The Battle of Bennington took place on August 16, 1777, in Walloomsac, New York, about 10 miles (16 km) from Bennington, Vermont. An American force of 2,000 men, primarily New Hampshire and Massachusetts militiamen, led by General John Stark, and the Green Mountain Boys led by Colonel Seth Warner decisively defeated a detachment of General John Burgoyne’s army led by Friedrich Baum, a German dragoon Lieutenant Colonel of Brunswick in British service, and Breymann Grenadiers, a Brunswick battalion hired into British service, under Lieutenant Colonel Heinrich von Breymann.
Baum’s detachment was a mixed force of over 700 dismounted Brunswick dragoons, Canadians, Loyalists, and Native Americans. He was sent by Burgoyne to raid Bennington for supplies. The raiding party departed on August 9 and plundered the countryside for five days. On August 14, a small group of American militia sent by Vermont Brigadier General John Stark lost a skirmish with Baum’s raiders near Bennington.
Believing the town to be only lightly defended, they were unaware that Stark had 1,500 militiamen stationed there. After a rain-caused standoff, Stark’s men enveloped Baum’s position on August 16, 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 successfully driving away Breymann’s reinforcements with heavy casualties.
The battle was an important victory for the American cause, as it reduced Burgoyne’s army in size by over 900 men (Losses: American; about 30 dead, 42 wounded; British and Loyalist; 207 dead, 700 captured). It also led his Indian support to largely abandon him, and deprived him of needed supplies. All of these factors contributed to Burgoyne’s eventual surrender at Saratoga. The victory also strengthened colonial support for the independence movement, and played a role in bringing France into the war on the American side.
The battle anniversary is celebrated in the state of Vermont as Bennington Battle Day. It is commemorated by a historical park near Walloomsac and by a 306-foot (93-meter) obelisk at the village of Old Bennington..
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Gabriel, Michael P. (2012). The Battle of Bennington: Soldiers and Civilians. The History Press.
Niles, Grace Greylock (1912). The Hoosac Valley: its legends and its history. G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Pancake, John S (1977). 1777: The Year of the Hangman. University, Alabama: University of Alabama Press.