Battle of Bennington - A Klos Family Project - Revolutionary War General
When information arrived that General
Arthur St. Clair had retreated and Ticonderoga had been taken, New Hampshire
flew to arms, and called for Stark to command her troops. He consented on
condition that he should not be subject to any orders but his own; and to this
the council of state agreed, because the men would not march without him.
Setting out with a small force for Bennington, he there learned that Burgoyne
had dispatched Colonel Frederick Baum with 500 men to seize the stores collected
at that place. Sending out expresses to call in the militia of the neighborhood,
Stark marched out to meet him, hearing of which, Baum entrenched himself in a
strong position about six miles from Bennington, and sent to Burgoyne
for re-enforcements. Before they could arrive, Stark attacked him on 16 August,
1777. Tradition says that he called to his men as he led them to the assault: "There
they are, boys. We beat them today, or Molly Stark's a widow !"--another
of his sentences that has gone into history. Doubts have been cast on its
authenticity, for Mrs. Stark's name was Elizabeth.
The second British force of 500 men, under Colonel Breymann, presently
arriving on the scene, was likewise totally defeated. Of the 1,000 British, not
more than a hundred escaped, all the rest being killed or captured, a result of
great importance, as it led ultimately to the surrender of Burgoyne
at Saratoga. Colonel Baum, who was mortally wounded, said of the provincials: "They
fought more like hell-hounds than soldiers." The American loss was only
about seventy. Washington spoke of it immediately as "the great stroke
struck by General Stark near Bennington "; and Baroness Riedesel, then
in the British camp, wrote: "This unfortunate event paralyzed our
For this victory Stark was made a brigadier-general, 4 October, 1777, and
given the thanks of congress.
"I am just informed that Lieut. Willet is arrived at Albany. He
advises that after the engagement which Gen. Herkemer had with the enemy, Col.
Gansewoort ordered a sortie with 206 men, commanded by Lieut. Col. Willet;
that he made a successful attack on part of the enemyline, drove them across
the river, and killed many. That Sir John Johnson, he is informed, was among
the slain. That he took and brought off a considerable quantity of baggage.
That on his return to the fort he was ambuscaded, and attacked by a body of
regular troops, who, after a fire by which Willet did not lose one man, were
charged with fixed bayonets, and drove. He farther informs that between 3 and
400 Indians were killed, wounded, and left the besiegers after the engagement.
That the militia with Gen. Herkemer lost about 160 killed and wounded. That
Gen. St. Ledyard, who commands the enemy force in that quarter, sent in a flag
to demand the delivery of the fort, offering that garrison should march
out with their baggage, and not be molested by the Savages. That if this
was not complied with, he would not answer for the conduct of the Indians, if
the garrison fell into their hands; and that they would certainly fall on the
inhabitants. That Gen. Burgoyne was in possession of Albany." That Col.
Gansewoort, after animadverting on the barbarity and disgraceful conduct of
the British officers, in suffering women and children to be butchered as they
had done, informed the flag that he was resolved to defend the fort to the
last; that he would never give it up as long as there was a man left alive to
defend it. That he was well supplied with provisions and ammunition.
Col. Gansewoort being informed that the militia were dispirited, expecting
that the fort would soon fall, sent Lieut. Col. Willet out to chear up their
spirits. That he found the militia of Tryon county collecting with great
alacrity, and as Gen. Arnold, with the troops marched under his command, will
probably reach the German flats on the 16th or 17th, I have the great hopes
that the siege will soon be raised."
By an Express arrived last Thursday evening from General Schuyler
to Congress, we have the following important Intelligence.
Van SchaickIsland, mouth of Mohawk river Aug. 18.
SIR, I HAVE the honor to congratulate Congress on a signal victory obtained by
General STARK; an account whereof is contained in the
following letter from Gen. LINCOLN, which I have this moment had the happiness
to receive, together with General BURGOYNE'S instructions to Lieutenant
Colonel BERN, a copy whereof is enclosed.
Bennington, August 18, 1777.
"THE late signal success of a body of about 2000 troops, mostly
militia, under the command of Brigadier General Stark,
in this part of the country, on the 16th instant, over a party of about 1500
of the enemy, who came out with a manifest design to possess themselves of
this town, as will appear by the enclosed, is an event happy and important. -
Our troops behaved in a very brave and heroic manner; they pushed the enemy
from one work to another thrown up on advantageous ground, and from different
posts, with spirit and fortitude, until they gained a complete victory over
"The following is the best list I have been able to obtain of the
prisoners, their killed and wounded, viz. one Lieut. Colonel, 1 Major, 5
Captains, 12 Lieutenants, 4 Ensigns, 2 Cornets, 1 Judge Advocate, 1 Baron, 2
Canadian Officers, and 3 Surgeons, 37 British Soldiers, 308 Hessians, 38
Canadians, and 151 Tories taken. - The number of wounded fallen into our
hands, exclusive of the above, are about 80. - The number of their slain has
not yet been ascertained, as they fought on the retreat for several miles in a
wood, but supposed to be about 200. Their artillery, which consisted of 4
brass field pieces, with a considerable quantity of baggage, likewise fell
into our hands. We have heard nothing of Burgoyne or his army for these two
days past. The prisoners are sent into the State of Massachusetts Bay except
the Tories; shall wait your directions respecting them, as most of them belong
to the State of New York. I am, dear General, with regard and esteem, your
very humble servant,
THE accounts you have given me are very satisfactory, and I doubt not every
proceeding under your direction will be the same.
I beg the favor of you to report whether the route you have marched would be
practicable for a large corps with cannon, without repair, or with what sort
The desirable circumstance at present for your corps to possess Bennington,
Burlington should you find the enemy too strongly posted, and maintaining such
a countenance as would make a coup de main too hazardous, I wish you to take a
post as you can maintain till you hear further from me, and upon your report,
and other circumstances, I will either support you in force, or withdraw you.
Will you please to send to my camp, as soon as you can, wagons and draft
cattle, and likewise such other cattle as are not necessary for your subsistence;
let the wagons and carts bring off what flour and wheat they can, that you do
not retain for the same purpose. I will write to you in full tomorrow, in
regard to purchasing horses out of the hands of the savages; in the mean time
let them be assured that whatever you select from them fit to mount the
dragoons, shall be paid for at a proper price. I have the honor to be, with
great esteem, yours, &c.
I AM in hopes that Congress will very soon have the satisfaction to learn that
General Arnold has raised the siege of Fort Schuyler: If that takes place, I believe it will be possible to engage two or three
hundred Indians to join this army, and Congress may rest assured that my best endeavors
shall not be wanting to accomplish it.
An express came to town last night from our northern army, commanded by Gen.
Gates, at Stillwater. From letters brought by the express we learn the
following particulars, viz.
That the late Bennington battle began about seven miles west of the meeting
house. That the number of the enemy at first was about thirteen hundred, who
were soon after reinforced by fifteen hundred more, - that after the
engagement had been continued warmly for some time, the enemy beat a parly,
which not being understood by our people, they rushed forward on the enemy
with fixed bayonets, took great part of them, and totally routed the rest,
pursuing them for five or six miles. The number taken 669. Besides wounded
(including 32 officers) 100. The number killed, besides many that it is
supposed are not yet found.222 -- Total991
Col. Baum, who commanded the whole of the enemy forces, is among the slain. We
have taken 900 swords of the dragoons, upwards of 1000 stands of arms, four
brass field pieces, viz. one 12, two 9, and one 4 pounders. Our loss 20 or 30
killed, and not more than 30 wounded. A deserter from the enemy, lately
examined, reports, that there were only 800 of them escaped from the battle of
HARTFORD, Sept. 1.
A gentleman from Number Four informs, That two families (lately resident
in the neighborhood of Bennington) arrived there and inform, that Governor
Skeene died of a wound received in his thigh at the late battle with General
STARK. His death is much lamented by all the real friends of America, as his
advice might have been productive of another victory. --- BURGOYNE,
how art thou fallen! to trust a fine body of troops ("Too valuable to let
any considerable loss be hazarded,") to the advice of that infatuated poor
old man, Skeene.
IN CONGRESS, November 4, 1777.
RESOLVED, That the thanks of Congress in their own names, and in behalf of
the inhabitants of the Thirteen United States, be presented to Major General GATES,
Commander in Chief in the Northern Department, and to Majors General LINCOLN and
ARNOLD, and the rest of the officers and troops
under his command, for their brave and successful efforts in support of the
independence of their country, whereby an army of the enemy of ten thousand men
has been totally defeated, one large detachment of it, strongly posted and
entrenched, having been conquered at Bennington, another repulsed with loss and
disgrace from Fort Schuyler , and the main army
of six thousand men, under Lieut. General BURGOYNE,
after being beaten in different actions, and driven from a formidable post and
strong entrenchments, reduced to the necessity of surrendering themselves, upon
terms honorable and advantageous to these States, on the 17th day of October
last, to major General Gates, and that a Medal of
Gold he struck, be struck, under the direction of the Board of War, in
commemoration of this great event, and in the name of the United States
presented by the President to Major General Gates.
History: The Battle of Bennington
... metered parking is free) commemorates an event which did not even take place
the state's boundaries. Bennington Battle Day is observed each August 16. ...
Description: Narrative of the events that
took place, from Virtual Vermont.com.
Battle of Bennington
The Battle of Bennington. RENSSELAER COUNTY, NEW YORK, AUGUST 17, 1777. In the
of 1777 a British Army under General John Burgoyne started down the Hudson ...
Battle of Bennington
The Battle of Bennington. By Lynne MC and Christian
MM - Click here to see battle map. The Battle ...
Monument, Old Bennington
... This 306' dolomite obelisk was dedicated in 1891 to commemorate the 1777
Bennington. The monument was constructed on the site of the Continental arms ...
Battle of - Britannica.com
... ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA. Bennington, Battle of (Aug. 16, 1777), in US War
victory by American militiamen defending colonial military stores in ...
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