Tag Archives: Battle of Saratoga

Tories: American Revolution and Civil War


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In 1777, as General John Burgoyne’s army marched south, having taken Fort Ticonderoga, a temporary loyalist enclave was created in Rutland County, Vermont. While many rebel Americans fled before the British Army, a few stayed on. In Rutland Nathan Tuttle, a rebel known locally for hating and taunting loyalists, was one of them.

Tuttle’s decision to stay behind was not a very good one at a time and place when the American Revolution was a full-scale Civil War. As Burgoyne’s army passed through Rutland, Tuttle disappeared. Ten years later it was revealed by a local Tory that Tuttle had been bayoneted, his body weighted with stones and thrown into a creek. Nathan Tuttle was an American, and so were his murderers, likely men associated with the notorious Loyalist and close confidant of John Burgoyne, Philip Skene of Whitehall. Continue reading

Saratoga Battlefield Holiday Open House


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Visitors to the Saratoga Battlefield will ring in the holiday season with live guitar music, book-signings, free refreshments and unique holiday gift ideas in the bookstore at Saratoga National Historical Park’s Holiday Open House on Sunday, December 5th from 1pm – 4pm.

Local authors Dr. Warren Roberts, who recently released, A Place in History, Albany in the Age of Revolution 1775 – 1825 and co-authors Tom Barker, PhD and Paul Huey, who just wrote The 1776-1777 Northern Campaigns of the American War for Independence will be available to sign copies of their books and talk to visitors about their findings. Musician Linda Russell will also perform and copies of her CD will be available.

Except for inclement weather, Sunday December 5 will also be the last day that the scenic 10-mile tour road will remain open for vehicle traffic. During the winter, the tour road and park trails remain open daily dawn to dusk for pedestrian use, such as walking, bicycling, and winter activities, but it will close to vehicular traffic on Monday, December 6.

The park Visitor Center – open daily throughout the year from 9am to 5pm, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and News Year’s holidays – offers a 20-minute orientation film, photography exhibit, fiber optic map, bookstore and National Park Service rangers to tell stories about the events here, that changed world history.

Saratoga Battlefield is located on Route 32 and 4 in Stillwater, NY. For more information about program and events at Saratoga National Historical Park, please call (518) 664-9821 ext. 224 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/sara.

Saratoga: 233rd Anniversary of Surrender Week


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The week of Sunday October 10 to Sunday October 17, 2010 is Surrender Week in the Town of Saratoga marking the 233rd Anniversary of the American Victory at Saratoga. There are a series of events planned to call attention to the siege period of the Battles of Saratoga (October 10 – 16) and the Surrender of British General Burgoyne’s complete army on October 17, 1777.

On Friday, October 15 at 10 AM, the anniversary commemoration of the Sword Surrender of British General Burgoyne to American General Gates will take place at the bandstand at Fort Hardy Park, The ceremony location overlooking the Hudson River is where the British troops surrendered their weapons to the Americans. The ceremony includes patriotic songs from the Schuylerville Elementary School 4th grade students.

On Saturday, October 16 from 6 to 9 pm, visitors can feel the welcome of the warm, soft glow of candlelight as Old Saratoga Historical Association members in period costume, park staff, and park volunteers guide visitors through General Philip Schuyler`s 1777 country house. Light refreshments and period music follow the tours.

“We plan a whole week of events to commemorate the seven days the British Troops under General Burgoyne were under siege by the Americans in Old Saratoga (now the Schuylerville area),” according to Saratoga Historian Sean Kelleher. “We have a great partnership made up of the various levels of government including the Saratoga National Historical Park, Schuylerville Public Library, Town of Saratoga, Village of Victory, and non-governmental partners including the Fort Hardy Committee, Heritage Hunters of Saratoga County, and Old Saratoga Historical Association.”

The American Victory at Saratoga was considered the “turning point in the American Revolution”. France and other European countries entering the war as a result of the American Victory at Saratoga.

The schedule includes:

Sunday, October 10
Saratoga Monument and the Schuyler House Open – 9:30 am – 4:30. pm

Monday, October 11
Walking tour of Siege Lines (through along the Champlain Canal) at 3 pm meet at the Old Saratoga Town Hall on Ferry Street.

Tuesday, October 12
Researching your American Revolution Ancestor with Deputy Historian Pat Peck at the Schuylerville Public Library 10 am

Wednesday and Thursday, October. 13 and 14
Voices of the American Revolution – a program for pre-schoolers at the Schuylerville Public Library 10 am

Thursday, October 14
Stories from the Saratoga Battlefield with storyteller Joe Doolittle at the Saratoga Town Hall 12 Spring Street, 7:30 pm

Friday October 15
233rd Anniversary of the American Victory at Saratoga Ceremony Commemoration at the Fort Hardy bandstand 10 am The ceremony includes the 4th grade students from the Schuylerville elementary school singing songs and commemorations by the Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution.

Saturday, October 16
Heritage Hunters Fall Genealogy Conference at the Saratoga Town Hall 12 Spring Street, from 8:45 am until 3:15 pm. Lisa Alzo is the featured speaker in a series of programs on researching family history. Registration is $30 for members and $35 for all others and includes the workshops, exhibits, coffee breaks and hot lunch. For information, contact Joan Cady at 518-587-2978 or email: melfrejo@aol.com.

Saturday and Sunday, October 16 & 17
Saratoga Monument and the Schuyler House Open 9:30 am – 4:30. pm

Saturday, October 16
Candlelight Tour of Schuyler House 6 – 9 pm

Sunday, October 17
Walking tour of Surrender Field at 10 am meet at the Old Saratoga Town Hall on Ferry Street.

For more information search Old Saratoga Historical Association on Facebook or twitter: oldsaratogahist or call (518) 698-3210 or e-mail skellehe@nycap.rr.com

Illustration: Surrender of General Burgoyne by John Trumbull, 1822; The original painting hangs in the United States Capitol Rotunda.

New Database: Participants at the Battles of Saratoga


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Do you have an ancestor who served in the 1777 Battles of Saratoga? Saratoga National Historical Park, in partnership with Heritage Hunters of Saratoga County, announces that starting on Thursday, October 14th, a free, computer-based, accessible research tool, ‘Participants at the Battles of Saratoga’, will be available in the park’s visitor center, open daily from 9am to 5pm.

The easy-to-use, touch screen database program was created by members of Heritage Hunters of Saratoga County, New York, a society dedicated to the study of historical and genealogical records in the area. The information is also on their website, but now will be readily available for any of the 150,000 visitors who annually visit Saratoga National Historical Park and wish to investigate their ancestor’s service here.

Park Superintendent Joe Finan said, “Imagine finding your ancestor’s information recorded from sources over 230 years old and then going out on the battlefield and standing where they did. It will be a deeply moving experience for thousands of park visitors. We greatly appreciate the work of Heritage Hunters.”

Frank Goodway, project coordinator for Heritage Hunters, noted that there are currently over 15,000 participants listed with about 2,500 more available that he and Fletcher Blanchard are currently adding. Pat Peck has recently taken on the task of editing these records. Additionally, some records include family information as well as military records, and more family data is planned to be added in the future.

For over a decade, members of Heritage Hunters have been diligently collecting data from over one hundred reference sources, including pension records, pay-lists, and muster rolls, to obtain names and information about American soldiers who participated at the 1777 Battles of Saratoga. The list is continually updated by Heritage Hunters.

In the next few years, Saratoga NHP staff will enhance the database to include GPS coordinates so that visitors can go to the exact area where their ancestor’s units fought. In addition, the park will also add a database of British soldiers and their allies who fought here. For now, records about British forces are available by making an appointment with Park Ranger and Historian Eric Schnitzer.

Saratoga National Historical Park is located on Route 4 and 32 in Stillwater. For more information about the park and programs call 518.664.9821 ext. 224 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/sara.

Saratoga Battlefield Announces Autumn Hours


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Saratoga National Historical Park’s visitor center, located on Route 32 and 4 in Stillwater, remains open year-around from 9am to 5pm, but as day-light gets shorter the park’s scenic 10-mile tour road will close earlier as follows:

Through Sunday September 19, the road is open from 9am to 7pm

Monday September 20, the road will be open from 9am to 6pm

Monday October 4, the road will be open from 9am to 5pm.

The road remains open 9am to 5pm thru mid-to late November, depending on the weather.

With over 25 miles of tranquil roads, paths and trails, Saratoga Battlefield provides a great many opportunities to enjoy history, nature, recreation and special programs. Upcoming autumn events include:

233rd Anniversary Encampment on September 18 and 19

24th Regiment Encampment on October 9 and 10

Plein-Air Painting on October 9 (rain date October 10)

Candlelight Tour of Schuyler House on October 16

From May 1 to October 31 a seven-day entrance pass for the Battlefield is $5 for a vehicle, $3 for hiking or bicycling. An annual pass, good for the whole family, is only $10. Senior and access passes, plus passes to any of the nation’s 390 national parks are also available.

Come explore the National Park in your backyard! For more information, contact the Visitor Center by calling 518-664-9821 ext. 224, or check the Park website at www.nps.gov/sara

Vandals Carve Swastika in Victory Woods Panel


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Officials from Saratoga National Historical Park promised quick action in the wake of Labor Day weekend vandalism in the Victory Woods section of the park. Vandals etched a swastika into an interpretive panel which featured a story about early Native Americans who once occupied the site. The recently installed panel is valued at $750.

Since the Victory Woods site was opened in June, park law enforcement rangers have encountered other minor acts of vandalism. Park Superintendent Joe Finan directed park law enforcement staff to increase patrols of the area. “This is not acceptable behavior in a national park—or any public place,” Finan said. We will take swift and sweeping action to prevent the area from future vandalism.”

The Friends of Saratoga Battlefield have put up a $300 reward for information leading to the arrest of the individual responsible for the act. To provide information about the vandalism, call Chief Ranger Greg Wozniak at 664.9821 ext. 214 or Superintendent Joe Finan at 664.9821 ext. 207.

Headquarters for Saratoga National Historical Park is located at 648 Route 32 in Stillwater, NY and the park’s website is www.nps.gov/sara

Encampment Marks Battles of Saratoga


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On Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm, September 18-19, 2010, Saratoga National Historical Park, located on Routes 32 and 4 in Stillwater, will present an 18th century living history encampment marking the 233rd anniversary of the “most important battle of the last 1000 years.”

On Saturday evening at 6:30pm, come to the American camp (tour road stop 2) to see British actor Howard Burnham give a hilarious and insightful portrayal of British General John Burgoyne. An encore performance of his program will be given at the park Visitor Center at 2pm on Sunday.

This 2-day long encampment will surround visitors with the sights, smells, and sounds of military camp life from the American Revolution. Dozens of re-enactors portray American and British soldiers, officers, and camp followers, as well as American Loyalists and Oneida Indian allies of American independence. Events will include a court-martial and that decides a soldier’s fate, musket drill, stories of the revolutionary war experience. Visitors will experience the roar of cannons, smell the acrid smoke of musket fire as well as the welcoming wisps of camp cooking fires.

The event is free, but the normal entrance fee to the park of $5 per car (good for one week entry) is charged. For more information about this or other events, please call the Visitor Center at 518-664-9821 or check the park website at www.nps.gov/sara.

Saratoga Battlefield Free Guided Morning Hikes


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Join one or all hikes in a series of free two-hour guided walks at 9:00am on Friday and Wednesday mornings at Saratoga National Historical Park, located on Route 32 and 4 in Stillwater. Participants should be able to walk at least two miles over uneven ground. Please meet in the visitor center, and bring insect repellant and drinking water.

For more information, call Saratoga National Historical Park’s visitor center at 518.664.9821 ext 224.

Wednesday, August 11, 9:00 AM: “Why Saratoga?”
Why did the American forces choose to stand and fight here?

Wednesday, August 25, 9:00 AM: “The First Battle”
The Battle of Freeman’s Farm, September 19, 1777

Friday, September 3, 9:00 AM: “The Second Battle”
The Battle of Bemis Heights, October 7, 1777

Free Guided Bicycle Tours at Saratoga Battlefield


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Explore the history and scenery of Saratoga National Historical Park, located on Route 32 and 4 in Stillwater, by joining a Park Ranger for free guided bike tours of the battlefield at 6:00pm to 7:30pm on Wednesday July 21 and Wednesday August 18. Participants will meet at the flagpole at the Visitor Center parking lot. Because the rides are weather dependent, call the park at 664.9821 ext. 224 by 4:30pm to learn the bike ride status.

Touring the battlefield by bicycle combines the relaxation of fresh air, fantastic scenery, and the experience of touching history. These guided bike tours will cover various sections of the Battlefield, giving riders a unique opportunity to learn about the Battle of Saratoga and the history of the park, all while breathing in the ambience of a rural summer evening.

Helmets are required for riders 14 and under, and are recommended for all riders. Please bring water and wear insect repellant.

For more information about the bike rides or other programs at Saratoga National Historical Park—the national park in your own backyard—call the Visitor Center at 518-664-9821 ext. 224 or check the park website at www.nps.gov/sara.

Ranger Guided Evening Strolls at Saratoga Battlefield


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National Park Service Rangers will be leading walks through the historic landscape of Saratoga National Historical Park in Stillwater on July 10th, 17th and 24th, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Water bottles, bug repellant, and comfortable walking shoes are suggested. The programs are free of charge.

July 10th — Mud and Misery: Visit the newest site of Saratoga NHP—Victory Woods. Join Park Ranger Joe Craig to find out about the dismal final days of the defeated British army on the ground they occupied. Meet at Saratoga Monument, located off Rte. 338 (Burgoyne Road) in Schuylerville. 6:30-7:30pm

July 17th — “Brother, can you spare a dime?” The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) came at a time when our nation needed a major economic “shot in the arm.” One of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s brilliant but controversial initiatives, the CCC didn’t just put thousands of young laborers and professionals to work; it catapulted America’s conservation movement far ahead of its time. What impacts did the CCC have on Saratoga Battlefield? Join Park Ranger Bill Valosin and find out more! Meet at the visitor center flagpole. 6:30-7:30pm

July 24th — “I don’t think he would accept second in command in Heaven.” Join Park Ranger Eric Schnitzer and learn about the significant role played by America’s most infamous traitor, Benedict Arnold, in the 1777 Battles of Saratoga. Meet at the visitor center flagpole. 6:30-7:30pm

Saratoga National Historical Park presents special interpretive events and programs
throughout the year. For further information about this and other programs, please call
(518) 664-9821 ext. 224 or check their Web site at www.nps.gov/sara.

Saratoga National Historical Park Opens New Area


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Tomorrow, Saturday, June 5 at 11am, at Saratoga Monument on Burgoyne Street in the Village of Victory, Saratoga National Historical Park will host a grand-opening of “Victory Woods”, a new park site featuring a fully accessible boardwalk trail just south of Saratoga Monument. After opening remarks, there will be a guided hike, a reception with dozens of community organizations and light refreshments.

The 22-acre parcel now called Victory Woods, was donated to the park from Victory Mills Packaging in the 1970s, but could not be developed until 2005 when the park secured a management plan and necessary funding. Since then, the park moved ahead with archeological and landscape assessments, research, public workshops, design and construction plans. The park worked closely with the Prospect Hill Cemetery Association and the Village of Victory – two vital partners that provided access to link the site with the Saratoga Monument.

One of the most attention-grabbing findings during archeology work were artifacts found from indigenous peoples between 5,000 and 8,000 years ago, yet remains from the 1777 British occupation were lost to archeological looting over the years. The loss of this archeological record is significant, although archival documents from the period were extensively researched resulting in a series of exhibit panels that paint a vivid picture of the final days of the British Army in Victory Woods.

The event will kick off with comments by local officials, a ranger talk about the site’s dramatic history and ribbon cutting. Then participants will join park rangers for a walk along the 1-mile round-trip trail. A bus will be available to bring visitors with special mobility needs to the accessible boardwalk section of the trail. Both groups will meet there for a ribbon cutting of the accessible boardwalk trail section.

After June 5, the trail will be open daily from dawn to dusk and occasional ranger-guided walks will be scheduled throughout the summer. Soon, the trail will also link with the Champlain Canal Trail and other developing trails in the area. For more information, please contact the Visitor Center by calling 518-664-9821 ext. 224, or check the Park website at www.nps.gov/sara

Spend an Evening with General Johnny Burgoyne


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This Friday, September 18th the Friends of the Bennington Battle Monument will host an evening with Major General John Burgoyne who will give a humorous, rueful and accurate account of “what went wrong” in 1777. Burgoyne was sent to put an end to the rebellion in the colonies and secure the Lake Champlain and Hudson River corridor for England. His loss at the Battle of Bennington in August led to his ultimate defeat and surrender at Saratoga, the turning point in the American Revolution.

“Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne is portrayed by Howard Burnham, an English-born actor, author, educator and museum curator, touring the area on a journey to Saratoga and Fort Ticonderoga. Howard’s acclaimed one-man shows have played throughout England and have been on the BBC. His fully costumed dramatic monologues/lectures-in-character with Power Point last approximately 45-50 minutes. This is history with humor, a program that can be enjoyed by all ages.

The presentation, sponsored by the Friends of the Monument, will take place on September 18th at 7:30 p.m. in the Old First Church Barn on Monument Circle. It is free and open to the public, light refreshments will be served. For further information contact the Bennington Battle Monument at (802) 447-0550, information on Howard Burnham can be found on his website www.HowardBurnham.com.