The monument is built to commemorate the Battle of Bennington in 1777 which was an important battle during the American Revolution. The monument is placed on Monument Circle in Bennington, Vermont but the battle actually took place about 10 miles away in the state of New York and not in Vermont. There is actually a National Historic Landmark for the actual battle field in New York.
The battle did take place pretty far from the monument but the target for the British troops which were part of General John Burgoyne’s army was actually storage of weapons and food located not far from the actual monument. The main British force was led by Lieutenant Colonel Baum the force totaled about 700 men and it was a mixed bag of Canadians, colonist loyal to the British, Indians and German mercenary troops. The British thought Bennington was only lightly defended but Brigadier General Stark used it as his headquarter with 1,500 men under his command.
The British force was encircled and Baum was killed in the initial battle. Reinforcement arrived for both sides but the American rebels stood firm beating the British army. The total force engaged were about 2,400 rebel troops against about 1,400 royal troops. In the end the American victory was overwhelming they suffered only 30 dead and 40 wooded compared to the royal army which lost 200 killed and 700 captured almost destroying the entire detachment send to the battle.
The battle was an important turning point in the campaigns of the American Revolution in the area around the Hudson River in Northern New York State and Vermont area. The loss of almost a thousand men were a huge loss for General Burgoyne’s army and furthermore he lost the Indian support after the battle – the native decided to head back home leaving Burgoyne without his native scouts. The failure of capturing the supplies available at Bennington left the British very short on supplies. On October 13 Burgoyne’s army was surrounded and very low on supplies in Saratoga and he surrender along with his 6,000 remaining troops.
At the run up to the centenary for the Battle of Bennington a group in Bennington started an effort to create a monument celebrating the battle. It took a while before they decided on the design of the monument and securing the funds needed to build it. But finally in 1877 the corner stone to the monument were laid down and two years later the construction was completed.
The memorial is a great obelisk and it is tallest structure in all of Vermont in addition it is the tallest battle memorial in the USA. You can visit the monument – there is a small exhibit at ground level which might be free but what most people want to do is go to the top of the monument which cost 5 dollars. From the top you have a great view of no less than three states – New York, New Hampshire and obviously Vermont. It is a great view and in the fall you might spot the changing of the colours of the trees.
On the lawn in front around the obelisk you can find a couple of statues one of John Stark the commander of the rebel troops and one of Seth Warner who commanded the troops of the Vermont Republic.