Organization of General Gates' Forces

General Gates established fortifications at Bemis Heights upon the arrival of his army on 12 September 1777. The position occupied a plateau which dominated the Hudson River passing to the east and blocked the way to Albany. Dense woodlands surrounded the bluffs of Bemis Heights, favoring the guerrilla-style fighting tactics that the Americans favored.

The entrenchments were south of Mill Creek along the top of the plateau. The basic structure of the fieldworks was a square with the south side left open, and the fieldworks encompassed Nielson's Farm. The owner was a supporter of the patriot cause, and the breastworks in the northeast corner surrounding the barn were named Fort Nielson.

Each side of the fortifications were approximately three quarters of a mile in length, and an artillery redoubt was built at the center of each of the three walls.

Like Burgoyne, Gates decided to organize his units in three wings. However, due to the development of the battle, the organization of the units played a small role at Freeman's Farm.

Gates' Bemis Heights Forces
LEFT WING CENTER RIGHT WING
Commander -
Major General Benedict Arnold
Commander -
Brigadier General Ebenezer Learned
Commander -
Major General Horatio Gates
COL Morgan Elite Light Infantry Corps
COL Morgan - Morgan's Rifle Corps
MAJ Dearborn - Light Infantry Corps

Poor Continental Brigade
COL Cilley - 1st NH Cont'l Reg
LTC Adams* - 2nd NH Cont'l Reg
COL Scammel - 3rd NH Cont'l Reg
COL Van Cortlandt - 2nd NY militia
COL Livingston - 4th NY militia
COL Cook - CT militia
COL Latimore - CT militia

Learned Continental Brigade
COL Bailey - 2nd MA Cont'l Reg
LTC Brooks* - 8th MA Cont'l Reg
COL Wesson - 9th MA Cont'l Reg
COL Livingston - 1st Canadian NY militia
Glover Continental Brigade
COL Vose - 1st MA Cont'l Reg
COL Shepard - 4th MA Cont'l Reg
COL Wigglesworth - 13th MA Cont'l Reg
(unknown) - 15th MA Cont'l Reg
COL Wemple - 2nd Albany NY militia
COL Whiting - 17th Albany NY militia
COL Graham - Dutchess/Ulster NY militia

Nixon Continental Brigade
COL Greaton - 3rd MA Cont'l Reg
COL Putnam - 5th MA Cont'l Reg
COL Nixon - 6th MA Cont'l Reg
COL Alden - 7th MA Cont'l Reg

Patterson Continental Brigade
COL Marshall - 10th MA Cont'l Reg
COL Tupper* - 11th MA Cont'l Reg
COL Brewer - 12th MA Cont'l Reg
COL Bradford - 14th MA Cont'l Reg

*COL Hale captured at Hubbardton *COL Jackson wounded *COL Francis killed at Hubbardton
Approximately 1,845 men Approximately 1,297 men Approximately 4,081 men
CAVALRY LT Seymour - 2nd Troop, 2nd Reg Cont'l Lt Dragoons
MAJ Hyde - 2nd Reg CT Light Horse Cavalry
Estimated Strength - 200 to 250 strong
ARTILLERY MAJ Stevens - Indep BN of Cont'l Artillery
22 cannon of various types
Estimated Strength - 400 strong
ARTIFICERS COL Baldwin - Approximately 140 Artificers
Force Total Estimated 7,963 men - 7,223 Infantry (6,751 Continental Infantry plus militia)

Numbers are approximations based upon the historical research of COL John R. Elting. His figures are published in The Battles of Saratoga.

For approximate figures on the size of Revolutionary War units, see British and Colonial Unit Definitions.

Battle of Saratoga Staff Ride

 
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