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The Saratoga Campaign: "The Compleat Victory"

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, March 5, 2024 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0441
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The Surrender of General Burgoyne by John Trumbull, 1822

In the late summer and fall of 1777, after two years of indecisive fighting on both sides, the outcome of the American War of Independence hung in the balance. Having successfully expelled the Americans from Canada in 1776, the British were determined to end the rebellion and devised what they believed a war-winning strategy: sending General John Burgoyne south to rout the Americans and take Albany.

When British forces captured Fort Ticonderoga on New York’s Lake Champlain with unexpected ease in July of 1777, it looked as if it was a matter of time before they would break the rebellion in the North. Less than three and a half months later, however, a combination of the Continental Army and militia forces commanded by Major General Horatio Gates and inspired by the heroics of Benedict Arnold, forced Burgoyne to surrender his entire army. The American victory at Saratoga—described by one general as "the Compleat Victory"—stunned the world and changed the course of the war. In the end, British plans were undone by a combination of distance, geography, logistics, and an underestimation of American leadership and fighting ability.

Kevin J. Weddle, a professor of military theory and strategy at the U.S. Army War College, provides an analysis of the strategic underpinnings of the historic Saratoga campaign, why events unfolded the way they did, and a new interpretation of George Washington’s role in the American success.

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