In the late summer and fall of 1777, after two years of indecisive fighting on both sides, the outcome of the American War of Independence hung in the balance. Having successfully expelled the Americans from Canada in 1776, the British were determined to end the rebellion the following year and devised what they believed a war-winning strategy, sending General John Burgoyne south to rout the Americans and take Albany. When British forces captured Fort Ticonderoga with unexpected ease in July of 1777, it looked as if it was a matter of time before they would break the rebellion in the North. Less than four months later, however, a combination of the Continental Army and Militia forces, commanded by Major General Horatio Gates and inspired by the heroics of Benedict Arnold, forced Burgoyne to surrender his entire army. The American victory stunned the world and changed the course of the war.
Kevin Weddle—a West Point graduate who served in the US Army for 28 years before retiring as a colonel—offers the most authoritative history of the Battle of Saratoga to date, explaining with verve and clarity why events unfolded the way they did. In the end, British plans were undone by a combination of distance, geography, logistics, and an underestimation of American leadership and fighting ability. Taking Ticonderoga had misled Burgoyne and his army into thinking victory was assured. Saratoga, which began as a British foraging expedition, turned into a rout. The outcome forced the British to rethink their strategy, inflamed public opinion in England against the war, boosted Patriot morale, and, perhaps most critical of all, led directly to the Franco-American alliance.
The Compleat Victory: Saratoga and the American Revolution will be released on March 26, 2021.
About the Author
Kevin Weddle is Professor of Military Theory and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and served over 28 years as a combat engineer officer.
Colonel Weddle holds master’s degrees in history and civil engineering from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in history from Princeton University. He has written numerous articles for popular and scholarly journals and his first book, Lincoln’s Tragic Admiral: The Life of Samuel Francis Du Pont (University of Virginia Press, 2005), won the 2006 William E. Colby Award, was runner up in the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Naval History Prize competition, and won the Army War College’s faculty writing award. He served appeared as an on-air expert in the widely acclaimed History Channel documentary “Washington” in 2020. In 2020 he was awarded the first U.S. Army War College Excellence in Public Scholarship award. Colonel Weddle has also twice won the Army War College Excellence in Teaching award and is a licensed professional civil engineer.