Bennington Battle Day in Vermont Date in the current year: August 16, 2024

Bennington Battle Day in Vermont Bennington Battle Day is an official holiday in the American state of Vermont. It commemorates an American victory over the British during the American Revolutionary War, which is considered to be one of the turning points of the war.

The Battle of Bennington was part of the Saratoga campaign, in which the British high command attempted to capture Albany and gain military control of the Hudson River valley because of its strategic importance. At the beginning of the campaign, the British made some progress, but their advance soon slowed due to logistic difficulties and subsequent lack of supplies.

In August 1777, British General John Burgoyne, who had planned and initiated the campaign, sent a detachment of 800 men under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum to capture a supply depot at Bennington, Vermont. The detachment mainly consisted of German dragoons, who were aided by some Canadians, Indians, Loyalists, and British sharpshooters.

Burgoyne believed that the depot was guarded by about 400 Vermont militiamen, but he didn’t know that Vermont Republic had turned to Massachusetts and New Hampshire for assistance. As a result, Baum’s troops were met by over 2,000 men led by General John Stark and Colonel Seth Warner.

On the afternoon of August 16, Stark’s men attacked the Germans from the flanks. They overran Indians and Loyalists, causing most of them to surrender or flee, and trapped Baum’s dragoons on the high ground. Although the Germans were immediately surrounded by gunfire, they continued to fight even after running low on powder. They even attempted to break through Stark’s forces in a saber charge, but surrendered when their commander was mortally wounded.

While Americans were busy disarming the prisoners, Lieutenant Colonel Heinrich von Breymann arrived with reinforcements and launched an attack. However, Stark’s forces were able to regroup and repelled the attack with the support of Warner’s men.

In the Battle of Bennington, over 200 Baum and Breymann’s men were killed and 700 were captured, while American losses included 30 men dead and 40 wounded. In addition to losing nearly 1,000 men, the British lost the support of Native Americans and were deprived of supplies. For the Americans, the victory at Bennington was a major strategic success since it played a key role in encouraging France to enter the war on their side.

Although the battle was fought in Walloomsac, New York, located about 10 miles from Bennington, it was named after Bennington because that’s where Baum’s troops were headed for a cache of weapons and munitions. To commemorate the battle, its anniversary was declared as a state holiday in Vermont. Every year, the local history foundation re-enacts the battle as part of celebrations.

In 1891, the Bennington Battle Monument, completed two years prior, was dedicated by President Benjamin Harrison. It is a 306-foot-high stone obelisk that is the tallest human-made structure in Vermont. The Bennington Battlefield in Walloomsac, New York is a State Historic Site.

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Bennington Battle Day in Vermont, holidays in Vermont, holidays in the United States, Battle of Bennington, state holiday