In 1758 he participated in several expeditions made against the "French coast, including the "Raid on Cherbourg. During this period he was instrumental in introducing "light cavalry into the "British Army. The two regiments then formed were commanded by "George Eliott (afterwards "Lord Heathfield) and Burgoyne. This was a revolutionary step, and Burgoyne was a pioneer in the early development of British light cavalry. Burgoyne admired independent thought amongst common soldiers, and encouraged his men to use their own initiative, in stark contrast to the established system employed at the time by the British army.
In 1761, he sat in parliament for "Midhurst, and in the following year he served as a "Brigadier-general in "Portugal which had just entered the war. Burgoyne won particular distinction by leading his cavalry in the capture of "Valencia de Alcántara and of "Vila Velha de Ródão following the "Battle of Valencia de Alcántara, compensating for the Portuguese "loss of Almeida. This played a major part in repulsing a large "Spanish force bent on invading Portugal.
In 1768, he was elected to the House of Commons for "Preston, and for the next few years he occupied himself chiefly with his parliamentary duties, in which he was remarkable for his general outspokenness and, in particular, for his attacks on "Lord Clive, who was at the time considered the nation's leading soldier. He achieved prominence in 1772 by demanding an investigation of the "East India Company alleging widespread corruption by its officials. At the same time, he devoted much attention to art and drama (his first play, "The Maid of the Oaks, was produced by "David Garrick in 1775).
Early American War of Independence
In the army he had been promoted to major-general. On the outbreak of the American war, he was appointed to a command, and arrived in Boston in May 1775, a few weeks after the first shots of the war had been fired. He participated as part of the garrison during the "Siege of Boston, although he did not see action at the "Battle of Bunker Hill, in which the "British forces were led by "William Howe and "Henry Clinton. Frustrated by the lack of opportunities, he returned to England long before the rest of the garrison, which evacuated the city in March 1776.
In 1776, he was at the head of the British reinforcements that sailed up the "Saint Lawrence River and relieved "Quebec City, which was under siege by the "Continental Army. He led forces under General "Guy Carleton in the drive that chased the Continental Army from the "province of Quebec. Carleton then led the British forces onto "Lake Champlain, but was, in Burgoyne's opinion, insufficiently bold when he failed to attempt the capture of "Fort Ticonderoga after winning the naval "Battle of Valcour Island in October.
The following year, having convinced King "George III and his government of Carleton's faults, Burgoyne was given command of the British forces charged with gaining control of Lake Champlain and the "Hudson River valley. The plan, largely of his own creation, was for Burgoyne and his force to cross Lake Champlain from Quebec and capture Ticonderoga before advancing on "Albany, New York, where they would rendezvous with another British army under General Howe coming north from "New York City, and a smaller force that would come down the "Mohawk River valley under "Barry St. Leger. This would divide "New England from the southern colonies, and, it was believed, make it easier to end the rebellion.
From the beginning Burgoyne was vastly overconfident. Leading what he believed was an overwhelming force, he saw the campaign largely as a stroll that would make him a national hero who had saved the rebel colonies for the crown. Before leaving London he had wagered "Charles James Fox ten pounds that he would return victorious within a year. He refused to heed more cautious voices, both "British and "American, that suggested a successful campaign using the route he proposed was impossible, as the failed attempt the previous year had shown.
Underlining the plan was the belief that Burgoyne's aggressive thrust from Quebec would be aided by the movements of two other large British forces under Generals Howe and Clinton who would support the advance. However, "Lord Germain's orders dispatched from London were not clear on this point, with the effect that Howe took no action to support Burgoyne, and Clinton moved from New York too late and in too little strength to be any great help to Burgoyne.
As a result of this miscommunication, Burgoyne ended up conducting the campaign single-handedly. He was not yet aware that he would not be gaining additional support, and was still reasonably confident of success. Having amassed an army of over 7,000 troops in Quebec, Burgoyne was also led to believe by reports that he could rely on the support of large numbers of "Native Americans and "American Loyalists who would rally to the flag once the British came south. Even if the countryside was not as pro-British as expected, much of the area between Lake Champlain and Albany was underpopulated anyway, and Burgoyne was sceptical any major enemy force could gather there.
The campaign was initially successful. Burgoyne "gained possession of the vital outposts of Fort Ticonderoga (for which he was made a lieutenant-general) and "Fort Edward, but, pushing on, decided to break his communications with Quebec, and was eventually hemmed in by a superior force led by American Major General "Horatio Gates. Several attempts to break through the enemy lines were repulsed at "Saratoga in September and October 1777. On 17 October 1777, Burgoyne surrendered his entire army, numbering 5,800. This was the greatest victory the colonists had yet gained, and it proved to be the turning point in the war.
Rather than an outright "unconditional surrender, Burgoyne had agreed to a Convention that involved his men surrendering their weapons, and returning to "Europe with a pledge not to return to "North America. Burgoyne had been most insistent on this point, even suggesting he would try to fight his way back to Quebec if it was not agreed. Soon afterwards the "Continental Congress, urged by "George Washington, repudiated the treaty and imprisoned the remnants of the army in "Massachusetts and "Virginia, where they were sometimes maltreated. This was widely seen as revenge for the poor British treatment of Continental prisoners.
Following Saratoga, the indignation in Britain against Burgoyne was great. He returned at once, with the leave of the American general, to defend his conduct and demanded but never obtained a trial. He was deprived of his regiment and the "governorship of Fort William in Scotland, which he had held since 1769. Following the defeat, "France recognised the "United States and entered the war on 6 February 1778, transforming it into a global conflict.
Although Burgoyne at the time was widely held to blame for the defeat, historians have over the years shifted responsibility for the disaster at Saratoga to "Lord Germain, the "Secretary of State for the Colonies. Germain had overseen the overall strategy for the campaign and had significantly neglected to order General Howe to support Burgoyne's invasion, instead leaving him to believe that he was free to launch his own attack on "Philadelphia.
Previously Burgoyne had been a "Tory-leaning supporter of the "North government but following his return from Saratoga he began to associate with the "Rockingham Whigs. In 1782 when his political friends came into office, Burgoyne was restored to his rank, given the colonelcy of the "King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster), made commander-in-chief in "Ireland and appointed a "privy councillor. After the fall of the "Rockingham government in 1783, Burgoyne withdrew more and more into private life. His last public service was his participation in the "Impeachment of Warren Hastings. He died quite unexpectedly on 4 August 1792 at his home in "Mayfair, after having been seen the previous night at the theatre in apparent good health. Burgoyne is buried in "Westminster Abbey, in the North Walk of the Cloisters.
After the death of his wife in 1776, Burgoyne had four children by his mistress Susan Caulfield; one was Field Marshal "John Fox Burgoyne, father of "Hugh Talbot Burgoyne, "VC.
In his time Burgoyne was a notable "playwright, writing a number of popular plays. The most notable were "The Maid of the Oaks  and "The Heiress (1786). He assisted "Richard Brinsley Sheridan in his production of "The Camp, which he may have co-authored. He also wrote the libretti for "William Jackson's only successful opera The Lord of the Manor (1780). He also wrote a translated "semi-opera version of "Michel-Jean Sedaine's work "Richard Coeur de lion with music by "Thomas Linley the elder for the "Drury Lane Theatre where it was very successful in 1788. Had it not been for his role in the American War of Independence, Burgoyne would most likely be foremost remembered today as a "dramatist.
- The Dramatic and Poetical Works of the Late Lieut. Gen. J. Burgoyne, London 1808. Facsimile ed., 2 vols. in 1, 1977, Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, "ISBN 978-0-8201-1285-5.
- "The Maid of the Oaks (1774, staged by "David Garrick with music by François Barthélemon)
- "The Camp (1778) possible collaboration with Sheridan
- "The Lord of the Manor (1780)
- "The Heiress (1786)
- "Richard Coeur de Lion (1786)
Burgoyne has often been portrayed by historians and commentators as a classic example of the marginally-competent aristocratic British general who acquired his rank through political connections rather than ability. Accounts of the lavish lifestyle he maintained on the Saratoga campaign, combined with a gentlemanly bearing and his career as a playwright led less-than-friendly contemporaries to caricature him, as historian George Billias writes, "a buffoon in uniform who bungled his assignments badly". Much of the historical record, Billias notes, is based upon these characterisations. Billias opines that Burgoyne was a ruthless and risk-taking general with a keen perception of his opponents, and also a perceptive social and political commentator.
Burgoyne has made appearances as a character in historical and "alternative history fiction. He appears as a character in "George Bernard Shaw's play "The Devil's Disciple and its "1959 and "1987 film adaptions, portrayed by "Laurence Olivier and "Ian Richardson respectively. Historical novels by "Chris Humphreys that are set during the Saratoga campaign also feature him, while alternate or mystical history versions of his campaign are featured in "For Want of a Nail by "Robert Sobel and the 1975 "CBS Radio Mystery Theater play "Windandingo".["citation needed]
- Edmund Morgan, The Birth of the Republic: 1763-1789 (1956) pp 82-83
- Mintz p.3-4
- Billias, p. 145
- Mintz p.4
- Mintz p.4-5
- Mintz p.6
- Mintz p.6-7
- Mintz p.7
- Harvey, A Few Bloody Noses (2001) p209.
- * Doderer-Winkler, Melanie. chapter "The fête champêtre at Lord Stanley's ... Everybody agrees it was beyond any entertainment ever given in the Country - Ephemeral Works for Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby by Robert Adam, London, 1773 and The Oaks, Epsom, 1774", in: Magnificent Entertainments: Temporary Architecture for Georgian Festivals, London and New Haven, Yale University Press for The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2013, pp. 59-74
- Thomson p.120-121
- Olive Baldwin & Thelma Wilson. "John Burgoyne". In L. Root, Deane. "Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
- Billias, p. 143
- Billias, p. 142
- Billias, p. 144
- Billias, George Athan (1969). George Washington's Opponents. New York: William Morrow. "OCLC 11709.
- Mintz, Max M. John Burgoyne & Horatio Gates: The Generals of Saratoga. Yale University Press, 1990.
- O'Shaughnessy, Andrew Jackson. The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire (2014).
- Stephens, Henry Morse (1885–1900). "Burgoyne, John (1722-1792)". "Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Stokesbury, James. Burgoyne biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
- Thomson, Peter. The Cambridge Introduction to English Theatre, 1660-1900. Cambridge University Press, 2006.
- Doderer-Winkler, Melanie. "Magnificent Entertainments: Temporary Architecture for Georgian Festivals", London and New Haven, Yale University Press for The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2013, "ISBN 0300186428 and "ISBN 978-0300186420.
- Shaw, George Bernard. The Devil's Disciple
- F.J. Huddleston. Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne, Misadventures of an English General in the Revolution, Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1927; Garden City Publishers
- Humphreys, Chris. Jack Absolute, The Blooding of Jack Absolute, Absolute Honour.
- Watt, Gavin K. The British Campaign of 1777, Volume Two - The Burgoyne Expedition: Burgoyne's Native and Loyalist Auxiliaries, Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2013
|""||Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Burgoyne.|
- Burgoyne burial site at Westminster Abbey
- Ancestors of General John Burgoyne
- Map from a London Newspaper 1778
- Works by John Burgoyne at "Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about John Burgoyne at "Internet Archive
- Works by or about Gentleman Johnny at "Internet Archive
- "THE BEST OF BURGOYNE" -- excerpts from Gen. Sir John Burgoyne's stage-plays
- Article at Great Works of Western Art: Joshua Reynolds: Portrait of General John Burgoyne c1766
|"Parliament of Great Britain|
Sir John Peachey, Bt
|"Member of Parliament for "Midhurst
With: "William Hamilton 1761–1765
"Bamber Gascoyne 1765–1768
"Hon. Charles James Fox
"Sir Peter Leicester, Bt
Sir Frank Standish, Bt
|"Member of Parliament for "Preston
With: Sir Henry Hoghton, Bt
Sir Henry Hoghton, Bt
William Cunliffe Shawe
|"Governor of Fort William
"Hon. John Vaughan
"Sir John Irwin
"Sir William Augustus Pitt
|Colonel of the "4th (The King's Own) Regiment of Foot