Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Burning of Bedford


"...the enemy have burned Bedford."
Save the evening of Saturday, July 11th
for cocktails and light fare at the
Commanding Heights...

On Saturday, July 11th the Bedford Historical Society invites you to commemorate the 230th anniversary of the Burning of Bedford from 6:30 to 9:00 PM with a dramatic Revolutionary War re-enactment at dusk.
Join us at the Commanding Heights - the field below the very spot where lookouts first encountered the approaching enemy on July 11 of 1779. Follow the torch lit path at 133 Guard Hill Road (Daisy Hill Farm) to the top of the field and toast the Bedford of today.
Invitations will be arriving in your mail next week or you can contact us for at info@bhsny.org . Advance reservations required - no tickets at the gate.
All proceeds benefit the Bedford Historical Society's Property Fund which provides for the preservation & maintenance of eight historic properties in and around Bedford Village.
Revolutionary War Re-enactors Will "Burn Bedford" at dusk


- The Burning of Bedford -
Imagine the entire village of Bedford burned to the ground - its villagers terrorized, all but one home destroyed, almost 100 years of history erased in a few hours' time.
Just after dawn on the morning of July 11, 1779, four hundred British cavalry under the command of Lt. Col. Samuel Birch rode toward Bedford Village anxious for battle with Col. Stephen Moylan's dragoons. The lookout posted on Guard Hill fired his pistol three times but the lookout on Bates Hill, behind where Historical Hall sits today, at first thought they were friendly forces. After realizing his mistake, he rode hard to give warning of the approaching menace. But there was no defense: the night before, Washington had ordered Moylan's men to the Connecticut coast where the British were mounting an offensive. The British rode into town and, without care or hesitation, proceeded to plunder and set fire to the meeting house and, in turn, nearly every house in the village. Only one house, owned by a widow reputed to have Tory sympathies, was spared. By noon, their task finished, the soldiers rode out of town leaving only smoke and charred chimneys in their wake.
Incredibly, instead of fleeing the area, the families of Bedford remained. Living for several years in tents and lean-tos, shielded from the weather by a natural rock wall to which they lashed their canvases, the villagers toiled to rebuild their homes. Because Washington's army required so many resources, laborers and building materials were scarce. Villagers found what little timber remained, cut it down and hew it into shape before undertaking construction. Against the odds, the villagers persevered and brought Bedford back to life

5 comments:

sophia said...

Wow. Bedford knows how to throw a party!

Paul said...

I heard the view from Daisy Hill Farm is amazing. Hope it doesn't rain.

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