History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Campaign of Lieut. Gen. John Burgoyne
and The Expedition of Lieut. Col. Barry St. Leger.
by William L. Stone.
Albany, NY, Joel Munsell. 1877.
Part III continued
Mr. E. W. B. Canning of Stockbridge, Mass., writes to the author concerning the alarm through the county as follows:
"When I became a citizen of the town in 1850, there were a few persons still living who remembered the memorable occasion of the alarm that pervaded Berkshire at the time of the descent of the British on Bennington ; and I desire more particularly to refer to it here in order to correct a version of the story by some who have wrongly connected it with the battle of Lexington.
"Early one Sunday morning In August, '77, our village was startled by the sound of three musket shots fired in succession. On looking out, there were seen Esq. Woodbridge-then living in the present residence of Mr. Samuel Lawrence-Dea. Nash, his next neighbor, and Dea. Edwards, on the street corner near the latter's house- now Mrs. Owens's- each with a musket in his hand. So strictly was the day kept at that time, that the sight of these men so situated provoked as much astonishment as would now the discovery of a quartette of our reverend clergy prefacing divine service by a game of euchre over the pulpit cushion. Something unusual and very important must be in the wind, or these fathers of the town and church had gone daft. Matters were soon explained to the fast gathering citizens, for a courier had just brought news that the British were marching on Bennington, and that every able-bodied man was needed to repel the invasion. Anon, forth came the yeoman soldiery equipped as well as haste and alarm permitted, and took their way northward to the scene of danger With this body went Dr. Oliver Partridge, whom many of us remember, and who told me he dressed the mortal wound of Col. Baum, who commanded the enemy in that battle. The courier, having notified the above named gentlemen, pushed on down the county to rouse the lower towns. He arrived in New Marlboro just as the minister had announced the text of his morning sermon. The commander of the minute-men being summoned from his pew and told the news, forthwith strode up the broad aisle and, addressing the clergyman, exclaimed : ' Mr. Turner, the British are at Bennington, ''and I forbid Sabby-day ! Minute men, turn out and follow me !' The militia of the northern portion of the county alone arrived in time to share in the glory of the victory, the courier having been despatched by Gen. Stark on the day before the battle, which had already been fought and won when our volunteers came to aid in gathering the spoils."
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