“Well, he weren’t much to look at,” said Ransom. “He was about the middle height, and strongly built. He had a firm look about the face, and you might have been sure of his doing what he said he would do, just from hearing him talk. Blunt and downright, he was—and didn’t stop to pick words. He had seen a tougher life than any of his neighbours—fighting as a ranger and regular soldier—and you might suppose there was no nice affectation in his dress and manners like you find in some of our generals. He was a man made for service.”
“That’s the man exactly as I saw him at Saratoga,” said Kinnison.
“Did you say you was with General Stark, at Bennington?” enquired Hand.
“Ay, and did my share of that day’s work,” replied Ransom. “That was a battle, my boys. If you had seen the way that the militia walked up to the enemy’s cannon, and fought with regulars, you’d have said at once, there was no use of Great Britain trying to subdue such men.”
“Not having had the pleasure of seeing it,” replied Hand, “I should like to hear what you saw of it. Tell us about the affair, and how you won such a victory.”
“You shall hear about the battle of Bennington,” said Ransom. “At the time Burgoyne was advancing towards the Hudson, the people of Massachusetts and the New Hampshire Grants were alarmed, and feared that Burgoyne would march towards Boston. The whole frontier was uncovered. But the people began to feel the necessity of taking measures to check the advance of the enemy. General Stark was then at home, angry with Congress on account of his rank not being equal to his services. He had resigned his commission in the regular army. I was then at my farm, having gone home after serving with Colonel Allen. I expected to be called into service again, but didn’t intend to fight under any other orders than those of John Stark; because I knew the man had been badly treated, and I and most of the militia felt for him. The New Hampshire Assembly met, and began to adopt measures for the defence of the country. The militia was formed into two brigades. General Whipple was appointed to command the first, and General Stark the second. Stark refused to accept the appointment. But finding that his name was a host, he was induced to yield his private griefs for the public good. He said he would assume the command of the troops, if he was not desired to join the main army, and was made accountable to no authority but that of New Hampshire. His conditions were accepted, and he went to Charlestown to meet the Committee of Safety. As soon as I heard that General Stark was in the field, I hurried off to Charlestown to join the militia, I knew would assemble there. I found the men were coming in from all directions, and all were in high spirits. Stark sent us off to Manchester, twenty miles from Bennington, to join