Facts and Events
John Burgoyne (24 February 1722 – 4 August 1792) was a British army officer, politician and dramatist. He first saw action during the Seven Years' War when he participated in several battles, mostly notably during the Portugal Campaign of 1762.
Burgoyne is best known for his role in the American War of Independence. During the Saratoga campaign he surrendered his army of about 6,000 men to the American troops on October 17, 1777. Appointed to command a force designated to capture Albany and end the rebellion, Burgoyne advanced from Canada but soon found himself surrounded and outnumbered. He fought two battles at Saratoga, but was forced to open negotiations with Horatio Gates. Although he agreed to a convention, on 17 October 1777, which would allow his troops to return home, this was subsequently revoked by the Second Continental Congress, and his men were made prisoners of war. Burgoyne faced criticism when he returned to Britain, and never held another active command.
Burgoyne was also an accomplished playwright known for his works such as The Maid of the Oaks and The Heiress, but his plays never reached the fame of his military career. He served as a member of the House of Commons of Parliament for a number of years, sitting for the seats of Midhurst and Preston. He is often referred to as Gentleman Johnny.