The Saratoga Campaign: The History and Legacy of the Revolutionary War's Turning Point
Posted on 2021-04-25, by nokia241186.
English | March 1, 2020 | ISBN: | ASIN: B085DCX1K4 | 97 pages | EPUB | 2.70 Mb
*Includes excerpts of contemporary accounts
*Includes a bibliography for further reading
*Includes a table of contents
The American Revolution is replete with seminal moments that every American learns in school, from the "shot heard 'round the world" to the Declaration of Independence, but the events that led up to the fighting at Lexington & Concord were borne out of 10 years of division between the British and their American colonies over everything from colonial representation in governments to taxation, the nature of searches, and the quartering of British regulars in private houses. From 1764-1775, a chain of events that included lightning rods like the Townshend Acts led to bloodshed in the form of the Boston Massacre, while the Boston Tea Party became a symbol of nonviolent protest.
The political and military nature of the Revolutionary War was just as full of intrigue. While disorganized militias fought the Battles of Lexington & Concord, George Washington would lead the Continental Army in the field while men like Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia and Benjamin Franklin negotiated overseas in France. French forces would play a crucial role at the end of the war, and the Treaty of Paris would conclude the Revolution with one last great surprise.
On October 7, 1777, Benedict Arnold rode out against orders and led an American assault against British forces led by General John Burgoyne in one of the climactic battles and ultimate turning point of the war at Saratoga. Near the end of the most important American victory of the Revolution, Arnold's leg was shattered by a volley that also hit his horse, which fell on the leg as well. Arnold would later remark that he wished the shot had hit him in the chest, and if it had, Benedict Arnold would be remembered as one of America's greatest war heroes, second only to George Washington among the generals of the Revolution. In fact, when Arnold was injured at the height of his success in October 1777, he had been the most successful leader of American forces during the war. Arnold had been instrumental in the seizure of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775, he constructed the first makeshift American navy to defend Lake Champlain and delay British campaigning in 1776, and he was the principal leader at Saratoga in 1777. Even his unsuccessful campaign to Quebec in the winter of 1775 is remembered primarily for the amazing logistical feats undertaken by Arnold and his men to even reach the target.
All of that was overshadowed by Arnold's treacherous plot to turn over West Point to the British in 1780, but his controversial actions at Saratoga and the results may very well have saved the cause he subsequently betrayed.
By the time the decisive American victory was finished, Burgoyne had lost nearly 20% of his effective fighting during the battles at Saratoga, and after a few days his trapped army surrendered to the Americans. In December 1776, Benjamin Franklin was sent by Congress to France to attempt to secure a critically needed alliance. Franklin was an ideal choice for Enlightened France, which revered Franklin for his scientific accomplishments and his known reputation as a brilliant man. Franklin had also been a diplomat before the Revolution, spending several years in London on behalf of the colonies. However, the French refused to provide more than arms and money throughout 1777, until they learned in December 1777 about Saratoga and Burgoyne's surrender. With that news, French King Louis XVI entered into a formal military alliance with the United States, and in February 1778, France joined the war.
Naturally, the accolades for Saratoga went to Gates as commanding general, while the grievously wounded Arnold would be recommissioned Major General Arnold with his proper relative rank restored. Even still, Gates failed to credit Arnold for the success at Saratoga, setting in motion Arnold's treachery.
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