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The monument on Bemis Heights to Thaddeus Kosciuszko, Polish military engineer who selected and fortified the American lines at Saratoga.

The Battle of Bennington

Another crushing calamity was in store for the British. Schuyler's policy of destroying all the crops along the line of Burgoyne's march had important consequences. It was well known that most of the inhabitants of upper New York, along the Champlain-Hudson route, were favorable to the British cause. Burgoyne had counted on these Tories to aid him materially, especially in the matter of supplies. Now, with the maturing crops systematically destroyed before him, he was faced with difficulty in providing for his army. This led him to send an expedition of about 800 men, under Col. Friedrich Baum, to Bennington, Vt., to capture a large store of supplies which had been gathered there for the American forces. Gen. John Stark aroused the countryside, and the Vermont farmers turned out and on August 16 administered a crushing defeat to Baum's troops. Another contingent, under Lt. Col. Heinrich Breymann, came up at this time and threatened to undo Stark's victory, but the timely arrival of Col. Seth Warner and his Green Mountain Rangers overwhelmed Breymann, and the German commander was forced to retreat. By this blow Burgoyne lost approximately 800 men, mostly Germans, and 4 bronze cannon, which seriously weakened his army at a critical time and prevented him from obtaining much needed supplies. The electrifying news of this American victory, after a long series of defeats, not only discouraged Burgoyne's Indian allies, but also greatly encouraged militia enlistments in the Patriot army.

Of still greater concern to Burgoyne, however, was the fact that no word had been received from Howe concerning his cooperation from the south. As a matter of fact, Howe had chosen to move southward and attack Philadelphia, even though he knew Burgoyne expected to receive his cooperation. Despite these setbacks to the British, which had greatly boosted American morale, Burgoyne, in compliance with his orders, gambling on the belated cooperation of Howe and on his own ability to smash the American force in his front, crossed the Hudson River at Saratoga on September 13. Thus he severed his communications with Canada and risked all on a push to Albany.


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