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that a new list of promotions had been made in which his name was omitted, while junior officers had been advanced in rank. The injustice, while attributed to the work of enemies, he bitterly resented, immediately resigned his commission and returned home. On his resignation the legislature of New Hampshire returned him its earnest thanks for his good service in the war.
Not long after this event the whole country was thrown into dismay by a formidable invasion from Canada. So far the war on the northern frontier had been a succession of disasters, and the march southward of Burgoyne, with his powerful army, threatened to cut the States of the north into two portions. The retreat of the Americans from Ticonderoga added to the alarm, which spread widely through the Eastern States. Burgoyne was coming, with his veteran soldiers, his Canadian and Indian scouts and rangers, and the whole atmosphere was filled with gloom.
Something needed to be done for self-defence, and New Hampshire was quick to act. The militia of the State was organized into two brigades, the command of one being given to Stark. He accepted it on the condition that he would not be obliged to join the main army, but be left to hang on the wings of the enemy, and that he would be under the command of no one but the authorities of New Hampshire.
General Lincoln soon after met Stark and ordered him to lead his men to the west bank of the Hudson. Stark refused, saying that he was not under orders from Congress and that it was his duty to protect the people of Vermont. When Congress heard of this a resolution of disapproval was sent to the Council of New Hampshire, but it declined to interfere with Stark -fortunately, as it proved.
Stark was at Bennington, Vermont, when he learned that a detachment of six hundred men under Colonel Baum had been despatched by Burgoyne on a foraging expedition in that section, sending a party of Indians in advance on a scouting raid. Two hundred men, under Lieutenant-Colonel Gregg, were sent out to check the Indians, but that night General Stark was informed that a large body of the enemy, with a train of artillery, was in the rear of the Indians, marching towards Bennington.
On the morning of August 14 he advanced, with all the men he could muster. A few miles out he met Gregg retreating, with the enemy close at hand. He at once halted and drew up his men in order of battle. The enemy, seeing this, at once stopped also and intrenched themselves. Thus the armies remained for two days, contenting themselves with skirmishing, in which the Americans had much the best of the game. Baum's Indians began to desert, saying that "the woods were filled with Yankees."
On the morning of the 16th Stark prepared for an attack. Before advancing, he addressed his men with that brief but telling address which has made his name historic: “ There are the red-coats; we must beat them to-day or to-night Molly Stark sleeps a widow.”
His dispositions were admirably made. While one party attacked the enemy in front, two others were sent to attack them on right and left in the rear. The rear attack set the Indians in flight, the Tories were driven over the small river that formed part of the lines, and Baum with his Germans, after a sharp fight of two hours' duration, were driven from their breastworks and forced from the field, leaving their artillery and baggage to their foe. They were outnumbered, but it was by a band of raw militia, poorly armed and without discipline.
The militia hastily dispersed to collect the plunder, and while they were doing so, word came that a large reinforcement from the British army was approaching and only two miles away. Baum joined it, and the fortunes of the day were in peril. Fortunately, while Stark was vigorously seeking to rally his men, Colonel Warner came up with two hundred fresh men, who at once attacked the enemy. Stark joined him with what men he had collected, and another sharp fight began, ending at nightfall in the repulse of the enemy. “With one hour more of daylight,” said Stark, “we would have captured the whole body."
As it was, the British lost very heavily, there being seven hundred prisoners, in addition to a large number of killed and wounded, while the American loss was small. Burgoyne had lost more than a thousand of his best troops, he had failed to obtain the supplies he sadly needed, and the whole plan of his campaign was deranged. His march was retarded for a month, in order to obtain the necessary supplies, during which Gates was growing stronger, and Stark's victory at Bennington had much to do with Burgoyne's eventful surrender.
Congress hastened to repair its former action by appointing Stark a brigadier-general, and in September he joined Gates and lent his share to the success of the campaign. He continued in the army till the end of the war, and was present at the battle of Springfield. From this time forward no events of importance marked his life. He survived, an honored citizen, till the advanced age of ninety-four, Congress voting him a pension four years before his death. He died May 9, 1822.
ETHAN ALLEN, THE CHIEF OF THE
GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS
CHIEF among those who made the State of Vermont, and one of the most stalwart defenders of American liberty, was the famous Ethan Allen, a true son of the wilderness. Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, January 10, 1738, he removed with four younger brothers about 1763 to the neighborhood of Bennington, Vermont, and there became an earnest and ardent leader of the bold Green Mountain Boys. Up to that time Vermont had been a forest wilderness, the haunt of the wild beast and the wilder savage, and Allen and his brothers were among its early settlers. To whom the region belonged was a matter of controversy between New Hampshire and New York, both of which claimed it. During the French and Indian war it was a scene of the marching and fighting of troops, but before then the governor of New Hampshire had offered land on liberal terms to settlers, and as soon as the war was over the Allens and many other adventurers trooped in. Until the era of the Revolution the region was known as the New Hampshire Grants. Afterwards it became known as Vermont, the French word for Green Mountain.
As time went on a hot dispute arose between the two claimants of the region, and in the end the contest was referred to the king of England, who decided in 1764 in favor of New York, fixing the Connecticut River as the dividing line between New Hampshire and New York. All would now have gone well had not the government of New York attempted to make the settlers pay again for the lands they had cleared and settled or yield them to new men. This injustice was bitterly resented by the frontiersmen, and in 1770 Ethan Allen, one of their leading spirits, was sent to plead their cause before the courts at Albany. The whole legal discussion was a piece of idle formality. The matter had been decided in advance, and a verdict already fixed upon was given against the settlers. Allen was advised by the attorneys to go home and get his friends to make the best terms they could, the proverb being quoted to him that, “ Might often prevails against right.”
The bold mountaineer quaintly replied with an apt quotation from the Bible, “ The Lord is the God of the hills, but He is not the God of the valleys," and returned home full of warlike wrath, to infect the people with his own spirit.
When the sheriffs appeared among the mountaineers to eject them from their lands something like war broke out. The Green Mountain Boys organized themselves into an armed corps, with Ethan Allen for their colonel, and prepared to defend their rights by force of arms. Thus things went on for several years, the sheriffs and their followers being treated, not with bullets, but with "the switches of the wilderness," an effective argument. Finally Governor Tryon, of New York, issued a proclamation offering £ 150 reward for the capture of Allen and £ 50 for Seth Warner and some other ringleaders. Allen retorted by offering a reward for the capture of the attorney general of New York.
The trouble grew worse as time went on, the Vermont settlers ejecting forcibly from their territory all