Biography of Seth Warner
Seth Warner was an officer in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He led the legendary Green Mountain Boys in several key battles in the early years of the war, including the Battle of Hubbardton and the Battle of Bennington. Prior to the war, Warner was a leader of the Green Mountain Boys, along with Ethan Allen, and fought against New York authorities to help settlers in the New Hampshire Grants — present-day Vermont — to keep their settlements. New York went so far as to declare Warner an outlaw and put a price on his head. The dispute was interrupted in 1775 when the Battle of Lexington took place. Allen, Warner, and many of the Green Mountain Boys went into New York to capture Fort Ticonderoga. They captured the fort on May 10, 1775, and Warner commanded the rear guard. Two days later, Warner led a small force that captured Crown Point. Soon after, Congress made the Green Mountain Boys a regiment in the Continental Army, and Warner was appointed to lead them and given the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. From that point on, the outfit was referred to as “Warner’s Regiment.” Warner and his men joined the Canada Campaign and played an important part in the Siege of Fort St. John and defeated British forces at the Battle of Longueuil in October 1775. The regiment was sent home in November but returned to Quebec in January to help support the army at the Siege of Quebec. When British forces arrived and broke the siege, the Americans scattered. Warner and his men served as the rear guard and successfully evacuated hundreds of sick and wounded Americans and took refuge at Fort Ticonderoga. The American retreat continued, as General John Burgoyne and his army continued to chase after them. Warner and his men served as the rear guard and fought the British at the Battle of Hubbardton on July 7, 1777. Although the British won the battle, they were forced to end their pursuit of the American army. On August 16, Warner joined with General John Stark to fight the British at the Battle of Bennington where the British suffered heavy casualties that contributed to the eventual surrender of Burgoyne at the end of the Saratoga Campaign. Warner suffered from poor health but remained in the army until his regiment was disbanded in 1781.
This illustration depicts Ethan Allen (pointing at the map) and the other leaders of the Green Mountain Boys, which likely included Warner. Image Source: Library of Congress.
5 Things to Know About Seth Warner
- Warner was born on May 17, 1743, in Roxbury, Connecticut, and died on December 26, 1784, in Roxbury. His family moved to Bennington, in the New Hampshire Grants, around 1763.
- Warner was an early leader of the Green Mountain Boys, along with Ethan Allen. Other members included Ira Allen, Remember Baker, Thomas Chittenden, and many others who were later considered to be the founding fathers of Vermont.
- The artillery captured by the Green Mountain Boys at Ticonderoga and Crown Point was eventually hauled to Boston by Henry Knox and his Nobel Train of Artillery, where it was used to end the Siege of Boston and force the British to evacuate the town.
- Warner was regarded as a hero in the New Hampshire Grants, and an outlaw by New York. Almost two hundred years later, in 1975, the Connecticut Legislature posthumously named Warner a General in the Connecticut Militia.
- Very little is known about Warner, other than what is found in military records or government archives. Despite the lack of information, it is known that he crossed paths with men who played an important role in the American Revolutionary War, including Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold, Horatio Gates, Philip Schuyler, John Stark, and George Washington.
Seth Warner was important to United States history because of his involvement with the Green Mountain Boys, who played a key role in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga. Afterward, he led them during important battles that led to the eventual surrender of the British Army at the end of the Saratoga Campaign. When the French learned the Americans had beaten the British in New York, they agreed to recognize the United States as an independent nation and to provide military support. Warner also played an important part in helping Vermont achieve statehood.