John Burgoyne

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John Burgoyne (1722-92), a British aristocrat, was a mildly accomplished dilettante, soldier, politician, playwright, and archetypal 18th-century member of the aristocracy. After an illustrious career in European wars he was a senior general. During the American Revolution he had an ingenious plan to invade New York from Canada in 1777, cutting off rebellious New England from the rest of the United States. His 9,400 troops consisted of 4,700 British regulars, 4,200 "Hessians" (German soldiers hired by King George III, and 600 to 700 Canadians, Tories, and Indians. They were slow in moving and were surrounded by a much larger American army, comprised mostly of militia. Burgoyne's surrender at the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777, was a humiliating defeat for the British and encouraged the French to openly form a military alliance with the United States. After his surrender to Horatio Gates, Burgoyne made it back to London in time for the theatre season. The enlisted men became prisoners who worked on American farms for the rest of the war.

Further reading

  • Hargrove, Richard J. General John Burgoyne. (1983). 294 pp.
  • Mintz, Max M. The Generals of Saratoga: John Burgoyne and Horatio Gates (1990)
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