Mount Independence State Historic Site
" . . . this Day there was two men Buried from our Regt."
- Lt. Jonathan Burton, October 4, 1776
This small stone, engraved "N. Richardson of Staddard Eng died 1760," may mark the only identified grave on Mount Independence. Research has yet to discover who Richardson was or solve the mystery of the 1760 date. This was sixteen years before the Northern Department of the American Army began building Mount Independence as a defense against the British in the American Revolution. Is it a gravestone from the French and Indian War? Over time the elements have worn away the inscription.
The number of soldiers who died at Mount Independence is known only to history, but at least dozens if not many more lost their lives between July 1776 and November 1777, to be buried far from home.
Located on the Mount are several unmarked cemeteries. These soldiers - American, British, and Germans, as well as Canadians and Native Americans on both sides - were victims of disease suffered here or casualties of battle, brought back from the July 7, 1777, battles at Hubbardton, Vermont, and Fort Ann, New York. They died while serving their countries.
During the early months of American occupation, from July through September 1776, the first to die at Mount Independence received military funerals. Fellow soldiers wrapped the bodies in blankets. They auctioned off personal effects, which would have been difficult to return home, and sent the money to the family of the deceased. As the number of deaths increased, burials became rushed and haphazard with little formality.
The Rev. Ammi Robbins, chaplain of Col. Charles Burrall's Connecticut State Regiment that was part of the First Brigade, wrote in his journal of witnessing the military funeral of a regimental soldier on the evening of September 8, 1776. "There is something more than ordinary solemn and touching in our funerals, especially an officer's: swords and arms inverted, others with their arms folded across their breast stepping slowly to the beat of the muffled drum."
Remember the sacrifices of the soldiers who served here and respect their final resting places.