The Battle of Saratoga in Fall Color

Oct62007 018 On October 7th, 1777, General John Burgoyne and 7,800 British, Canadian, and Hessian soldiers marched down the Hudson River valley from their encampment and attacked the American forces, numbering 15,000, at Saratoga. If there was ever a decisive day in American history, this was one of them.

Yesterday I toured the battlefield of Saratoga in the early stages of fall color. The picture here shows Benedict Arnold’s headquarters behind the American lines at Bemis Heights. As a fan of history I have a read a few books about this battle and the American Revolution in general, and so it was a fantastic place to visit both for brining to life the history and enjoying the scenic beauty.

I had the luck of joining a few friends from my college days while driving around the large battlefield. He claims that Saratoga may be one of the best preserved battlefields in America. To add to the interest, two of his distant relatives fought in the Battle of Saratoga with the famed riflemen of Daniel Morgan. One, a distant uncle, was among the sharpshooters selected for picking off British Generals.

Private Murphy was credited with killing the British General Fraser at a key point in the battle of Bemis Heights where the British were faltering and Fraser attempted to rally his troops to hold the Americans back. With Fraser out of the picture, the Americans routed the British with the ever bold General Benedict Arnold leading the flanking charge against the Hessian forces.

Though no one can be 100% sure who killed General Fraser in the heat of the battle, it was fascinating to walk the field with my friend and test various theories for how it may have gone down. We noticed certain features of the ground and tried to speculate how high the wheat would have been, how thick the woods were, and whether or not the fields would have had the same contours.

Because of the American stand at Bemis Heights and the bold flanking attack by Benedict Arnold, the Americans were eventually able to capture nearly all of the 7,800 invaders and to show the world that this young nation had a fighting chance in the war for independence. If you would like to see more pictures of the battlefield and the fall colors, have a look at my Flickr account. For more info about the battle, check this summary.

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