Archive for the ‘War of Independance’ Category

The Heat of BattleDue to recent scholastic developements, namely I’ve gone back to school, Part II of What Started WWI has been delayed.  In the meantime, here is a little something I had to whip up for my history class to tide you over.  I had to choose a battle from the Revolutionary War and answer several questions about it.  I have to do a few of these, on all different subjects, and I’ll probably post them here weekly.  Enjoy!

1)How does the USA commonly refer the battle to (what is it called)?

The battle is usually known as the Battle of Freeman’s Farm. Sometimes it is also called First Saratoga.

2)What were the events that lead to the battle? In other words how did the course of the war lead to this battle? [This should be several paragraphs long and explain the strategic and tactical considerations at that point.]

Things were looking grim for the American cause by the middle of 1776. Despite early victories in the north at Ticonderoga and Montreal in 1775, a defeat at Quebec late in that year left one general dead, Richard Montgomery, and one, Benedict Arnold, limping back down the St. Lawrence River…literally. By the summer and fall of 1776, George Washington had been driven out of New York and finally across the Delaware into Pennsylvania. However, British commander Howe did not pursue and destroy Washington’s army and in late 1776, early 1777 the American forces scored stunning victories against the British and their Hessian allies. Washington led successful attacks in New Jersey in the towns of Trenton and Princeton. The British were in need of a decisive plan to end the conflict quickly and spent the time in winter quarters of early 1777 coming up with one.

British General “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne, then in London, proposed a plan of invading the colonies from Canada by way of the Lake Champlain-Hudson River route and capturing Albany, New York. He would link up with Howe who would be coming up the Hudson from New York City. This would cut New England off from the rest of the colonies. The mission was ill-fated however. There were no roads between Lake Champlain and the Hudson River and Burgoyne’s large and unwieldy column had to cut its way through the dense New York forest, exhausting his men.

The two sides finally met at a clearing near the farm owned by erstwhile loyalist Freeman, when a reconnaissance in force led by Arnold encountered one of Burgoyne’s three columns. The Colonials took the initial advantage, but overextended themselves and were driven back. Arnold rushed back to his commander, Horatio Gates, requesting a greater force to challenge the British, but Gates would not allow a full attack. The battle flowed back and forth and the British lines began to waver before Burgoyne ordered his column under command of Baron von Riedesel, Brunswickers, to leave their river road route and attack, thus taking the field.

3)Where and when did the battle take place?

The battle took place near Freeman’s farm in upstate New York on September 19th, 1777.

4)Who were the commanders on both sides?

The commanders for the Americans were Benedict Arnold, Daniel Morgan, Henry Dearborn, and Enoch Poor. Horatio Gates was in overall command of the theater. For the British, Simon Fraser, James Inglis Hamilton, and Baron von Riedesel each commanded a column, with John Burgoyne in overall command.

5)How large and what type of forces were on both sides? List the number of soldiers. If there were ships, what were the names of the ships and what kind of ships were they?

Both sides numbered about 3000 men. The American forces consisted of Continental Army regulars as well as militia. The British forces consisted of British red coats and foreign mercenaries from the German principality of Brunswick.

6)What was the aftermath of the battle? In other words how did this battle affect the course of the war? [This should be several paragraphs long and explain the short term and long term affects.]

The Battle of Freeman’s farm was the first major engagement of Burgoyne’s Saratoga campaign. Though the British won, their subsequent defeat at Saratoga would virtually end major British action in New York and New England. General Howe, who chose rather to march on Philadelphia than to travel up the Hudson to meet Burgoyne, eventually returned to New York City where he stayed hemmed in more most of the rest of the war. British action was mainly restricted to the South thereafter. More importantly, the American victory at Saratoga convinced the French that the rebellion was for real and led them to overtly support the American cause.

7)List your sources in APA format

(2006) Wikipedia. The Battle of Freeman’s Farm. Retrieved on December 21, 2006 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Freeman’s_Farm

(2006) US History.com. War for Independence: The Battle of Freeman’s Farm September 19th, 1777. Retrieved on December 21, 2006 from http://home.u-s-history.com/pages/h1303.html

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