24. Seth Warner and Remember Baker
SETH WARNER was highly distinguished as a leader of the Green Mountain Boys, both before and after the commencement of the Revolution. He was born at Woodbury, Conn., from whence his father emigrated to Bennington about the year 1763. At this time the son had scarcely arrived at years of manhood.
He engaged early and actively in the New York controversy, was consulted and bore a conspicuous part in all the military movements of the settlers. In fact, as a military leader, he possessed their confidence in a higher degree than did Col. Allen, as was evinced on several occasions, and especially by his being chosen lieutenant colonel of the regiment of Green Mountain Boys in 1775 although Allen was a candidate and extremely anxious for the appointment.
In 1776 Warner was commissioned a colonel in the Continental Army, which rank he held until the army was disbanded at the close of the war. He distinguished himself by his bravery and skillful conduct at the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, in the expedition to Canada in 1775-6, at the battles of Hubbardton and Bennington, and on several other occasions. After the peace he removed to Woodbury, Conn., his native town, where he ended his active and useful life in 1785 at about the age of 42, in high estimation among his friends and countrymen.
Col. Warner had not the advantage of an early education but was noted for his strong good sense and for his cool and active courage. In battle he seemed wholly regardless of personal danger. It is related of him that at the Battle of Hubbardton he rallied his troops against the pursuing enemy by mounting a stump, from which conspicuous position he gave out his orders in a voice that was distinctly heard amidst the din of battle; and to those who saw him for a long time thus exposed to the fire of the enemy, it seemed a miracle that he escaped unhurt.
He had several brothers, all of whom were of large stature and famed for their great bodily strength. Gideon was a captain in the corps of Green Mountain Boys raised in the summer of 1775 to oppose the common enemy. John, another brother, was the first of the family for physical strength. As a wrestler he had few or no rivals. His bodily powers, if tradition is to be relied upon, were indeed extraordinary. The writer has frequently heard it related by persons of credibility, who averred they were present, that at raisings it was usual for him to jump from the plate of a common 40-foot barn; and that his muscular strength was sufficient to enable him, with apparent ease, to continue his movement to the third jump without breaking down.
None of the family lacked personal courage. An anecdote is related of Seth and John which cannot be put on paper without losing much of its spirit. It happened during the Battle of Bennington. Near the close of the second fight, which it will be recollected was long and severe, as Colonel Warner, in the execution of his command, was moving from one part of the field to another, he observed in a deep run a little in the rear of the main body, a man whom he took to be his brother John. "Hallo there John," says the colonel. "Is that you? Why you ain't afraid of the bullets, are you John?" "Why saith?" John replied in his slow, drawling manner. "You d__n fool. Don't you know better than to take me for a coward? My gun has got so hot firing at the Redcoats that I cannot hold it and I'm trying to cool the d____d thing." And sure enough, he had found a small run of water and was ladling it up with his land and pouring it upon the gun barrel to cool it. When that was done he joined again in the fight. Daniel, another brother, was found among the slain after the battle was over.
REMEMBER BAKER of Arlington, next to Allen and Warner, was the most active and efficient leader of the Green Mountain Boys against the Yorkers. He was a captain in that corps and his company turned out and was with Allen at the capture of Ticonderoga. He remained in the service as a volunteer under Gen. Schuyler after the corps was discharted, and on Aug. 22, 1775, was killed by the Indians near St. Johns while on a scout with a party of five men trying to discover the movements of the British troops.
He had left his boat overnight in what he deemed a secure place, but in the morning discovered that several Indians had taken possession of it and were making off with it. He placed his men behind trees, and repeatedly hailed the Indians, informing them it was his boat, without effect. Observing one of the Indians in the boat preparing to fire, he determined that he would fire first, but his gun missed fire. Before he could again level his piece the Indian fired and Baker received a shot in the forehead and fell dead on the spot.
Baker's men then fired and killed two of the Indians, but the others carried off the boat and escaped. The Indians returned and cut off Baker's head and carried it in triumph to St. Johns, where it was fixed upon a pole; but was soon purchased by the British officers and buried. Capt. Baker was the first man killed in the northern department, and being a man universally respected, his death excited great interest at the time throughout a large section of the country.