the Freeman Farm for more than three hours. However, in the face of deadly fire from the numerically superior Americans, the British lines began to waver. But then German reinforcements arrived from the military road and attacked the American right. Burgoyne was able to steady the British lines and gradually force the Americans to withdraw back to the American camp, Tour Stop 2.
Near Tour Stop 2 is a monument placed in memory of Thaddeus Kosciuszko, military engineer. Also near Tour Stop 2 is a monument to the unknown soldiers. It is located near several unmarked graves.
In memory of the noble son of Poland, Brigadier General Thaddeus Kosciuszko, military engineer, soldier of the War of Independence, who under the command of General Gates selected and fortified these fields for the great battle of Saratoga which the invader was vanquished and American freedom assured.
Erected by his compatriots, AD 1936
(Saratoga Battlefield Monument)
Soldiers of the Battles of Saratoga
The unknown American soldiers who perished in the battles of Saratoga, September 19 and October 7, 1777 and were here buried in unmarked graves helped to assure the triumph of the war of independence to create the Republic of the United States of America and to establish liberty throughout the world.
In honor of these patriots and in recognition of the bicentennial of the birth of George Washington, this memorial is erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution in New York State, 1931.
(Saratoga Battlefield Monument)
American staff officers used Neilson Farm for quarters. Near the farm is a line of white poles that mark American positions. Down the hill there is a line of blue poles that mark British positions. On the 19th of September 1777, the timely arrival of the German troops and the near exhaustion of the American's ammunition allowed Burgoyne to reach these positions. The British commander ordered his troops to entrench in the vicinity of the Freeman Farm and await support from British Forces under the command of General Clinton, who was supposedly preparing to move north toward Albany from New York City. For nearly three weeks he waited, but Clinton did not arrive. Clinton, however, did attempt to get a message to Burgoyne to tell him that he would not be sending reinforcements, but the message was intercepted by the American forces. Though he held the immediate field of battle, Burgoyne had been stopped north of the American line that stretched from Bemis Heights to the powerful river fortifications near the Hudson River, which is Tour Stop 3.
At this position, you can hear the traffic going by on US Route 4 below. You cannot see the road, but in 1777 the trees would have been cleared.
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