Battle of Hubbardton

On this day in 1777, British and Patriot forces in the Saratoga campaign engage in the only battle fought in Vermont territory during the War for Independence, at Hubbardton, near Ticonderoga. Hessians and British under the command of German General Friedrich Adolph Riedesel, Freiherr zu Eisenbach, and British Brigadier General Simon Fraser surprised the Americans, from Major General Arthur St. Clair’s command, in retreat from Fort Ticonderoga, in New York. St. Clair had left behind Colonel Seth Warner’s Green Mountain Boys, Colonel Ebenezer Francis’ 11th Massachusetts Regiment and Colonel Nathan Hale’s 2nd New Hampshire Regiment in Hubbardton to cover the rest of his army’s retreat to the southeast. On the morning of July 7, the British launched a surprise attack on the Patriot rear guard at Hubbardton led by Simon Fraser’s Advance Corps. The Patriots managed to hold their position at nearby Monument Hill for over an hour until Baron Riedesel led his hymn-singing Brunswick Grenadiers into the fray. The disciplined German force gained the field, and Colonel Francis lost his life to wounds inflicted during the conflict.

Nonetheless, the rear guard succeeded in its goal of covering St. Clair’s retreat to Castleton, Vermont, and successfully joined the retreat themselves, despite heavy losses: 41 killed, 96 wounded and 234 captured. Simon Fraser died exactly three months later at the Battle of Bemis Heights, where Riedesel’s wife nursed his wounds. After British General John Burgoyne’s formal surrender at Saratoga on October 17, 1777, the Patriots captured both Riedesels. Later, Luise Charlotte Riedesel’s memoirs of her experiences during the War for Independence were published in German and English.

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