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Surrender of Burgoyne, October 17, 1777

Surrender of Burgoyne, October 17, 1777

At Old Saratoga (now Schuylerville), NY

One of the Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World.

The year 1777 was probably the most perilous period in the "beginning of the nation," and marked one of the great crises of the world's history. Early in this year General John Burgoyne succeeded Carleton in Canadian command, and soon entered upon that memorable campaign against the vital center of the colonies New York's great confluence of waterways, Lakes Champlain and George and the' Hudson and Mohawk Rivers.

No part America is richer in historic incident and interest than this strategic and bloody fighting ground of the ages. The early wars between savage tribes, the seventy years' struggle between England and France for the possession of this continent, and the Revolution, made the upper Hudson for a long period a region of sanguinary events.

The great British campaign of 1777, which promised the dismembering and crushing of the colonies, included the advance upon Albany by Burgoyne From the north, Howe from the south and St. Leger from the west. It was indeed formidable.

On May 10th, with an army of about i0,000 well disciplined and equipped troops, with many noted generals, and with such confidence that officers' wives and children accompanied them, Burgoyne ascended Lake Champlain. At the Bouquet River he was joined by his Indian auxiliaries.

Fort Ticonderoga was captured; Colonel Seth Warner was defeated at Hubbardton; Fort Ann was taken, and in July Burgoyne triumphantly reached the Hudson and encamped in the vicinity of Glens Falls and Fort Edward. Then followed his fatal inactivity and waiting for supplies via Lake George.

In the meantime the tragic story of the murdered Jane McCrea rang through the land like a woman's cry of agony, and her name became the rallying cry for vengeance; Stark had fought and defeated a British detachment on New York soil near Bennington; Oriskany had been suffered and St. Leger had retreated from Fort Stanwix all to the arousing encouragement of the colonists, until September 19th, at Bemis Heights, Burgoyne discovered in the fight of that day that a dangerously resolute and determined army was before him. Waiting nearly three weeks, he again, October 7th. assumed the defensive and suffered defeat. His attempted retreat was prevented, and October 17th he surrendered to General Gates. These engagements are known as the battle of Saratoga.

Burgoyne's surrender was made the subject of the Glens Falls Insurance Company Calendar for 1902, being one of a series of local historical illustrations which it has used. This sketch is a reproduced reproduction of a careful study at this event by the. historical artist, Mr. Yohn, whose larger original is owned by the Glens Falls Insurance Company.

THE SURRENDER. At 1t o'clock a.m. of October 17th, 1777, Burgoyne's army laid down its arms. The only Americans who saw this "grounding of arms" were two aids of General Gates, and afterward, as the surrendered army passed between lines of the victorious army, there was no indication of exultation a delicacy which was mentioned by Burgoyne and his officers.

A little after the laying down of arms Burgoyne and his staff, in scarlet and gold, rode to the headquarters of General Gates, who was plainly clad, his outside garment being a blue overcoat. "The Fortune of war, General Gates, has made me your prisoner," said Burgoyne, and Gates gracefully replied: "I shall always be ready to testify that it has not been through any fault of your excellency."

Saratoga Battle Monument

At Schuylerville NY (old Saratoga), on the site of Burgoyne's fortified camp, overlooking place of surrender. Cornerstone laid October 17, 1877; completed June, 1883. Height, 154 feet; base, 40 feet square. One hundred and eighty-four steps lead up to highest windows, which, being 400 feet above the Hudson River, command a beautiful view north to Glens Falls and from ten to thirty miles in other directions.

They dined together at a table of boards laid on empty barrels, and as the unarmed English army approached on its march to Boston, the two generals stepped out in front of their tent in view of both armies. General Burgoyne drew his sword, bowed and presented it to General Gates, who bowed, received it and resumed it to General Burgoyne. General Schuyler, who had been unjustly superseded in command by General Gates before the battle, magnanimously called, in citizen's clothes, on Gates to congratulate him, and was present at the surrender. Such was the simple ceremony that marked the great turning event of the Revolution.

THE MONUMENT which marks the spot can be plainly seen from the tower of the Glens Falls Insurance Company's building, and is considered one of the finest of its kind in the world. Over the entrances are seven-foot bronze statues of General Schuyler, looking east; General Morgan, looking west; General Gates, looking north. The fourth niche, facing the field of his most brilliant deeds, is vacant, but would have honored Arnold had his wound at Saratoga been fatal or his after treachery never been perpetrated. inside are a number of bronze reliefs and busts and room for many more to be added. It is a grand educational edifice, commemorating a grandly conspicuous event in the chronicles of the world.

It is hoped that this brief reference to this decisive battle may lead many to study the history of this important campaign.

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Battery Park, Manhattan Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn Conference House (Billop Manor House), Staten Island Old Stone House Interpretive Center, Brooklyn Federal Hall National Memorial, Manhattan Hamilton Grange National Memorial, Manhattan Fraunces’ Tavern Museum, Manhattan St. Paul’s Church, Mount Vernon Valentine Varian House, Bronx John Jay Homestead, Katonah Van Cortlandt Manor, Croton-on-Hudson Stony Point Battlefield, Stony Point United States Military Academy, West Point Fort Montgomery State Historic Site, Fort Montgomery Constitution Island and the Warner House, West Point New Windsor Cantonment, Vails Gate Knox’s Headquarters, Vails Gate Washington’s Headquarters, Newburgh Mount Gulian, Beacon Madam Brett Homestead, Beacon Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hyde Park Clermont State Historic Site, Germantown Old Senate House Historic Site, Kingston Van Wyck Homestead Museum, Fishkill Cooper’s Cave, South Glens Falls/Glens Falls Parks-Bentley House, South Glens Falls Rogers Island Visitors Center, Fort Edward Old Fort House Museum, Fort Edward Schuyler House, Schuylerville Fort Hardy Park, Schuylerville Revolutionary War Cemetery, Salem The Saratoga Monument, Victory Saratoga National Historical Park, Stillwater The Stillwater Blockhouse, Stillwater Van Schaick Mansion, Cohoes Historic Stockade District, Schenectady Bennington Battlefield Site, Hoosick Falls Schuyler Flatts Cultural Park, Colonie Crailo State Historic Site, Rensselaer Old Stone Fort Museum, Schoharie Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, Albany Peebles Island State Park, Waterford Half-Way Brook, Queensbury Bloody Pond, Queensbury Fort George and Battlefield Park, Lake George Fort William Henry, Lake George Knox Trail, Lake George Rogers Rock, Hague Birthplace of the U.S. Navy, Whitehall Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga Crown Point Historic Site, Crown Point Valcour Island on Lake Champlain, Peru Fort Chambly National Historic Site, Chambly, Quebec, Canada