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Road to the Battle of Bennington: Lt. Col. Friedrich Baum's Expedition of 1777

On Your Own
F. C. Yohn

In August of 1777, Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum found himself a long way from his home in Braunschweig – Wolfenbüttel, what is now a part of Lower Saxony in Germany. The Duke, Carl I provided nearly 6,000 of his fellow servicemen to his son’s brother-in-law, King George III of Great Britain, in order to put down the Rebellion in America. The a majority of them were led by British General John Burgoyne, but when Burgoyne found his military campaign in serious need of provisions, draft animals, and a military diversion, Baum was sent to lead a raid on a supply depot in Bennington, VT. Speaking only his native German, and having no field experience in commanding a multinational force of nearly 800 German, British, Canadian, American and Native troops, Baum and his force departed from the British encampment on the Hudson River. They marched along a rugged route their enemy, the rebel Americans, had cut just the year before, to what they believed was a scantily guarded depot. This story is the anatomy of a disastrous event … explore Lt. Col. Friedrich Baum’s ill-fated journey to the Battle of Bennington, and experience some of the most stunning landscape to be found along New York’s Lakes to Locks Passage.

Click here to discover "The Road to Walloomsac" interactive map

Click here to download the Road to the Battle of Bennington MP3 Audio Files

Site 1: Prelude

Part I: Setting the Stage for Burgoyne's Leadership

Learn More: Understanding Burgoyne's Order

Part II: Auxiliaries

Part III: Waterways of War

[Learn More: Geography of the Waterways](Learn More: Geography of the Waterways)

Site 2: An Altered Landscape [While Driving]

Part I: A Gathering Place

Site 3: The Little Carrying Place

Part I: Evidence of the Past

Part II: A Day of Rest

Learn More: Baum's Commanders

Part III: Revised Order

Learn More: Understanding Burgoyne's Order

Part IV: Cause for Concern

Learn More: Baum's Departure

Site 4: A Canal Community [While Driving]

Site 5:The Clark's Mill Bridge

Part I: Clark's Mill Bridge

Learn More: Crossing the Batten Kill

Site 6: The Saratoga Encampment [While Driving]

Part I: Saratoga Encampment

Learn More: Wasmus at Saratoga

Detour: The Schuyler House

Site 7: Setting off on August 12 [While Driving]

Part I: More About the Germans

Learn More: Understanding the German's Involvement

Site 8: The Batten Kill Encampment [While Driving]

Part I: Batten Kill Encampment

Learn More: Baum's First Letter to Burgoyne

Learn More: The Native Scavengers

Site 9: On the Continental Road I [While Driving]

Site 10: Still on the Continental Road [While Driving]

Site 11: Old Continental Road Marker [While Driving]

Site 12: Introducing Dr. Asa Fitch [While Driving]

Learn More: Dr. Asa Fitch Oral Histories

Site 13: And still on the Continental Road [While Driving ]

Site 14: Understanding the Landscape [While Driving]

Site 15: And Even Still on the Continental Road [While Driving]

Site 16: John Weir House

Site 17: The Continental Road in Cambridge

Part I: Colonists in Cambridge

Site 18: The Checkered House

Part I: Checkered House

Site 19: The Skirmish with Cambridge Militia [While Driving]

Part I: Skirmish with Cambridge Militia

Learn More: Baum's 2nd Letter to Burgoyne

Site 20: The White Creek Encampment [While Driving]

Site 21: The Sancoick Mill Skirmish [While Driving]

Part I: Sancoick Mill Skirmish

Learn More: Baum's 3rd Letter to Burgoyne

Part II: Understanding the Mill Site

Site 22: Prelude to the Battle [While Driving]

Part I: At the Bridge

Site 23: Bennington Battlefield

Part I: Rain Day

Learn More: Baum's 4th Letter to Burgoyne

Part II: A Clear Day

Part III: The First Engagement

Learn More: Native Participation in the Battle of Bennington

Site 24: Baum's Demise

Site 25: The Second Engagement

Epilogue

Best Times to Go

The season for Bennington Battlefield is May 1 through Labor Day.

What About this Experience is Distinctive or Authentic to the Character of the Region?

History is written by the victor, and popular knowledge of the American Revolution is from the perspective of the Rebels. The narration of this tour is primarily from the letters, diaries and oral histories of the British, German and the colonists that were engaged with the event. From their perspective this was a civil war.

The Battle of Bennington took its name from the location of the American lines. In reality, the New York and Vermont border runs between the American and British lines, but the core battlefield is within the State of New York – where local historians refer to it as the Battle of the Walloomsac.

What You Should Know Before You Go

The Road to the Battle of Bennington offers visitors a story-filled tour of the historic route taken by Lt. Col. Friedrich Baum in 1777. Paul Loading, Town of Kingsbury Historian, and John Sheaff, Walloomsac Battle Chapter of the Empire State Society SAR, traced the historic route of Baum and his men through tireless research. Not all the roads along this route are paved, but these back roads of Washington County will treat you to some of New York’s most stunning scenic views.

Along the route, you will discover the fate of Baum and his nearly 800-man army while visiting local landmarks. These landmarks are primarily identified through New York’s historic markers and stone monuments with inscribed brass tablets. Several of the historic sites are private property; please respect private property, and do not trespass.

The Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site does not have staff, but interpretive panels are accessible during park hours.