The battles of Saratoga marked a turning point in the American War of Independence. More of a mini-campaign than single battle, Saratoga was actually two major battles, with multiple skirmishes in between. The two main battles were fought 18 days apart on the same ground near Saratoga, New York.
British general John Burgoyne was attempting to drive down from Canada through the heart of New York in an effort to cut the colonies in two. The campaign started out well for Burgoyne. On September 19, 1777 he defeated American forces under Horatio Gates at the Battle of Freeman's Farm. This engagement is also considered the first Battle of Saratoga.
Not only did Saratoga prevent the British from cutting the colonies in two, it encouraged the French to enter the war on the side of the Americans. The War of American Independence turned decidedly in the favor of the Americans. The battlefield is preserved as Saratoga National Historic Park.