Miracle at Saratoga

 The founding fathers and mothers recognized the victory at Saratoga as a turning point in the Revolutionary War. They considered this miraculous victory as further evidence of Divine Providence.

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 One of the most important victories of the entire war was the famous Battle of Saratoga in October 1777.  This battle was pivotal to the success of the revolution. The British strategy was to drive a wedge between New England and the southern colonies.  A British victory at Saratoga would have cut the colonies in half.

 The Americans lost the first skirmish.  Commanding General Gates wanted to go on the defensive. He decided that the best strategy was to hunker down and wait for the British to attack. 

 American General Benedict Arnold disagreed. He wanted to go on the offensive.  He wanted to take the fight to the Brits. “The best defense is a good offense.”

 In front of the troops, General Benedict Arnold got into a shouting match with his commander. General Gates demoted General Arnold on the spot. Gates relieved him of his command and ordered him confined to his tent. Benedict Arnold was placed under “tent arrest.”

 When the second battle started, Benedict Arnold heard the shouts and screams of the wounded American soldiers.  It sounded as if they were getting slaughtered. They were facing certain defeat.

Incredibly, disobeying direct orders, and risking court martial and execution, General Arnold stormed out of his tent, mounted his horse, and raced to the front. The Americans were floundering.  General Arnold led a mutiny against General Gates and took command. He rallied the troops and led them to a miraculous victory over the British. British General Burgoyne was forced to surrender.

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During the battle, Benedict Arnold was shot. The bullet passed through his left leg and into his horse. The horse collapsed, pinning General Arnold to the ground and shattering his wounded leg. General Arnold ended up in excruciating pain. His injured leg healed badly, leaving his left leg two inches shorter than his right. He suffered chronic pain and walked with a limp thereafter.

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Because of Benedict Arnold’s mutiny, and the miraculous victory at Saratoga, the British strategy of separating the colonies failed. This marked a tipping point in the war.  This was the first major American victory.

 Because of the victory at Saratoga, Benjamin Franklin was finally able to convince the King of France that the Americans had a chance of defeating the British superpower.  So, after extensive efforts by Ben Franklin, at long last, France sent Lafayette with 6,000 troops to fight for America. “The rest is history.”

A large stone monument dedicated to Benedict Arnold and the victory at Saratoga was erected. It has a relief of a leg in a boot and stirrup in recognition of General Arnold’s heroism and sacrifice. While the monument recognizes Benedict Arnold as a great American war hero, the monument conspicuously, does not contain his name.

(Sources: “Battles of Saratoga,” Wikipedia.  Personal research for speeches on the “Divine Birth of the American Nation;” “The Battle of Saratoga,” http://www.ushistory.org; “The Battle of Saratoga – A Major Turning Point of the Revolutionary War,” http://www.saratoga.com.)

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