The Battle of Saratoga proved to the French government that the young American colonies had the will and the ability to defeat the British and gain independence. This was critical to our success in the second year of the American Revolution. Not only did the French provide crucial funding and supplies to the fledgling American government and Continental Army, they also brought the fight directly to the British on land and on the sea.
In the fall of 1777, in order to quash the rebellion once and for all, the British began moving to take Upstate New York and control the waterway of the Hudson River. A decisive blow that would sever the colonies would certainly discourage potential allies, like the French from joining the rebels. At Freeman’s farm, just outside Saratoga, NY, British General Burgoyne and his 7,200 British infantry, loyal Canadians and German Hessians met Generals Hortio Gates’ and Benedict Arnold’s 9,000 American Infantryman. The battle raged on for hours. The British suffered twice the casualties as the Continental Army and their plan to take Albany had been squashed. As Burgoyne waited for re-supply and reinforcement, the number of American Patriots grew to over 12,000. The British General ended up facing the fact that him and his men had no options, so he surrendered his army to General Gates. The Americans had busted the British plan to divide and conquer and their plans fell apart. The battle solidified the support of France, Spain and the Dutch for the remaining of the war. Eventually the cannonballs from French ships would ensure a victory for the Colonials at the final battle for Yorktown. So next time you’re in Paris, thank a Frenchie.