The British suffered a major defeat when New England militia men ambushed a large force of British soldiers attempting to forage for supplies. The British force was almost wiped out, losing 207 dead and 700 captured.
Burgoyne's first major defeat occurred when he sent a force of Hessians west of the Connecticut River to seize cattle and other supplies. The force, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Fredrich Baum, was ordered to head to Bennington and seize rebel supplies. He was not expecting any major opposition. To his surprise, awaiting Baum near Bennington, were nearly 2,000 American militia men led by John Stark of New Hampshire.
Baum's forces ran into the advance guard of the American forces at Van Schaick's Mill. Both sides prepared for battle next to the Wallomsac River, the next day. The British were in makeshift fortifications, on a height north of the river. On August 16th, after a rain delay, Stark's men attacked. It was a fierce fight, but by the end of the day the Americans had captured or killed the entire British force. By late in the afternoon, a British relief expedition arrived. The relief expedition was met by Warner's Green Mountain Boys. Warner's Boys forced the British to pull back.
With the help of Stark's forces, the withdrawal turned to a route. By the end of the battle, 207 British and Hessians lay dead and 700 were captured. The Americans lost 20 dead and another 40 wounded. Burgoyne not only had lost nearly 1/4 of his force, but had not successfully acquired the supplies he needed.
|American Account of the Battle1
General John Stark to General Horatio Gates.
. I shall now give Your Honour a short and brief account of the action on the 13th inst. Continued
|A Hessian's Account of the Battle of Bennington The Hessian Glich
[August 16, 1777].... The morning of the sixteenth rose beautifully serene; and it is not to the operation of the elements Continued