The Bennington Battle Day is observed on August 16 annually and this year, it marks the 245th year of the battle. It’s a state holiday in Vermont where people honor the American victory against the British forces during the American Revolutionary War, which was a pivotal moment for America’s independence. The annual traditions, including the memorial services for the fallen soldiers, are held. This day is a great opportunity to learn about the rich history of the Bennington Battle and why it is considered a crucial turning point in the 18th century.
History of Bennington Battle Day
The Bennington Battle began in July 1777 when the British forces led by General John Burgoyne captured Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence. Their goal was to sever New England from their other colonies. On August 9, General Burgoyne sent German Lt. Colonel Friedrich Baum with an armed troop consisting of 800 men to raid Vermont, and loot food supplies from Bennington. On August 14, this strong raiding party won the battle over the American militia, which was led by Vermont Brigadier-General John Stark. However, the battle didn’t stop there. The American New Hampshire militia regrouped and grew in number to prepare for the final battle that took place just two days later.
On August 16, the Battle of Bennington was fought in Walloomsac, New York, just ten miles northwest of Bennington. It began the Saratoga Campaign and was the most decisive battle in the entire war. Even though it was fought in New York, it was called the ‘Bennington Battle’ because the British Army was headed to Bennington, Vermont, to plunder military supplies and ammunition. Since, this time, the Americans arrived with a superior preparation, they defeated Britain and won the battle. At least 700 British soldiers were captured while 207 perished.
However, the Americans also lost 30 soldiers while 42 were injured. This victory served as a critical turning point in the American Revolutionary War and boosted their morale, which greatly contributed to their victory at the Battle of Saratoga and the defeat of General Burgoyne.
In 1887, a 306-foot monument was erected at Old Bennington Village to honor the fallen soldiers and celebrate the American victory. It was completed in November 1889 and is a prominent landmark even today.
Bennington Battle Day timeline
General Burgoyne captures Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independnce to sever New England from the rest of the British colonies.
Lt. Colonel Baum leads an 800-troop army to Vermont.
The 800-troop army beats the American militia which was led by Vermont Brigadier-General Stark.
The Americans claim victory in the battle, capturing 700 British troops.
Bennington Battle Day FAQs
Are businesses and establishments open on Bennington Battle Day?
Banks, offices, and municipal buildings are closed on this day.
How is the Bennington Battle related to Saratoga?
The battle was a part of and is also one of the most significant chapters in the 1777 Saratoga Campaign.
How long did the Battle of Bennington last?
The actual battle lasted for two hours.
How to Observe Bennington Battle Day
Visit the Monument
One of the best things to do is to visit the renowned Bennington Monument. This 306-foot monument offers splendid panoramic views of the valleys and hills of New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts. Take pictures and post them on social media with the hashtag #BenningtonBattleDay.
Go to the Molly Stark Cannon
The Molly Stark Cannon is the oldest firing cannon in the entire U.S. Every year, a firing ceremony is held there to commemorate Bennington Battle Day. Visiting it is a good way to celebrate.
Join the annual 5k race
One of the traditions on this day is the annual 5k marathon in Vermont, sponsored by Friends of the Monument. The race starts and ends at the Monument and lasts about four hours.
5 Interesting Facts About The Battle
It rained cats and dogs
According to historians, the battle was fought in heavy rain, which made it hard for the soldiers to hit targets.
It’s for all Americans
While the battle took place in Bennington, Vermont, all Americans are encouraged to observe and learn about the rich history of this day.
A National historic landmark
The battlefield in New York has been designated as a national historic landmark.
The battle affected Burgoyne’s army
The success of the Bennington Battle scaled down General Burgoyne’s army by almost 1,000 men, which ledl to his defeat in Saratoga.
The rebel force
A rebel force of 2,000 Americans joined the militia to fight in the Bennington Battle.
Why Bennington Battle Day is Important
It’s about pride and glory
The Battle of Bennington boosted the morale of the Americans, which helped them defeat the British forces during the American Revolutionary War. Observing this day means honoring the pride and glory these brave men presented to the country.
It’s a day to pay respect to the fallen soldiers
The war's gallant troops majorly contributed to America's independence. These Americans sacrificed their lives for their "living free or die" philosophy. It is a day to honor and appreciate their contribution to the United States.
It has a rich history
It’s always great to celebrate the part of history that not everyone is aware of. It’s important to highlight the Bennington Battle as the turning point of the Revolutionary War, which greatly contributed to the American victory. This is an excellent opportunity to inform the new generation about American history as well as those bravehearts who made today’s freedom possible.
Bennington Battle Day dates