History of Redding Connecticut (CT) Header
Audio Files & Oral History
Books about Redding
Branchville, CT History
Churches in Redding
Churches in Georgetown
Daily History Archives
Donate to the H of R
Early Families of Redding
Early Settlement History
Early Manufacturers
Famous People of Redding
First Telephones in Redding
Flood of 1955
Georgetown, CT History
Georgetown Redevelopment
Gilbert & Bennett History
Hiking Trails in Redding
History of Schools
Huntington Park
Indian Paths thru Redding
Landscape- Farms, Waterways, Geology
Mark Twain in Redding, CT
Little Brick Schoolhouse
Maps of Redding, CT
My brother Sam is dead
News 1966-1992
Old Homes of Redding
Parish History (1729-67)
Pictures of Redding, CT
Putnam Park
RBGC History
Redding Center History
Redding Country Club
Redding Remembered
Redding Ridge History
Summary of Land Use
Wars- Revolutionary, Civil
West Redding History
Sponsors Page
Redding Businesses
Redding Builders
Redding New Construction
Redding Real Estate
Redding Restaurants
Redding Organizations
Redding Town Site
Redding Pilot
Redding Elementary
John Read Middle School
Joel Barlow High School
Region 9 Schools
RBGC Web site
Redding Fire & EMS #1
Mark Twain Library
League of Women Voters
Redding Neighbors & Newcomers
About the Designer
Contact Us


Camp Life and Orders Relating to Redding's Encampment  

During the Revolution, neither side of the conflict launched an active campaign during the winter months. For the most part, military activity halted for the winter. The exceptions being some raids and foraging expeditions by the British, and American counter raids and patrols in response to them. There are three reasons the armies spent each winter encamped. First, soldiers during the Revolution received only one standard uniform for the year. The standard uniform included: shoes, breeches, stockings, linen shirt, waistcoat, wool coat and hat or cap. There were a few modifications because of winter, for instance, troops might receive wool stockings or trousers, or a sleeved waistcoat. Overcoats (called Watchcoats) were only provided to the winter sentries, who because winter hats, gloves, mittens and footwear were not generally issued, could stand duty for only a couple of hours at a time in winter weather. So halting during the winter lessened the soldiers' exposure to the harsh elements, thus preventing death and disease by keeping them indoors as much as possible.

Secondly, the roadways were not paved, they were dirt. Dirt roads in winter and spring are a mess.

Thirdly, draft animals pulled both armies heavy artillery and provision wagons. Neither side had large surpluses of food to feed themselves, let alone draft animals! These animals had to eat, and during the winter months, the grasses they preferred were either brown or covered in snow. Winter encampments allowed the armies to rest the animals and scatter them over many miles so they could all find something to graze on. When spring had sprung, and local pastures were able to support more animals, the army gathered them back together again in preparation for the campaign season.

In the winter of 1778-79, General Israel Putnam's division of the Continental Army encamped at Redding, Connecticut. Troops began to arrive at camp in November and would continue to arrive until late December.

Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons arrived at Camp 2nd Hill (the middle camp) on November 14th.

The journal of Lt. Col. Henry Dearborn, 3rd New Hampshire Regiment shows his troops arrived at the main camp (Putnam Park) on November 30th. It also indicates a mixture of snow & rain in December:

  • Dec. 10th: the weather very Cold, the Snow about 6 inches.
  • Dec. 13th: a very heavy storm of Rain and no bread for two days.
  • Dec. 17th: a heavy Rain…
  • Dec. 22nd : a severe Snow storm…
  • Dec. 24th: we had Snow last night & very severe Cold today. Our men are well…Clothed and well hutted.
  • Dec. 26th: we have a very severe Snow storm.
  • Dec. 27th: the weather seems more like Canada, then Connecticut…

The 8th Connecticut Regiment, which encamped at Camp 2nd Hill (the middle camp), 1-2 miles to the West of the main camp, arrived "about Christmas or a little before". Private Joseph Plumb Martin's writes:

"We arrived at Reading about Christmas or a little before, and prepared to build our huts for our winter quarters. And now came on the time again between grass and hay, that is the winter campaign of starving."

"…I assisted in the building of our winter huts. We got them in such a state of readiness that we moved into them about New Year's Day. The reader may take my word, if he pleases, when I tell him that we had nothing extraordinary, either eatables or drinkables, to keep a New Year or housewarming."

Orders issued by General Parsons, to his troops on December 4th give specific details of how he wanted the huts built and aligned:

"The huts are to be built 14 x 16 between joints with logs dovetailed together; the door towards the brook at one end and the chimney at the other; the square of the hut must be six feet high at least before the roof comes on; the gable ends must be contracted until they come to a proper point; the ribs of the roof serving to form the roof proper for shingling. The huts to be built in two rows with eight feet distance between them, agreeable to our present mode of encamping…The officer's huts of each regiment must be built in a regular line at about 16 feet distance from the rear line of the soldiers. The quartermasters of the several regiments of the brigade will run lines and mark trees between grounds both in front and rear of their respective regiments so as to secure the wood and timber property belonging to each."

The troops slept in tents until they finished the construction of the huts. A review of Lt. Col. Dearborn's journal entries above give you an idea of weather conditions the soldiers built their huts in…far from ideal.

The hut building process is described in detail by Private Martin:

"After procuring the most suitable timber for the business, it was laid up by notching them at the four corners. When arrived at the proper height, about seven feet, the two end sticks which held those that served for plates were made to jut out about a foot from the sides, and a straight pole made to rest on them, parallel to the plates; the gable ends were then formed by laying on pieces with straight poles on each, which served for ribs to hold the covering, drawing in gradually to the ridgepole. Now for the covering: this was done by sawing some of the larger trees into cuts about four feet in length, splitting them into bolts, and riving them into shingles, or rather staves; the covering then commenced by laying on those staves, resting the lower ends on the poles by the plates; they were laid on in two thickness', carefully breaking joints. These were then bound on by a straight pole with withes, then another double tier with the butts resting on this pole and bound on as before, and so on to the end of the chapter. A chimney was then built at the center of the back side, composed of stone as high as the eaves and finished with sticks and clay, if clay was to be had, if not, with mud."

Living Conditions & Pay

Soldiers: One room hut (14' X 16'), One Fireplace, Dirt Floors, 12 Men to a hut, Soldiers received rations and salaries only when available. Soldiers' wives and/or girlfriends that joined their partners in camp received 1/2 rations when available. 12 men or women to a hut may seem cramped but people slept in a sitting position back then and many of the huts were furnished with bunk beds so there was some breathing room.

Officers: Two room hut (14' X 22'), Two Fireplaces, Dirt Floors (sometimes wooden, if available), No more than 2 to 4 men in each hut, Officers were one of the first to receive available rations.

Commanding Officers: Housed in-town in real houses with families, Did not suffer the harsh conditions of cramped living spaces and winter weather, First to receive salaries and rations.

Pay: The pay of officers and men was as follows: Major General, 20 pounds a month; Brigadier General, 17 pounds a month; Colonel, 15 pounds a month; Lieutenant Colonel, 12 pounds a month; Major, 10 pounds a month; Chaplain, 6 pounds a month; Lieutenant, 4 pounds a month; Ensign, 3 pounds a month; Adjutant 5 pounds, 10 shillings a month; Quarter Master, 3 pounds a month; Surgeon, 7 pounds, 10 shillings a month; Surgeon's Mate, 4 pounds a month; Sergeant, 2 pounds, 8 shillings a month; Corporal, 2 pounds, 4 shillings a month; Fifer and Drummer, 2 pounds, 4 shillings a month; Private, 2 pounds a month.

Camp Music: Camp music was an important aspect of the soldier's daily life. Music served as the soldiers' clock and regulated their activities. "Reveille" was beat at sunrise to wake the men; "Assembly" was beat to assemble the troops for inspection; "Troop Sequence" played while the troops were inspected; "The Roast Beef" was the lunch and dinner call; the "Retreat" was played at sunset to signal the end of the day's duty, and "Taptoo" was beat by 10:00 pm as a signal for "lights out."

Calls used in Camp/Battlefield:

  • Drummers Call: to assemble the musicians
  • Reveille: to wake the troops, usually at 7:00 am
  • Assembly (or singlings of troop): to assemble the troops for inspection
  • Troop Sequence (3 cheers, singlings of troop, doublings of troop, ending with 3 cheers): played while inspecting troops
  • To Arms: to assemble the troops with haste for battle
  • The Roast Beef: lunch and dinner call
  • Bank: church call and parley(during battle)
  • The Retreat: played at sunset to call roll and close the camp to public and to retreat during battle
  • Pioneer's March: to assemble the pioneers
  • The General (first part): cease fire
  • Preparative Sequence: for priming and loading during battle played only once
  • Taptoo: quiet in the camp
  • Grenadier's March: to advance during a battle
  • Point of War(first part of Reveille): charge bayonets
  • Long March: cadence
  • Adjutant, Sergeant, etc.: to call all adjutants, sergeants, etc.

Marches/Ceremonial Music:

  • Bellisle March
  • Boston March
  • Brit. Grenadiers/Free America
  • Capt. Money's March
  • Chain Cotillion
  • Chester
  • Country Dance/Doublings of Troop
  • Duke of York's March
  • Fanfare(masterpiece medley)
  • French Quick March
  • Girl I Left Behind Me
  • Governor King's
  • Harriot
  • I'll Touzle Your Kurchy
  • La Belle Catherine
  • La Rejouissance
  • Moon and 7 stars
  • Norman Toy
  • Paddy Whack
  • Peacock
  • Quick March in Cymon
  • Rakes of Mallow
  • Road/March to Boston
  • Scotch Grey's March
  • Successful Campaign
  • The Drum q Welcome Here Again
  • When the King Enjoys His Own Again (The World Turned Upside Down)
  • Yankee Doodle q York Fusiliers

[Music/Info sources: BAR music book, fellow Musicians of the historical reenactment community (esp. BAR fife major Erik Lichack), and The Old Barracks Fifes and Drums tune list (D.M. Steven Hudak)]

Camp Life: What the soldiers did during waking hours depended on the day and the weather. Rainy/Snowy days would be spent in their huts and/or tents repairing their gear and weapons, sewing torn clothing, or if they were lucky playing cards or dice. Sunny days would be spent foraging for wood and food; assembly and drilling in preparation for battle; scouting missions to ferret out Tories or spies; scouting missions to determine 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.; patrols or marches in response to British alarms.

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.

Private Martin's diary indicates some of the local troops obtained furloughs in February.

"It was now the beginning of February. Many of the men had obtained furloughs to go home and visit their friends…"

Martin was one of those sent to New London from March until May, and from his entries, the conditions there were not any better than in Redding.

"I had not been in camp more than a week before I was sent off with a large detachment to New London to guard the fortifications in and about that town…we were put into houses, and here, too, we almost starved to death, and I believe should have quite starved, had we not found some clams…we stayed here, starving, until the first of May, when we received orders to march to camp and join our regiments."

Non-Military Activities: Charles Burr Todd notes: On Sunday's all the troops presentable were formed in column and marched to the Congregational Church at Redding Center, where they listened to the sermons of the eloquent and patriotic Nathaniel Bartlett, pastor of the church.

Todd also states that: One of the recreations of the officers was the practicing of the rites and amenities of Free Masonry. While the army lay at Redding, the American Union Lodge, which followed the fortunes of the army, was re-organized "on application of a number of gentlemen, brethren of the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons."

Agreeable to the application a summons was issued desiring the members to meet "At Widow Sanford's" on February 15, 1779, at 4 o'clock. At this meeting General Parsons was elected Master. Records of several meetings of the Lodge at Redding (i.e. Mrs. Sanford's") follows. *Widow Sanford lived on what we call Cross Highway, near the old Heritage House.

On March 25th the Lodge gave a state dinner which was thus described:

Procession began at half-past 4 o'clock, in the following order:

  1. Bro. Whitney to clear the way.

  2. The Wardens with their wands.

  3. The youngest brother with the bag.

  4. Brethren by juniority.

  5. The Worshipful Master with the Treasurer on his right hand supporting the sword of justice, and the Secretary on his left hand supporting the bible, square and compass.

  6. Music playing: The Entered Apprentice March.

  7. Proceeded to Esq. Hawley's where Brother Little delivered a few sentiments on Friendship. The Rev. Evans and a number of gentlemen and ladies being present.

  8. After dinner the following songs and toasts were given, interspersed with music, for the entertainment of the company.
    1. Songs: *Hail America; Montgomery; French Ladies' Lament; Mason's Daughter; On, on Dear Brethren; Huntsmen; My Dog and Gun.
    2. Toasts: General Washington; The Memory of Warren; Montgomery and Wooster; Relief of the Widows and Orphans; Ladies of America; Union, Harmony and Peace; Social Enjoyment; Contentment.
    3. Music: Grand March; Dead March; Country Jig; Mason's Daughter.

  9. The festivities were concluded with a speech by Rev. Waldo. At half past 7 o'clock the procession began returning to the Lodge room in reverse order from the afternoon procession, music playing the Mason's Daughter.

*Hail America, was the most popular in the army. We give it entire. It was sung to the tune of the British Grenadier.

That seat of science, Athens,
And earth's great mistress, Rome,
Where now are all their glories?
We scarce can find the tomb.
Then guard your rights, Americans,
Nor stoop to lawless sway,
Oppose, oppose, oppose, oppose,
My brave America.

Proud Albion's bound to Caesar
And numerous lords before
To Picts, to Danes, to Normans
And many Masters more.
But we can boast, Americans,
We never fell a prey
Huzza, Huzza, Huzza, Huzza,
For brave America.

We led fair freedom hither,
And lo, the desert smiled,
A Paradise of pleasure
Was opened in the wild.
Your harvest, bold Americans
No power shall snatch away,
Assert yourselves, yourselves,
Ye sons of brave America.

Torn from a world of tyrants,
Beneath the western sky
We formed a new dominion,
A land of Liberty.
The world shall own its Masters here,
The heroes of the day.
Huzza, Huzza, Huzza, Huzza,
For brave America.

God bless this maiden climate,
And through her vast domain
Let hosts of heroes cluster,
Who scorn to wear a chain.
And blast the venal sycophants,
Who dare our rights betray,
Preserve, Preserve, Preserve, Preserve
Our brave America

Lift up your heads my heroes,
And swear with proud distain,
The wretch who would enslave you
Shall spread his snares in vain.
Should Europe empty all her force,
We'd meet them in array,
And shout and shout, and fight and fight,
For brave America

Some future day shall crown us
The masters of the main,
And giving laws and freedom
To England, France, and Spain.
When all the isles o'er ocean spread,
Shall tremble and obey
Their Lords, their Lords, their Lords,
The Lords of brave America.

On April 7th, 1779, they dined at 3 o'clock, going in procession as they had on March 25th. They were joined by "a number of respectable inhabitants, gentlemen and ladies"; the Rev. Dr. Evans delivered a discourse suitable to the occasion. After dinner there were the usual songs and toasts, and at 6 o'clock the procession returned to the lodge room. Thanks were presented to the Rev. Dr. Evans for his discourse, and to Rev. Mr. Bartlett and the other gentlemen and ladies who favored the lodge and their company at dinner.

The last meeting was held in Redding on April 16th, 1779, the Connecticut Line having about that time marched to the Highlands for the summer campaign.

Orders and reports coming out of Redding or relating to Redding:

Camp, 2nd Hill, Nov. 17, 1778

"The General having obtained permission of the Commander in Chief to be absent a few days from the Division, the Command will devolve upon Brigadier General Huntington. General McDougal is happy that it falls upon a gentleman in whose care for and attention to the Troops he has the utmost confidence. The orders will be issued as usual at the Headquarters of the Division."

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Date unknown

"162 men in Hazen's regiment were 'unfit for duty for want of shoes.'"

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 5, 1778

"at twelve at night we were alarmed by hearing that the enemy are at Terry Town (below Peekskill) in force. In consequence of which a detachment of 1500 men from the three brigades under General Putnam's command were ordered to march...'"

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 9, 1778

"we returned to camp...'"

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 12, 1778

"we are very busy at work upon our huts, amongst the snow...'"

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 16, 1778

"we begin to get into our huts...'"

General Putnam's Orders, Dec. 18, 1778

"Lieut. Col. Bulter of Wylly's Regiment is promoted to the command of the 2nd Company Battalion and is to be obeyed as such. Colonel Meigs is appointed Inspector of the Division and to do the duty of Adj. General for the same until further orders. Quartermaster Belding of the 1st Connecticut Brigade is appointed Quartermaster of the Division and is to do that duty until further orders. David Humphrey, Esq. Late Brigade Major to General Parsons is appointed aide de camp to General Putnam until further orders."

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 19, 1778

"we are in our huts...'"

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 22, 1778

"a severe snow storm...'"

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 25, 1778

"Christmas Day. The Weather is so cold we take but little notice of the day...'"

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 26, 1778

" we have a very severe snow storm..."

Parsons' Brigade Orders, Dec. 27, 1778

"The General of the brigade informs the officers and soldiers that he has used every possible method to supply flour or bread to the brigade. Although a sufficiency of every article necessary is at Danbury, the weather had been so extreme that it is impossible for teams to pass to that place. Every measure is taken to supply flour, rum, salt and every necessary tomorrow, at which time, if a quantity sufficient comes in, all past allowances shall be made up. The General, therefore, desires for the honor of this corps and their own personal reputation, the soldiery, under the special circumstances caused by the severity of the season, will make themselves contented to that time."

Petition of the Connecticut Soldiers in the Revolutionary Army, to His Excellency, Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut. Captain Nathaniel Webb's Orderly Book, Camp Reading, Dec. 27, 1778.

"They 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."

The journals of private Joseph Plumb Martin (stationed with the 8th Connecticut in Parsons' middle camp) January, 1779

"We 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."

George Washington to Deputy Clothier Gen. George Measam , January 8, 1779

"It 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."

George Washington to the Board of War, January 9, 1779

"Sir: I have the honor. of yours of the 7th. instant. As there is not probably a sufficiency of Mittens for the whole Army, a partial distribution would occasion uneasiness among those who were not supplied. Instead therefore of a general delivery, I should think it better to have them lodged with the Clothiers attending the Army to be delivered out occasionally to detachments going upon a duty that will expose them to the inclemency of the Weather."

General Putnam's Orders, 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:

"The 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."

General Putnam's Orders, 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.

"The 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"

Report out of Canadian 2nd Regiment, Feb. 11, 1779

"This day a detachment from our Brigade (under the command of Major Torrey of our Regiment) consisting of one Major, two Captains, four Subalterns, six Sergeants, six Corporals, two Drums and Fifes, and one hundred and one Privates, marched from here to reinforce the Detachment at Horse Neck (Greenwich)."

General Putnam's Orders, Feb. 13, 1779

"The General directs that no person be permitted to visit the prisoners under sentence of death unless at their request as frequent complaints have been made that they are interrupted in their private devotions by persons who come for no other purpose but to insult them."

Headquarters, Reading, March 21, 1779

"Col. Hazen's Regiment will march to Springfield in 3 Divisions by the shortest notice: the first Division will march on Monday next, and the other two will follow on Thursday and Friday next, weather permitting, and in case the detached parties join the Regiment, Col. Hazen will take with him one piece of Cannon and a proportionate number of Artillery men."

Headquarters, Reading, April 11, 1779

"The officers are requested to lose no time in preparing for the field, that they may be ready to leave their present quarters at the shortest notice…No officers whose duty does not really require him to be on horseback will be permitted to keep horses with the Army- It ought to be the pride of an officer to share the fatigues, as well as the dangers to which the men are exposed to on foot…General Washington strongly recommends the officers divest themselves (as much as possible) of everything superfluous."

Headquarters, Reading, May 24, 1779

"General Parsons orders the Brigade to be ready to march tomorrow at 6 o'clock A.M. Complete for Action." *This Brigade seems to have returned to the Highlands via Ridgefield and Bedford.

Headquarters, Reading, May 27, 1779

"Major General Putnam about to take command of one of the Wings of the Grand Army, before he leaves the troops who have served under him the winter past, thinks it his duty to signify to them his entire approbation of their regular and soldier like conduct, and wishes them a successful and glorious campaign."

Headquarters, Reading, May 28, 1779

"Daniel Vaughn and Jonathan Gore of the 8th Connecticut Regiment. Tried by a Brigade Court Martial whereof Lt. Col. Sumner was President, for stealing a cup from Captain Zalmon Read of Reading. The Court are of the opinion that the charges against Vaughn and Gore are not supported."

New: The e-book is here! After three years it is finally ready for download.. This e-book contains everything you have access to online and much more. The only items I have not included are the photos which keeps the file size small and makes printing the e-book much easier and less taxing on your printer! My sources are vast and all information is based on a contemporary knowledge bank to ensure that this is the most complete and up-to-date information available anywhere.

With this guide you will have all you need to teach a course on My Brother Sam is Dead or ace your test on My Brother Sam is Dead. Payment is made at Google Checkout, download provided by Payloadz.

Make payments with Google- Download with PayLoadz


Resources Available at the History of Redding Website:

Resources Available Online:

Back to TOP | Back to Redding Section | Back to Georgetown Section



History of Redding is a not a business or an organization..It's one person working to promote the history of his hometown
and surrounding areas. All costs are out-of-pocket so donations and/or sponsorships will allow me to dedicate more time
and effort to research and updates.