HISTORY OF NEW LONDON COUNTY, CONNECTICUT,
WITH BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF MANY OF ITS PIONEERS AND PROMINENT MEN.
COMPILED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF D. HAMILTON HURD
J. W. LEWIS & CO., PHILADELPHIA, 1882
PRESS OF J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO., PHILADELPHIA
[transcribed by Janece Streig]
NEW LONDON - (Continued).
Pages 222 - 228
CIVIL AND MILITARY.
Representatives from 1670 to 1882.
1670.-May, James MORGAN, Cary LATHAM; October, David WITHERBY, John PRENTICE.
1671.-May, Edward PALMES, David WITHERBY; October, Capt. John WINTHROP (absent), Edward PALMES.
1672.-May, Edward PALMES, Wm. DOWGLAS.
1673.-May, Capt. Edward PALMES; October, Capt. Edward PALMES.
1674.-May, Maj. Edward PALMES; October, Maj. Edward PALMES.
1675.-October, Lieut. James AVERY (absent), Charles HILL (absent).
1676.-May, William DOWLGASS: October, Capt. James AVERY, Daniel WITHERELL (absent).
1677.-May, Daniell WETHERELL, Capt. James AVERY; October, Maj. Edward PALMES, Capt. James AVERY.
1678.-May, Maj. John WINTHROP, Capt. James AVERY; October, Maj. Edward PALMES, Charles HILL 1679.-May, Maj. Edward PALMES, Daniel WITHERILL; October, Capt. James AVERY, Charles HILL.
1680.-May, Daniel WITHERBY, Charles HILL; October, Capt. James AVERY, Charles HILL.
1681.-May, Maj. Edward PALMES, Daniel WITHERBY; October, Daniel WITHERBY, Charles HILL (absent).
1682.-May, Maj. Edward PALMES, Capt. James AVERY; October, Maj. Edward PALMES, Capt. James AVERY.
1683.-May Maj. Edward PALMES, Capt. James AVERY; October, Daniel WITHERELL, Christo. CHRISTOPHERS.
1684.-May, Capt. James AVERY, Daniel WITHERELL.
1685.-May, Daniell WITHERELL, Capt. James AVERY; October, Christo. CHRISTOPHERS, James AVERY.
1686.-May, Maj. Edward PALMES, Daniel WITHERELL.
1688.-Sir Edward ANDROSS, Governor.
1689.-May, Capt. James AVERY, Lieut. Daniel WITHERLL; October, Daniel WITHERBY, Ensign James MORGAN.
1690.-May, James AVERY, John MORGAN; October Nehemiah SMITH, William DOUGLAS.
1691.-May, Richard CHRISTOPHER, William DUGLASS; October, Capt. James MORGAN, Nehemiah SMITH.
1692.-May, Lieut. James AVERY, William DUGLASS; October, Capt. James MORGAN, Ensign Clement MINOR.
1693.-May, Richard CHRISTOPHERS, Samuel AVERY; October, Andrew LEISTER.
1694.-May, James AVERY, Nehemiah SMITH; October, Samuel FOSDICK, Capt. Thomas AVERY.
1695.-May, James AVERY, James MORGAN; October, Alexander PIGON, Andre LEISTER.
1696.-May, Clement MINOR, Samuel FOSDICK; October, Andre LESTER.
1697.-May, Andrew LESTER, William DOWGLASS; October, James AVERYE, Samuel FOSDICK.
1698.-May, Richard CHRISTOPHERS, Ensign Nehemiah SMITH; October, Lieut. Nehemiah SMITH, Capt. Samuel FOSDICK.
1699.-May, Capt. Samuel FOSDICK, Lieut. Nehemiah SMITH; October, Capt. James MORGAN, Nehemiah SMITH.
1700.-May, Samuel FOSDICK, William DUGLASS; October, Lieut. Nehemiah SMITH, Ensign John HOUGH.
1701.-May, Lieut. Nehemiah SMITH, Samuel ROGERS; October, Nehemiah SMITH, Ensign John HOUGH.
1702.-May, Nehemiah SMITH; October, Lieut. James AVERYE, Jonathan PRENTISS.
1703.-May, Lieut. John HOUGH, Capt. John PRENTS; October, Nehemiah SMITH, William DOUGLASS.
1704.-May, Wilt DOUGLASS, Sergt, John BURR; October, Capt. John PRENTS, Samuel ROGERS.
1705.-May, Andrew LESTER, Robert LATTIMER; October, Nehemiah SMITH, Wilt DOUGLASS.
1706.-May, Lieut. John HOUGH,1 [1. Names of deputies without towns are given in 1706, but these are probably.] John RICHARDS; October, Capt. John LIVINGSTONE, Ensign John RICHARDS.
1707.-May, Lieut. John HOUGH; October, John RICHARDS, Capt. John LIVINGSTONE.
1708.-May, Lieut. John RICHARDS, William DOUGLASS; October, Thomas BOLES, James ROGERS.
1709.-May, Thomas BOLLES, James ROGERS; October, James ROGERS, Joshua HEMPSTEAD.
1710.-May, William DOUGLAS, John PRENTTS; October, John RICHARDS, James ROGERS.
1711.-May, William DOUGLASS. James ROGERS; October, John RICHARDS, James ROGERS.
1712.-May, William DOUGLASS, John PLUM; October, James ROGERS, Jr., Stephen PRENTISS.
1713.-May, John RICHARDS, James ROGERS; October, James ROGERS, Lieut. John RICHARDS.
1714.-May, John RICHARDS, James ROGERS, October, James ROGERS, Capt. John HOUGH.
1715.-May, Capt. James ROGERS, Lieut. John RICHARDS; October, Capt. James ROGERS, Lieut. John RICHARDS.
1716.-May, Capt. James ROGERS, Lieut. John RICHARDS; October, Capt. James ROGERS, Lieut. John RICHARDS.
1717.-May, Capt. James ROGERS, John RICHARDS; October, Capt. James ROGERS, Lieut. John RICHARDS.
1718.-May, Capt. James ROGERS, Joshua HEMPSTEAD; October, Capt. James ROGERS, Lieut. John RICHARDS.
1719.-May, James ROGERS, Jonathan HILL; October, Capt. James ROGERS, Lieut. John RICHARDS.
1720.-May, Capt. James ROGERS, Jonathan HILL; October, Capt. James ROGERS, Jonathan HILL.
1721.-May, Capt. James ROGERS, Jonathan HILL; October, Capt. James ROGERS, Capt. C. CHRISTOPHERS.
1722.-May, Capt. John ROGERS, Stephen PRENTTS; October, Capt. John ROGERS, Stephen PRENTTS.
1723.-May, C. CHRISTOPHERS, Esq., Thomas PRENTTS; October, Capt. James ROGERS, Capt. Thomas PRENTTS.
1724.-May, Joshua HEMPSTEAD, Solomon COITT; October, Capt. James ROGERS, Solomon COIT.
1725.-May, Capt. James ROGERS, Joshua HEMPSTEAD; October, Capt. James ROGERS, Solomon COIT.
1726.-May, Capt. James ROGERS, Joshua HEMPSTEAD; October, Capt. James ROGERS, Capt. Joshua HEMPSTEAD.
1727.-May, Capt. Joshua HEMPSTEAD, John PICKETT; October, Capt. Joshua HEMPSTEAD, Richard CHRISTOPHERS.
1728.-May, Capt. Joshua HEMPSTEAD, Solomon COITT; October, Solomon COITT, Stephen PRENTTS.
1729.-May, Richard CHRISTOPHERS, Solomon COITT; October, Solomon COIT, Stephen PRENTTS.
1730.-May, Richard CHRISTOPHERS, John RICHARDS; October, Capt. Joshua HEMPSTEAD, John RICHARDS.
1731.-May, Capt. Stephen Prentiss, John RICHARDS; October, Stephen PRENTISS, Solomon COIT.
1732.-May, Jeremiah MILLER, John RICHARDS; October, Solomon COIT, Daniel COIT.
1733.-May, Richard CHRISTOPHERS, George RICHARDS; October, Daniel COIT, George RICHARDS.
1734.-May, Richard CHRISTOPHERS, Daniel COIT; October, Daniel COIT, John RICHARDS.
1735.-May, John RICHARDS, Jeremiah MILLER; October, Daniel COIT, Wm. WHITING.
1736.-May, Daniel COIT, John RICHARDS; October, John RICHARDS, Joshua RAYMOND.
1737.-May, John RICHARDS, Jeremiah MILLER; October, Capt. Daniel COIT, Capt. Robert DENNISSON.
1738.-May, Capt. Daniel COIT, Joshua RAYMOND; October John RICHARDS, Jeremiah MILLER.
1739.-May, John RICHARDS, Jeremiah MILLER; October, Nathaniel SALTONSTALL, Jeremiah CHAPMAN.
1740.-May, Capt. Nathaniel SALTONSTALL, Thomas FOSDICK; October, Nathaniel SALTONSTALL, Thomas FOSDICK.
1741.-May, Capt. John RICHARDS, Capt. Daniel COIT; October, Capt. Nathaniel SALTONSTALL, Jeremiah CHAPMAN.
1742.-May, John RICHARDS, Jeremiah MILLER; October, Joshua RAYMOND, Capt. Robert DENISON.
1743.-May, Jeremiah MILLER, John RICHARDS; October, Jeremiah MILLER, John RICHARDS.
1744-45.-May, Jeremiah MILLER, Richard DURFEY; October, Col. Gurdon SALTONSTALL, Jeremiah CHAPMAN.
1746.-May, Col Gurdon SALTONSTALL, Jeremiah MILLER; October, Jeremiah MILLER, Jeremiah CHAPMAN.
1747.-May, Col. Gurdon SALTONSTALL, Jeremiah MILLER; October, Jeremiah MILLER, Col. Gurdon SALTONSTALL.
1748.-May, Col. Gurdon SALTONSTALL, Jeremiah MILLER; October, Jeremiah CHAPMAN, Jeremiah MILLER.
1749.-May, Jeremiah MILLER, Jeremiah CHAPMAN, Jr.; October, Jeremiah MILLER, Jeremiah CHAPMAN, Jr.
1750.-May, Capt. Stephen LEE, William MANWARING; October, Capt. Stephen LEE, William MANWARING.
1751.-May, Capt. Stephen LEE, William MANWARING; October, Capt. Stephen LEE, Capt. Robert DENISON.
1752.-May, Capt. Stephen LEE, Jeremiah CHAPMAN; October, Capt. Stephen LEE, Jeremiah CHAPMAN.
1753.-May, Capt. Pygan ADAMS, Capt. Stephen LEE; October, Capt. PYGAN ADAMS, Capt. Adonijah FITCH.
1754.-May, Capt. Stephen LEE, Capt. Pygan ADAMS; October, Capt. Pygan ADAMS, Col. Gurdon SALTONSTALL.
1755.-May, Capt. Stephen LEE, William MANWARING; October, Capt. Stephen LEE, William MANWARING.
1756.-May, Col. Gurdon SALTONSTALL, Maj. Robert DENISON; October, William MANWARING, William HILLHOUSE.
1757.-May, Col. GURDON SALTONSTALL, Col. Stephen LEE; October, Col Stephen LEE, Joshua RAYMOND, Jr.
1758.-May, Col. Stephen LEE, Joshua RAYMOND, Jr.; October, David GARDNER, William HILHOUSE.
1759.-May, David GARDNER, Capt. Pygan Adams; October, David GARDNER, Capt. Pygan ADAMS.
1760.-May, Col. Stephen LEE, William HILHOUSE; October, Capt. Jeremiah MILLER, Capt. Pygan ADAMS.
1761.-May, Capt. Jeremiah MILLER, Maj. Charles BULKLY; October, Capt. Jeremiah MILLER, Maj. Charles BUCKLEY.
1762.-May, Capt. Jeremiah MILLER, Maj. Charles BULKLY; October, Capt Pygan ADAMS, Capt. Jeremiah MILLER.
1763.-May, Capt. Pygan ADAMS, Capt. Jeremiah MILLER; October, Capt. Pygan ADAMS, William HILHOUSE.
1764.-May, Capt. Pygan ADAMS, William HILHOUSE; October, Capt. Pygan ADAMS, William HILHOUSE.
1765.-May, Capt. Pygan ADAMS, William HILHOUSE; October, names of deputies not recorded.
1766-67.-May, Jeremiah MILLER, William HILHOUSE; October, Richard LAW, William HILHOUSE.
1768.-May, Richard LAW, William HILHOUSE; October, Richard LAW, William HILHOUSE.
1769.-May, Richard LAW, William HILHOUSE; October, Col. Gurdon SALTONSTALL, William HILHOUSE.
1770.-May, Gurdon SALTONSTALL, Esq., William HILHOUSE; October, Col. Gurdon SALTONSTALL, William HILHOUSE.
1771.-May, Gurdon SALTONSTALL, Esq., William HILHOUSE; October Gurdon SALTONSTALL, Esq., William HILHOUSE.
1772.-May, Col GURDON SALTONSTALL, William HILHOUSE; October, Col. Gurdon SALTONSTALL, William HILHOUSE.
1773-75.-May, Gurdon SALTONSTALL, Esq., William HILHOUSE; October, Richard LAW, William HILHOUSE.
1776.-Richard LAW, William HILLHOUSE, Nathaniel SHAW, Jr.
1777.-Winthrop SALTONSTALL, William HILLHOUSE, Nathaniel SHAW, Jr.
1778.-George GORDON, Winthrop SALTONSTALL, William HILLHOUSE, Nathaniel SHAW, Jr.
1779.-William HILLHOUSE, Nathaniel SHAW, Jr.
1780.-David MUMFORD, William HILLHOUSE, Nathaniel SHAW, Jr., Timothy GREEN.
1781.-William HILLHOUSE, Nathaniel SHAW, Jr.
1782.-William HILLHOUSE, Nathaniel SHAW, Jr., Capt. John DESHON.
1783.-William HILLHOUSE, Capt. John DESHON.
1784.-William HILLHOUSE, Joshua COIT, Capt. John DESHON.
1785.-William HILLHOUSE, Joshua COIT, Amasa LEARNED.
1786.-David MUMFORD, J. G. BRAINARD, Daniel RODMAN, Amasa LEARNED.
1787.-John DESHON, Daniel RODMAN, Amasa LEARNED.
1788.-John DESHON, Marvin WAIT, Joshua COIT, Amasa LEARNED.
1789.-J. G. BRAINARD, Marvin WAIT, Joshua COIT, Amasa LEARNED.
1790.-Marvin WAIT, Amasa LEARNED.
1791.-John DESHON, Marvin WAIT, Amasa LEARNED.
1792.-Marvin WAIT, Joshua COIT.
1793.-Marvin WAIT, Joshua COIT, Guy RICHARDS.
1794.-J. G. BRAINARD, Marvin WAIT.
1795.-Marvin WAIT, George WILLIAMS, Elias PERKINS.
1796.-Marvin WAIT, George COLFAX, Elias PERKINS.
1797.-N. FOSDICK, Marvin WAIT, Elias PERKINS.
1798.-Marvin WAIT, Elias PERKINS.
1799.-Marvin WAIT, George WILLIAMS, Elias PERKINS.
1800.-Griswold AVERY, George WILLIAMS, Elias PERKINS.
1801.-N. FOSDICK, George WILLIAMS, Lyman LAW.
1802.-George COLFAX, Daniel DESHON, Lyman LAW.
1803.-A. WOODWARD, George COLFAX, Richard DOUGLASS, Lyman LAW.
1804.-A. WOODWARD, J. WOODWARD, E. CHAPPEL, Simeon SMITH.
1805.-Lyman LAW, George COLFAX, E. CHAPPEL, Simeon SMITH.
1806.-Lyman LAW, Thomas BROOKS, George COLFAX.
1807.-Lyman LAW, George COLFAX.
1808.-Lyman LAW, George COLFAX, Isaac THOMPSON.
1809.-Lyman LAW, C. MANWARING, Isaac THOMPSON.
1810.-Lyman LAW, George COLFAX, George HALLAM.
1811.-Jacob B. GURLEY, George HALLAM.
1812.-Jacob B. GURLEY, George HALLAM.
1813.-Jacob B. GURLEY, George HALLAM.
1814.-Elias PERKINS, Jacob B. GURLEY, George HALLAM.
1815.-C. MANWARING, Elias PERKINS, Jacob B. GURLEY, Stephen PECK.
1816.-C. MANWARING, J. P. TROTT.
1817.-C. MANWARING, J. P. TROTT, Henry CHANNING, William STOCKMAN.
1818.-Amasa LEARNED, Henry CHANNING, William STOCKMAN.
1819.-Lyman LAW, J. B. GURLEY.
1820.-N. FOSDICK, Henry CHANNING.
1821.-C. MANWARING, Henry MASON.
1822.-C. MANWARING, John P. TROTT.
1823.-Charles BUCKLEY, Isaac THOMPSON.
1824.-John FRENCH, Isaac THOMPSON.
1825.-David FRINK, Isaac THOMPSON.
1826.-Charles BUCKLEY, Lyman LAW.
1827.-J. B. GURLEY, Isaac THOMPSON.
1828.-J. B. GURLEY, Ezra CHAPPELL.
1829.-J. B. GURLEY, Isaac THOMPSON.
1830.-Thomas MUSSEY, Henry DOUGLASS.
1831.-Samuel CHANY, John A. FULTON.
1832.-Samuel CHANY, John A. FULTON.
1833.-Coddington BILLINGS, Anson SMITH.
1834.-Benjamin STARKS, John DESHON.
1835.-C. BILLINGS, S. K. SMITH.
1838.-Colby CHEW, Samuel CHANY.
1839.-John CONGDEN, John P. TROTT.
1840.-William F. BRAINARD, Daniel ROGERS.
1841.-G. C. WILSON, S. G. TROTT.
1842.-Noyes BILLINGS, Charles DOUGLASS.
1843.-Noyes BILLINGS, no choice.
1844.-C. C. COMSTOCK, Andrew G. LIPPITT.
1846.-Nathan BELCHER, Thomas W. WILLIAMS.
1847.-Nathan BELCHER, Hiram WILLEY.
1848.-J. P. C. MATHER, J. Abon SMITH.
1849.-Thomas FITCH (2), William C. CRUMP.
1850.-Perry DOUGLASS, John BISHOP.
1851.-G. R. COMSTOCK, F. W. HOLT.
1852.-Charles TREADWAY, Henry P. HAVEN.
1853.-Charles TREADWAY, E. V. STODDARD.
1854.-Edward PRENTISS, Augustus BRANDEGEE.
1855.-Charles E. HEWETT, J. N. HARRIS.
1856.-Isaac T. COMSTOCK, G. W. GODDARD.
1857.-William P. Benjamin, Hiram WILLEY.
1858.-Augustus BRANDEGEE, Charles PRENTIS.
1859.-Augustus BRANDEGEE, Hezekiah KNOWLES.
1860.-W. A. WEAVER, J. C. LEARNED.
1861.-A. BRANDEGEE, Charles BURNS.
1862.-W. A. WEAVER, A. COIT.
1863.-D. S. RUDDOCK, A. COIT.
1864.-D. S. RUCCOCK, A. COIT.
1865.-R. CHANEY, R. H. CHAPELL.
1866.-D. S. RUDDOCK, R. H. CHAPELL.
1867.-F. L. ALLEN, Thomas M. WALLER.
1868.-F. L. ALLEN, Thomas M. WALLER.
1869.-B. B. THURSTON, Seth SMITH.
1870.-B. B. THURSTON, Seth SMITH.
1871.-T. S. DABOLL, George STRONG.
1872.-T. M. WALLER, John A. TIBBITS.
1873.-George E. STARR, E. T. BROWN.
1874.-Benj. STARK, William BELCHER.
1875.-Charles PRENTISS, John FITCH.
1876.-T. M. WALLER, A. T. BURGESS.
1877.-George BURGESS, A. T. BURGESS.
1878.-A. G. LIPPITT, W. R. AUSTIN.
1879.-Robert COIT, George F. TINKER.
1880.-J. G. CRUMP, George F. TINKER.
1881.-A. T. BURGESS, H. B. DOWNER.
Town Clerks from 1650 to 1882.
1650, Jonathan BREWSTER; 1651, Obadiah BRUEN; 1667, William DOUGLAS; 1668, Daniel WETHERELL; 1670, Charles HILL; 1684, Edward PALMES; 1685, Daniel WETHERELL; 1701, Richard CHRISTOPHERS; 1707, Daniel WETHERELL; 1719, George DENISON; 1720, None; 1721, Edward HALLAM; 1736, Daniel COIT; 1757, John COIT; 1758, Daniel COIT; 1773, James MUMFORD (three weeks); 1773, Gurdon SALTONSTALL; 1777, Edward HALLAM; 1781, John OWEN; 1801, Samuel BELDEN; 1811, David COIT; 1817, Ebenezer WAY; 1827, Henry DOUGLAS; 1845, Ephraim H. DOUGLAS; 1850, Henry DOUGLAS; 1855-56, Joseph C. DOUGLASS; 1856-67, Giles BAILEY; 1867-68, Samuel FOX; 1868-75, Earl WARNER, Jr.; 1875-76, William DOUGLAS; 1876-82, Isaac W. THOMPSON.
War of 1812.- The business interests of the town has revived, and New London from 1799 to 1805 had rapidly recovered her former prosperity. But as early as 1806 the depredations of British cruisers and privateers on American commerce commenced, and the commercial interest of the place, in common with other New England towns, were seriously injured. Appeals were made to the British government to repeal or modify her unjust edicts, in her warfare against France, in the restrictions imposed on American neutral vessels, but in vain. Our flag was insulted, our merchant vessels boarded, and their crews frequently impressed in to the British service. The commercial property of American citizens to an immense amount had been seized and confiscated, and yet the British government refused to listen to appeal or entreaty. In 1812 these repeated outrages culminated in a formal declaration of war by our government against Great Britain.
When hostilities commenced, this, like the war of the Revolution, bore heavily on the town. The entire naval force of the United States consisted of only twenty vessels, exclusive of gunboats, with an armament of but little more than five hundred guns,--a mere mosquito fleet to cope with the powerful naval forces of Great Britain. Consequently our sea-coast, thousands of miles in extent, was very seriously exposed to the depredations of the invaders. New London in particular was a prominent point of interest with the enemy. The British commanders, however, had not forgotten the severe reception of their troops in 1781, and were wary in their attempts at landing and in their offensive operations. But their vessels severely harassed and annoyed the citizens. Early in June, 1813, the frigates "United States" and "Macedonian" and the gallant little sloop-of-war "Hornet" were pursued by Sir Thomas HARDY with his flag-ship, the "Ramillies," and a fleet of smaller vessels into the harbor, and the city and naval vessels were kept under a strict blockade until the close of the war.
A few days after the appearance of HARDY's fleet four more ships and frigates, with a number of smaller vessels, arrived and joined it, making a formidable naval force, whose threatening aspect caused general alarm among the inhabitants, many of whom too well remembered the sad scenes of 1781. Maj. Simeon SMITH with a company of volunteers hastily prepared to give the invaders a warm reception should they make an attempt to enter the harbor or enforce a landing. The old Fort GRISWOLD, the scene of the massacre thirty-two years previous, was put in the best possible condition to resist the enemy. But no landing was attempted, although several feints by the vessels near the moth of the harbor indicated such a purpose. The inhabitants of the town were kept in a constant state of suspense and apprehension. Commodore DECATUR with this three war vessels retreated up the river as far as Gale's Ferry, and threw up a light intrenchment on the neighboring heights.
About this time an affair took place which exasperated the officers of the blockading squadron and embittered their subsequent intercourse with the people on the coast, although the latter had no agency in the offensive act. A schooner called the "Eagle," owned in New York, was prepared as a kind of torpedo vessel, and sent into the Sound to make an experiment upon the enemy. She has a show of naval stores on board, and was captured by the British west of New London Harbor, near Millstone Point. The crew took to their boats, and reached the shore in safety. The British officer, after taking possession of the schooner, attempted to tow her up to the "Ramillies," but finding that she fell to leeward, he anchored at the distance of three-fourths of a mile from that vessel. Suddenly, in less than three hours after the desertion of her crew and the seizure of the British, the "Eagle" exploded with prodigious force, and was scattered into fragments. A shower of pitch and tar fell upon the "Ramillies;" timber and stones were hurled aloft, and the waters around thrown into great commotion. A second lieutenant and ten men who were on board the schooner were killed, and several men in boats were badly wounded.
This was a wholly a private undertaking; the government had nothing to do with it. The owners had fitted the "Eagle" as a fire-ship, with a secret piece of mechanism concealed within, which, when set in motion, would cause an explosion after a certain interval. Here hold, under the appearance of ballast, contained four hundred pounds of powder and various other combustibles, with ponderous stones and destructive implements sufficient to inflict a terrible blow upon any ship-of-war alongside of which she might be brought, a blow which the "Ramillies" barely escaped.
Gen. Jirah ISHAM commanded at that time at New London, and the next morning Commodore HARDY sent a flag of truce up to the town with the following communication:
"To Jirah ISHAM, Brig.-Gen, commanding at New London. I am under the necessity of requesting you to make it publicly known that I cannot permit vessels or boats of any description (flags of truce of course excepted) to approach or pass the British squadron, in consequence of an American vessel having exploded yesterday three hours after she was in our possession."1 [1. History of New London, pp. 632-33.]
It was said on English authority that the brave Sir Thomas HARDY, while occupying the Sound with a powerful squadron, and carrying his flag in a seventy-four, never remained at anchor during the night, and rarely left the deck except by day, in order to insure safety from Fulton's torpedoes. But a more certain if not more terrific mode of attack was at that time afloat and nearly ready for service in the waters of New York. This was the steam battery, miscalled frigate, "Fulton." This vessel, formidable enough in reality, had been represented by correspondents of English newspapers as a monster of prodigious power. An hundred guns of enormous caliber were said to be inclosed in fire and bomb-proof shelters; the upper deck was reported to be "defended by thousands boarding pikes and cutlasses wielded by steam, while showers of boiling water were ready to be poured over those that might escape death from the rapidly whirling steel." In reality the vessel presented above the surface of the water a figure of an oval, whose greatest length was about the same as that of an English seventy-four. This was covered by a continuous spar-deck, at either extremity of which was mounted on a revolving carriage a chambered gun capable of throwing a solid ball of one hundred pounds, but intended, as is well known, to throw shells. Beneath the spar-deck was the gun-deck, also continuous, except in the middle, where space was left for the working of a large paddle-wheel, and on this gun-deck was mounted a battery of thirty-two 32-pounders. The sides of the vessel were thickened by cork and wood, not only between the guns, but as low as the water's edge, and incapable of being penetrated by a 32-pound ball. Beneath the gun-deck the hull was formed as if of a vessel cut in two, leaving a passage from stem to stern for water to reach and to be thrown backwards from the wheel. Two rudders were placed in this passage, moving on their centers. The boilers and the greater part of the machinery were below the reach of shot, and even the wheels could be reached but by a stray shot passing unimpeded and in a proper direction through the port-holes.
In June of that year Maj.-Gen. BURBECK, as before stated, arrived from Newport and assumed the command of the district. The troops on duty, in all amounting to about one thousand of the militia of the State, were transferred to the general government and subsequently dismissed, leaving the town entirely defenseless. Not a soldier remained on duty. Forts Trumbull and Griswold were completely evacuated, and all this with a British squadron of seven ships of the line and frigates and other vessels lying at the entrance of the Sound, within two hours' sail of the harbor. Under these circumstances the Governor, on Gen. BURBECK's application, authorized Gen. WILLIAMS to call out as large a body of the militia as exigencies should demand.
"The blockade henceforth assumed a most rigorous character. The enemy resolved to leave nothing afloat. The Sound was alive with petty warfare. Every creek and bay were searched, and nothing in the form of boat, sloop, or smack suffered to live. Yankee enterprise prolonged the task of the invaders, and obliged them to destroy by inches, and to multiply and repeat the blows before they could ruin the traffic and clear the coast of sails and oard.'"2 [2. Miss CAULKINS' History, page 634.]
Varied and numerous were the events of the town and neighborhood during these three successive years of constant rigorous blockage. One of these specially worthy of note is narrated by Miss CAULKINS. "The sloop 'June,' Capt. John HOWARD, continued to ply back and forth between New London and New York during the whole war with but a single serious accident; that was the loss of her mast by a shot of the enemy after being driven into Saybrook Harbor. Her enterprising commander was well acquainted with the Sound, made his trips during the darkest nights and in severest storms, guided often by the lantern lights of the enemy's ships as he repeatedly ran through their blockading squadron. He was narrowly watched and several times pursued by their boats and barges, but always eluded capture. Sometimes when too closely pursued a spirited fire from his cannon, four pieces of which he always carried on deck, only to be use din defense, would drive away his pursuers and secure his little craft from further molestation. The fact that the enemy were fully apprised of his times of departure and expected arrival, and in fact all his movements, through the newspapers, which they could easily obtain, renders it the more remarkable that she escaped their vigilance."
It is remarkable that during the whole war not a man in Connecticut was killed, notwithstanding the long and rigorous blockade and the many encounters between detachments of the enemy and the inhabitants. One person only, a Mr. DOLPH, lost his life on the waters of the coast, off Saybrook, while engaged with others in recovering two prized taken by the enemy. Such a fact appears almost miraculous.
Commodore DECATUR entertained the hope that some opportunity would offer for his escape with his vessels during the winter, and watched for an opportunity favorable to his design. His vessel dropped down and remained at anchor opposite the town, and quietly remained waiting for some remissness of vigilance on the part of the enemy. At length the favorable time seemed to have arrived. A dark night, a favorable wind, and fair tide all give every expectation of success. But just as the little fleet were about to start "blue-lights" appeared on both sides of the river. Such an unusual occurrence gave strong suspicions that these were concerted signals to the enemy, and notwithstanding every preparation had been made with the most profound secrecy, the commodore considered himself betrayed, and relinquished his intentions, making no further effort to run the blockade.
Although he was firm in his belief that his intentions were thus signaled to the enemy, it was indignantly denied by the citizens that any traitorous designs existed, and that the lights were accidental, or that those who reported them to the commodore were mistaken. He, however, removed his two large vessels up the river, where they were dismantled and only a guard left on board. The "Hornet" remained at New London, and subsequently slipped out of the harbor, and eluding capture, reached New York in safety.
The restoration of peace in 1815 was an occasion of general rejoicing. Our enemies became friends, and receptions, balls, and public rejoicings signalized the event, in which the officers of the British squadron cordially participated, and who were as cordially received by the citizens of the town. Such was the close of the war of 1812.
War of 1861-65.- The following interesting account of New London in the late Rebellion was furnished by Hon. William H. STARR:
In the late struggle for the perpetuation of our glorious Union the patriotism of New London, as exhibited in her earlier history, was equally manifested. Of the seventy-five thousand noble sons of Connecticut who took part in the struggle, New London furnished more than her quota. No people in their struggle for liberty probably ever gave of their own free-will so lavishly as did our gallant Connecticut volunteers. This town, with patriotic liberality, give some of the purest and most promising of her noble-hearted citizens to sustain the government in his hour of peril, and the blood of her martyred heroes has enriched the soil from the heights of Arlington to its most remote southern boundary. Immediately on the new of the attack on Fort Sumter the spirit of '76 fired the hearts of her citizens. The city flag was raised, followed by display of flags all over the city and by the shipping. At the Wilson Company's works all hands were summoned and the flag saluted with repeated cheers. On the 19th, Mayor J. N. HARRIS received a dispatch from the Secretary of War requesting him to furnish a company to garrison Fort Trumbull. The request was immediately complied with, and the City Guards placed on duty there. The same evening one of the largest and moth enthusiastic meetings ever convened in the city was held n and outside the court-house. The meeting was called to order by Hon. F. B. LOOMIS. Hon. Nathan BELCHER presided. Hon. Augustus BRANDEGEE offered a resolution declaring that all political differences must be buried and all unite to save the republic, with resolution was passed with a tremendous aye.
With great enthusiasm volunteers offered their services. Enlistments rapidly followed. Some of the noblest and most promising of our youth gallantly entered the service, fired with the spirit of patriotism and valor. Company after company was raised and equipped for the war, first for three months and then for the three years' service. The daily and weekly papers of that period contained frequent and enthusiastic notices of their departure for the field of conflict, followed by the repeated cheers of the fellow citizens.1 [1. "Departure of Volunteers.-The third company of New London volunteers departed for Hartford to join their regiment on the 29th ult. They were escorted by the City Guards to the depot, where before leaving they were drawn up in line near the flag-staff to listen to addresses. Speeches were made by Messrs. Edward PRENTIS, A. C. LIPPITT, Thomas FITCH, and Rev. Mr. GUISCARD, of the Second Baptist Church. Rev. Mr. GRANT, of the Huntington Street Baptist Church, closed the exercises with prayer. There was a large gathering of people in the neighborhood of the depot to see the volunteers off, notwithstanding the unfavorable condition of the weather. This company consists of a fine-looking body of young men, who will doubtless give a good account of themselves should occasion offer. They were enthusiastically cheered by the hundreds who witnessed their departure. God bless them and speed them on to the rescue of our country's flag from ignominy and shame!" Family Repository for June, 1861.]
Of all the noble hearts beating for the honor of our flag and volunteering for its defense from New London we would gladly speak, but that would be impossible. We mention but a few of the officers who gallantly fell at the post of duty.
Lieut. William W. PERKINS was one of the earliest and most ardent volunteers from New London. After establishing an enviable reputation for bravery and gallant conduct during several severely fought battles, he fell at Kinston, N. C., at the head of his company, cheering his soldiers on to victory.2 [2. The New London Star said of him, "It is seldom that we are called upon to mourn a firmer patriot, a braver soldier, or a truer or more genial friend than Lieut. PERKINS. He sprang to arms with alacrity at the first call of his country, and established an enviable reputation in five hotly-contested battles, in the last of which he fell where a soldier would choose to fall, leading the advance, and expired amid the rattling volleys of his regiment an the loud cheers of victory." His brother, Lieut. Benjamin R. PERKINS, was among the first to volunteer in the service. He served with gallantry during the entire war; was engaged in more than thirty battles. After the close of hostilities he was transferred to the regular army, and died some years since at one of the military stations of Arizona.
Capt. Edw. L. PORTER was a young man of more than ordinary ability and great promise. He was killed at the battle of Winchester while gallantly leading his men in a charge against the superior forces of the enemy. A fatal bullet pierced his temples and he fell, sealing with his blood his devotion to his government. He was a graduate of Yale, a young man of fine literary taste and attainments. He had adopted the practice of law with a flattering promise of distinction in his profession. No nobler or purer heart ever animated a brave soldier. Surgeon HOLBROOK said of him, "At my suggestion he went to the hospital three days before the battle, being very feeble. I visited him the day previous and found him still very weak, and was surprised to find him at the head of his company. An officer informed me that he seemed possessed of superhuman energy in the battle, and gallantly led his men in the charge, when he was struck by a bullet in the forehead and died almost instantly. He left a bright record of honorable manliness. Dignified and gentlemanly, always prompt in the conscientious discharge of his duty, he attested by his death the sincerity of his patriotism, and sealed with his blood his love of liberty."
Lieut. Joseph STRICKLAND was another of New London's martyr-heroes. He was devotedly a brave and patriotic soldier. He had assisted greatly in recruiting Company I, of which he became first lieutenant. Col. SPRAGUE, of the Port Hudson charge, who knew him well and could attest to his noble courage, said of him, "Of the many gallant officers that there fell there was none more fearless or deeply mourned than Lieut. STRICKLAND." He fell at Port Hudson while gallantly charging the enemy.
Capt. Horace F. QUINN, after three years of faithful service, was killed at the battle of Deep Run. He had served as a private through the three months' campaign. On the organization of the Tenth he joined it as first lieutenant of Company H, under Capt. LEGGETT. "Although young in years," said Col. GREELEY, "he was a veteran soldier; twenty years of age at his death, he had seen more than three years of active service. No more brave or daring officer ever led a company than Capt. QUINN."
Maj.-Gen. Joseph A. MOWER was born in Vermont, and by trade a mechanic. He had served gallantly in the Mexican war and was settled in New London. Having been commissioned by President PIERCE as second lieutenant in the regular army, he re-entered the service, and at the time of the outbreak of the war was in Texas under TWIGGS. He patriotically resisted the order to surrender his men to the rebels, and made his way with them to the North. He was in the opening battle of the war in Kentucky and Tennessee, and prominent in the capture of Island No. 10, and active in the capture of Corinth. He was appointed brigadier-general, and was with Gen. A. J. SMITH in the Red River expedition, and fought and flanked the enemy, resulting in the capture of Chattanooga and Atlanta.1 [1. "Few officers in the service," says a late writer, "have distinguished themselves like MOWER, for while there may be some who possess more military genius, none are more absolutely indifferent to personal danger than he." He was a favorite of Gen. SHERMAN, and had few enemies. He died in the regular service at New Orleans in 1869.]
The brave Robert LEGGETT may be regarded as one of the gallant spirits of New London, although not a native of the town. He was one of the most energetic promoters of the Union cause in the place, and never flagged for a moment in his patriotic efforts. He was one of the earliest and most active volunteers in the struggle, and brave almost to a fault. He received a gold medal for gallant service as sergeant, was promoted to the office of major, succeeded by that of lieutenant-colonel, lost his leg at Wagner, and afterwards fought bravely in numerous battles, and was finally compelled to resign his commission from disability; was one of the heroes of the war, and his gallantry was highly extolled by all who knew him. His honored remains peacefully rest beneath the evergreens of our cemetery, and his commissions, sword, and belt have been appropriately place din the rooms of the Historical Society.
Capt. George H. BROWN was another brave soldier. He was severely wounded at Deep Run, but survived, and afterwards was killed at the head of his company before Petersburg. He left an honorable record for bravery in the service.
As in the Revolution and the war of 1812, so in the war against the government and the banner of our country New London gallantly bore her part in our naval affairs during its continuance. In many of the conflicts that reddened our Southern waters with the blood of the noble defenders of the Union the brave sons of New London largely shared. The RODGERS family of this town, one of whom has previously been referred to, particularly might be named as conspicuous. "The paternal grandfather was Col RODGERS, who commanded the famous Maryland line during the Revolution, and was frequently mentioned in WASHINGTON's dispatches for gallantry. His eldest son was Commodore John RODGERS, who fired the first gun in the war of 1812, and was long the senior officer in our infant navy. Another son was Commodore George W. RODGERS, who for special gallantry during the war of 1812 received a sword of honor from his native State, and a medal and a vote of thanks from Congress. Commodore John RODGERS had two sons, one of whom, John RODGERS, also became commodore, and led the attack on Port Royal and Fort Sumter during the Rebellion; and another, Col. Robert RODGERS, served through the late war, and was twice wounded at the head of the Third Maryland Infantry. Two other grandsons of Commodore John RODGERS were Capt. Raymond RODGERS, who was fleet-captain during DUPONT's attack on Charleston, and Capt. George W. RODGERS, who was killed while commanding the monitor "Catskill" in the attack on Fort WAGNER. IN the family are also Lieut.-Commanding Frederick RODGERS, Master's Mate Joseph RODGERS, Midshipman R. P. RODGERS, and Lieut. Alexander P. RODGERS, who fell in the forlorn hope at the storming of Chapultepec, who was a nephew of Col. RODGERS. One of the three illustrious Commodore PERRYs married into the family, and there is probably not another name in America that will compare with that of PERRY or RODGERS for the fame won on land and sea in defense of the republic." 1 [1. Military and Civil History of Connecticut, p. 844.]
To the late Richard H. CHAPPELL, of New London, was committed the charge of the novel expedient of closing temporarily the ports of Charleston and Savannah, from whom principally the enemy's swift block-running cruisers sailed forth and plied their nefarious trade of attacking, plundering, and destroying any merchant vessels that might come in their way. The first order was for twenty-five vessels of from two hundred to four hundred tons each. Before these were loaded twenty more were ordered, making a fleet of forty-five sail, to be dispatched at once. These were purchased, and the first fleet of twenty-five sailed for the respective ports Nov. 21, 1861, while the second fleet of twenty followed on the 11th of December. Thirteen of these went from New London, the commodore for the cruise being the veteran Capt. John P. RICE,2 well known as a competent shipmaster. [2. Since deceased.] One or two of the fleet put back from accident, but nearly all were delivered to the naval commanders off Charleston and Savannah. A majority were used as at first designated, and, with their masts cut away, were for a time ugly customers for the keel of a blockade-runner to encounter as she tried to dodge in or out on a dark night. Some were used by the Navy Department as store-vessels in various places, others constituted the foundation for temporary wharves at Port Royal or in the inlets where our navy was employed; not one, it is believed, "lived" to return. Mr. CHAPPELL's account of disbursements was accepted by the government and settled at once, and he was thanked for the promptness, integrity, and efficiency he had displayed.