Vermont Man Fought at Missolonghi, Brought Back Byron's Sword

The National Herald Archive

Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi (1826) by Eugene Delacroix. Photo: Public domain

NEW YORK - Greeks who fought for independence from the Ottoman Empire were a celebrated cause around the world at the time and volunteers from other countries joined them, including Vermonter Jonathan Miller, who was at the ill-fated third siege of Missolonghi where famed poet Lord Byron died of a fever by the time he arrived in 1826.

The defenders were facing starvation after a year behind fortifications and decided to attempt a mass charge of 3,000 men against a Turkish and conscripted army of 20,000, resulting in a massacre that Miller survived, living to tell the tale of what happened as resulting atrocities rallied other countries to Greece's aid, wrote VTDigger.

He came back with Byron's sword, which is now in the Vermont Historical Society. He wrote that Greek women would approach him to ask “if all the Christian world has forsaken them.”