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8/11/2017 6:48 am  #1

Battle of Bennington

Battle of Bennington

The Battle of Bennington was a battle of the American Revolutionary War, part of the Saratoga campaign, that took place on August 16, 1777, in Walloomsac, New York, about 10 miles (16 km) from its namesake Bennington, Vermont. A rebel force of 2,000 men, primarily composed of New Hampshire and Massachusetts militiamen, led by General John Stark, and reinforced by Vermont militiamen led by Colonel Seth Warner and members of the Green Mountain Boys, decisively defeated a detachment of General John Burgoyne's army led by Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum, and supported by additional men under Lieutenant Colonel Heinrich von Breymann.

Baum's detachment was a mixed force of 700 composed primarily of Hessians but also including small amounts of dismounted Brunswick dragoons, Canadians, Loyalists, and Indians.[7] He was sent by Burgoyne to raid Bennington in the disputed New Hampshire Grants area for horses, draft animals, provisions, and other supplies. Believing the town to be only lightly defended, Burgoyne and Baum were unaware that Stark and 1,500 militiamen were stationed there. After a rain-caused standoff, Stark's men enveloped Baum's position, taking many prisoners, and killing Baum. Reinforcements for both sides arrived as Stark and his men were mopping up, and the battle restarted, with Warner and Stark driving away Breymann's reinforcements with heavy casualties.

The battle was a major strategic success for the American cause; it reduced Burgoyne's army in size by almost 1,000 men, led his Indian support to largely abandon him, and deprived him of much-needed supplies, such as mounts for his cavalry regiments, draft animals and provisions; all factors that contributed to Burgoyne's eventual defeat at Saratoga. The victory galvanized colonial support for the independence movement, and played a key role in bringing France into the war on the rebel side. The battle's anniversary is celebrated in the state of Vermont as Bennington Battle Day.

Total German and British losses at Bennington were recorded at 207 dead and 700 captured;[8] American losses included 30 Americans dead and 40 wounded.[6] The battle was at times particularly brutal when Loyalists met Patriots, as in some cases they came from the same communities.[34] The prisoners, who were first kept in Bennington, were eventually marched to Boston.[35]

Burgoyne's army was readying to cross the Hudson at Fort Edward on August 17 when the first word of the battle arrived. Believing that reinforcements might be necessary, Burgoyne marched the army toward Bennington until further word arrived that Breymann and the remnants of his force were returning. Stragglers continued to arrive throughout the day and night, while word of the disaster spread within the camp.[36]

The effect on Burgoyne's campaign was significant. Not only had he lost nearly 1,000 men, of which half were regulars, but he also lost the crucial Indian support. In a council following the battle, many of the Indians (who had traveled with him from Quebec) decided to go home. This loss severely hampered Burgoyne's reconnaissance efforts in the days to come.[8] The failure to bring in nearby supplies meant that he had to rely on supply lines that were already dangerously long, and that he eventually broke in September.[37] The shortage of supplies was a significant factor in his decision to surrender at Saratoga,[38] following which France entered the war.[39]

American Patriots reacted to news of the battle with optimism. Especially after Burgoyne's Indian screen left him, small groups of local Patriots began to emerge to harass the fringes of British positions.[40] Interestingly, a significant portion of Stark's force returned home[41] and did not again become influential in the campaign until appearing at Saratoga on October 13 to complete the encirclement of Burgoyne's army.[42]

John Stark's reward from the New Hampshire General Assembly for "the Memorable Battle of Bennington" was "a compleat suit of Clothes becoming his Rank".[43] A reward that Stark likely valued the highest was a message of thanks from John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, which included a commission as "brigadier in the army of the United States".[43]

Bennington Battle monument 

We live in a time in which decent and otherwise sensible people are surrendering too easily to the hectoring of morons or extremists. 

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