Last updated: November 26, 2022
Accessible Sites, Cellular Signal, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Information, Parking - Auto, Picnic Table, Trailhead, Wheelchair Accessible
Grounds open daily to pedestrian use during daylight hours
Please note: trail is not maintained during the winter
These 22 acres mark the final encampment site for the British Army under General Burgoyne prior to their October 17, 1777 surrender to American forces. The trail is self-guided and offers a raised, accessible 1/2-mile pathway with interpretive signs.
"All things in this camp became sadder and sadder for us. Our poor sick and wounded crept around … to look for safe places … for compassionate surgeons who could dress their wounds or provide them with medicines…Loyal [Americans] walked around sadly bemoaning either the fate of their families...or their own if they should fall into the hands of their enemies. The horses began to die for lack of forage or they became living skeletons."
- Brigadier Johann Friedrich Specht, 13 October 1777
In 1777, the British planned to crush American resistance in the Revolutionary War by marching an army south from Canada to Albany, NY, sweeping all opposition in their path. They almost succeeded, but were stopped in the Battles of Saratoga just 7 miles south of Victory Woods. Beaten in battle, the British hoped to escape back to Canada with the remnants of their army.
Retreating north to this area (present-day villages of Victory and Schuylerville), they halted and built defenses for protection against the pursuing American army. Surrounded, starved, exhausted, and outnumbered 3 to 1, the British surrendered on October 17, 1777.
Here, in Victory Woods, is where the largest part of that army made its last stand. For one week British and loyalist American men, women, and children suffered helplessly in the filth of cold mud, excrement, and dead animals. They had little to eat and no hope of getting home.
The American victory at Saratoga was not an ordinary one—it completely changed the nature of the Revolutionary War in favor of the United States, which finally won its fight for independence in 1783.
It was in Victory Woods that British misery and depression turned into American victory and success.
Although the retreating British army was here for only one week, these grounds should have been a treasure-trove of Revolutionary War artifacts. Yet, archaeologists working in 2005 found nothing left behind from the 2,500 British and loyalist Americans who were stationed here.
Sadly, over the years, Victory Woods has been subjected to illegal ‘relic-hunting.’ This collecting of artifacts has robbed us all of information which contributes to our American Heritage. The scientific archaeological investigation here was severely compromised as a result of this looting activity.
Exploring Victory Woods
To explore Victory Woods, park at Saratoga Monument (handicapped parking available at the end of Monument Dr.) Signs will direct you to the nearby Victory Woods trailhead.
White dots mark the trail as it extends south through Prospect Hill Cemetery, a private cemetery founded in the mid 1800s.
As the trail exits the cemetery, it leads downhill to the Victory Woods boardwalk. An additional trail extends south from the boardwalk which provides additional information about the perilous final days suffered by British forces in Victory Woods.