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Revisiting a Revolution Raid: Barnard Historical Society Organizes Re-enactment

  • R.J. Hamilton, right of Hoboken, N.J. takes a video of his son Liam and wife Eniko with reenactor Bruce Atkins of Gloucester, Mass. in Barnard, Vt. Saturday, October 12, 2013. Atkins has no Indian heritage, but was participating in the Barnard Raid reenactment as one of 21 Mohawks that are reported to have trekked from Canada and taken four prisoners from the town on August 9, 1780.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    R.J. Hamilton, right of Hoboken, N.J. takes a video of his son Liam and wife Eniko with reenactor Bruce Atkins of Gloucester, Mass. in Barnard, Vt. Saturday, October 12, 2013. Atkins has no Indian heritage, but was participating in the Barnard Raid reenactment as one of 21 Mohawks that are reported to have trekked from Canada and taken four prisoners from the town on August 9, 1780.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tim Nedweden and Laurie Vogt of Connecticut set up a shelter of oiled canvas after arriving at the reenactment site in Barnard, Vt. Saturday, October 12, 2013. "I always wanted to be an Indian when I was a little kid," said Nedwedden, who has no Native American heritage, but says he portrays one of the Delaware tribe.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Tim Nedweden and Laurie Vogt of Connecticut set up a shelter of oiled canvas after arriving at the reenactment site in Barnard, Vt. Saturday, October 12, 2013. "I always wanted to be an Indian when I was a little kid," said Nedwedden, who has no Native American heritage, but says he portrays one of the Delaware tribe.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tom Nedweden, right, fires his musket and a reenactor portraying a loyalist soldier, left, reloads during a representation of a skirmish between British and Mokawk raiders and a colonial militia in Barnard, Vt. Saturday, October 12, 2013. The skirmish was part of the Barnard Historical Society's Barnard Raid reenactment.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Tom Nedweden, right, fires his musket and a reenactor portraying a loyalist soldier, left, reloads during a representation of a skirmish between British and Mokawk raiders and a colonial militia in Barnard, Vt. Saturday, October 12, 2013. The skirmish was part of the Barnard Historical Society's Barnard Raid reenactment.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Joan Stoddert of Williston, Vt. reads up on the history of the Barnard Raid in a packet provided by the Barnard HIstorical Society Saturday, October 12, 2013. This is the third reenactment of the raid held by the historical society in the last six years.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Joan Stoddert of Williston, Vt. reads up on the history of the Barnard Raid in a packet provided by the Barnard HIstorical Society Saturday, October 12, 2013. This is the third reenactment of the raid held by the historical society in the last six years.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jonah, Britton, 9, middle, and his sisters Ana, 11, back right, and Tea, 11, right, look in on a reenactor preparing to play a settler in the Barnard Historical Society's raid in Barnard Saturday, October 12, 2013. During the British and Mohawk raid on Barnard in August 1780, four settlers were captured. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Jonah, Britton, 9, middle, and his sisters Ana, 11, back right, and Tea, 11, right, look in on a reenactor preparing to play a settler in the Barnard Historical Society's raid in Barnard Saturday, October 12, 2013. During the British and Mohawk raid on Barnard in August 1780, four settlers were captured.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • A replica chatelaine suspended from teh belt of Susan Murata, of Marlborough, N.H. holds scissors, pin cushion, needles, thimble and key during a reenactment of the Barnard Raid in Banrard, Vt. Saturday, October 12, 2013. Murata belongs to Hinsdale's Garrison, a group that portrays 18th century colonial life.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    A replica chatelaine suspended from teh belt of Susan Murata, of Marlborough, N.H. holds scissors, pin cushion, needles, thimble and key during a reenactment of the Barnard Raid in Banrard, Vt. Saturday, October 12, 2013. Murata belongs to Hinsdale's Garrison, a group that portrays 18th century colonial life.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • R.J. Hamilton, right of Hoboken, N.J. takes a video of his son Liam and wife Eniko with reenactor Bruce Atkins of Gloucester, Mass. in Barnard, Vt. Saturday, October 12, 2013. Atkins has no Indian heritage, but was participating in the Barnard Raid reenactment as one of 21 Mohawks that are reported to have trekked from Canada and taken four prisoners from the town on August 9, 1780.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Tim Nedweden and Laurie Vogt of Connecticut set up a shelter of oiled canvas after arriving at the reenactment site in Barnard, Vt. Saturday, October 12, 2013. "I always wanted to be an Indian when I was a little kid," said Nedwedden, who has no Native American heritage, but says he portrays one of the Delaware tribe.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Tom Nedweden, right, fires his musket and a reenactor portraying a loyalist soldier, left, reloads during a representation of a skirmish between British and Mokawk raiders and a colonial militia in Barnard, Vt. Saturday, October 12, 2013. The skirmish was part of the Barnard Historical Society's Barnard Raid reenactment.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Joan Stoddert of Williston, Vt. reads up on the history of the Barnard Raid in a packet provided by the Barnard HIstorical Society Saturday, October 12, 2013. This is the third reenactment of the raid held by the historical society in the last six years.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Jonah, Britton, 9, middle, and his sisters Ana, 11, back right, and Tea, 11, right, look in on a reenactor preparing to play a settler in the Barnard Historical Society's raid in Barnard Saturday, October 12, 2013. During the British and Mohawk raid on Barnard in August 1780, four settlers were captured. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • A replica chatelaine suspended from teh belt of Susan Murata, of Marlborough, N.H. holds scissors, pin cushion, needles, thimble and key during a reenactment of the Barnard Raid in Banrard, Vt. Saturday, October 12, 2013. Murata belongs to Hinsdale's Garrison, a group that portrays 18th century colonial life.<br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

Barnard — Last weekend, under sunny skies, more than a dozen historical re-enactors from across New England took part in a re-enactment of a Revolutionary War-era raid on Barnard.

As the war progressed, a call went out for soldiers willing to kill a British officer as retaliation for massacres of women and children by British soldiers. In exchange, the soldiers would receive officers’ commissions. Benjamin Whitcomb, an early Barnard settler and scout in the Revolutionary Army, answered the challenge.

In 1780, Whitcomb traveled to Canada and shot and killed a British general.

In response, British officers put a price on his head, which, according to a history compiled by the Barnard Historical Society, led to the Barnard Raid.

On Aug. 9, 1780, a group of more than 21 American Indians and British Loyalists came looking for Whitcomb. They found his camp in Stockbridge, Vt., but the trail went cold in Barnard. The group didn’t go away empty-handed, however. They ransacked four cabins, kidnapping the male inhabitants, Timothy Newton, Thomas Martin Wright, and Prince Haskell, and marched them to Canada. After leaving town, they stopped again at Whitcomb’s camp, where they killed his cattle, cooked a meal and burned his shanty. In the meantime, the alarm call had been sounded in Barnard and a 21-man militia gathered. But they were unable to catch up with the group and headed home after two days.

The Barnard Raid, the first of three attacks in the region, was followed by the Bethel Raid on Sept. 21, 1780, and the Royalton Raid on Oct. 16, 1780, in which the town was burned to the ground.