Burgoyne's Plan for Reconnaissance at Freeman's Farm
Burgoyne planned an advance in three columns, advancing as a center and two wings. He led the center column while Generals Fraser and von Riedesel led the right and left wings, respectively.
General Fraser's advance corps consisted mainly of light infantry and grenadier units, and their orders were to move west along the road from Sword's Farm until reaching a T-intersection with the road leading to Bemis Heights. At that point, they were to turn left and move southward to halt upon the high ground located approximately 1/2 mile west of Freeman's Farm. From there Fraser should be able to dominate the American fortifications with his artillery. The plan was that Fraser's light infantry would assault the American position while the artillery supported his maneuver from high ground. The goal was for Fraser to be able to force the Americans back to the river and then envelop their rear.
General von Riedesel was responsible for the left flank and also for providing security for the baggage train. His advance was to be in two columns. One column, comprised of the baggage train, pioneers, and some infantry for security, would move along the road west of the Hudson River. The 2nd column would march overland between the road and the hills to the west. This second column would also secure the high ground to the west whenever the pioneers were required to halt and rebuild bridges. Riedesel's mission was to move south along the river road and attack the American right flank.
Burgoyne would advance with General Hamilton in the center column first along the same west road used by Fraser. Approximately 1 mile west of Sword's Farm, this column would turn to head south along another road which headed west to cross the bottom of the Great Ravine towards Freeman's Farm. The mission of this column was to attack the American center.
The general composition of each of the three columns is outlined below:
|Burgoyne's Reconnaissance Forces|
|LEFT WING (German)||CENTER (British)||RIGHT WING (British)|
|Major General von Riedesel||Brigadier General Hamilton
|Brigadier General Fraser|
3 Brunswick Infantry Regiments
6 companies of 47th foot
|BN Companies of
9th, 20th, 21st, 62nd foot
|Light Inf and Grenadier companies of 10 British regiments
Battalion companies of 24th foot
Breymann's Brunswick riflemen
50 Indians, 150 Tories, 80 Canadians, and 50 British marksmen
|1,100 men||1,100 men||Approx. 1,800 men|
|Artillery||22 Cannon : 13 six-pounders and 9 three-pounders|
Numbers are approximations based upon the historical research of COL John R. Elting. His figures are published in The Battles of Saratoga.
See Unit Definitions for rough estimates of unit sizes.