I have never been much of a history buff, although I used to like to watch those b&w film reels about the world wars, or the Cuban missile crisis in high school history class. Nowadays, I pick up “This Day in History” tidbits from Phil Bayly during the early morning news.
But this morning after I had breakfast with a friend in Schuylerville, curiosity and time on my hands led me to the Saratoga Monument just up the hill. I have driven past it several hundred times, but it took until today to actually drive in.
I walked around and took some pictures – because that’s what interests me – and the Twitter version of history was this: October 17, 1777, America’s victory over the British in the Battle of Saratoga was a major turning point in the Revolutionary War, paving the way to America’s independence.
Commemorating this victory is the Saratoga Monument, built high on a bluff on the ground that was British Lt. General John Burgoyne’s last camp before he surrendered in 1777. This site is actually eight miles north of the battlefield.
On the four sides of the 155 ft. tall obelisk are bronze statues of the 1777 Battle’s key American leaders:
- General Philip Schuyler faces East
- Colonel Daniel Morgan faces West
- General Horatio Gates faces North
- General Benedict Arnold would have faced South, but he was bitter about being passed over for a promotion, and so he switched sides in 1779 and was secretly negotiating with the British. The South niche remains empty.
I would have liked to climb the 188 steps to the viewing platform, but the monument is only open for visitation during the Summer months, Wednesday through Sunday, 9:30am to 4:45pm. It looks like I have reason to go back, and maybe I’ll be inspired to visit the battlefield as well?
For more information on Saratoga National Historical Park: