The hinge of fate — to steal Winston Churchill’s wonderful phrase — swung decisively in the summer and fall of 1777. You’d be hard-pressed to name a battle in history that had more consequential strategic implications than the Battle of Saratoga. The bloodying of General John Burgoyne at the Battle of Freeman’s Farm in September, and the decisive American victory at Bemis Heights in October forced the first surrender of a British Army in history. The victory prevented the British from controlling the Hudson River and dividing the colonies and isolating New England, “cutting the head off this disloyal snake,” as the British command conceived it. More importantly, it gave Benjamin Franklin, operating in Paris, the diplomatic throw-weight he needed to persuade France to formally ally itself with the United States.
That alliance was the key to American victory in the war, though it took four more years to fully manifest.
So, Saratoga was the pivotal battle of the American Revolution. Probably because of my delving into Ranger and Frontier Partisan John Stark and the Battle of Bennington in August 1777, which set up the victory at Saratoga, the Almighty Algorithm kicked up a project that makes my Frontier Partisan heart beat a RevWar tattoo: An independent, military veteran-produced film titled Saratoga: The Turning Point. The filmmakers are drumming up support:
This noble, independent feature film project – a fully veteran-owned enterprise – needs a miracle just as America needed a miracle in the early autumn of 1777 during one of the darkest hours of the American Revolution.
Learn more at 1777.org.
Here’s two versions of a sizzle reel.
The Saratoga Campaign is rife with Frontier Partisan resonance. Morgan’s Rifles, a corps of backcountry sharpshooters, played a key role in the victory. The killing of Jane McCrea by Burgoyne’s Indian scouts roused the New England militias as nothing else would have.
I really need to pick up a copy of Don Troiani’s Campaign to Saratoga 1777: The Turning Point of the Revolutionary War in Paintings, Artifacts, and Historical Narrative. By all accounts it is a masterpiece.