Many of our guests at the October Country Inn (check us out) come to Vermont to sample its rich and varied place in U.S. history. The only Revolutionary War battle fought in Vermont took place at Hubbardton in 1777. Visit the Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site on the July 8 – 9 weekend, and witness reenactors stage this fight on Vermont soil between the British and American troops. The Battle of Hubbardton involved approximately 2,230 troops–1,000 to 1,200 Americans, 850 British, and 180 Germans fighting for the British. It resulted in the deaths of 41 American, 50 British, and 10 German soldiers. Of the 244 wounded, 96 were American, 134 British, and 14 German. The British took 234 American prisoners. Total casualties, including prisoners, were roughly 27 percent of all participating troops.
In June 1777 British Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne began implementing his plan to split New England from the rest of the Colonies. The plan was for Burgoyne’s troops to head south on Lake Champlain and join two other British leaders, one of whom was traveling from the west along the Mohawk Valley and the other from the north up the Hudson River. All were to meet following their victories in Albany, New York. As Burgoyne drew near Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga in early July, Major General Arthur St. Clair made the tough decision to withdraw the American Northern Department Army from these forts and save his troops for another encounter under more advantageous circumstances with the British. The roughly 4,000 American soldiers retreated as quickly as possible with little time to gather up supplies and under the cover of darkness on the nights of July 5th and 6th.
Major General St. Clair and the main army marched over 20 miles to reach the hills of Hubbardton. There he appointed Colonel Seth Warner of the Green Mountain Boys to take command of an expanded rear guard of 1,000 to 1,200 soldiers, while the main army continued southward to Castleton. Rear guards have been a standard military security strategy to protect retreating troops. Their mission is to delay the enemy in their pursuit, force the enemy to deploy all their troops into action with the rear guard, engage the enemy in such a way as to avoid close combat, and to then withdraw safely as quickly as possible. The American rear guard successfully accomplished its mission, fully deploying the pursuing British, delaying them long enough so St. Clair and his main army could safely retreat southward. The rear guard soldiers also skillfully disengaged their enemy, fighting the British to a near standstill, and avoiding further American casualties and pursuit by the British.