May 112022
 

On Line Meeting (7:00pm Zoom opens) (7:30pm Lecture begins)

In the late summer and fall of 1777, after two years of indecisive fighting on both sides, the outcome of the American War of Independence hung in the balance. Having successfully expelled the Americans from Canada in 1776, the British were determined to end the rebellion the following year and devised what they believed a war-winning strategy, sending General John Burgoyne south to rout the Americans and take Albany. When British forces captured Fort Ticonderoga with unexpected ease in July of 1777, it looked as if it were a matter of time before they would break the rebellion in the North. Less than three and a half months later, however, a combination of the Continental Army and militia forces, commanded by Major General Horatio Gates and inspired by the heroics of Benedict Arnold, forced Burgoyne to surrender his entire army. The American victory stunned the world and changed the course of the war. In the end, British plans were undone by a combination of faulty strategy, distance, geography, logistics, and an underestimation of American leadership and fighting ability. Taking Ticonderoga had misled Burgoyne and his army into thinking victory was assured. The campaign’s outcome forced the British to rethink their strategy, inflamed public opinion in England against the war, boosted Patriot morale, and, perhaps most critical of all, led directly to the Franco-American alliance. Weddle unravels the web of contingencies and the play of personalities that ultimately led to what one American general called “the Compleat Victory.”

Kevin J. Weddle offers the most authoritative history of the Battle of Saratoga to date, explaining with verve and clarity why events unfolded the way they did. In the end, British plans were undone by a combination of distance, geography, logistics, and an underestimation of American leadership and fighting ability. Taking Ticonderoga had misled Burgoyne and his army into thinking victory was assured. Saratoga, which began as a British foraging expedition, turned into a rout. The outcome forced the British to rethink their strategy, inflamed public opinion in England against the war, boosted Patriot morale, and, perhaps most critical of all, led directly to the Franco-American alliance. Weddle unravels the web of contingencies and the play of personalities that ultimately led to what one American general called “the Compleat Victory.”

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0195331400

 

ABOUT Kevin J Weddle:

Colonel (Retired) Kevin J. Weddle, Ph.D. is Professor of Military Theory and Strategy at the US Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. He is a native Minnesotan, graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and served 29 years as a combat engineer officer. Throughout his career he worked in a variety of command and staff positions in the United States and overseas and he is a veteran of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Colonel Weddle’s assignments included service as a platoon leader, assistant battalion operations officer, company executive officer, company commander and tours of duty at West Point, Germany, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Pentagon. He also served as operations officer for the 555th Combat Engineer Group, battalion commander of the 299th Engineer Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, and was selected for brigade command before joining the US Army War College faculty. At the War College he was the director of the Advanced Strategic Art Program, served as the Deputy Dean of Academics, and held the General Maxwell D. Taylor Chair in the Profession of Arms. He has also earned the Army War College’s Excellence-in-Teaching Award.

He has led numerous military and civilian groups to battlefields in the United States, Europe, and the Mediterranean, including Gettysburg, Antietam, Grant’s Overland Campaign, Vicksburg, Saratoga, Normandy, Dunkirk, Ypres, Agincourt, Waterloo, the Somme, Gallipoli, Sicily, and Anzio.

Colonel Weddle holds masters degrees in history and civil engineering from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in history from Princeton University. He has written numerous articles for popular and scholarly journals and his first book, Lincoln’s Tragic Admiral: The Life of Samuel Francis Du Pont (University of Virginia Press, 2005), won the 2006 William E. Colby Award and the Army War College’s faculty writing award, and was runner up in the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Naval History Prize competition. He is currently writing a strategic history of the Saratoga campaign for the Oxford University Press. He is also a licensed professional engineer.

He is married to the former Jean Buechner of St. Paul, Minnesota and they have one daughter, Anne.

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