August 16, 1777
In the summer of 1777, a British army under John Burgoyne advanced south down Lake Champlain and the Hudson River valley in order to split the rebellious colonies in half. On August 11th, an 800 man raiding party under German Lt. Col. Baum left Fort Miller on the Hudson River bound for the Connecticut River Valley. There they hoped to get horses and food and recruit Tories. Baum met his first resistance on August 13th and settled down in a position near Bennington on the 15th to request reinforcements from Burgoyne. His force was dispersed but he had field fortifications along the Walloomsac River and on a hill to the north (Baum's redoubt).
Bronze Relief Map
Col. John Stark's American force of 1,800 men was in the area, and after the rain ended on August 16th, Stark resolved to defeat Baum or die trying. His complicated plan for a double envelopment was unlikely to succeed, but Baum had spread his forces thin. Visible on the bottom of the picture, Col. Herrick led a force from the south on the British rear guard on the Walloomsac River. Herrick succeeded and continued toward Baum's redoubt. An American force of 200 to 300 men under Col. Moses Nichols, barely visible on the top of the picture, came in from the north and attacked Baum's hilltop redoubt. The pro-British Indians fled, leaving Baum's dismounted dragoons to fend for themselves.
Sounds from the attacks on the redoubt and on the British rear guard signaled Stark with his 1,200 men to attack the fortified Tory camp along the river. The Tories fled, leaving only Baum in his redoubt.
From Baum's Redoubt
Here at Baum's redoubt, the dragoons ran out of ammunition and tried to breakout with their swords. But when Baum was hit, his men gave up. This is the view looking south from the location of Baum's redoubt. The other actions took place in the valley below.
A relief column under Col. Breymann arrived soon after the fighting, but it was too late to save Baum. Despite their disorganization, the Americans managed to rout Breymann. This action took place off the picture to the right.
The British lost 200 dead and 700 captured in the battle compared to only 70 total American casualties. The total victory over the British force was a very impressive achievement and dealt a significant blow to Burgoyne's army, helping make his surrender at Saratoga possible. Bennington was the first indication that Burgoyne was in deep trouble, and his surrender two months later made American independence possible.
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