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  • 102. Wilkinson Trail -- Station B

    A trail marker post labeled Station B, Wilkinson Trail.

    Track 3: Station B 

    The year 1777 in America was a time of great conflict. Many people faced difficult decisions with no easy answers but potentially severe and even deadly consequences.

    If you lived here in the 1770s, would you be a Loyalist or Tory, terms for individuals loyal to the established government of Great Britain? Would you be a Rebel or Whig, terms for Americans wanting personal freedom and a country that could make its own decisions regarding government, trade, taxes and laws for its people? Or would you try to remain neutral? It must have been a difficult decision for many of those early Americans...a wrong decision could result in being jailed, losing friends, neighbors, job, home, and even family members. 

    Just as politics can divide nations today, in the late 1700s there were a variety of viewpoints, often influenced by economic status, race, religion, gender and age, which resulted not only in discord on the battlefield but also in the personal lives of those torn between conflicting loyalties within their families and communities. 

    The site you are on used to belong to John McBride during the 1770s. This family made the difficult decision to remain loyal to Great Britain and the King. Their neighbors, the Freemans, were also Loyalists. Would the McBrides and the Freemans ever have imagined their fields bearing fierce fighting between British soldiers and… fellow Americans? 

    Loyalists involved with the Battles of Saratoga served mainly in two regiments, the Kings Loyal Americans and the Queen's Loyal Rangers. Throughout the Battles of Saratoga, the British troops were divided into three columns, and these Loyalist units were part of the right column. 

    The road you are walking was used by the right hand column, furthest from the river, commanded by Brigadier General Simon Fraser. The Loyalist forces were positioned on the knolls behind this farm. The American Revolution truly was America's first civil war, pitting neighbor against neighbor and sometimes brother against brother. Always suspicious of one's fellow neighbors and friends, it was a trying time to be a local resident.  

    Who do you think of when you hear the term "redcoats?" What about Hessians? Native Warriors? They all played an important role here at Saratoga.  Keep hiking to find out who joined the British on the field of battle.