One of the most pivotal battles of the American Revolution was the Battle of Saratoga. Not only was the outcome of this battle the deciding factor for France’s entry into the war on the side of the Americans, but it was a battle that wouldn’t have been won without the creative ingenuity of General Benedict Arnold. It was during the storming of the redoubts that Arnold suffered a leg injury that would keep him out of commission for a while before he switched sides.
Saratoga is one of those places that are so close by, yet I haven’t had the chance to get there – I am hoping to rectify that soon. In the meantime, I wanted to take you on a little virtual tour of Saratoga, should you decide to go, or if you don’t you can at least get a taste of it.
Saratoga encompasses four separate places to visit – the Battlefield and Visitor Center, Schuyler House, Saratoga Monument, and Victory Woods. The Battlefield, Visitor Center, and Victory Woods are open year round, while the Monument and Schuyler House are open regularly from Memorial to Labor Day and then a little more sporadically after that. You can check out hours of operations here and directions to the park here.
You will first stop at the Visitor Center to get some introductory information, pay your entrance fee, and visit the gift shop. The Battlefield offers a self-guided tour with optional audio tie in. A full tour with time to stop at each monument takes about 1.5-2 hours. One of the stops on the tour (#7) not to be missed is the “boot monument” which is an unlabeled memorial to Benedict Arnold’s accomplishments at the Battle of Saratoga. However the monument’s inscription could allude to no-one else “In memory of the most brilliant soldier of the Continental army, who was desperately wounded on this spot, winning for his countrymen the decisive battle of the American Revolution, and for himself the rank of Major General”.
You can take a Virtual Tour of the Battlefield here.
The second stop of the four is Schuyler House. Schuyler House is the home of American General Philip Schuyler. There is a free guided tour provided here which is about 45 minutes in length.
The Saratoga Monument commemorates the generals of the American side of the Battle. There are 4 niches on the monument, one for General Gates, General Schuyler, General Morgan, and an empty niche that would have been for General Arnold. There is a guided ranger tour provided at the Monument. Plan to spend about 30 minutes at the monument.
You can take a Virtual Tour of the Monument here.
From the Monument you should head off to the Victory Woods. Victory Woods is the site of the last encampment of General John Burgoyne before he surrendered to the Americans. You can reach the Woods with a 15 minute walk from the Monument. There is a ½ mile interpretive trail through the woods detailing what happened there.
Now you are totally prepared for your trip to one of the foremost sites of the American Revolution! Hope you enjoyed this brief introduction.
A couple last notes:
- Pack a lunch in you plan on being there all day – there don’t appear to be any food stands from what I have read.
- Entrance fee is $5.00 per car
- You can access the park map here
- There are different events held here throughout the year – check out this handy calendar of events
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