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Brigadier General John Stark

The Battle of Bennington was a precursor battle to the decisive Battle of Saratoga -- the first battle in the American Revolution where a British General was definitively beaten and an entire British army taken captive. Without Bennington, the British could have resupplied at Saratoga and won, and the American Revolution would likely have been lost.

Brigadier General John Stark defied the orders of the Continental Army to intercept the British at Bennington. He was declared the Hero of Bennington. However, he retired from public life and largely faded into history following the American Revolution.

Stark was a New Hampshire native who fought in the French and Indian War, then immediately volunteered after Lexington and Concord. He reinforced William Prescott at the battle of Bunker Hill (actually Breed's Hill) and went on to serve with distinction. However, like several New England officers, he had little patience or appreciation for the decisions made by the Continental Army. When a demonstrably inferior officer was promoted over him, he resigned his commission. When he returned (as a Brigadier General) in charge of a large contingent of New Hampshire Minutemen, it was with the explicit understanding that the Continental Army wouldn't tell him what to do. In fact, it was defying the Continental Army that put Stark and his men in a position to fight and win the Battle of Bennington.

The strip assumes a somewhat acrimonious relationship between Stark and his wife, as well as Stark and Ethan Allen of the Green Mountain Boys. That's all with an eye to comedic situation, not historical fact. Truth be told, we don't have a ton of historical facts about John Stark to compare. However, we know he did coin the phrase "Live Free or Die," which has been adopted as the New Hampshire State Motto (and a pretty broad credo).

The other thing we know is that as a popular war hero -- particularly one who remained loyal and committed even after Benedict Arnold committed treason and Ethan Allen tried to bring Vermont out of the Union and back over to Britain -- Stark could have had considerable and significant wealth and power following the Revolution. Certainly, New Hampshire would have fallen over itself to raise him up, and he could have gone anywhere in the Colonies and cashed in on his war record. Heck, today his face might even have been on money.

Instead, he went home, to his farm, forswearing all the trappings of public life, and lived simply. Which if you think about it is incredible.

Needless to say, the least he deserves is his own webcomic, and here we are today.

The statue depicted is at the Bennington Battle Monument in Old Bennington, Vermont.

Please don't take this stupid little comic strip as historically accurate. I mean, Jesus, just read it and you'll know better. Back to the Cast Page

©2005-2009 Eric Burns-White. All rights reserved. Dude, don't be a dick.

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He stared at me, thunderstruck. "Matters of consequence!" He looked at me there, with my hammer in my hand, my fingers black with engine-grease, bending down over an object which seemed to him extremely ugly... "You talk just like the grown-ups!" ... full profile