Saratoga National Historical Park

Saratoga National Historical Park

It being off season, Saratoga National Battlefield Road was closed.
I accidentally walked four miles and I only got to see two points of interest.  
Neilson Farm
Freeman Farm Overlook
Neilson was a patriot.
Freeman was a loyalist.
I started at a park entrance by the Neilson House.
I saw a little red house at the top of a hill. 
Excited, I ran up to see it closer.
I wanted to see as much as I could before the sun went down. 
The winter solstice is near.
Lately the sun seems to be constantly setting. 
The clouds were moody with hues of blue. 
The air was crisp with hints of renewal.
I felt happy as I walked and pondered… 
how many people died here?
It was completely peaceful. 
I admit it was difficult to imagine anyone ever dying in the fields.
I saw ten deer and one hawk throughout my walk.
At one point I saw a marker and decided it was time to turn around. 

Apparently, I was so excited about the hawk… 

that I continued walking in the same direction. 
I had watched and followed the hawk for a short time.
About the time I thought I should be nearing where I first saw the hawk…
I saw a cannon off in the distance.
I was so confused.
How did I miss this the first time? 

I continued on…
Still thinking I had turned around…
and came upon an area with marvelous looking trees. 

Naked, the trees elegantly reached for the sky.

I noticed a little paved loop and… 
I was really confused.
I walked around and saw where the first battle took place.
I was at the Freeman Farm Overlook.

After reading all the plaques I took out my gps.
I never turned around at the marker as I had intended. 
I felt silly. 
I am directionally challenged. 
It’s comical at times. 

I headed back to where I had parked. 
Taking in all the beauty nature had to offer me.

Honestly, I didn’t feel like I got to see much of the park at all. 
I decided to go to the visitors center. 
It was an excellent choice. 
I learned so much from a volunteer ranger. 
He showed me a video explaining everything about the battle tactics involved and why the Americans won. 
The visitors center had a room full of artifacts complimenting an entire timeline of the revolutionary war. 

what intrigued me?
I learned that the bodies were buried where they lay.
Farming resumed on the fields after the war.
At one time, selling bones from the fallen soldiers was common place.
Every once in a while human remains are still found to this day.

I learned there is a trail in the park open year round called the Wilkinson Trail.
It’s a 4.2 mile hike that goes around the area the British Army had fortified.
Bemis Heights, where the Neilson Farm was located is the area the American Army had Fortified.

 ~1250 men died at the Battle of Saratoga.

I would definitely visit multiple times to explore and learn.

American Army Encampment.
Neilson House.
Neilson House on the right.
White marker posts show where a wooden wall once stood. Fortified lines on the battlefield.
View from Neilson Farm.
View from Neilson Farm.
View towards the Hudson River and Bemis Heights from Neilson Farm.
Field where I saw the hawk soaring.
Marker where I intended to turn around.
Cannon off in the distance.
Cannon up close.
Marvelous trees.
View from Freeman Farm Overlook.
There are three deer grazing on the right side of this photo.
View from Freeman Farm Overlook.
This is where the first battle took place.
One last look.
Neilson House is on the left.

And now a few random pictures from the visitors center.

I don’t know why but I found this surgical hacksaw fascinating.
I learned that often fighting would be physical. Hand to hand combat.
More weapons. 
I found these drawings and theories entertaining and wanted to share.
They were done by Johann Kaspar Lavater, 1792.

All information I learned from going to the park. It’s a nice way to learn history.

Stillwater, NY – December 19th 2014