Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bennington Battle Day

Bennington Battle Monument
15 Monument Cir
Bennington, Vt. 05201

Also this weekend (August 15-17) Bennington, Vermont celebrates its annual Battle Day Celebrations. This commemorates the Battle of Bennington which took place on August 16, 1777. The battle actually took place in the village of Walloomsac, New York which is several miles from here, but the military stores the British and Hessian soldiers were seeking were being held in Bennington. The only Revolutionary War battle to actually take place in what is now the State of Vermont took place in Hubbardton, Vermont.

The Battle of Bennington was part of a greater campaign by British Major General John Burgoyne to divide New England from the rest of the colonies by force of arms. Burgoyne's mixed force of British, Hessian (German), Canadian and Loyalists, along with some Native American allies, had proceeded down from Canada and were now making their way down the Hudson River valley. After some initial victories at Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point the British forces were now facing shortages of food and munitions. A expeditionary force of some 650 soldiers led by Hessian Lt. Col. Friedrich Baum set off for Bennington to secure more supplies.

Col. Baum's men were soundly defeated in battle by Colonial militia under the command of Brigadier General John Stark of New Hampshire. A British relief force was also repulsed by Gen. Stark and his men, who were aided by Col. Seth Warner and his Green Mountain Boys. These two losses, along with the lack of supplies, helped doom Gen. Burgoyne's campaign which ended with the surrender of him and his men at Saratoga, New York.

The Town of Bennington is marking its Battle Day Celebrations with the Bennington Fire Departments 40th annual Parade on Saturday August 17. Battle reenactments are being sponsored by Vermonts Living History Association. Museums and other organizations in the area are also hosting special events.

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