Battle of BenningtonAugust 16, 1777By Kate Brennan

The Battle of Bennington was a battle of the American Revolutionary War that took place on August 16, 1777, in Walloomsac, New York.During the summer of 1777, the British put in motion an ambitious campaign designed to isolate New England from the rest of the colonies and thereby crush the American rebellion. For two months, General John Burgoyne advanced down the Hudson River valley from Canada toward Albany with the goal of splitting the rebellious American colonies in two. After winning victories at Fort Ticonderoga, Hubbardton, and Fort Ann, his advance began to slow due to treacherous terrain and harassment from American forces. In August, however, he found himself in desperate need of provisions, wagons, cattle, and horses. Running low on supplies, Burgoyne ordered Lt. Colonel Friedrich Baum to take 800 men to raid the American supply depot at Bennington, Vermont. Upon leaving Fort Miller, Baum believed there to be only 400 militia guarding Bennington.

While en route, Baum received intelligence that the garrison had been reinforced by 1,500 New Hampshire militiamen under the command of General John Stark. Outnumbered, Baum halted his advance at the Walloomsac River and requested additional troops from Fort Miller. In the meantime, his Hessian troops built a small redoubt on the heights overlooking the river. Seeing that he had Baum outnumbered, Stark began to reconnoiter the Hessian position on August 14 and 15. On the afternoon of the 16th, Stark moved his men into position to attack.
Realizing that Baum's men were spread thin, Stark ordered his men to envelop the enemy's line, while he assaulted the redoubt from the front. Moving to the attack, Stark's men were able to quickly route Baum's Loyalist and Native American troops, leaving only the Hessians in the redoubt. Fighting valiantly, the Hessians were able to hold their position until they ran low on powder. Desperate, they launched a saber charge in an attempt to break out. This was defeated with Baum mortally wounded in the process. Trapped by Stark's men, the remaining Hessians surrendered.
As Stark's men were processing their Hessian captives, Baum's reinforcements arrived. Seeing that the Americans were vulnerable, Lt. Colonel Heinrich von Breymann and his fresh troops immediately attacked. Stark quickly reformed his lines to meet the new threat. His situation was bolstered by the timely arrival of Colonel Seth Warner's Vermont militia, which aided in repulsing von Breymann's assault. Having blunted the Hessian attack, Stark and Warner counterattacked and drove von Breymann's men from the field.
battle_of_bennington_john_stark.jpgDuring the Battle of Bennington, the British and Hessians suffered 207 killed and 700 captured compared to only 40 killed and 30 wounded for the Americans.

At the Battle of Bennington, the British army and its Canadian, Indian, and Loyalist supporters faced Patriots defending their newly proclaimed independence. What might have seemed like a minor victory for the Patriots contributed to the British defeat in Saratoga a few months later and thus helped decide who would win the American War of Independence.

Maps of the Battle of Bennington

John Stark

John Stark was born in Londonderry, New Hampshire in 1728. In July 1777, Stark's home state offered him a commission as brigadier general of the New Hampshire militia. He accepted on the strict condition that he would not be answerable to Continental Army authority. Soon after receiving his commission, Stark assembled 1,492 militiamen in civilian clothes with personal firearms. Stark was allowed by Benjamin Lincoln, another general, to operate independently against the rear of General John Burgoyne's British army. As it happened, Burgoyne sent out an expedition under Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum to capture American supplies at Bennington, Vermont. Colonel Seth Warner also set out with his 350 men to reinforce Stark. Stark sent his troops to attack surrounding Indians, loyalists, and Canadians and led his remaining troops against Baum, saying, "We'll beat them before night or Molly Stark's a widow." Another version has Stark rallying his troops with, "These are your enemies, the Red Coats and the Tories. They are ours, or this night Molly Stark sleeps a widow!" Stark's actions contributed to the surrender of Burgoyne's northern army after the Battle of Saratoga by raising American morale, by keeping the British from getting supplies, and by subtracting several hundred men from the enemy order of battle. For his feat of capturing 374 of Baum's soldiers with only nine escaping, he earned his coveted promotion to brigadier general in the Continental Army on October 4, 1777.

John Burgoyne
John Burgoyne was born in Sutton, Bedfordshire in 1723. A month after the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, Burgoyne bought a commission in the 11th Dragoons. In 1758, he became captain and lieutenant-colonel in the Coldstream Guards. In the army, Burgoyne had been promoted to major-general. On the outbreak of the American War of Independence, 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 at Lexington and Concord. 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. In October of 1777, Burgoyne was given command of the British forces charged with gaining control of the Lake Champlain and the Hudson River valley. On October 17, 1777, Burgoyne surrendered his entire army, numbering 5,800, at the Battle of Saratoga. This was the greatest victory the colonists had gained yet, and it proved to be a turning point in the war.

The Battle of Bennington Parts I and II(By


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