London and educated at Westminster School, John Burgoyne was
15 years old when he entered the military. Burgoyne saw active
foreign service during the Seven Years' War and won an important
British victory in Portugal in 1762. During the ensuing years
he became increasingly involved in social and political life.
Promoted to major general in 1772, Burgoyne sailed to America
as a reinforcement to General Gage in 1775, arriving in time
to learn of the battles at Concord and Lexington. He witnessed
the Battle of Bunker Hill, but frustrated at his lack of authority,
he went home to England soon thereafter. Burgoyne returned
to North America in 1776 as second-in-command to Guy Carleton
in Canada, but he again left the army in frustration. In 1777
Burgoyne received command of a large army in Canada and led
an invasion of New York designed to isolate New England from
the rest of the colonies. The campaign ended with Burgoyne's
defeat at Saratoga. Returning to England while his army marched
into captivity, he met with considerable criticism and retired
from active service.
Garraty, John A. and Mark C. Carnes, eds. American National
Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Leslie and Sidney Lee, eds. The Dictionary of National
Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1921-1922.