Talk:Battles of Saratoga

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"Major General" George Washington[edit]

I realize this may be a minor thing, but I want to clarify my reason for twice removing incorrect references on this page to George Washington as a major general. Simply put, George Washington was not a major general. The relevant resolution and commission of the Continental Congress quite clearly identifies him as "General and Commander in chief," and goes on to identify Artemas Ward and Charles Lee as "first major-general and second in command" and "second Major general to be third in command," respectively. Washington's rank was general, and he wore three stars on his epaulettes; majors general, his inferiors in rank, wore two. Publius (talk) 23:00, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

NPOV[edit]

Before any structural changes, perhaps the perspective could be balanced between American and British, because it seems that the British is exaggerated at the expense of American history. Now Americans and Brits have gotten along for 200 years. Lets insure our most significant battle is well recorded and an equal representation. Possibly the term Revolutionist could simply be replaced by Americans to make it less like rowdy colonist and more like freedom fighters.

Historical Revisionism or just forgotten history?[edit]

I agree that the story could be more balanced by including more on the German, Indian and Tory contingents, and the American Militias involved. The Germans were almost 60% of the troops involved. A seemingly forgotten fact is that the British used almost 30,000 German troops and only about 38,000 British troops in the revolutionary war. There should also be a much more detailed account of what Milita groups were involved and where they came from and what they did. Originally this section didn't even have anything on the important role played by the Tyron county militia in the Battle of Oriskany. There is also almost no mention of the Indians involved who served as significant British auxilaries. Their involvement in this and more battles seems to be a taboo subject. The Battle of Oriskany, Wyoming Valley Massacre, Cherry Valley Massacre, Stockbridge Massacre and continued depradations on settlers in New York and Pennsylvania directly led Washington to order in 1779 the Sullivan Expedition which essentially drove most of the Iroquois out of New York into Canada. This was the major action by American forces in 1779. After we get the basics right it might be worth worrying about the British.

Cheers;

D'lin 19:28, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

Structure of the Saratoga articles[edit]

It's my intention to change the structure of this article. This will take a number of steps, and I'd like you to read the current page and changes in terms of the outline of where I'm going. When I get through I hope to have the following structure:

Saratoga Campaign (Strategy, Stanwix, Saratogo, and analysis}.
Battle of Saratoga (general final events, and surrender)
Battle of Freeman's Farm - Finished short Article
Battle of Bemis Heights - finished short Article

Updated major biographies (Fraser, Morgan, Poor, Learned) and some related articles. Still need to update Arnold and Gates. We also need biographies on Schuyler and Lincoln as well as other minor characters. But, its making progresss. The Saratoga Campign has been expanded to describe St. Ledger's advance, but now I need more biographies, Fort Stanwix, and Oriskany entries.

In the meantime I may scatter stubs, and leave open links or redundent material that you'd rather see closed. Feel free, of course, to complete any of them with an article. :-)

I'll post status on this page from time to time.

Anyone who wants to discuss this mini-project, please use my talk page. - Lou I 16:34 10 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I've finally gotten at least an outline started for the Burgoyne expedition part of the Saratoga Campaign article. Still working back and forth betwen individual battle accounts, biographies, and major articles. Thanks for you patience. Lou I 21:52, 11 Dec 2003 (UTC)
This page needs an update. Some officers (Burgoyne) were immediately sent home, but most troops remained prisoners for years. I plan to report this in an article labelled the Convention Army, but a correction here would be welcome in the interim, Lou I
I have finally finished the Saratoga Campaign article. Incuding related articles it only took six months. I still have some work to due on Stanwix and Hubbarton battles and scattered biographies. I may make some minor changes to other battles to align with the campaign article, before updating this article. Lou I 10:14, 13 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Great work on all these articles Lou. (I realize I'm writing this more than two years later, so you may not even be watching this page any longer.)

There is one major problem that has developed with this structure over the years since you initially wrote the articles. The issue is that of "forking". Suppose that a person wants to add or correct something about the Battle of Bemis Heights. There are several possibilities: he or she might edit the Saratoga campaign article, or the Battle of Saratoga article, or the Battle of Bemis Heights article. That person might not edit all three articles, and may not even understand how the three articles relate. Multiply this by the many editors who contribute to the articles over the years, and you get diverging accounts of the battles and expeditions.

One way to avoid this is with "Wikipedia:Summary style." Make it clear when the "see main article" notice is used that what follows is a summary of that topic, and that additional information should be added to the "main" article, in order to avoid forking.

Additionally, there may not be a need for a "Battle of Saratoga" article at all, since all that information can be divided between the "Saratoga campaign" article and well as the two battle articles. This will prevent confusion and further forking.

Because my time is limited, I have no intention of making these changes myself. I hope someone reading this will attempt to reorganize the Saratoga articles to make them easier to understand and edit, and to prevent forking. The fact that I must add this notice to four or five different articles is an illustration of the problem. --Kevin Myers | (complaint dept.) 19:02, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for the articles but I am still unclear on why there is a Battle of Saratoga and Saratoga campaign. IMO the articles cover much of the same ground and should be merged. P.S. Since the articles are pretty complete I would hate to mar them with a vote on merger template. Americasroof 17:42, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
I take it you are addressing Lou, since you agree with me that "Battle of Saratoga" and "Saratoga campaign" are redundant. I don't think Lou watches this page anymore, however. If you want to do a merger, I'd say go for it, since it seems few people are paying attention, and if you do it right, they'll be happy you took the initiative, if they ever notice at all. "Saratoga campaign" should be the main article, with summary sections on the two battles. --Kevin Myers | (complaint dept.) 13:45, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Kosciuszko[edit]

I will try to add something about Kosciuszko's fortification impact. In the opinion of some of the contemporaries, it was crucial for American victory; yet it is not even mentioned in the article.

Since there are no objections, within a week I will add something about Kosciuszko involvement in battle of Saratoga Szopen 16:25, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
It's very important. There is a whole set of monuments to Kosiuszko as you enter the park. I'm kicking myself for not taking the photos right away thinking there would be more later on. But it's a one way road. Americasroof 18:17, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

May 2006[edit]

In the first paragraph in the Background section, there is a reference to "Putnam's forces." Putnam is not introduced prior to the reference so it reads a bit oddly and should be fixed.

Points of interest Section[edit]

In the last paragraph of the "Points of Interest" section of the Battle of Saratoga, it states:

"It is said that on the Battle of Saratoga Historical site there is a statue of a single leg with no caption. Purportedly this represents the response Benedict Arnold (wounded in the leg in Quebec and Saratoga) got when he asked a British officer what the Americans would do if he were captured: "They would cut your leg off and bury it with full military honors for your work at Quebec and Saratoga. The rest of you they would hang."

I believe there is an eror in stating that Arnold asked the British officer a hypothetical question about what "the Americans would do if he were "captured" -- since he is asking a British officer, and the logical answer from that officer is that "they" -- certainly implying the British forces --would have "cut your leg off and bury it with full military honors for your work at Quebec and Saratoga. The rest of you they would hang." I take that to mean that the British officer would respect Arnold's military prowess, in the honorable way that officers of even opposing armies would acknowledged such things in the 18th century, but that the British government would hang him, along with other American Revolutionary political and miliray leaders, for treason.

I can't imagine that the Briritish officer would assume that would be any reason for the Americans to "capture" Arnold, or that the Americans would have any reason to hang Arnold -- at least not at this juncture in the war, when he was still an active General on the side of the Continental Army, and was considered to be somewhat of a war hero (by everyone except Gen. Gates, perhaps) for his military successes in Quebec and Saratoga.

This is my first attempt at making an update/correction on Wikipedia. I hope it is up to your standards and proper procedures...!

You did well. (Just be sure to sign your discussion page posts by typing "~~~~" at the end of your last paragraph, so people know who wrote it.) Probably the story about the British officer talking to Arnold, if true, dates from after Arnold's treason, long after Saratoga, when he was on the same side as the British. The British officer is saying that, if the Americans recapture Arnold (as sometimes happened), they'd hang him for treason but honor the leg. Sounds like a bogus quote to me, and it needs a source. --Kevin Myers | (complaint dept.) 01:37, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Kevin, small error. Its an american officer saying that.

Furthermore the article on Benedict Arnold also includes this quote but in a slightly different words, therefore one of them (possibly both) are wrong. We need to check for consistency here. 02:52, 2 March 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.249.97.171 (talk)

POV in Points of Interest[edit]

I removed this paragraph:

It is interesting to note that the Battle of Saratoga was the first time that both powers had a sizeable army on a battlefield at the same time. Most of the fighting done prior to Saratoga leaned heavily on "guerilla warfare" (essentially terrorism) tactics on the part of the Revolutionaries. Moreover, the Battle of Saratoga would serve as the first major army-to-army clash. It was the first battle America had won without surprising British forces (See: Battle of Trenton) and it helped convince the French monarchy that they could hurt the British significantly by helping the Americans.

This was an inaccurate unsourced stream of consciousness. The Americans won the Siege of Boston which was the last big battle in New England and Saratoga marked the failed British initiative to retake New England. The Battle of Long Island was the biggest battle in the conflict. Americasroof 22:35, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

I believe that you will find there where 14,000 allied on the field of Yorktown and a French fleet anchored close by, and probably the largest battle of the war. Tirronan (talk) 02:18, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Errors[edit]

There are some numerical errors in this article... I don't know the exact figures, so I can't correct them. 129.237.168.103 19:23, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

How do you know they are wrong then?  —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.162.2.82 (talk) 20:22, 4 July 2009 (UTC) 
Tut tut! Hmm, so I know what's wrong; the article's not wrong but someone's trying to make someone else take their time to find and correct the "mistake". If it's a true mistake, you must point them out, don't just sit their in front of the computer and type: There are some numerical errors in this article... I don't know the exact figures, so I can't correct them.Allied Rangoons (talk) 00:04, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

Contradiction between this article on the one on Burgoyne[edit]

The Aftermath section has this sentence: "Burgoyne returned to England as a hero--he was a prominent leader in London society." The article on Burgoyne states: "Following Saratoga, the indignation in Britain against Burgoyne was great. He returned at once, with the leave of the American general, to defend his conduct and demanded but never obtained a trial. He was deprived of his regiment and a governorship which he held."

Would some expert please resolve the contracdiction between the articles? I suspected vandalism in the Saratoga article, but the text has been around for a while.

Joconnor (talk) 06:45, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Edits and merging[edit]

In response to the posts above about the structure of the articles, I have merged the Freeman's Farm and Bemis Heights articles into this single article. Vidor (talk) 00:31, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Numbers, Statistics, and outright lies[edit]

I'm not sure what is going on with the numbers here but this much I am sure of, there were never 20,000 continentals on that battlefield and I rather suspect that the Brits were down to 5,000 or so effectives and pretty badly outnumbered. However British Battles is not a website of great authority and therefore should not be used as a source, unsourced additions to a battle of this importance is to be highly discouraged. please be aware that I have added this article to my watch list. Tirronan (talk) 00:16, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Vandalism[edit]

There is SO much vandalism that's been happening to this page, so can someone semi-protect it? Viet|Pham (talk) 02:16, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

  • Ever since I put this article on my watchlist it has been crawling with vandalism from left and right. I myself got it semi-protected multiple times. It's definitely a problem. If anything, I'd get the article protected indefinitely and be done with it. TheLetterM (talk) 02:44, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Well, the article's been protected for six months. That should keep any pesky vandals away. TheLetterM (talk) 03:25, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
      • As of October 2009, apparently not. --76.15.184.61 (talk) 01:35, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
        • Apparently vandals have completely removed any mention of the crucial Battle of Bennington and the involvement of John Stark, who commanded the New Hampshire Militias, someone erroneously claims here that the NH militias were under the command of a NY militia leader, which is clearly false, the NH legislature put all NH militias under Stark's control and was specific about keeping them out from under the command of NY militia generals.75.69.183.33 (talk) 10:29, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
First of all, the Battle of Bennington is mentioned in the very first paragraph, as part of the background for this battle (for a more comprehensive role of that battle in the campaign, read its article or the one on the Saratoga campaign). Secondly, John Stark did not participate in either battle of Saratoga, so the fact that his name does not appear here is not entirely surprising. While he was instrumental in completing the encirclement of Burgoyne in the days after the second battle, omitting his name is hardly an act of vandalism. Thirdly, there is no claim in the article that New Hampshire militia are under a New York commander here. The only militia grouping whose commander is identified is the "force of 1,200 New York militia under Brigadier General Abraham Ten Broeck". Fourthly, Stark objected to serving under Continental Army authority, not New York authority. He refused orders from Benjamin Lincoln, a (Massachusetts) Continental Army general. Magic♪piano 12:58, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

Thanksgiving[edit]

I just read in the Wall Street Journal 11/26/2208 that because of the battle of Saratoga, Sam Adams started the holdiday of Thanksgiving. I think this would be an intersting addition to consider on this page. - Anon —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.124.138.240 (talk) 14:03, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

The Canadians invaded the New York area in September and October of 1777. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.52.254.205 (talk) 00:02, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Inappropriate changes to lead[edit]

User:Fabartus made changes to the lead, adding content not reflected in the body of the article (and also significantly altering the layout of the top of the article). I've reverted those changes; please find a suitable place in the body of the article for your contributions before modifying the lead. (Also note that the lead is a "Synopsis"; we do not need a section with that sort of name.) Magic♪piano 23:26, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

  • The strategic long term importance of any event, especially a battle needs highlighted in the first paragraph, not buried at the bottom of a overly long lead, which as the perp noted himself above, is a synopsis. The intro paras to that synopsis should sum up such effects while the remainder of the lead provide amplifying data. This treatment is consequently not even good quality writing and needs fixed. // 24.62.190.234 (talk) 22:21, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Ah, a valid point, thank you for some useful feedback. If Fabartus had indeed removed the previous mention of the consequences, that portion of his contribution might have been useful. On the other hand, some of his writing was also "not even good quality and needs fixed" (whatever that means -- my irony meter registered high when I read a paragraph complaining about quality of writing where each sentence contained grammatical errors). Magic♪piano 01:16, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Two battles in one article[edit]

Is it necessary to combine the two in one article? Is this like your "Snowshoes" battles which you ended up separating. It is the combination that deters me from reviewing it for GA! Regards, —Mattisse (Talk) 15:49, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

The main difference between this and the Snowshoes battles is that the Snowshoes battles were not obviously connected to each other; they were only weakly related by geography and personnel. These battles, on the other hand, are intimately linked, especially considering that the armies are camped so near each other between them. Establishing context for the second battle would require replicating all of the background, and then provide a summarized version of the first battle. (Although the battles are separated by three weeks, I liken it to Battles of Lexington and Concord, which would also be difficult to split.) Magic♪piano 18:36, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Battles of Saratoga/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

I will be reviewing this article. MinisterForBadTimes (talk) 07:23, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

OK, I have now completed my review. An excellent article, generally very easy to understand, on a very important battle(s). There were a couple of statements I think need citations, which I've tagged appropriately [citation needed]. Other than that, there are some sentences I think need some alterations or clarification (listed below)

Whilst I accept the decision to describe much of the military aftermath of the battles in the article Saratoga campaign, I do feel that the rather brief description in the section 'Aftermath' could be extended. I also feel that there should be some kind of assessment of how important this battle was in the War of Independence. Fair enough it brought the French in on the US side, but how important was that? As a Limey, I've always been given the impression that Saratoga was a major turning point in the war - if this is true, then the article should say it! And so on.

Other than that, it all looks very good. I'll pass the article once the following are dealt with, but well done! MinisterForBadTimes (talk) 21:04, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Both battles were fought on the same ground nine miles (14.5 km) south of Saratoga, New York, and were separated??? by almost daily skirmishes. Burgoyne, whose campaign to divide?? the colonies had started well but slowed due to logistical problems, won a small tactical victory over General Horatio Gates and the Continental Army in the September 19 Battle of Freeman's Farm at the cost of significant casualties.
Separated isn't the right word here. Also, should maybe mention the number of days between the battles. How was his campaign aiming to divide the colonies? Politically? Geograpically? Clarified
  • Burgoyne was forced to retreat, but his army was surrounded by the much larger American force, and he was forced to surrender on October 17.
Where was the army surrounded? Answered
In what way did he expect this action to help Burgoyne? By drawing off American forces? Clarified I hope.
Ditto - in what way was he seeking to divide the forces? Clarified
  • He therefore ordered Baron Riedesel, whose forces were in the rear of his army, to abandon outposts from Skenesboro south, and ordered the army to cross the river just north of Saratoga, which it did between September 13 and 15.[1]
Which army crossed the river? Burgoyne's or Riedesel's? Or both? Clarified
  • While he and Gates had previously been on reasonably good terms in spite of their prickly egos, Arnold managed to turn Gates against him by taking on as staff officers friendly to Schuyler, a man Gates hated.
This is missing something!
Comment Well, I guess you have a point there. I'll need to dredge the sources out of the library to give the appropriate background. (Summary: personality conflict)
  • (If Arnold had been on the field, these forces might have instead faced the larger danger posed by Riedesel's force.)
I don't really understand this? Where was Arnold, if not on the field?
Comment The brigade commanders in actions like this were generally not on the field; they were at HQ (presumably with a view of the field of battle) where they could coordinate with each other, rather than near the line (I believe this is the way Luzader explains it). (I think this is partly why Arnold's presence on the field in the second battle is somewhat unusual.) I'll add more words about this.
  • Burgoyne, running low on men and food, was still in a very difficult position, but he decided to wait in the hope that Clinton would arrive to save his army.
Why was he in a difficult position? I know, but would the general reader?
Comment Because he's running low on men and food? He needs to reach secure winter quarters (mentioned in British Situation), and he knows he's outnumbered (not sure if I mentioned that along the way, it should be).
  • His leg wound left Arnold bedridden for five months.[2]
The reference here needs to be simplified, and the book put in the bibliography (if not already). Fixed


  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:
    Pass/Fail:
Thanks for your detailed comments. I will make adjustments over the next few days. (By the way, if you want to look at Saratoga campaign, it will eventually be heading for GAN as well.) Magic♪piano 14:01, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
A few comments interspersed above before I get going... Magic♪piano 00:03, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
I think I've answered all but the Schuyler-Gates thing (which will require a trip to the library). The reason this battle (or more accurately, the surrender ten days later) is a turning point is mainly because it brought France into the war (other important effects were destruction of the army and a morale boost after losing Philadelphia). It sounds like you dismiss this in your comment above, but this fundamentally altered the game for you Limeys. The British conducted almost no offense in North America beyond raiding (and the capture of Savannah) in 1778 and 1779 as they reallocated forces to the West Indies and withdrew from Philadelphia. (I'm not sure why it took until 1780 to really get the "southern strategy" going; my knowledge of the British planning for that is limited.)
As regards the turning point issue, I'm happy you've answered that now. All I really wanted was a statement as to why the involvement of France was important (I wasn't dismissing it, though I can see why it might look that way; rhetoric doesn't work quite as well in plain text...), and you've answered that.
It may well be that the way the importance is communicated can use some work (both here and Saratoga campaign). I'll need to give it some more thought, though. Magic♪piano 23:38, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, I'm now happy that you've covered everything I asked about apart from this sentence:

"by taking on as staff officers friendly to Schuyler, a man Gates hated."

I'm sorry that you ended up visiting the library over this, because the problem wasn't with the content of the sentence - it just doesn't make grammatrical sense. "by taking on a staff officer friendly to Schuyler"??? Or "by taking on as staff officers [words missing] friendly to Schuyler"????
The extra background on Schuyler and Gates is most welcome of course. But I should have been more clear what I meant! I will pass the article, assuming that you will fix this. Re the balance of between Saratoga Campaign and Battles of Saratoga, I am glad you will consider it, but I leave this up to your judgement. Well done! MinisterForBadTimes (talk) 13:55, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, I regularly go to libraries, so it's not a big deal. I now understand the ambiguity -- I parsed the sentence differently. Thanks for the pass! Magic♪piano 14:54, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Unclear as a Military Narrative[edit]

I find this article to be more interested in recounting the exploits of American commanders than clearly and concisely outlining the steps that led to the most significant outcome of the war. After reading it, I am unclear why:
1)American forces swelled from 9,000 on Sep. 19th to to 15,000 on Oct. 8th. This seems important. Or is it?
2)Burgoyne was unable or unwilling to retreat back north. OK, this is explained in the 'interlude' section ('insisting that retreat would be disgraceful'); but why was this not an option after Bemis heights? How were the Americans able to surround him? The stakes circa Oct. 7th are not explained. This kind of basic background seems de rigeur for articles on much less important battles. Formivore (talk) 02:22, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Whoops that would be 15,000 at the surrender which was actually on the 17th. This is confusing. If this page already covers events 18 days apart, it should be expanded 10 more days to Burgoyne's surrender. Currently this is left to the Saratoga Campaign article which only has a short paragraph. This is the most important part, no? Formivore (talk) 02:36, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your interesting feedback. The answer to your first question is buried in the first paragraph of "American situation": "Gates became the beneficiary of an army that was growing in size as a result of increased militia turnout following calls by state governors, the success at Bennington, and widespread outrage over the slaying of Jane McCrea, an attractive young Loyalist, by Indians under Burgoyne's command." Many of these militia companies organized in August, and reached the Saratoga area in September. If you think this is unclear, feel free to propose clearer language.
Your second question confuses me. After Bemis Heights, he does retreat, and he really doesn't have any choice, since his lines are breached where he is. What is "this" in "why was this not an option"?
As far as mention of the surrender and its consequences, I at least am open to suggestions on how best to address them without being overly redundant between this article and Saratoga campaign. Magic♪piano 05:07, 12 January 2010 (UTC)