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Did You Know About These Notable Firsts?

  • First Allies

    America’s first allies, the Oneida – of the Iroquois nation – served with and supported the American cause at the Battle of Oriskany, the Siege of Fort Stanwix, the Battles of Saratoga, and at Valley Forge.

  • First Time American Army Possessed Numerical Superiority

    The Battles of Saratoga marked the first time in the Revolutionary War that the American Army possessed overwhelming numerical superiority on the field of battle against the British.

  • First Major Strategic Victory

    The victory at Saratoga was the America Army’s first major victory of the war. It also proved to be the decisive turning point of the 8-year conflict as this strategic development is the singular reason that the French decided to forge a direct military alliance with the United States in order to defeat England, their common enemy.

  • First Time British Army Forced to Surrender

    The American victory at Saratoga marked the first time in history that the British Army was forced to surrender on the field of battle (in more than a thousand years of fighting). The victory at Yorktown, four years later, would mark the second time.

  • First Diplomatic Triumph and First Foreign Treaties

    The victory at Saratoga enabled Benjamin Franklin to finally persuade the French crown that it should fully enter into a direct military alliance with the United States.

  • First American Thanksgiving

    Following the stunning victory at Saratoga, the Continental Congress called for a national day of solemn thanksgiving and praise which was observed by all 13 states on December 18, 1777. General George Washington also issued general orders for the entire American military to observe this occasion as well.

  • Diplomatic Recognition

    Following General Burgoyne’s surrender on October 17, the Kingdom of Morocco became the first country in the world to officially recognize the independence of the United States on December 20, 1777; however, the French foreign minister, Charles Gravier, count de Vergennes, officially acknowledged the U.S. as an independent nation on December 17. France later codified this recognition on February 6, 1778, with the signing of two treaties in Paris. The Netherlands recognized the U.S. in 1782 with Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Venice, and Great Britain following suit in 1783.

  • First Major American Victory Where New U.S. Flag may have been Present

    On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The national flag, which became known as the “Stars and Stripes,” was based on the “Grand Union” flag (a banner carried by the Continental Army in 1776 that consisted of 13 red and white stripes). It is believed that Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross designed the new canton for this flag, which consisted of a circle of 13 white stars and a blue background. There is no confirmation that the new American flag was present during Burgoyne’s surrender on October 17, 1777 (such was indeed used as early as September 3, 1777 at the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge also known as the Battle of Iron Hill in Newark, Delaware).

  • Integrated Ranks: Better Angels of Our Nature

    At the Battles of Saratoga, American soldiers fought side by side regardless of color or ethnicity or social standing.

  • Enslaved Americans Fought for Liberty and Freedom

    More than 400 free and enslaved African Americans fought in the American Army at Saratoga.

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