Bennington Battle Day is a holiday in Vermont every 16 August to honor an American victory during the Revolutionary War.
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It may seem strange to think that the state of Vermont would have a public holiday to commemorate a Revolutionary Era military victory that took place in the state of New York. But that’s exactly the case.
In 1777, the British were attempting to raid a stash of weapons and ammunition stored at Bennington, Vermont, not far from Walloomsac, NY, where the battle actually took place. The British were also after horses and other provisions.
A group of rebel militia, which included detachments of Vermont’s famed “Green Mountain Boys,” crushed the forces of British general Burgoyne. Burgoyne’s forces included many Hessians and other German mercenaries.
The victory was decisive. And it was important for several reasons: it crippled Burgoyne’s army, denied him needful supplies, scared off British Indian allies, and helped persuade France to intervene in the war. It did much that culminated in the eventual defeat of the British at Saratoga.
On Bennington Battle Day, a reenactment takes place in the town of Bennington. It is a colorful, festive event, and also a very educational one. Also in “Old Bennington,” on the site of the supply stores once fought over by British and American forces, stands the Bennington Battle Monument.