On October 17, 1777, British and German troops under British general John Burgoyne surrendered to American general Horatio Gates, turning the tide of the Revolutionary War in the Americans’ favor.
In the summer of 1777, Burgoyne commenced his plan to lead his army down from Canada through upstate New York to meet up in Albany with other British troops moving in from the south and west. By doing so, he hoped to isolate New England and prevent it from presenting a united war effort with the other colonies.
However, near Saratoga the Americans had dug in, hoping to stall Burgoyne’s progress. On September 19, Burgoyne launched an attack, known as the Battle of Freeman’s Farm. Though at battle’s end the British commanded the field, they suffered much higher losses than the Americans, who outnumbered the British by several thousand and were also receiving a constant stream of new militia troops.
Burgoyne decided not to immediately attack the Americans again, perhaps waiting for word of the movements of fellow British general Henry Clinton. Finally, with supplies running low, Burgoyne began his attack in the Battle of Bemis Heights on October 7. This time it was the Americans who were victorious, led to success in large part by General Benedict Arnold, who, though previously dismissed by Gates, returned to the battlefield to rally the troops.