Virtual Tour Stop 3

Perched on Bemis Heights, two cannons on red field carriages overlook a misty Hudson River Valley.
Posted on Bemis Heights, two cannons on red field carriages overlook a misty Hudson River Valley.

Saratoga National Historical Park

 

Bemis Heights

So scenic a view, so martial a purpose. Here, on the ridge called Bemis Heights, American soldiers constructed formidable defenses to establish a choke-hold on the Hudson River Valley and prevent the further progress of the southward-invading British Army.

 
Map showing American positions from Bemis Heights to the east (far right) inland along a ridge known as "The Heights" (far left).
Map of American positions from Bemis Heights to the east (right) inland along a ridge known as "The Heights" (left).  The Hudson River is visible to the far right.

Saratoga National Historical Park

 

American cannon positions on Bemis Heights could hit the Hudson River and the flood plain. Fortified lines on the flood plain controlled the river road. Rough terrain on the east side of the river prevented the British from moving that way. And the "L" shaped fortified line stretching to the west and then to the south protected the American camp.

The combined American use of terrain and defensive structures forced the British to move inland to the west -a move that precipitated the Battles of Saratoga.

 
A cannon on Bemis Heights peers through an imposing fortified wooden wall, looking down on the Hudson River Valley.
Cannon on Bemis Heights overlooks the Hudson River Valley.

Saratoga National Historical Park

This is essentially the view American soldiers on top of Bemis Heights had overlooking the Hudson River Valley. Any British forces in the valley or on the river would be easy targets.
 
Uphill view of American River Fortifications on Bemis Heights.
Image-enhanced uphill view of American River Fortifications at Bemis Heights.

Saratoga National Historical Park

Had the British ever made it this far south, this is part of the view they would have faced: multiple American cannon positioned behind formidable wooden defenses and trained on the valley below.
 

Last updated: February 26, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

648 Route 32
Stillwater, NY 12170

Phone:

(518) 670-2985
Saratoga National Historical Park information desk available daily from 9am - 5pm

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