General John Stark led quite a life. Born in New Hampshire in 1728, he was captured by Indians at the age of 24 and forced to “run a gauntlet” through two rows of Indians armed with sticks. Growing quickly tired of the beating, he tore a stick from the hands of one of his captors and laid into them. So impressed with this, the Indians adopted him into their tribe where he spent the winter.
He served as a Lieutenant in the famed Roger’s Rangers during the French and Indian War and retired as a Captain.
He was commissioned as a Colonel in the New Hampshire Militia and led his men as they distinguished themselves during the Battle of Bunker Hill.
General Stark also had a way with words, somehow finding exactly what needed to be said at a specific time. The rainy night before the famed Battle of Bennington, he was awakened by the arrival of Parson Thomas Allen and his Massachusetts Militiamen. Parson Allen was adamant that his men be allowed to join Stark’s force and threatened that “if they were not allowed to participate, they would never come out again.” General Stark’s reply was “Would you go now on this dark and rainy night? Go back to your people and tell them to get some rest if they can, and if the Lord gives us sunshine to-morrow and I do not give you fighting enough, I will never call on you to come again.”
The day dawned and the Parson saw the morning sun. Before stepping out to meet the British General Stark told his men…
“Yonder are the Hessians. They were bought for seven pounds and tenpence a man. Are you worth more? Prove it. Tonight the American flag floats from yonder hill or Molly Stark sleeps a widow!”
August 16th marks the 234th Anniversary of the Battle of Bennington. In what was then the New Hampshire Grants and is now Vermont, roughly 1500 New Hampshire and Massachusetts Militiamen along with Vermont’s famed Green Mountain Boys, led by General John Stark destroyed or captured about 700 Hessians, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum. The battle was significant, playing a major part in forcing British General John Burgoyne’s Army to surrender at the Battle of Saratoga three months later.
General Stark was appointed the Commander of the Northern Department of the Continental Army three times before the end of the war. Described as “a true Cincinnatus” by his peers after the war, he was one of the few Revolutionary War Generals who returned to private life, shunning politics.
With the riots we are seeing around the world, the rampant mobs of the disaffected left in Philadelphia, Union and Teacher antics in Wisconsin and other States, the left buying their useful idiots with food, or cigarettes or promises of free government “aid,” I can’t help but recall General Stark’s challenge. “Yonder are the Hessians. They were bought for seven pounds and tenpence a man. Are you worth more?” and wonder…
Become a PC.
There’s one more quote from General Stark you may have heard. In 1809 a group of Bennington Veterans decided to commemorate the Battle. At the age of 81, General Stark was not able to travel to the event, instead sending a letter to his comrades at arms. He closed the letter with the following…
“Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.”