Friedrich Baum was born in 1727. Little is known of Baum before his arrival to the Americas. He had fought in some engagements during the Seven Years’ War in Europe, but had little battlefield command experience prior to serving in the American Revolution. Baum arrived in Canada during the winter of 1776 to fight for the British Army as a Hessian mercenary. Baum was a Lieutenant Colonel of the Brunswick Dragoons in General John Burgoyne’s 1777 expedition to attack the Lake Champlain-Hudson River region of New York. The expedition was a unit under the direction of British Major General Adolf Riedesel.
General John Burgoyne tasked Baum with commanding 600 Brunswickers, British, and Indian soldiers to try to collect supplies, horses, and seek Loyalist reinforcements to aid Burgoyne’s march south toward Albany, New York. Fighting broke out when Baum’s men were positioned against Major General John Stark and his troops of the Continental Army. General Stark’s regiment consisted of the New Hampshire forces, Seth Warner’s Green Mountain Boys of Vermont, and the Massachusetts forces including men from the Pittsfield militia who were commanded by Reverend Thomas Allen. This force amounted to nearly 2,000 Patriot soldiers, eager to see action in Bennington, Vermont being that many of them were not present in July of 1777 at the surrender of Fort Ticonderoga in New York.
In addition to being heavily outnumbered, Baum’s lack of battlefield commanding experience was heavily exploited by Major General Stark, who in contrast had a distinguished military career. Major General John Stark had commanded men in the American victories at the battles of Trenton, Princeton, and Bunker Hill from late 1776 throughout 1777.
In a strategic maneuver planned by Stark, Baum’s forces were split in half. The separation made it nearly impossible for Baum and his men to communicate with each other. This severely worsened the difficulties that Baum already faced in communicating with his men because he had never learned to speak English.
Baum’s command was defeated by Stark’s forces at the Battle of Bennington on August 16, 1777. Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum was mortally wounded in the battle and died of two days later in Bennington, Vermont.