The War for the North
The Genesis and Climax of the Saratoga
William Howe's offensive against New York and New Jersey during 1776 was expected to play the dominant role in forcing the rebellious colonists to submit to imperial rule. However, this campaign had been designed in Whitehall as part of a two pronged advance that would not only secure New York City as a major base, but also effectively split the New England provinces from the rest of the rebel alliance. The British attempt to coordinate parallel campaigns against the American rebels would not only demonstrate the ineptitude of the ministry in exercising control over imperial military resources, but would ultimately result in the loss of an entire field army in one of the most decisive turning points of the entire revolution.
The sequence of events that entered a climax with the surrender of 7000 British and German soldiers at Saratoga, New York had its genesis in an aborted American offensive initiated almost two years earlier. During the autumn of 1775 George Washington and a number of congressional leaders developed an increasing interest in the potential political and military benefits of adding the province of Canada to the thirteen colonies already in conflict with the British ministry. Eventually two American expeditionary forces were raised and equipped to invade Canada from different directions. While a New York based column under General Richard Montgomery marched from Fort Ticonderoga up Lake Champlain and on to the St. Lawrence River, a contingent of New England volunteers under Colonel Benedict Arnold followed the far more treacherous route up the Kennebec River toward the Chaudiere Valley near Quebec. The Americans were convinced that the Canadian governor, Sir Guy Carleton, could not effectively cover two invasion routes with less than 1000 available regulars and