Battle of Bennington - American View

Battle of Bennington
General John Stark to General Horatio Gates.

Bennington, August 22, 1777

. . . I shall now give Your Honor a short and brief account of the action on the 13th inst. I was informed that there was a party of Indians in Cambridge on their march to this place. I sent Lieut. Colonel Greg of my brigade to stop them with 100 men. In the night I was informed by express that there was a large body of the enemy on their march in the rear of the Indians. l rallied all my brigade and what Militia was at this place in order to stop their proceedings. Likewise sent to Manchester to Colonel Warner's regiment that was stationed there; also sent expresses for the Militia to come in with'11 speed to our assistance, which was punctually obeyed. I then marched in company with Colonels Warner, Williams; Herrick and Brush, with all the men that were present. About 5 miles from this place I met Colonel Greg on his retreat and the enemy in close pursuit after him.

I drew up my little army in order of battle, but when the enemy hove in sight, they halted on a very advantageous hill or piece of ground. I sent out small parties in their front to skirmish with them, which scheme had a good effect. They killed and wounded thirty of the enemy without any loss on our side, but the ground that I was upon did [not] suit for a general acting I marched back about one mile and encamped. Called a counsel, and it was agreed that we should send two detachments in their rear, while the others attacked them in front, But the 1 sth it rained all day; therefore, had to lay by, could do nothing but skirmish with them.

On the 16th in the morning was joined by Colonel Simons with some Militia from Berkshire County. I pursued my plan, detached Colonel Nichols with 200 men to attack them in the rear. I also sent Colonel Herrick with l 300 men in the rear of their right, both to join, and when joined to attack I their rear. I likewise sent the Colonels Hubbard and Whitney with 200 men on their right, and sent loo men in their front, to draw away their attention that way, and about 3 o'clock we got all ready for the attack. Colonel Nichols began the same, which was followed by all the rest. The remainder of little army I pushed up in the front, and in a few minutes the action began. In general it lasted 2 hours, the hotest I ever saw in my life. It represented one continued clap of thunder. However the enemy was obliged to give up and leave their field pieces and all their baggage behind them. They were l environed within two breastworks, with their artillery. But our martial age proved too hard for them. ~

I then gave orders to rally again, in order to secure the victory, but in. | few minutes was informed that there was a large reinforcement on their march within two miles of us. Lucky for us, that moment Colonel Warner's regiment came up fresh, who marched on and began the attack afresh. I pushed forward as many of the men as I could to their assistance. The battle continued obstinate on both sides till sunset. The enemy was obliged to retreat. We pursued them till dark. But had daylight lasted one hour longer, we should have taken the whole body of them. We recovered 4 pieces of brass cannon, some hundred pairs of arms, 8 brass barrels, drums, several Hessian swords, about seven hundred prisoners. 207 dead on the spot. The number of wounded is as yet unknown. That part of the enemy that made their escape marched all night, and we returned to our camp.

Too much honor cannot be given to the brave officers and soldiers for gallant behavior. They fought through the midst of fire and smoke, mounted two breastworks that was well fortified and supported with cannon. I can't particularize any officer as they all behaved with the greatest spirit and bravery.

Colonel Warner's superior skill in the action was of extraordinary service t' met I would be glad he and his men could be recommended by Congress.

As I promised in my orders that the soldiers should have all the plunder taken in the enemy's camp, would be glad your Honor would send me word what the value of the cannon and the other artillery stores above described any be. Our loss was inconsiderable, about 4o wounded and thirty killed. I lost my horse, bridle and saddle in the action.