Friday, July 31, 2009

Bennington Battle Monument - Vermont


Tuesday’s post mentioned the Quakers of Adams, Massachusetts who fought in the Battle of Bennington in the Revolutionary War. Today we have a look at the Bennington Battle Monument, at 306 feet the tallest structure in Vermont.

This stone obelisk was built in the late 1880s. On this site the American colonists kept a store of weapons and food. British General John Burgoyne wanted to capture it for his own troops. The actual battle occurred in nearby Wallomsac in August, 1777.

American Brigadier General John Stark and his force of 2,000 men, mostly untrained, from Vermont, New Hampshire and Berkshire County, Mass. (including the aforementioned Quakers) defeated two detachments of Burgoyne’s army, foiling the British attempt to cut New England off from the other colonies. The afternoon of August 16th was when the battle began, and Stark is reputed, according to legend, to have said, “There are the Red Coats; they will be ours or tonight Molly Stark sleeps a widow.” Two hours later, the British retreated in disarray.

When a second unit of British soldiers appeared, Colonel Seth Warner and his Green Mountain Boys arrived in the nick of time and the British retreated once more.

Due mainly to his failure to achieve the supplies he wanted, Burgoyne was forced to surrender two months later his entire command of 8,000 men of British, Hessian, and Brunswick troops after the Battle of Saratoga. It was a turning point for the American Revolution.

Here in Bennington at the site of this monument, opened in 1891, the Battle of Bennington is marked every year on August 16th. If you’re in the Bennington, Vermont area, you might drop by for the celebration. You can take an elevator to the top of the monument and have a look yourself at the rolling woodland where a revolution was scored in blood, and down at the peaceful towns in Vermont and New York that grew up from lonely wilderness outposts.

For more information, have a look here on the Bennington Battle Monument.

2 comments:

John Hayes said...

Now there's a landmark I've been to! The other thing about Battle of Bennington Day--it's an official state holiday & somje types of businesses close. & invariably on August 16th, I'd ask, "Why is this closed today?"

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Hi, John. I'm glad I finally made it to familiar territory. We have a similar situation here in Massachusetts with Patriot's Day on April 19th (also celebrated in Maine). It would be interesting to hear about some other state holidays around the country that are unique to certain states, and why they are celebrated.