"A Change of both Men and Measures: British Reaction to Saratoga, 1777-78," Kevin Weddle
Our March 21 speaker was Kevin J. Weddle, PhD, who is a retired Colonel of the U. S. Army. After a distinguished service in the Army, including Desert Shield and Desert Storm, he now serves as professor of Military Theory and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Weddell has published a book titled Lincoln’s Tragic Admiral: The Life of Samuel Francis Du Pont and is currently working on a strategic history of the Saratoga campaign.
Weddle’s topic was “A Change of Both Men and Measures: British Reaction to Saratoga, 1777-1778.” His talk dealt with the reassessment of British strategy following Saratoga which is considered the turning point of the American Revolution.
The national policy of the colonies was, of course, independence. The national policy of Britain was to suppress the rebellion and return to the status quo. Initially it was Britain’s plan to seek and execute a decisive battle and end the matter quickly. The Carlisle Peace Commission in 1778 offered an olive branch to the Americans and this authorized almost anything – short of independence. Of course, these terms were not acceptable to the Americans.
Dr. Weddell went into the history and details of the principal players in the Saratoga campaign. The campaign ended with Burgoyne’s surrender on 17 October 1777 with King George expressing a desire to end the war by 20 November. Still many British leaders thought that Saratoga was bad but that they could recover.
We eagerly await the publication of Dr. Kevin Weddle’s book on this subject.