Great Game Previews In History: 17 October 2014

by J.R.

800px-Surrender_of_General_BurgoyneToday In History

Earlier, we explored some of the lesser-known martial exploits of the Burgoyne family — specifically that of John Fox Burgoyne at Sevastopol.

Today, though, is the 237th anniversary of the Burgoyne’s most infamous failure: Big John capitulating to the American upstarts in Saratoga, turning the tide of the Revolution to the Patriots.

One of the great misconceptions about Saratoga is that it was one single battle that ended with Burgoyne turning his sword over to Horatio Gates. In fact, it was a series of lengthy battles, almost six weeks long. Americans needed a win, particularly in the North. Gates had taken over the Northern Department after the surrender of the (thought-to-be-impenetrable) Fort Ticonderoga. He was able to raise armies, restructure the militias and start to very slowly encircle Burgoyne, who was losing supply lines because General William Howe had decided to send the occupying army from New York City south to attack Philadelphia rather than north to reinforce Burgoyne in Albany.

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