James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

August 16

The Battle of Bennington

By William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878)

  • Near this town in Vermont the Americans under Stark defeated the British under Baum and Breyman on August 16, 1777.

  • ON this fair valley’s grassy breast

    The calm sweet rays of summer rest,

    And dove-like peace divinely broods

    On its smooth lawns and solemn woods.

    A century since, in flame and smoke,

    The storm of battle o’er it broke;

    And ere the invader turned and fled,

    These pleasant fields were strown with dead.

    Stark, quick to act and bold to dare,

    And Warner’s mountain band were there;

    And Allen, who had flung the pen

    Aside to lead the Berkshire men.

    With fiery onset—blow on blow—

    They rushed upon the embattled foe,

    And swept his squadrons from the vale,

    Like leaves before the autumn gale.

    Oh! never may the purple stain

    Of combat blot these fields again,

    Nor this fair valley ever cease

    To wear the placid smile of peace.

    But we, beside this battlefield,

    Will plight the vow that ere we yield

    The right for which our fathers bled,

    Our blood shall steep the ground we tread.

    And men shall hold the memory dear

    Of those who fought for freedom here,

    And guard the heritage they won

    While these green hillsides feel the sun.