In the autumn of 1777, near Saratoga, New York, an inexperienced and improvised American army led by General Horatio Gates faced off against the highly trained British and German forces led by General John Burgoyne.
The British strategy in confronting the Americans in upstate New York was to separate rebellious New England from the other colonies. Despite inferior organization and training, the Americans exploited access to fresh reinforcements of men and materiel, and ultimately handed the British a stunning defeat. The American victory, for the first time in the war, confirmed that independence from Great Britain was all but inevitable.
Dean Snow is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Penn State University and past president of the Society for American Archaeology. His previous books include Archaeology of Native North America and The Iroquois. His new book is 1777: Tipping Point at Saratoga.