Continuing this week’s Revolutionary War era theme, all across upstate New York (as well as New York City and Long Island) can be found many historical sites and battlefields. Even the Battle of Bennington (Vermont) was fought across the border in a town of New York.
On a recent drive through the Saratoga/Schuylerville area, my family and I saw an obelisk in the distance. We drove towards it and discovered the Saratoga Monument for the first time. It was under some renovations but we were still allowed in and around it and the family climbed up as far as they could go. For my own bragging rights, I did climb to the second level, which considering my knee and the open stairs that fed my fear of heights was a pretty good feat.
There are four niches, one on each side of the monument, each containing one statue except one. The space reserved for General Benedict Arnold (facing the south) has been left empty. While he was ultimately a traitor to the American cause, he was an important part of the victory at the Battle of Saratoga, so he’s both commemorated and vilified simultaneously. War is nothing if not complicated.
The other three statues are:
Facing North: General Horatio Gates, who Burgoyne surrendered his British forces to. Historians commonly call this battle/victory the “turning point of the American Revolution.”
Facing East: General Phillip Schuyler, who had a country estate a few miles south of this location that the British destroyed.
Facing West: Colonel Daniel Morgan, who had a farm nearby.
You can follow the virtual tour online, but it works just as well if you read the information as you’re visiting the monument itself.
The Monument is located in the small town of Victory, likely named for the battle victory here as well as sitting on the battlefield which is part of the Saratoga National HIstoric Park. There are driving, biking, and walking tours available of the battlefield and park.
The Battlefield Road Tour begins at the Visitor Center. There is an entrance fee that may be paid here. There is also a mobile app that worked beautifully on my Kindle describing all of the stops on the driving tour. I’m looking forward to actually following it in real time later this summer. If you don’t have a tablet or smartphone, there is also a cell phone or mp3 tour available. The cell phone can be accessed by calling 518-665-8185. For the mp3, download the mp3 files to your device.
Explore the National Parks website for other areas to visit in the Park including the battlefield, Wilkinson Trail, Victory path, and the sites on the driving tour.
Check out more National Parks across the country as they celebrate 100 years of the national park system.