On this date in 1777, British General John Burgoyne surrendered to American General Horatio Gates around Saratoga, New York. This victory solidified French support for the fledgling American nation and became one of the turning points in the road to independence.
Out of this momentous occasion came an anecdote about the British general officer. The short story has some truth in it, yet, whether the entire tale is accurate, well, I’ll leave that for you to decide!
Two years prior to the Battles of Saratoga and upon arriving in Boston, Massachusetts, General Burgoyne remarked “Well, let us get in, and we’ll soon find elbow-room” when he was told the numbers of militia besieging British regulars around the town.
After his capitulation, Burgoyne and his forces were marched toward Albany, New York, and multitudes of people turned out to see the vanquished British and German soldiery along the route. One resident supposedly yelled from her homestead doorway;
“Make elbow room for General Burgoyne.”
Not what he had envisioned in 1775 upon disembarking in North America. Yet, history does not relate what “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne thought exactly about the elbow room he received in the countryside of upstate New York!*
*“Gentleman Johnny” was a nickname acquired by Burgoyne was stationed in London with the Horse Guards, a fashionable cavalry regiment.”
**Information gathered from A.J. Langguth’s “Patriots” and The Patriot Resource, which can be found here.