Bennington Battle Day in America

by Shipping Station

Many states across the United States have their own “state holiday” that is only celebrated in that state. This is true for Vermonters who celebrate Bennington Battle Day in Vermont to commemorate the Battle of Bennington, an American victory over the British during the American Revolutionary War in 1777. The holiday is celebrated annually on August 16. So one might ask what this holiday is all about. For many citizens in Vermont, Bennington Battle Day is a time to remember a turning point in the war. Like any rightful state that tasted victory on the battlefield over British oppression during the Revolutionary War, a day to honor their states victory only seems fitting. Oddly enough, the Battle of Bennington (Bennington, a town in Vermont) actually took place in New York, not Vermont! So how is this even possible?

Bennington, a town located in southern Vermont very close to New York was a supply depot which housed horses and oxen, and munitions. After the British general heard about a supply depot in Vermont, with little in the way of defense, he sent 1000 soldiers to raid the town and take the supplies. However Bennington was guarded by General John Stark and about large Vermont militia which included Colonel Set Warner and some of the Green Mountain Boys. Bennington. After catching word of a British attack on the supply depot, General John Stark and his militiamen alongside Colonel Warner’s Green Mountains Boys arranged a preemptive attack that happened in New York. Stark’s army was able to surround the British soldiers, kill their leader, and took an alarming amount of prisoners captive. It is said that Stark, Warner, and the Vermonters were able to inflict a large amount of casualties while also capturing 700 soldiers. This victory deprived British forces in the region of much needed supplies – later resulting in more surrenders. This battle was a significant victory for the rebelling Revolutionary forces, even inspiring more colonist to support the rebellion. Many historians credit the Battle of Bennington as one of the first victories for the United States. This victory along with a string of other great victories finally forced Britain to surrender, giving way to what is now known as the United States of America and its independence and freedom.

The Vermonters host a range of events to celebrate the military accomplishments of the New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont militias during the Revolutionary War. In observation of Bennington Battle Day, most events are programmed around historical education and entertainment. Visitors and the locals take rides up the elevator to the top of the Bennington Monument which is about 306 feet about the streets of Bennington for panoramic views of the hills of Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York. The stone monument marks the site of a critical supply depot that resisted British forces which ultimately helped surrender a vast majority of their soldiers. Battle re-enactments, parades, and other festivities mark the streets in celebration. (Picture: The Bennington flag, a version of the American flag associated with the American Revolution Battle of Bennington, from which it derives its name).


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