In 1775, British Gen. John Burgoyne identified the Lake Champlain-Hudson River corridor, an historic gateway between Canada and the northern colonies of British North America, as the primary target for British military operations in North America. If the British army could control it from Canada to New York City, they could cut New England off from the rest of the colonies, secure the route for supplies and reinforcements from Canada, and strengthen Indian alliances, thereby crushing the rebellion quickly and decisively.
The plan called for a three prong attack into the heart of the colony with all three invading forces meeting in Albany. The first army, led by Gen. John Burgoyne, was to invade New York moving south from Canada through the Lake Champlain-Hudson River corridor to Albany. The second force, commanded by Gen. Barry St. Leger, was to move down Lake Ontario from Canada to Oswego, New York and hook eastward through the Mohawk Valley towards Albany. The third force, to be commanded by Gen. William Howe, was to move north up the Hudson River valley from New York City to Albany.
1. Identify the Lake Champlain-Hudson River corridor on Maps 1 and 2. Why did Burgoyne think it was so important to control this region? What was the ultimate goal of the Northern Campaign?
2. Who were the commanders of the British forces? Where did they plan to converge?
3. Locate and identify the lakes and the rivers along Burgoyne's and St. Leger's routes. Why do you think it would have been useful for the troops to follow these bodies of water?
4. Map 2 indicates the Northern Campaign not as it was planned, but as it actually unfolded. What can you learn about the course of the campaign by carefully studying Map 2?
* The map on this screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a larger version of Map 2, but be aware that the file may take as much as 45 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.