When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few.
August 16, 1777 Battle of Bennington
The Battle of Bennington took place in Walloomsac, New York, about 10 miles from its namesake Bennington, Vermont. The American force was primarily composed of New Hampshire and Massachusetts militiamen and reinforced by Vermont militiamen led by Colonel Seth Warner and members of the Green Mountain Boys. They decisively defeated a detachment of Lieutenant 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. 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, Brigadier General John 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 reduced Burgoyne’s army in size by almost 1,000 troops, 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 the Battle of Saratoga.
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