Freemans Farm

What was going on in 1777

Well, Americans had started their war of independence against Britain in 1775. This war was going on in 1777. At one side, British forces were trying to gain control of as much territory in North America as possible.

At the other hand, American militia forces kept resisting British advancements and fighting them in forests, farms, hills and other places. Britain appointed General Burgoyne to lead the major part of the British army. General Burgoyne came up with a plan that may help Britain win the war.

The Plan to divide the colonies

The 13 American colonies were united in their war against Britain. General Burgoyne thought that if he could divide the colonies in two parts by blocking them in between, it would be easier for Britain to win the war.

To do this, General Burgoyne had to go from Lake Champlain towards the south while British General Howe was supposed to move north. They would meet at Albany and with their army, divide the American colonies in two parts.

Did the plan work

Only partially. General Burgoyne was successful in marching south. But General Howe didn’t follow his strategy and marched towards east rather than coming towards north. This left General Burgoyne on his own. He continued to lead his army towards the south but by the time it reached near Bennington, the British army had to face strong resistance from American militia.

Americans fight back

American militia was not a proper army as such, so it used many irregular tactics. Blocking roads, ensuring that British army did not get food on the way and other tactics by the American militia reduced the morale of the British soldiers.

A group of 500 British soldiers went to Bennington to get some food but they were all captured by the American general John Stark. In September, the first major battletook place between General Burgoyne’s army and the American militia. This was called the Battle of Freemans Farm.

The Battle of Freemans Farm

The Battle of Freemans Farm took place on September 19, 1777. American forces were led by Daniel Morgan. American sharpshooters killed many British officers and in all, British army suffered nearly 600 casualties, although it was able to gain control of the farmland area. On the other hand, Americans suffered nearly 300 casualties and went further south to Bemis Heights where they prepared to face the British army again.

The Battle of Bemis Heights

The British army advanced towards Bemis Heights in early October. By this time, many more militia men had arrived on the American side and the American army had grown in size. British army attacked on October 7, 1777 but the Americans fought back and defeated them.

The British army was forced to retreat and the American army continued to pursue them. Finally, the American army surrounded the British army and General Burgoyne was forced to surrender.

This was a very important victory for the Americans. It showed the world that Americans could fight and defeat a proper British army. It also helped American find new friends such as France who would help America against Britain.