A nineteenth-century lithograph which depicts British General John Burgoyne’s formal surrender to American General Horatio Gates.

On October 17, 1777, British General John Burgoyne formally surrendered to American General Horatio Gates. This was a turning point in the American Revolution because it prevented the British from dividing New England from the rest of the colonies. After this victory was announced, the French formally entered the war on the side of the Americans by declaring war on the British in February 1778. Note that officers on both sides approach each other on horseback.