Hubbardton Battlefield, Vermont

Before Vermont was even a state, when it was still a sparsly settled region whose political status was disputed by New York and New Hampshire, Vermonters made two contributions to winning what was probably the most important campaign in the Revolutionary War. As General John Burgoyne advanced south through the Lake Champlain Valley toward Albany, he easily drove American forces out of Fort Ticonderoga, which had been assumed to be the major obstacle in his path. The American army retreated in haste from Ticonderoga toward Hubbardton, Vermont, which then has all of two houses. At Hubbardton, a detachment of the American army joined with some local militia to hold off the British pursuit for several hours. Only the arrival of Hessian reinforcements, and the prospect that the larger British forces would then be able to outflank them, drove the Americans from the field. Hubbardton was the first engagement in the campaign to show Burgoyne’s regulars that American troops could stand up to them in the field. Many of the Americans who fought at Hubbardton were also with General John Stark several weeks later when he inflicted a disastrous defeat on a Hessian detachment at the Battle of Bennington. The Hubbardton Battlefield is now preserved as an historic site by the state of Vermont. A visitor’s reception center houses a museum with exhibits on the battle and the Revolutionary War.

Hubbardton Battlefield is located 7 miles off U.S. Route 4, near East Hubbardton, Vermont.

Blue Licks Battlefield State Park, Kentucky

I first read the story of the Battle of Blue Licks as a kid growing up in nearby southern Ohio. It struck me then, and it strikes me now, as one of the sadder stories of its kind from the frontier period. The salt springs at the site had attracted animals for millennia and formed a center of Indian life. Early settler frequented the place to obtain badly needed salt supplies. Indians captured Daniel Boone here while he was making salt for his settlement. (He later made a daring and famous escape.) But the sad part of the story came in 1782. Blue Licks is most renowned as the site of the last battle of the Revolutionary War in Kentucky. In 1782, Kentucky militia pursued a raiding party of Indians and British soldiers to the vicinity of Blue Licks. Ignoring the warnings of Daniel Boone and others, the militia commander ordered an attack right into a perfect ambush spot. The merits of the location had not escaped the Indians and British, and the Kentuckians suffered great losses, including Boone’s son, Israel. During the nineteenth century, the mineral springs made Blue Licks a popular health resort. Today the park has recreational facilities, a lodge, nature trails, and a museum of frontier and Native American life.

The park is located 48 miles northeast of Lexington on US 68.

Mine Creek Battlefield State Historic Site

In an effort to capture Missouri for the Confederacy, General Sterling Price and about 12,000 Confederate soldiers invaded that state in 1864. When his attempt to capture St. Louis failed, Price turned his attention to Kansas. Following the Missouri River, Price’s army made its way towards Kansas City. Alerted of the pending invasion, Kansas Governor Thomas Carny called out the Kansas State Militia which was combined with Federal troops under General Samuel R. Curtis to form the Army of the Border. The battle was joined on October 19th, 1864 at Lexington and the Battle of Big Blue on October 22. After initial victories, the Confederates were defeated at Westport and forced to retreat south. Guarding the rear of this retreat, General John Marmaduke was attacked by pursuing Union Cavalry on the north bank of Mine Creek. The charging Union Cavalry numbered only 2,500, but was able to affectively destroy the Confederate force that numbered 7,000. After this crushing defeat at the battle of Mine Creek, Confederate General Price was eventually forced to withdraw into Arkansas, essentially ending the Civil War in the west. Today, signs mark the location of important events in the battle.

Location Map and Directions: Click Here

Fort Necessity National Battlefield

George Washington was not a great soldier.  His great contributions were always more political than military.  Washington’s undistinguished military career began at this small fort in western Pennsylvania.  On July 3, 1754, 22-year old Colonel George Washington was forced to surrender the fort and the colonial troops under his command to French forces from nearby Fort Duquesne (present-day Pittsburg). The surrender, although probably inevitable, was certainly hastened by the fact that Washington had built the stockade in a very poor location, close to covering forests and exposed to fire from nearby heights.  This action was the opening battle of the French and Indian War, the struggle between Great Britain and France for control of North America.  Washington went on to advise British General Braddock prior to his disastrous defeat near Fort Duquesne, and to a Revolutionary War career in which his only major victory, at Yorktown, was due more to his French allies than to his own troops, who were a minority of the forces besieging British General Cornwallis.

Click here for a map showing the location of Fort Necessity.