Brother Sam is Dead information
Available at the History of Redding Website:
early as 1739, a company or "train band" of sixty-four soldiers
and three officers existed in Redding. "Train bands" were
common in colonial times, they were local militias formed
for the protection of town residents, generally they served
as a defense from Indian attacks. These local train bands
were formally organized into regiments via an October, 1739
Act that stated:
the better regulating the Militia of this Colony, and putting
it in a more ready posture for the Defense of the Same…all
military companies in this Colony shall be formed into regiments…"
being a part of Fairfield belonged to the "Fourth Regiment
May, 1754, there were two separate companies of militia in
Redding - One (West militia) commanded by members of the Congregational
society at Redding Center, the other (East militia) commanded
by members of the Anglican society at Redding Ridge.
Militia Officers, 1754:
Samuel Sanford, Captain; Daniel Hull, Lieutenant; John Read,
Militia Officers, 1754:
Joshua Hall, Captain; James Morgan, Lieutenant; Daniel Lyon,
of both companies served with British troops in the French
and Indian War (Seven Year War).
and the War, 1775-1777
the battles in Lexington and Concord, members of both militia's
(East & West) again served together with The 10th Company,
5th Connecticut Regiment which joined other colonial militias
for the Invasion of Canada in June/July 1775. Zalmon Read,
Ezekiel Sanford, David Peet and Benjamin Nichols appear as
officers in William E. Grumman's history, titled Revolutionary
Soldiers of Redding, Connecticut. Most of Redding soldiers
returned in November of that same year, though some did remain
during the siege of Montreal that winter.
Redding Militia's were again called to duty in March of 1776.
Orders to assemble and march to New York City were issued
for the Battle of Long Island, but this time, the Anglican
East Company militia, mutinied and refused to assemble. In
response, the Connecticut General Assembly issued arrest warrants
for the militia's officers (Daniel Hill, Peter Lyon, Samuel
Hawley) causing some East Company members to flee to the enemy
West Company militia did assemble, march and fight in the
Battle of Long Island, the Battle of Fort Washington and the
Battle of White Plains in 1776.
first action of the town in regard to the war is found in
the records of a town meeting held on April 2, 1777, when
a committee was appointed "to hire a number of soldiers to
serve in the Continental Army." It was also voted that the
"sum or sums said committee promise to or do pay to those
soldiers…be paid by town rates, and the Selectmen are ordered
to and desired to make a rate to collect the money." In the
same meeting a committee was also appointed "to take care
of the families of those soldiers that are in service of their
month later evidence of the war's affect on town officials
was recorded in a May 5, 1777 meeting appointing "David Jackson,
Seth Sanford, Thaddeus Benedict, and John Gray as selectmen"
to take the place of Stephen Betts and James Rogers who had
been taken prisoner by the British during their march through
Redding en route to Danbury. Betts and Rogers were later released
in September of 1777.
Raid of Danbury, 1777
British Army's march through Redding Ridge is the only direct
contact Redding residents had with British troops in the Revolution.
It created much excitement and afforded the Collier's an opportunity
to bring that excitement to life in my brother Sam is dead.
Twenty-four vessels carrying around 1,550 regular British
troops and some 300 Loyalist militiamen from "Browne's Provincial
Corps", many of whom were originally from Connecticut, arrived
on the shores of Compo Beach in Westport, Connecticut on April
25, 1777. Their mission: destroy the rebel military supply
depot at Danbury, Connecticut. Lord Howe, the commander of
the British troops, stationed at New York City, had long meditated
an attack on Connecticut and news of provisions being stored
at Danbury provided the incentive he desired.
chose William Tryon, the deposed British governor of New York,
as Commander and two military men: Brigadier General James
Agnew, second in command and Brigadier General Sir William
Erskine as third in command for the expedition.
had been Governor of New York up until the Revolution and
was said to have been consumed with "an inveterate hatred
and thirst for revenge" on the rebel Yankees. He had a special
grudge against Connecticut, the sturdy little colony that
had thwarted him in a variety of ways:
horseman had scattered organs of revolutionary propaganda
through the streets of New York; her "Sons of Liberty" had
plotted against him even in his own city; treated with contempt
his proclamations, using them as specimens of the governor's
had the further merit of being intimately acquainted with
the towns and landscape of Connecticut. He had been as far
inland as Litchfield, had probably visited Danbury, and had
been dined and feted at Norwalk, Fairfield, and New Haven.
He seems to have acted as a *guide to the expedition while
giving **Agnew and Erskine the responsibility of tactical
was aided by local Tories who had fled from the area and joined
the British army. The locals intimate knowledge of the roadways
and landscape in and around Southwestern Connecticut was a
vital asset to the British troops.
was injured at some point during the weekend and Erskine took
over as second in command.; He was very capable in that role.
Earlier that winter, Erskine had led a foraging expedition
to New Jersey in which "he routed the rebels with great slaughter;
he took no prisoners."
40 or 50 flatboats the troops disembarked at Compo between
five and six in the afternoon, and that same evening marched
to Fairfield, about seven miles distant, where they encamped
for the night. News that the British had landed at Compo,
encamped at Fairfield, and would march through Redding the
next day, was conveyed to the residents at an early hour,
and occasioned the greatest consternation and excitement.
and valuables were hastily secreted in wells and other places
of concealment; horses and cattle were driven into the forests,
and the inhabitants along the enemy's probable route held
themselves in readiness for instant flight. Knowing of Tryon's
ill-natured propensity for women and boys: the latter especially
he made prisoners of, carrying them off to the horrible prison
ships and sugar houses of New York, holding them as hostages
on the justification that they "would very soon grow into
rebels." The women of Redding gathered all boys under the
age of thirteen and transferred them to a secluded place near
the Forge (likely the Sanfordtown section), where they remained
until Tryon was gone.
receiving intelligence of the landing at Compo, Captain Zalmon
Read mustered his company of militia, and forthwith marched
to intercept the invaders. At a place called Couch's Rock,
in Weston, Connecticut, they came suddenly upon a British
flanking company and were taken as prisoners. Town selectman,
James Rogers, Timothy Parsons, Russell Bartlett and 13 year
old, Jacob Patchen were among the prisoners. In Charles Burr
Todd's History of Redding, Todd relates that:
Parsons, had a fine musket which he particularly valued; this
a British soldier took, and dashed to pieces on the stones,
saying it should waste no more rebel bullets."
Colonel Joseph Platt Cooke, commander of the 16th militia
regiment in Danbury, had followed General Gold S. Silliman's
instructions and sent all available men from Danbury to Fairfield.
Silliman mistakenly assumed that the British intended to attack
Fairfield. Other troops were sent toward the Hudson River,
in response to a number of ships the British had strategically
positioned there to confuse the American generals. This left
the Military Depot at Danbury in a vulnerable state.
the morning of the 26th, at a very seasonable hour (11am-12
noon), the British troops arrived and halted at Redding Ridge.
During the halt the main body of the troops remained under
arms on the green in front of the Anglican church. Tryon,
Agnew, and Erskine were invited into Esquire William Heron's
home (the first house south of the Christ Church Episcopal,
no longer in existence). Here they were reported to have been
"hospitably entertained with cake, wine, and it is presumed,
many hopeful prognostications of the speedy collapse of the
rebellion." Shortly after their meeting, a file of soldiers
entered the house of Lieutenant Stephen Betts, a prominent
patriot who lived across the street from the church and seized
him. Daniel Sanford, his son, Jeremiah Sanford (19 years old),
and 16 year old, Benjamin Lines, met a like fate. Three of
Redding's loyalists joined British Troops on this day: Samuel
Hawley, James Gray, and Joseph Lyon. Lyon had been in hiding
for 33 days.
the army prepared to resume its march north, a horseman was
observed spurring rapidly down *Couch Hill Road (present day-
Sunset Hill Road) toward them. He was within musket shot before
discovering their presence and though he turned to fly when
he saw their red coats, he was shot, and severely wounded
in the attempt. He proved to be a messenger from Colonel Cooke
in Danbury, bearing dispatches to General Silliman. His name
was Lambert Lockwood. Tryon had formerly known him in Norwalk,
where Lockwood had rendered him a service, and Tryon seems
to have acted on this occasion with some kindness, as he released
him on parole, and allowed him to be taken into a house so
his wounds could be dressed.
CT historians have the same narrative occurring on Hoyt's
Hill in Bethel. Luther Holcomb is the unfortunate horseman
in that version of the story. Whomever the horseman was he
was likely carrying an S.O.S. from Cooke; Danbury was in grave
in all, the British troops spent one to two hours on Redding
Ridge before resuming their march to Danbury with the **Redding
militiamen captured in Weston, Patriots Stephen Betts, Daniel
Sanford, Jeremiah Sanford and a non-combatant (B. Lines) captured
in Redding. One British soldier, Bernard Keeler, deserted
at Redding Ridge and lived in town until his death in 1827.
Bartlett, Lines, Patchen, and most of the Redding militiamen
would all eventually return to Redding. Daniel Sanford, Jeremiah
Sanford, Daniel Chapman, and David Fairchild died in captivity
while being held in the "sugar houses" of New York, where
sanitation was deplorable and disease was rampant.
the British marched toward Danbury, the remaining patriots
of Redding anxiously awaited the approach of the Patriot troops
in pursuit. At length they came in view, marching wearily,
in sodden, disordered ranks, a small army of five hundred
men and boys, led by Brigadier General Silliman. They were
comprised of soldiers from the companies of Colonel Lamb's
battalion of artillery, with three rusty cannon, a field-piece,
part of the artillery company of Fairfield, and sixty Continentals;
the rest were an untrained assemblage, chiefly old men and
boys. It was eight o'clock in the evening when the troops
arrived at Redding Ridge-an evening as disagreeable as a northeast
rainstorm with its attendant darkness could make it. Here
the troops halted an hour for rest and refreshment. At the
expiration of that time a bugle was heard from far down the
turnpike; then the tramp of horsemen was heard, and presently
Major General Wooster and Brigadier General Arnold, dashed
into the village of Redding Ridge.
hearing that the British were so far ahead, it is said that
Arnold became so enraged that he could scarcely keep his seat,
and his terrible oaths fell on his auditor's ears like thunder
claps. Wooster at once assumed command, and the column moved
forward through the muddy and heavily rutted roadway as far
as Bethel, where it halted for the night. At Danbury, but
three miles distant, Tryon's force was at rest, and might
have been annihilated by a determined effort, but the Continental
command was hampered by the weather conditions, heavily rutted
roadways and fatigue.
Arnold to McDougall, West Redding, April 27th, 1777, 10am:
night at half past eleven, General Wooster, General Silliman
and myself with six hundred militia arrived at Bethel, *eight
miles from Danbury. The excessive heavy rains rendered their
arms useless, and many of the troops were much fatigued having
marched thirty miles in the course of the day without refreshment."
from Danbury vary from 2.5 miles to 8 miles, depending on
who is reporting back to their superiors. In this case Arnold
incorrectly states they were 8 miles from Danbury; They were
within 3 miles of Danbury, at the intersection of Elizabeth
Street and Blackman Avenue.
British had reached Danbury at approximately 5:00 pm and driven
off the Patriots who had been attempting to remove supplies.
Later that evening, four patriot defenders who had stayed
behind opened fire on British troops from a house in town
owned by Major Daniel Starr, among the patriots was "Ned",
a slave of Redding's Samuel Smith. Two companies of British
regulars charged and put the dwelling to the torch killing
all the men inside. Before their departure early the next
morning, the British had destroyed much of the Rebel's depot:
barrels of pork and beef, barrels of flour, bushels of grain,
hogsheads of rum and wine, thousands of shoes, stockings and
tents among other supplies. Provisions the Continental troops
would long for come the winter of 1778-79.
the events of April 26th and 27th, Redding played a supporting
role to the Continental army's efforts in the War of Independence.
May 8, 1778, Captain Zalmon Read and Asahel Fitch were appointed
to provide "shirts, shoes, stockings and other articles of
clothing for the Continental soldiers." December 17, 1778,
another committee was appointed to care for the families of
the following soldiers from Redding: Nathan Coley, Stephen
Meeker, Elias Bixby, Jeremiah Sherwood, Samuel Remong. These
soldiers were among General Israel Putnam's encampment in
Israel Putnam's division of the Continental Army encamped
in Redding in the winter of 1778-1779. This division was comprised
of General Poor's brigade of New Hampshire troops under Brig.
General Enoch Poor, a Canadian Regiment led by Col. Moses
Hazen, and two brigades of Connecticut troops: 2nd Brigade
Connecticut Line regiments commanded by Brig. General Jedediah
Huntington, and the 1st Brigade Connecticut Line regiments
commanded by Brig. General Samuel H. Parsons. This division
had been operating along the Hudson (Eastern New York) during
the fall, and as winter approached it was decided that it
should go into winter quarters at Redding, as from this position
it could support the important fortress of West Point in case
of attack, intimidate the Cowboys and Skinners of Westchester
County, and cover lands adjacent to Long Island Sound. Another
major reason was to protect the Danbury supply depot, which
had been burned by the British the year before but resurrected
to keep supplies going to Washington's army.
Aaron Burr, one of General Putnam's aides and a frequent visitor
to Redding, had suggested that Putnam look over the area for
a future winter encampment during a summer visit to General
Heath's Brigade in Danbury. Putnam found the topography and
location ideal. Three camp locations were marked and later
prepped by artificers and surveyors under the direction of
the Quartermaster staff: the first in the northeast part of
Lonetown, near the Bethel line, on land owned by John Read,
2nd (now Putnam Park). The second was about a mile and a half
west of the first camp, between Limekiln Rd. and Gallows Hill
in the vicinity of present day Whortleberry Rd. & Costa Lane.
The third camp was in West Redding, on a ridge about a quarter
of a mile north of West Redding Station (vicinity of present
day Deer Spring Drive & Old Lantern Road).
main camp, which is now known as Putnam Memorial State Park,
was laid out with admirable judgement, at the foot of rocky
bluffs which fenced in the western valley of the Little River.
116 huts were erected to form an avenue nearly a quarter mile
in length, and several yards in width. At the west end of
the camp was a mountain brook, which furnished a plentiful
supply of water; near the brook a forge was said to have been
erected. The second and third camps, were both laid out on
the southerly slopes of hills with streams of running water
at their base.
of the camps were strategically positioned to defend main
highways in and out of town: Danbury to Fairfield; Danbury
to Norwalk; Redding to Danbury and points north (stage coach
to the exact location of Putnam's headquarters, authorities
differ, but all agree in placing it on Umpawaug Hill. Some
of Putnam's officers were quartered in a house later owned
by *Samuel Gold (Limekiln Rd.); others in a house later occupied
by *Sherlock Todd (also on Limekiln Rd). General Parsons'
headquarters were at Stephen Betts Tavern on Redding Ridge.
Gold's and Sherlock Todd's house locations can be found on
Beers 1867 map of Redding. They were not the owners during
the winter of 1778-79. I use their names because it gives
readers an opportunity to view the locations on a published
troops went into winter quarters at Redding in no pleasant
humor, and almost in the spirit of insubordination. This was
particularly the case with the **Connecticut troops. They
had endured privations that many men would have sunk under:
the horrors of battle, the weariness of the march, cold, hunger,
and nakedness. What was worse, they had been paid in the depreciated
currency of the times, which had scarcely any purchasing power,
and their families at home were reduced to the lowest extremity
of want and wretchedness.
of the Connecticut Soldiers in the Revolutionary Army, to
His Excellency, Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut.
Communicated by Mr. L.B., of New York. The following document
is from Captain Nathaniel Webb's Orderly Book.
Reading, December 27th, 1778
to his Excellency Gov. Trumbull. May it please your Excellency.
The Sense of Importance of opposing with Force, ye attempts
of Great Britain to enslave our Country, induces us to lay
before your Excellency the Condition of that Part of ye Army
raised from the State of Connecticut & ye great Danger of
their disbanding & returning to their several Homes.
have may it please your Excellency been promised a Blanket,
& other Clothing annually from ye Continent & a Blanket from
ye State every year, for each non-commissioned Officer & Soldier,
those Promises have not been complied with, so far from it,
that although we have not, one half ye Quota of Men this State
was to raise, we assure you not less than four hundred are
to this Day totally destitute, & no one has received two Blankets
according to Contract, nor has more than one half of the Clothing
promises ever been received or any compensation made for ye
deficiency, that when they have Coats they are without Breeches,
& when they are supplied with Shoes, they have neither Stockings
nor Shirts, & at this Inclement Season many of our Men are
suffering for want of Blankets, Shirts, Breeches, Shoes &
Stockings, & some are destitute of Coats & Waistcoats.
increasing Price of every necessary [necessity] and Convenience
of Life, is another Grievance most [unreadable] experienced
by ye Soldiery in their Marches, & in other Situations, they
are necessitated to purchase Provisions and Vegetables when
in Camp. The Prices now asked for one Meal is from three to
eight Shillings. Turnips from two to three Dollars per Bushel
& other Vegetables in proportion, that a Soldiers month Pay
is consumed in about three days in furnishing himself with
necessaries not supplied by the Public. - These are Grievances
very greatly and Justly complained of by your Soldiers, &
Officers of every Rank are Sharers in the Consequences of
expectation of Redress has retained ye Soldiery hitherto,
but Desertions Daily increase & unless that Justice which
is their due is done, We assure your Excellency we fear it
will not be in our Power to retain them. We have ye greatest
Reason to believe they will wait ye Event only of their Petition
at ye Adj. Assembly, & should that Assembly arise without
doing them Justice in ye past depredation of ye Currency,
we are convinced ye greater part of ye Soldiery will desert.
assure your Excellency we have & shall continue to appease
every discontent which has ye remotest Tendency to produce
Mutiny & Desertion or any other Act prejudicial to ye Service
& we have ye Satisfaction to believe we posses ye Love & Affection
of ye Soldiery & that they are not desirous to forsake us
or ye Cause of their Country.
it may please your Excellency they are naked in severe Winter,
they are hungry & have no Money…[it goes on and on repeating
the same theme for three more paragraphs]
have furnished our Agent with a Calculation, founded on ye
best Evidence in our power, that being adopted by our Assembly
will in our Opinion quiet our Troops & that nothing short
will give them Satisfaction. We have the Honor to be with
ye Greatest Esteem Your Excellencies.
Washington to Deputy Clothier Gen. George Measam, Jan. 8,
has been represented to me that the troops of Connecticut
are in great want of Shirts, Stockings and Shoes. This leads
me to inquire of you whether they have not received their
proportion of these Articles in common with the rest of the
Army. The troops in general have obtained orders for a Shirt
and pair of Stockings per man and a pair of Shoes to each
that wanted. If the Connecticut Troops have not been furnished
… you will on receiving proper Returns for that purpose supply
them in conformity to this Rule."
frustrations caused by the deprivations brought to a head
the attempted mutiny on the morning of December 30th at Huntington's
camp. The troops had decided on the bold resolve of marching
to Hartford, and airing their grievances in person to the
Legislature then sitting. The two brigades were plotting their
escape when the threat of troop desertion was brought to Putnam's
attention. He, with his usual intrepidity and decision of
character, threw himself upon his horse and dashed down the
road leading to his camps, never slacking rein until he drew
up in the presence of the disaffected troops.
brave lads," he cried, "whither are you going? Do you intend
to desert your officers, and invite the enemy to follow you
into the country? Whose cause have you been fighting and suffering
so long in-is it not your own? Have you no property, no parents,
wives, children? You have behaved like men so far-all the
world is full of your praises, and posterity will stand astonished
at your deeds; but not if you spoil it all at last.
you consider how much the country is distressed by the war,
and that your officers have not been any better paid than
yourselves? But we all expect better times, and that the country
will do us ample justice. Let us all stand by one another
then, and fight it out like brave soldiers. Think what a shame
it would be for Connecticut men to run away from their officers."
he had finished this stirring speech, he directed the acting
Major of Brigades to give the word for them to march to their
regimental parades, and lodge arms, which was done; one soldier
only, a ringleader in the affair, was confined to the guard
house, from which he attempted to escape, but was shot dead
by the sentinel on duty- himself one of the mutineers. Thus
ended the affair.
January, Private Joseph P. Martin related two more uprisings
in his camp journal, both were thwarted by regimental officers,
but indicate some discontent among the troops still lingered.
After that many of the Connecticut troops were placed on patrols
at Horseneck, Stamford and Norwalk. Some were sent over to
"no-man's land" in Westchester County and several hundred
troops were sent to New London for guard duty and the construction
of Fort Griswold.
at Gallows Hill
was no stranger to deserters and spies. Nothing had so much
annoyed Putnam and his officers during the campaigns of the
preceding summer on the Hudson than the desertions which had
thinned his ranks, and the Tory spies, who frequented his
camps, under every variety of pretext, and forthwith conveyed
the information thus gathered on the enemy.
put a stop to this it had been determined that the next offender
of either sort (deserter or spy) captured should suffer death
as an example. The opportunity to implement this determination
soon arrived. Scouts from Putnam's outposts in Westchester
County captured a man lurking within their lines, and as he
could give no satisfactory account of himself, he was at once
hauled over the borders and into the presence of the Commander-in-Chief.
In answer to the commanders queries, the prisoner said that
his name was Jones, that he was a Welshman by birth, and had
settled in Ridgefield a few years before the war commenced;
that he had never faltered in his allegiance to the King,
and that at the outbreak of the hostilities he had fled to
the British army, and had been made a butcher in the camp;
a few weeks before, he had been sent into Westchester County
to buy beef for the army, and was in the process of carrying
out those orders at the present. He was remanded to the guard
house, court-martialed and at once ordered for trial. Putnam
had his first example.
Feb. 4, 1779, Edward Jones was tried at a General Court Martial
for going to and serving the enemy, and coming out as a spy.
He was found guilty of each and every charge exhibited against
him, and according to Law and the Usage's of Nations was sentenced
to suffer Death:
General approves the sentence and orders it to be put in execution
between the hours of ten and eleven A.M. by hanging him by
the neck till he be dead."
days after another General Court Martial was held for a similar
offence: on Feb. 6, 1779, John Smith of the 1st Connecticut
Regiment, was tried at a General Court Martial for desertion
and attempting to go to the enemy, found guilty, and further
persisting in saying that he will go to the enemy if ever
he has an opportunity.
General approves the sentence and orders that it be put in
execution between the hours of ten and twelve A.M. for him
to be shot to death"
Putnam having two prisoners under the sentence of death determined
to execute them both at once, or as he expressed it, "to make
a double job of it," and at the same time make the spectacle
as terrible and impressive as the circumstances demanded.
scene which took place at the execution of these men on February
16 was described as shocking and bloody, it occurred on a
lofty hill (known to this day as Gallows Hill) dominating
the valley between the three camps. The instrument of Edward
Jones' death was erected approximately twenty feet from the
ground atop the hill's highest pinnacle. Jones was ordered
to ascend the ladder, with the rope around his neck and attached
to the cross beam of the gallows. When he had reached the
top rung General Putnam ordered him to jump from the ladder.
General Putnam,' said Jones, 'I am innocent of the crime laid
to my charge; I shall not do it.'
drawing his sword, compelled the hangmen at sword's point,
that his orders be obeyed and if Jones would not jump, that
the ladder be over-turned to complete the act. It was and
soldier that was to be shot for desertion was but a youth
of sixteen or seventeen years of age. The Rev. Nathaniel Bartlett,
who was pastor of the Congregational Church in Redding for
a period of fifty years, officiated as chaplain to the encampment
during that winter, and was present at the execution. He interceded
with General Putnam to defer the execution of Smith until
Washington could be consulted- for reason the offender was
a youth; but the commander assured him that a reprieve could
not be granted.
Smith was described as "extremely weak and fainting" as he
was led by Poor's Brigade Chaplain, the Rev. Dr. Evans, approximately
200 yards from the gallows to the place he was to be shot.
gave the order and three balls were shot through his breast:
he fell on his face, but immediately turned over on his back;
a soldier then advanced, and putting the muzzle of his gun
near the convulsive body of the youth, discharged its contents
into his forehead. The body was then placed in a coffin; the
final discharge had been fired so near to the body that it
had set the boy's clothing on fire, and continued burning
while each and every soldier present was ordered to march
past the coffin and observe Smith's mangled remains; an officer
with a drawn sword stood by to ensure they complied.
was indeed a grisly scene, and many have questioned the accuracy
of the accounts published about it because it seems almost
too ghastly. But it should be said that: boldness, firmness,
promptness, decisiveness- were the chief elements of General
Israel Putnam's character, and at this particular crisis all
were needed. There was disaffection and insubordination in
the army, as has been noted. Desertions were frequent, and
spying by the Tories was almost openly practiced. To put a
stop to these practices it was vitally necessary to the safety
of the army, to see that these sentences were carried into
effect. If the executions were bungling done, the fault was
with the executioners, and not with the General.
of Cattle & Livestock
journals of private Joseph Plumb Martin (stationed with the
8th Connecticut in Parsons' middle camp) shows the desperate
lack of food and poor weather conditions endured by the troops
settled in our winter quarters at the commencement of the
new year and went on in our old Continental Line of starving
and freezing. We now and then got a little bad bread and salt
beef (I believe chiefly horse-beef for it was generally thought
to be such at the time). The month of January was very stormy,
a good deal of snow fell, and in such weather it was mere
chance if we got anything at all to eat."
the conditions, it is difficult to blame the soldiers that
took matters into their own hands and ventured out of camp
in search of provisions. The citizens of Redding, did not
see things this way, those who initially felt quite honored
by the selection of their town for the army's winter quarters,
soon grew tired of soldiers looting their livestock. The soldiers
position was that they were the one's fighting the country's
battles and plundering the neighboring farms was within their
rights as men of war. To them a well-stocked poultry yard,
a pen of fat porkers or field of healthy heifers offered irresistible
cuisine when compared to the horse-beef they were being offered
back at camp. After a time, however, the wary farmers foiled
the looters by storing their livestock over night in the cellars
of their houses and in other secure places.
was an issue throughout the war and the letter below shows
that George Washington was aware of it. It also highlights
why looting was difficult to stop, as looters could claim
they confiscated the provisions because they were intended
to be sold to the British.
Major General Israel Putnam, From George Washington, Philadelphia,
December 26, 1778.
have not a Copy of your instructions with me, but if my memory
serves me, I was as full in my directions respecting the conduct
of Officers who shall be sent upon the lines as I possibly
can be. The Officer must determine from all circumstances,
whether Cattle or any species of provision found near the
lines are in danger of falling into the hands of the Enemy,
or are carried there with an intent to supply them. If it
is thought necessary to bring them off, they must be reported
and disposed of as directed by your instructions.
was very particular upon that Head, because I know that great
Acts of Injustice have been committed by Officers, under pretence
that provision and other kinds of property were intended for
the Use of the Enemy. I would recommend the bringing off as
much Forage as possible but I would not advise the destruction
of what we cannot remove. I think your plan of sending out
a large party under the command of a Field Officer and making
detachments from thence, a good one; and if you and General
McDougall can agree upon a cooperation of your parties I think
many advantages will result from the measure. You may agree
upon the mode of effecting this, between yourselves." ]
livestock was not the only object of the soldier's desires,
below are some entries in the parish records that prove that
"amid the horrors of war sly cupid found a chance to inflict
his wounds". They are given as entered by the Rev. Nathaniel
7, 1779. I joined together in marriage James Gibbons, a soldier
in the army, and Ann Sullivan.
March 18, 1779. I joined together in marriage John Lines,
a soldier in the army, and Mary Hendrick.
March 30, 1779. I joined together in marriage Daniel Evarts,
a soldier in the army, and Mary Rowland.
April 15, 1779. I joined together in marriage Isaac Olmsted,
a soldier in the army, and Mary Parsons.
April 28, 1779. I joined together in marriage Jesse Belknap,
an artificer in the army, and Eunice Hall.
May 4, 1779. I joined together in marriage William Little,
steward to Gen. Parsons, and Phebe Merchant.
May 23, 1779. I joined together in marriage Giles Gilbert,
an artificer in the army, and Deborah Hall.
March 9, 1780. I joined together in marriage William Darrow,
a soldier in the army, and Ruth Bartram.
troops left Putnam's encampment in stages, Colonel Hazen's
Canadian regiment were detached from the New Hampshire brigade
and ordered to Springfield, MA; they left on March 27th. The
New Hampshire regiments also left on March 27th for their
new assignments in the Hudson Highlands. Huntington's 2nd
Connecticut Brigade left for Peekskill right after May 1st
, and Parsons' 1st Connecticut Brigade was the last to depart
on or about May 27th … also bound for duty at the Highlands.
and the War, 1779-1783
the last divisions of troops vacated Redding, the town focus
again turned to supporting the troops abroad. July 30, 1779,
Micayah Starr, Thaddeus Benedict, and Stephen Betts were appointed
a committee to prepare clothing for the soldiers, and a tax
of 2s. on the pound was levied to pay for the same. August
10, 1779, a County Convention was held at the dwelling-house
of Lieutenant Stephen Betts on Redding Ridge.
there is no mention of Tryon and his British troops rampage
on the coastal towns of Long Island Sound from July 5th to
the 11th 1779 in town records regarding the war. In that six
day period the British set the towns of New Haven, Fairfield,
Westport and Norwalk ablaze. At least five (5) churches, two
hundred ninety-five (295) houses, one hundred fifty-three
(153) barns and a significant number of stores, shops, mills
and vessels were torched by British troops.
23, 1780, the town voted to appoint a committee of nine to
"procure and hire nine soldiers to enlist into the Connecticut
line in the Continental army for the town of Redding." The
committee was also instructed to use their "utmost diligence"
in hiring "nine able bodied men" to enlist "during the war,
or for 3 years, or six months" and to enlist them at any "sum
of money, or quantities and types of provisions" they shall
"judge reasonable and just." Six months later, they revised
these instructions to "give to each soldier who enlists for
6 months, ten bushels of wheat per month or the value of such
in hard money when paid. They would also receive the bounty
paid by the State, but the town would collect their wages
from the State." The same offer was made to the drafted men.
The reason the town, not the individual would collect from
the state, was based on the belief that the town could more
readily collect the wages than the individuals themselves.
20, 1780, with winter looming, it was voted "that the town
lay a tax on provisions to supply their quota of provisions
for the Connecticut Line in the Continental army." It was
also voted that "a rate bill be allotted to individuals for
their proportion of each kind of provision to be raised, i.e.
flour, beef, and pork, according to the individuals list from
1779." George Perry was appointed as Receiver of Flour; Russell
Bartlett was appointed Receiver of Pork and Beef.
reports and meeting notes from 1778 to 1780 focused mainly
on the patriot's cause, the Anglican loyalists of Redding
are absent from recorded history for a spell. Yet, in 1781,
indications of the Tories in town resurface as a result of
the taxes for soldiers and provisions. On February 5, 1781,
It was voted "not to abate tax on provisions for Enos Lee,
James Morgan, Hezekiah Platt, Daniel Lyon, Abigail Lyon, Sarah
Phinney, David Knapp, James Gray, Abigail Morehouse, Ezekiel
Hill, Andrew Fairchild, and Sarah Burr. Each having a son(s)
or son-in-law(s) that have gone over to the enemy of the United
States." Also, at this meeting several "who had refused to
pay the tax levied for hiring soldiers were assessed double
encampment of American soldiers in Redding appears to have
had a quieting effect on the Tory element in Redding and Newtown,
and whatever aid was given to British spies was done secretly.
Several Redding homes owned by loyalists are known to have
served as hiding places for spies, one of these houses was
located in the Georgetown section of Redding. On the north
side of the house a small addition had been built on - called
in those days a lean-to or linty. Under this room was a shallow
cellar, the cellar bottom being about five feet from the floor
of the room above. This was separate from the main cellar
and was entered through a secret opening in the cellar wall.
It was in this hiding place that spies and Tories found refuge
when on their way to British headquarters. It was by this
method the British were kept posted on the plans of the American
the reason for limited reports on the Tories of Redding in
the late years of the war is attributed to the encampment
or simply a result of patriots outnumbering loyalists in town
is not clear. It is said that the Rev. Nathaniel Bartlett
often carried a loaded musket when on his parochial visits
because the local Tories had threatened to hang him if they
could catch him.
Bartlett had less to fear than the Anglican Rev. John Beach
who wasn't safe inside or outside of his churches. Rev. Beach
served not only Redding, but many of the surrounding towns
as well. And it seems there's a story of rebels bursting in
during services and threatening his life in every one. The
Redding version is as follows:
squad of soldiers (hired, it is said, by Squire Stephen Betts
for a gallon of French brandy to shoot Mr. Beach), gathered
outside the open door of the church, and from one of them
a bullet was fired which lodged in the ribs of the sounding
board, a foot or more above the head of the venerable preacher.
the congregation sprang to their feet in unfeigned consternation
to rush from the church, he quieted them by saying: "don't
be alarmed, brethren. Fear not them which kill the body, but
are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him which is
able to destroy both soul and body in hell" and then proceeded
with his discourses as if nothing had happened."
angered the patriots was the tradition of praying for the
health and welfare of the King of England in church services.
All Anglican missionaries in the colonies were pressured to
omit the prayer during the revolutionary period. Mr. Beach
is credited with vowing that he would "do his duty, preach,
and pray for the King till the rebels cut out his tongue."
Bartlett and Beach avoided harm during the war but their stories
serve as proof that animosity did exist between the two groups
the month of June, 1781, Count de Rochambeau and the Duke
de Lauzun marched a column of French troops across Connecticut
and took post in Ridgebury, within supporting distance of
Washington's army on the Hudson. Duke de Lauzun's troops,
which served as a flanking element between Rochambeau and
the coast, passed through Redding after encamping over night
in Newtown, a French map suggests the campsite may have been
down by the Aspetuck River. Their supply train numbered 810
wagons, most of them drawn by two oxen and a horse. The column
attracted much attention as it moved with flashing arms and
soldierly precision over the hills and through the valleys
on its way to Ridgebury. After joining the American forces
in New York, both the American and French troops departed
for Virginia where the British would eventually surrender
support of the French army and navy in the Revolution was
essential to the success of the American revolt. Without it
the Revolutionary War may have had a different ending. The
alliance boosted pro-American forces to nearly double the
British forces in Virginia and France's fleet of 24 ships
played an important role by blocking British support ships
from providing much needed relief to British General Cornwallis'
troops as they were pounded for eight straight days by the
Franco-American army. The battles of Virginia led to the British
surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, and assured American Independence.
last entry in town records regarding the war was on August
11, 1783, nine months after the Provisional Articles of Peace
had been signed in Paris. "Voted that select men of this town
be desired to move out of town: all those persons that have
been over and joined the enemy and have returned to town."
Barlow , Lazarus Beach, Shubael Bennett, Sarah Burr , Andrew
Fairchild, Daniel Hill, Ezekial Hill, James Gray, Sr., James
Gray, Jr., Enos Lee, John Lee, William Lee, Abigail Lyon,
Daniel Lyon, Seth Hull, David Knapp, Ephraim Meeker, John
Mallory, Abigail Morehouse, Daniel Morehouse, James Morgan,
Andrew Patchen, Sarah Phinney, Hezekiah Platt, Hezekiah Read,
Ephraim Sanford, James Sanford, John Sanford.
above men and women are listed as loyalists/tories in the
town of Redding at one time or another. Grumman notes twenty-eight
(28) joining the enemy for sanctuary during the war, and eight
(8) joining British regiments. The estates of at least nine(9)
were confiscated as Tory property; Five (5) returned to prevent
many of Redding loyalists/tories fled town at the conclusion
of the war, a good number stayed and proved themselves to
be valuable contributors to Redding's post-Revolution history.
mentioning Redding Ridge's
certifying William Hoyt served Redding in the Revolution.
They are dated in October, 1782.
I have completely updated and added to my guide to My Brother
Sam is Dead. This CD was created to help parents and teachers
better understand the topics woven into each chapter of the
fictional history novel, My Brother Sam is Dead, and provide
them with the resources needed to effectively teach it in
their classrooms. To view more on what is in this CD, view
what's in Brent
M. Colley's Guide to My Brother Sam is Dead CD.
CD is the product of six years of research and provides all
there is to know about My Brother Sam is Dead and what each
chapter is about. With this CD, parents and teachers can save
themselves hours of preparation while providing their students
with a much better understanding of what they are reading
about and why.
have included everything from maps to photos to primary source
materials from that time period to help parents and teachers
strengthen their classroom presentations and improve their
Material and Links
War Research mostly Connecticut information but an excellent
American Revolution Sites Connecticut Society of the
Sons of the American Revolution (SAR)
the Revolution Occurred- a very good timeline of events
that led to the colonist revolt, what happenned during it
and how our nation was formed.
of the Revolutionary War- Awesome resource showing you
dates, locations and winners and losers.
of the Revolutionary War
Era Clothing and Related Products
Money and Inflation
and Death Aboard British Prison Ships
of Prisoners who died on British Prison Ships
George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington
from the original manuscript sources: Volume 13 Electronic
Text Center, University of Virginia Library
Complete General Orders of George Washington October
2, 1778 to 1780
and the Revolution The Revolution split some denominations,
notably the Church of England, whose ministers were bound
by oath to support the King, and the Quakers, who were traditionally
of Redding Ridge and Putnam's Encampment
information on Redding Men in the Revolution(Word Document)
Brother Sam is Dead information
about General Parson's camp (second camp)
Revolutionary War Re-enactment Regiments
Revolutionary War Documents Online (pensions, letters,
portraits and more) from Footnote.com
of Israel Putnam ("Old Put": Major-General in the Continental
by William Cutter
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you're looking for? Google
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