American forces defeated the British near Saratoga, N.Y., in September and October, 1777, after which the French chose to enter the war on the side of the colonists. These battles are considered the turning point of the American Revolution, according to the National Park Service. British General John Burgoyne lost 86 percent of the expeditionary force he brought to the continent to quell the rebellion.
The Battles of Saratoga occurred as the British strategy was taking shape. Military leaders accepted a plan to divide colonials by marching in from Canada to the north and up from New Jersey to the south. Burgoyne came in from Canada with the hopes of isolating the New England colonies from the rest of the continent.
Burgoyne's troops entered New York state in June, 1777 and marched down the Hudson River towards Albany. The aim was to meet the southern force near New York City. By the time the British reached Saratoga, their fighting force was around 7,500 people, including Hessians, Native Americans and loyalists.
American General Horatio Gates met Burgoyne's army with 8,500 men on Sept. 19, 1777, and eventually defeated the British. Burgoyne surrendered Oct. 17, 1777. The French saw the American rout as the impetus for their country to support the colonial uprising.