A British army of nearly 7,000 surrendered today to a combined force of American militia and Continental regulars. “The fortunes of war have made me your prisoner,” said British General John Burgoyne as he handed over his sword to his American counterpart, Horatio Gates.
News of the British defeat spread quickly through the colonies and fueled speculation that the French government would now seriously consider entering the conflict on the American side. For months, rumors have suggested that Louis XVI needed solid proof of the strength of the revolution before he would commit French military aid to the cause. The British defeat at Saratoga could very well buy that help.
The American militia had been fully alerted to Burgoyne's presence, and "were out in droves." By the time the two battles of Saratoga were fought. American forces led by Gates and his able field general, Benedict Arnold, outnumbered Burgoyne’s army by nearly 2 to 1.
In Paris, it can be assumed that the American ambassador, Benjamin Franklin, will act immediately and once again beg King Louis for French aid. If that assistance is forthcoming, it is certain that the war will continue and spread—by means of the ancient hostility between Britain and France—to the far reaches of the globe.
Source: Saratoga 1777
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