KIDS: Connecticut in the Revolutionary War

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Connecticut History
Connecticut in the Revolutionary War
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By 1765, even my robin ancestors could tell that many of the Connecticut colonists were unhappy with the fact that they were ruled by England, but could not vote in the English Parliament. Those people who believed that England should continue to rule the colonies were called Tories. Those people who wanted the American Colonies to govern themselves were called Whigs. Many fights broke out between these two groups. More and more people, however, began to agree with the Whigs.

In 1765 the English Parliament passed a law called the Stamp Act. This law said that the American Colonies would have to pay to have official seals, or stamps, as they were called, placed on all printed documents such as deeds, licenses or newspapers. Newspapers included the Connecticut Gazette of New Haven, the Colony's first newspaper (1755), and the Connecticut (Hartford) Courant (1764), the oldest American newspaper in continuous existence.

Because the act effected so many people and placed such a heavy tax burden on them, many people became angry. They felt that they should not have to pay a tax that they had not voted into law. Connecticut colonists said that the tax violated their charter . Because of so many protests, the Stamp Act was repealed in 1766. But even the robins could see that there would be further trouble with England.

Still needing to raise money, the English Parliament again attempted to tax the American Colonies by passing the Townshend Act in 1767. This act placed a tax on goods sent to the American Colonies from England. The most famous example of this was the tax on tea. In 1767, tea was as important to most people as coffee is to many people today. So, they were not happy about a higher price for their tea. For awhile some people refused to buy the tea, but that that did not last long.

In 1774, the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to begin to establish the rights of the colonies. All of the colonies sent representatives. Silas Deane, Eliphalet Dyer and Roger Sherman represented Connecticut.

As soon as the news of the uprising at Lexington, Massachusetts in April of 1775 reached Connecticut, several thousand militiamen left Connecticut for Massachusetts. They were under the command of Colonel Israel Putnam from Pomfret. Soon promoted to General, it was General Putnam who said at the Battle of Bunker Hill in Boston, "Don't fire until you see the white of their eyes."

In 1776, Samuel Huntington, Roger Sherman, William Williams and Oliver Wolcott signed the Declaration of Independence for Connecticut. Most Connecticut citizens supported it, but not all. In that same year, a young Connecticut patriot, Nathan Hale, was captured by the British while on a spy mission for General Washington. Before he was executed, Nathan Hale said, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." You may see the statue of Nathan Hale at the State Capitol Building.

One major Revolutionary War battle was fought in Connecticut. This was at New London and Groton. On September 6, 1781, British forces under General Benedict Arnold and Lieutenant Colonel Edmund Eyre landed at New London on both banks of the Thames River. On the west bank in New London, Arnold's soldiers met no resistance and destroyed goods and naval stores. Many buildings in the town were burned. On the east bank in Groton, Colonel Eyre's forces attacked and captured Fort Griswold which was commanded by Colonel William Ledyard. Colonel Eyre was mortally wounded in the battle. Colonel Ledyard was killed after he had surrendured the fort, and became a martyr to the American cause. The town of Ledyard Connecticut was named for him.

Perhaps Connecticut's greatest contribution to the war was the fact that it furnished many supplies to the Continental Army. To General George Washington, Connecticut was "The Provision State." Items supplied Included beef, salt, flour and gunpowder.

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Content Last Modified on 3/23/2010 8:42:24 AM