Category: Revolution

Aside

Connecticut in the Revolution

Even though there were not any famous battles or historic war sites in Connecticut, the state played a very active role in the early years of the American Revolution.  First of all, Connecticut was similar to other Northeast colonies in their revolutionary ideologies and opposition to Great Britain; however, Connecticut was self-governed since its inception and maintained the same government after independence.  Jonathan Trumbull served as Governor and Chief Justice of Connecticut throughout the various stages of the war until his death in 1785 and was instrumental in maintaining stability.

Militarily, Connecticut played a very important role because of its strategic location between Boston and New York City, as well as its water protection from the landmass of Long Island.  In

British route at the Battle of Ridgefield

1777, British troops landed in Westport and marched north to Danbury to take control of a Patriot supply depot and base, which they eventually burned to the ground.  The troops, however, were met on their return march by General Benedict Arnold at the Battle of Ridgefield, where the Continental Army defeated them.  Though the battle was small, it proved pivotal for British strategy, who no longer attempted strategic beach landings in the Northern theatre because of the network of roads and proximity of American reinforcements.  Connecticut also served as a launching point for attacks on British forces in Long Island by sailing the short way across Long Island Sound and surprising the British Army before reaching New York City.  Their proximity to New York was also important because they were able to supply George Washington’s troops near the city.  Connecticut effectively utilized the assistance of over 8,000 Native American and African American soldiers during the war, the latter being promised emancipation though few were actually granted their freedom.

Benedict Arnold, a Norwich, Connecticut native, made a name for himself as a traitor against the Revolution, but was important in some of the Continental Army’s victories early in the war.  He led Continental forces at the seizure of Fort Ticonderoga and was noted for his courage and bravery in combat during the Battle of Saratoga.  Although he would go on to become the most famous traitor in American history after being passed over for military promotion numerous times, Benedict Arnold was a key leader in America’s success in the Northern theatre.  Ironically in 1781, General Arnold raided the Connecticut port in New London, which was only defended by a small militia division.

Today a tribute to the site of the British landing remains

Besides the actual fighting, Connecticut was noted for having large affiliation with the Federalist Party.  Public office holders at all levels associated with the notion of a national bank because of the strong network of merchants that had gained power after the revolution.  As a result of the early Federalist economic policies, Connecticut’s ports and textile production thrived, bringing the new class of wealthy Patriots even more wealth.

 

Gipson, Lawrence H.. “Connecticut Taxation and Parliamentary Aid Preceding the Revolutionary War.” The American Historical Review 36, no. 4 (1931): 721-739.

Martin, Scott C.. “Violence, Gender and Intemperance in Early National Connecticut.” Journal of Social History 34, no. 2 (2000): 305-329.

Naumec, David J. “From Muskets to M4’s: Connecticut’s Gunmaking Tradition, 1637 – 2010.” Connecticut History 49, no. 2 (Fall2010 2010): 187-200.

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