First Battle of Saratoga

(Freemans’s Farm) September 17-19, 1777


September 17-18

Burgoyne’s army reaches Sword’s House (September 17) and establishes camp. Learning that strong American defenses overlook the Hudson river, and with no road capapbel of carrying his entire army, he plans a three pronged advance to outflank Gates to the west and overrun his positions on Bemis Heights.


September 19 11:00- 12:30

After a delay to allow the fog to clear, Burgoyne’s three columns advance towards the American lines: the right and center make good progress but Riedesel has to stop frequently to repair bridges. Despite regular reports from the east bank of the Hudson, Arnold has to force Gates to send Morgan and Dearborn forward.


12:30- 13:30

Hamilton’s pickets at Freeman’s Farm are surprised and driven back by Morgan’s riflemen, whose follow-up charge is then repulsed. Morgan rallies his men and Dearborn extends the American line westwards as Hamiliton’s main body reaches the farm and the 21st and 62nd deploy into line.

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