Friday, October 17, 2014

Surrender of General Burgoyne, October 17, 1777

Surrender of General Burgoyne by John Trumbull, 1822;
This painting hangs in the United States Capitol Rotunda.

The Battles of Saratoga (September 19 and October 7, 1777) marked the climax of the Saratoga campaign giving a decisive victory to the Americans over the British in the American Revolutionary War. British General John Burgoyne led a large invasion army up the Champlain Valley from Canada, hoping to meet a similar force marching northward from New York City; the southern force never arrived, and Burgoyne was surrounded by American forces in upstate New York. Burgoyne fought two small battles to break out. They took place eighteen days apart on the same ground, 9 miles south of Saratoga, New York. They both failed. Trapped by superior American forces, with no relief in sight, Burgoyne surrendered his entire army on October 17. His surrender, says historian Edmund Morgan, "was a great turning point of the war, because it won for Americans the foreign assistance which was the last element needed for victory.


Portrait by Joshua Reynolds, c. 1766
John Burgoyne

On October 17, following a ceremony in which Burgoyne gave his sword to Gates, only to have it returned, Burgoyne's army (approaching 6,000 strong) marched out to surrender their arms.

Portrait by Gilbert Stuart, c.1794
General Horatio Gates

Daniel Morgan

Colonel Daniel Morgan and the newly formed Provisional Rifle Corps, which comprised about 500 specially selected riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, chosen for their sharpshooting ability. This unit came to be known as Morgan's Riflemen.

A detachment of Morgan's regiment, commanded by Morgan, was reassigned to the army's Northern Department and on Aug. 30 he joined General Horatio Gates to aid in resisting Burgoyne's offensive. He is prominently depicted in the painting of the Surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga by John TrumbullCol. Daniel Morgan is shown in white, right of center.

Copy and images from Wikipedia: Saratoga campaign hereJohn Burgoyne here. Horatio Gates here. Daniel Morgan here.

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