This was the fate of
, whose loyalist fiancé David Jones had only weeks earlier joined
British General "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne.
was marching in June of 1777 with 7,000 British and Hessian troops from Canada to Albany, New York.
General William Howe
American General Philip Schuyler's
was supposed to be marching up from New York City to Albany in a "divide and conquer" entrapment plan.
abandoned the plan and left to capture Philadelphia, the capital of the United States, as in European warfare if an enemy's capital was captured the war would immediately end.
British General Burgoyne
recaptured Fort Ticonderoga, and in August of 1777 sent 500 Hessian troops to capture an American supply depot in Bennington, Vermont.
To his surprise,
American General John Stark
surrounded and captured them.
Army of 1,000 men along the Mohawk River was blocking
route to Albany.
British General Barry Saint Leger
was sent to scatter them.
set an ambush for the Americans coming to reinforce Fort Stanwix, but met bloody resistance at the
Battle of Oriskany.
would have won had it not been for the American's mass courage, aided by a sudden torrential rain that soaked the priming of the muskets.
As Burgoyne headed down the Hudson River Valley, he made a treaty with the
to terrorize American settlements.
When Indians returned to camp from their nightly raids, they would yell and proudly display the scalps of their enemies.
One night, to his dismay, loyalist David Jones recognized one of the scalps as being that of his fiancée
An outrage erupted in the British camp, resulting in
having to meet with the Indians and tell them to show restraint.
The Indians became offended and left
stranded deep in the forest.
The British were now at a great disadvantage, as the Indians had been their eyes and ears, giving reconnaissance of the Americans' positions.
death, later immortalized in James Fenimore Cooper's novel
The Last of the Mohicans
, rallied Americans and caused ranks to increase to 15,000.
British attempts to send reinforcements were thwarted, as Yale President Ezra Stiles explained, May 8, 1783:
"To whom but the Ruler of the Winds shall we ascribe it, that the
in the summer of 1777, was
delayed on the ocean three months by contrary winds,
until it was too late for the conflagrating General Clinton to raise the siege of Saratoga."
Battle of Saratoga,
October 7, 1777,
General Benedict Arnold
led a valiant charge on the British flank, resulting in him being considered the hero of the battle.
Shortly thereafter, OCTOBER 17, 1777,
British General Johnny Burgoyne
American General Horatio Gates,
and an estimated 6,000 British troops were captured.
This was the first time in history that an entire British army was captured at one time.
When news of Burgoyne's surrender reached
King Louis XVI
, he decided to have
enter the Revolutionary War of the side of the Americans.
Spain and Holland soon added their support.
This effectively caused the American Revolution to become a global war, stretching Britain's resources around the world, including the West Indies and Europe.
The surrender of
is not only considered a
major turning point
one of the most important battles in world history.
Artist John Trumbull's painting of the
Surrender of General Burgoyne
is in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
DVD Vol. 1- Miracles in American History (Episodes 1-10)
General George Washington
wrote to his brother John Augustine the day after the Saratoga victory:
"I most devoutly congratulate my country, and every well-wisher to the cause, on this signal stroke of Providence."
of Connecticut, who signed the Declaration of Independence, heard of the victory of Saratoga, he exclaimed:
"This is the Lord's doing, and marvelous in our eyes!"
On November 1, 1777, the Continental Congress proclaimed
the First National Day of Thanksgiving
after independence had been declared:
"That with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feeling of their hearts ...
join the penitent confession of their manifold sins ... that it may please God,
through the merits of Jesus Christ,
mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance ...
and ... under the providence of Almighty God ... secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, independence and peace."
Upon hearing of this,
General George Washington
ordered the holiday to be observed by the Continental Army:
"Being the day set apart by the Honorable Congress for
public Thanksgiving and Praise
; and duty calling us devoutly to express
our grateful acknowledgements to God
for the manifold blessings he has granted us,
the General directs that the army remain in its present quarters,
and that the Chaplains perform divine service
with their several Corps and brigades.
And earnestly exhorts, all officers and soldiers, whose absence is not indispensably necessary, to attend with reverence the solemnities of the day."