Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site

Photo by Michael Kleen

This small park and museum commemorates the only Revolutionary War battle fought in what would become the State of Vermont.

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The Battle of Hubbardton was fought on July 7, 1777 between British and German forces commanded by Brigadier General Simon Fraser and Baron Friedrich Adolf Riedesel and American forces commanded by colonels Ebenezer Francis, Nathan Hale, and Seth Warner near Hubbardton, Vermont during the Revolutionary War. The British won the battle but failed to follow up their victory.

In June 1777, British Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne headed south along Lake Champlain in one prong of a multi-pronged attack designed to split New England from the rest of the American Colonies. On July 5, the British recaptured Fort Ticonderoga after hauling artillery up to the summit of Mount Defiance. The roughly 4,000-strong American garrison fled without a fight. Major General Arthur St. Clair left Colonel Seth Warner of the Green Mountain Boys Regiment near Hubbardton with a 1,200-man rearguard while the main body continued its southern retreat.

Brig. Gen. Simon Fraser, commanding some 1,030 of Burgoyne’s most experienced troops, including German Brunswick jägers and grenadiers, was in hot pursuit. They initially surprised Warner’s rearguard in the early morning hours, but the Americans regrouped on a hill and put up stubborn resistance. Though wounded, Colonel Francis of the 11th Massachusetts Regiment directed his men to attack a vulnerable point on the British left flank.

Riedesel’s Germans arrived on the field in the nick of time, however, singing hymns while their regimental band played. Their attack crumbled the American flank, and Colonel Francis was killed. The American rearguard broke and fled in disarray. The battle was over by 8:30 am, and when the smoke cleared, 41 Americans lay dead, 96 were wounded, and 230 captured. The British and Germans lost 50 killed and 143 wounded. Brig. Gen. Fraser abandoned his pursuit and the American colonial troops slipped away to fight again another day.

Fought between Great Britain and her Thirteen American Colonies from 1775 to 1883, the Revolutionary War led to a Declaration of Independence and the formation of the United States of America in 1776. The Thirteen Colonies won their independence, at the cost of an estimated 158,000 British, American, French, German, Spanish, and American Indian lives. It was a dynamic and surprisingly international conflict.

The area returned to farmland after the battle. A 21-foot tall marble obelisk was erected in 1859, near where the British are believed to have buried Colonel Francis with full military honors. Today, much of the battlefield is preserved as Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site. There is a small museum/visitors center and a handful of interpretive signs. The visitors center was constructed in 1970 and the battlefield was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site, at 5696 Monument Hill Road, six miles east of State Route 30, is open May 26 to October 14, Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is $3 for adults and children ages 15 and under are free. Call (802) 273-2282 for more information.

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Author: Michael Kleen

Michael Kleen is an author, raconteur, and occasional traveler. He has a M.A. in History and M.S. in Education. He enjoys studying military history, folklore, and philosophy.

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