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]
WAR OF THE REVOLUTION.
Interesting Incidents-Military Organization-Gen. WASHINGTON's Visit-Visit of LAFAYETTE-Baron STEUBEN and PULASKI-Votes-Benedict ARNOLD-Sketch of his Career-Soldier of the Revolution.
ALTHOUGH Norwich was not the scene of important military events during the war of the Revolution, and felt not the invader's foot nor the torch of its son, the treacherous ARNOLD, as did its sister-city of New London, still there are many incidents of interest that should not be omitted as showing the spirit of the inhabitants during the sanguinary struggle. The following account is taken chiefly from Miss CAULINS' History:
"In November, 1775, Dr. Benjamin CHURCH was sent by Gen. WASHINGTON under a strong guard to Governor TRUMBULL, at Lebanon, with an order from Congress that he should 'be closely confined in some secure goal n Connecticut, without pen, paper, or ink, and that no person should be allowed to converse with him, except in the presence and hearing of a magistrate or a sheriff of the county where he should be confined, and in the English language, until further orders.'
"Governor TRUMBULL directed that he should be kept in custody at Norwich in charge of Prosper WETMORE, sheriff of New London County. Here he was detained during the winter, in strict and cheerless seclusion. Mr. EDGERTON, the goaler, was directed to build a high picket fence around the prison, and even within this inclosure Dr. CHURCH was not permitted to walk but once a week, and then with the sheriff at his side. This was harsh discipline to a man accustomed to a luxurious, independent style of living.
"Dr. CHURCH was a Boston physician of considerable literary ability who had written songs and delivered orations in favor of American liberty, and had been a member of the Provincial Congress in 1774. He was associate of WARREN and other patriots; but in September, 1775, a letter written by him in cipher to his brother in Boston was intercepted, and the contents found to be of a character so questionable that he was arrested and tried for holding a treasonable correspondence with the enemy. The letter, though it contained no positive treason, seemed to emanate from one who was felling his way to treachery and dishonor.
"Dr. CHURCH was kept in Norwich until the 27th of May, 1776, when, by order of Congress, he was sent to Watertown, Mass. About the same time he obtained permission to retire to the West Indies, but the vessel in which he embarked was never heard of afterwards.
"Norwich and some other towns in the eastern part of the State remote from the sea-coast were often charged with the safe-keeping of Tories and other prisoners of war. Items like the following may be gathered from newspapers and public records:
"Aug. 26, 1776. Last Saturday a number of gentlemen tories1 were brought to New London, and sent from hence to Norwich. [1 "In the accounts of the State Pay Table there is a startling item of £658 10s. 2d., drawn by J. HUNTINGTON, of Windham, for run and coffee furnished to prisoners under his charge n August, 1777. This might lead us to conclude that either these gentlemen tories were very numerous or that they were slightly luxurious in their habits and had uncommonly indulgent wardens. But it is probable that the amount is given in a depreciated currency.]
"Ten persons arrested at New York and first imprisoned in Litchfield goal have been transferred to Norwich.
"Feb. 22, 1777. John L. C. ROME, Esq., of New York, confined as a tory at Norwich, was released on his parole to return on request of the Governor and Council.
"In August, 1776, the sheriff moved from New London to Preston twenty persons arrested in Albany for Toryism. They remained at Preston for several months, and were allowed to live as they chose at their own expense, most of them paying for their board by their labor. The Tory prisoners at Norwich were often distributed in private families, and allowed their liberty within certain limits.
"In March,1782, a company of sailors, eight or ten in number, that had been taken in an English privateer and sent up from New London for safekeeping, broke out of jail in the night, and after lurking three or four days in the woods uncaught, succeeded in reaching New London, and by stealth got possession of a fine new coasting-sloop, just fitted for a voyage and fastened to one of the wharves, with which they escaped.
"The large number of Tories arrested during the earlier years of the war suggests one of the great trials that beset the patriot cause: secret enemies, opponents at home, were like thorns in the side or serpents in the bosom. They were often arrested, but seldom kept long in durance. After the detention of a few days or weeks they were generally dismissed, on giving bonds to return when called for, or upon taking oath not to bear arms against the country or to aid and comfort the enemy in any way.
"In the summer of 1775 a battery or redoubt was built below the landing at Waterman's Point. Benjamin HUNTINGTON and Ephraim BILL were directors of the work, but the labor was mostly performed by Capt. LYON's company of militia2 that had been sent to Norwich on an alarm of invasion from vessels prowling in Long Island Sound. When the work was completed, four six-pounders were brought from New London, and a regular guard and watch kept. For further defense of the place two wrought-iron field-pieces and several other pieces of ordnance were mounted, manned, and placed in the charge of Capt. Jacob DEWITT. [2 "Capt. Ephraim LYON, of Col. PUTNAM's regiment.}
"William LEX established a manufactory of gun-carriages in town, and succeeded so well as to be employed by the State to furnish apparatus for much of the cannon used by them. Elijah BACKUS, Esq., at his forges upon the Yantic, manufactured the ship anchors used for the State's armed vessels, two of which weighted twelve hundred pounds each. He afterwards engaged in the casting of cannon. Samuel NOYES made and repaired guns and bayonets for the light infantry.
"Capt. Ephraim BILL, of Norwich, was in the service of the State as a marine agent, and Capt. Jabez PERKINS as contractor and dispenser of the public stores. The Governor and Council of Safety sometimes held their sessions in town.
"Norwich was admirably situated to serve as a port of refuge to which vessels could retire and discharge their cargoes in safety. In July, 1775, the brig 'Nancy,' owned by Josiah WINSLOW, a well-known royalist of Boston, having on board eighteen or nineteen thousand gallons of molasses, was forced by stress of weather into Stonington Harbor. It was no sooner known at Norwich that she had anchored near the coast than her capture was decreed. Without waiting for the State authority, but with the sanction of the Committee of Inspection, a spirited band of volunteers, in a large sloop, commanded by Capt. Robert NILES, proceeded forthwith to Stonington, where they took possession of the vessel, and brought her, with the cargo, round to Norwich. They then made report of the affair to the Governor and Council, who approved of their proceedings and sequestered the prize for the use of the State.
"The Tory molasses, as it was called, proved a valuable acquisition. It was doled out to hospitals, and used as a medium of exchange for public purposes. Molasses was a commodity which could only be obtained by capture, and the want of it was one of the home-felt privations of the war.1 [1 By the side of this fact an order of the Governor and Council, May 4, 1777, for the distillation of 40 hhds. of molasses into New England rum does not appear very creditable. But spirituous liquors were then regarded as absolutely necessary to the highest physical efficiency of soldiers and laboring men. Feb. 28, 1777, the Governor and Council ordered 250 hhds. of West India and New England rum to be purchased to supply the troops of the State. HINMAN, 419, 441.]
"The scarcity of sugar and molasses continued for several years. Various were the substitutes contrived. Cornstalk molasses is no myth or caricature, but a veritable resource of those trying times, and probably the best substitute that was brought into use. The stalks were cut when the ears of corn were just ripe for roasting or boiling, thrown into a mill, the juice pressed out, and then boiled down until it became a tolerable syrup. It served to at least to satisfy the natural craving of the appetite for saccharine matter, some portion of which in food seems to be requisite both for nourishment and delight.
"In October, 1775, another merchant vessel was seized under circumstances similar to those of the 'Nancy.' She had a cargo of 8000 bushels of wheat, shipped at Baltimore for Falmouth, England, and was steering towards Stonington in distress, having lost her mainmast in a storm, when she was seized by an armed schooner belonging to the colony, and conducted to Norwich to secure her from recapture. She was subsequently sold for the benefit of the country.
"A very great evil experienced during the war was the high price of salt and the difficulty of procuring it at any price. It was almost impossible to get a sufficiency to put up provisions for winter's use. The State government was obliged to send abroad for supplies of this necessary article and distribute it to the various towns. It was then apportioned by the selectmen to the districts in proportion to their population, and again dealt out by a committee to individuals.
"Whenever a quantity of salt was obtained it was disposed of with great care and consideration. One of the State cruisers having taken 300 bushels, it was deposited at Norwich, and in April, 1777, the Governor and Council directed Jabez PERKINS to dispose of it to inhabitants of Connecticut only, to allow no family to purchase more than half a bushel, and small families to be supplied with less in proportion.2 [2 HINMAN's Am. Rev., p. 431, 441.]
"Three years before the peace salt was six dollars per bushel, and bohea tea two dollars per pound, and this in fair barter, not Continental bills. Common cream-colored cups and saucers were two dollars per half-dozen. Many persons in comfortable circumstances drank their beverage out of glazed earthen mugs.
"The scarcity of wheat was a still greater calamity. Norwich, of course, shared in the general dearth, but the winter of 1777 appears to have been her only season of actual deficiency and short allowance. The authorities were obliged to enforce a strict scrutiny into every man's means of subsistence, to see that none of the necessaries of life were withheld from a famishing community by monopolizers and avaricious engrossers. Each family was visited, and an account of the grain in their possession, computed in wheat, was taken. The surplusage, down to the quantity of four quarts, was estimated. One hundred and twenty-six families were at one time reported deficient, viz.:
"42 up town, 26 down town, 12 West Farms and Portipaug, 2 Newent and Hanover, 9 East Society, 27 Chelsea, 8 Bozrah."
"The following certificate is also upon record, and though without date, belongs to this season:
"'This may certify that the whole number of inhabitants in the town of Norwich is hungry; for the quantity of grain computed in wheat is scanty; the deficiency amounts to a great many bushels, as pr return of the selectmen unto my office, agreeable to the act of assembly. Certified by Galettia SIMPSON.
"These facts in regard to the scant supply of the necessaries of life apply only to the earlier years of the war.3 After 1780 the tide turned, and in Norwich at least the farms prospered, the mechanic arts flourished, and there was almost a superabundance not merely of the means of living, but of articles of luxury and display. [3 "At this very period of greatest scarcity there was at least one distillery in operation in the town, as we learn from the records of the War Committee, or Council of Safety, Dec. 11, 1777, to wit:
"'The Governor was desired to grant a license to Caleb HUNTINGTON, of Norwich, to distil from rye the spirit called Geneva, to supply the inhabitants of the State as far as he could, provided he retail the same at a reasonable price, not to exceed 15s. per gallon.]
"Those who remained at home, as well as those who went into active service, were often called on to perform military duty. When most of the able-bodied men were drawn off, a Reformando corps was established, consisting of those whose age, infirmities, or other circumstances would not allow them to become regular soldiers and endure the fatigue of the camp, but who were willing to go forth on a sudden emergency.
"Early in 1776, Capt. MCCALL and Lieut. Jacob DEWITT enrolled and organized a fine company of veteran guards for home service and defense of the State should it be invaded. These were well equipped with arms in readiness for sudden emergencies. On the 12th of August, 1776, Gov. TRUMBULL issued an order to Capt. MCCALL to convene his company and enlist as many as were willing, and to make up with others a company, not less than ninety-three, and march immediately to New York, in the most convenient manner, by land or water, and there joint the Nineteenth Regiment of Connecticut militia. The order was in consequence of a pressing requisition from Gen. WASHINGTON for reinforcements.
"The Veteran Guards were subsequently often called out on short tours of duty upon alarms near the sea-coast, at New London, Lyme, or Stonington.
"In 1779 a company under Capt. Ebenezer LATHROP, and another under Capt. Ziba HUNT, of Newent, performed tours of duty at New London.
"In 1777 Connecticut raised eleven regiments, nine for Continental service and two for the defense of the State. Col. Jedediah HUNTINGTON and Col. John DURKEE, of Norwich, commanded two of the Continental regiments.
"The army was in great measure dependent upon importations from France for sufficiency of arms and ammunition. The following vote of the Governor and Council of Connecticut alludes to a fresh supply of these necessary equipments:
"Sept. 26, 1777. It was voted that Maj.-Gen. HUNTINGTON should be desired to cause to be made up 15,000 musket cartridges fitted to the new French arms provided for the use of the Continental army, and pack them in bunches of 18 cartridges each and lodge them in some safe place in the town of Plainfield.1 [1 HINMAN's Rev. War.]
"In the earlier periods of the contest the town's quota of soldiers was always quickly raised, and the necessary supplied furnished with promptness and liberality. The requisitions of the Governor were responded to from no quarter with more cheerfulness and alacrity. In September, 1777, when extraordinary exertions were made in many parts of New England to procure tents, canteens, and clothing for the army, many householders in Norwich voluntarily gave up to the committee of the town all they could spare from their own family stock, either as donations or, where that could not be afforded, at a very low rate. The ministers of all the churches on Thanksgiving Day exhorted the people to remember the poor soldiers and their families.
"Every year while the war continued persons were appointed by the town to provide for the soldiers and their families at the town expense, but much also was raised by voluntary contributions. The following items from contemporary newspapers furnish examples:
"'On the last Sabbath of December, 1777, a contribution was taken up in the several parishes of Norwich for the benefit of the officers and soldiers who belonged to said town, when they collected.
"'386 pr of stockings, 208 pr. of mittens,
227 pr. of shoes, 11 buff caps,
118 shirts, 15 pr. of breeches,
78 jackets, 9 coats,
48 pr. of overalls, 22 rifle frocks,
19 handkerchiefs, and £258 17s. 8d. in money which was forwarded to the army. Also collected a quantity of port, cheese, wheat, rye, Indian corn, sugar, rice, flax, weed, &c., to be distributed to the needy families of the officers and soldiers. The whole of which amounted to the sum of £1400.'
"'Norwich, Feb. 15, 1779.
"'Yesterday a contribution was made at the Rev. Dr. LORD's meeting for the distressed inhabitants of Newport, which have lately arrived from Providence, when the sum of three hundred dollars was collected for their relief.'
"'Mrs. CORNING (wife of Mr. Joseph CORNING, now a prisoner with the enemy) being destitute of necessary clothing for her children, a number of the ladies of Chelsea, of the first character and respectability, appointed a day on which they assembled and spent the same in spinning, after which they presented Mrs. CORNING with the yarn to a considerable amount.'
The situation in New London was one of constant alarm, in which all the surrounding towns participated. It was menaced in December, 1776, when the hostile fleet found a rendezvous among the small islands in the Sound, previous to taking possession of Newport. All the militia in the eastern part of the State turned out to oppose the expected descent. It was observed, as band after band marched into New London, that no company in order and equipments equaled the light infantry of Norwich, under the command of Col. Chr. LEFFINGWELL. Many times during the war the militia were summoned to New London or Stonington on the appearance of an armed force or the rumor of one. If a hostile vessel entered the Sound no one knew its commission, and the alarm was quickly spread from the seaboard into the country. The dreaded foe perhaps hovered near the coast a few hours, made some startling feints, and then passed away. Orders were given and countermanded, and the wearied militia, hastily drawn from their homes, returned again without having had the satisfaction of seeing the enemy, or arriving on the spot before the danger was over.
"Detachments from the Continental army frequently passed through Norwich. In 1778 a body of French troops, on the route from Providence to the South, halted there for ten or fifteen days, on account of sickness among them. They had their tents spread upon the plain, while the sick were quartered in the court-house. About twenty died and were buried each side of the lane that led into the old burying-yard. No stones were set up, and the ground was soon smoothed over so as to leave no trace of the narrow tenements below.
"Gen. WASHINGTON passed through Norwich in June, 1775, on his way to Cambridge. It is probable that he came up the river in a packet-boat with his horses and attendants. He spent the night at the Landing, and the next day pursued his journey eastward. In April, 1776, after the evacuation of Boston by the enemy, the American troops being ordered to New York, came on in detachments by land, and crossing the Shetucket at the old fording-place below Greenville, embarked at Norwich and New London, to finish the route by water. Gen. WASHINGTON accompanied one of the parties to Norwich, and met Governor TRUMBULL by appointment at Col. Jedediah HUNTINGTON's where they dined together, and the general that evening resumed his route to New York, going down to New London by land.
"The inhabitants also had an opportunity of seeing LAFAYETTE, STEUBEN, PULASKI, and other distinguished foreigners in our service. There was some who long remembered the appearance of the noble LAFAYETTE, as he passed through the place on his way to Newport. He had been there before, and needed no guide; his aides and a small body-guard were with him, and he rode up to the door of his friend, Col. Jedediah HUNTINGTON, in a quick gallop. He wore a blue military coat, but no vest and no stockings; his boots being short, his leg was consequently left bare for a considerable space below the knee. The speed with which he was traveling and the great heat of the weather were sufficient excuses for this negligence. He took some refreshment and hastened forward.
"At another period he passed through with a detachment of two thousand men under his command, and encamped them for one night upon the plain. In the morning, before their departure, he invited Mr. STRONG, the pastor of the place, to pray with them, which he did, the troops being arranged in three sides of a hollow square.
"Nearly fifty years afterwards, Aug. 21, 1824, the venerable LAFAYETTE again passed through Norwich. Some old people, who remembered him, embraced him and wept; the general wept also.
"At one time during the war the Duke de LAUZUN's regiment of hussars was quartered in Lebanon, ten miles from Norwich. Col. Jedediah HUNTINGTON invited to the officers to visit him, and prepared a handsome entertainment for them. They made a superb appearance as they drove into town, being young, tall, vivacious men, with handsome faces and a noble air, mounted upon horses bravely caparisoned. The two DILLONs, brothers, one a major and the other a captain in the regiment, were particularly distinguished for their fine forms and expressive features. One or both of these DILLIONs suffered death from the guillotine during the French Revolution.
"LAUZUN was one of the most accomplished but unprincipled noblemen of his time. He was celebrated for his handsome person, his liberality, wit, bravery, but more than all for his profligacy. He was born in 1747, inherited great wealth and high titles, and spent all his early years in alternate scenes of dissipation and traveling. He engaged in to public enterprise till he came to America and took part in the Revolutionary contest. The motives which actuated this voluptuous nobleman to this undertaking are not understood, very probably the thirst for adventure and personal friendship for Lafayette. He had run the career of pleasure to such an extent that he was perhaps willing to pause awhile and restore the energy of his satiated taste. Certain it is that he embarked in the cause of the Americans with ardor, bore privations with good temper, and made himself very popular by his hilarity and generous expenditure.
"After LAUZUN returned to Europe he became intimate with TALLEYRAND, and accompanied him on a mission to England in 1792, where one of his familiar associated with the Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV. On the death of his uncle, the Duke de BIRON, he succeeded to the title, quarreled with the court, and became a partisan of the Duke of Orleans. Afterwards he served against the Vendeans, but being accused of secretly favoring them, was condemned, and executed the last day of the year 1793. Such was the future stormy career of this celebrated nobleman, who, as already mentioned, in the midst of friends and subordinates, enjoyed the banquet made for him by Col. HUNTINGTON. After dinner the whole party went out into the yard in front of the house and made the air ring with huzzas for liberty. Numerous loungers had gathered around the fence to get a sight of these interesting foreigners, with whom they conversed in very good English, and exhorted to live free or die for liberty.
"It is well known that during the Revolutionary war attempts were made to regulate the prices of articles by public statutes, in order to reduce the quantity of the circulating medium. In Connecticut prices were fixed by the civil authorities of each town in all cases not determined by acts of Assembly.
"April 7, 1777. Voted, strictly to adhere to the law of the State regulating the prices of the necessaries of life; and we do resolve with cheerfulness to exert our best endeavors within our sphere, to support the honor of that good and salutary law.
"Dec. 29. Voted, that the town consider the articles of confederation and perpetual union proposed by the Continental Congress wise and salutary.
"1778. Abstract of instructions to the representatives of the town.
"1. To use their influence to have taxes more equitable.
"2. To have bills of credit called in.
"3. Forfeited states confiscated.
"4. The yeas and nays on all important questions published.
"5. Profane swearing punished by disability to sustain offices.
"Oct. 1. Voted, to present a memorial to the General Assembly, praying for a just and equitable system of taxation and representation.
"Extract from the memorial:
"'The Poll-tax your memorialists consider at the present day an insupportable burden on the poor, while a great part of the growing estate of the rich is by law exempt from taxation. The present mode of representation is also objected to by your memoralists. They believe all who pay taxes, and are of sober life and conversation, ought to have a voice in all public communities where their monies and properties are disposed of for public uses."
"It is not surprising that the subject of taxation should be one of the exciting interest in a community who were annually paying 6d., 9d., and 12d., on the pound for the use of the army. At one time in Connecticut, when the currency was at par, a rate of even 14d. was necessary to meet the exigencies of the treasury.
"The town afterwards presented another petition to the Assembly, the substance of which was that every kind of property, and that only, should be the object of taxation. This general principle, they say, is in their view the only equitable one. Committees were sent to several neighboring towns to get their minds on the subject, and they at length resolved to publish, at the expense of the town, the prevalent views of the citizens on taxation, in the form of a letter to the freemen of the State, a copy of it to be sent to every town. In this letter the deficiencies of the existing system were ably pointed out.
"'By the present system six of the poorest swine a year old are rated equal to £100 in cash at interest, and 30 such swine equal to a house of £1000. The meanest horse, even 30 years old, is on a par with the best in his prime. An acre of the best land is rated o higher than the poorest that is arable in the State.
"'Industry, which out to be encourages, id doubly taxed, and that is a very capricious and vague manner.'
"The objections against the poll-tax are these:
"'That it is a personal tax, ad ought to be paid in personal service, that is, in defending the community; that it is a double tax, the poor man paying for his poll, which is the substitute for his labor, and for the avails of is labor also; that is impolitic, as tending to present early marriages, which promote industry, frugality, and every social virtue.'
"The committee upon this memorial were some of the choice spirits of Norwich,--Benjamin HUNTINGTON, Dr. Theophilus ROGERS, Dr. Elisha TRACY, Aaron CLEVELAND, Jonathan HUNTINGTON, and Nathaniel NILES. The document has strong points, but it is not known from which of the members it emanated.
"Again, three years later (1781), the town made another effort to obtain their favorite measures,--the abrogation of the poll-tax, and the extension of the right of suffrage. The instructions given to the representatives embraced the following measures:
"That polls be struck out of the tax-list or rated low.
"That all who pay taxes be allowed to vote, if of good moral character.
"That debates in the House be open.
"That absentees be fined.
"That a regular constitution be formed.
"In October, 1780, a convention was held at Hartford to consider what measures should be taken in regard to trade and currency. The delegates from Norwich were Daniel RODMAN and Solomon SAFFORD; the committee to draft their instructions, Elisha LATHROP, Christopher LEFFINGWELL, and Aaron CLEVELAND. They were directed to urge the loaning of money to Congress to defray the public expenses, and prevent the necessity f a further emission of paper money.
"'In a town meeting June 24, 1780,--
"'Voted, that a committee of fifty able, judicious men be appointed to engage fifty able-bodied, effective men, required of this town to fill up our complement of the continental army or three years, or during the war; each member of the committee to procure one soldier, and pay him twenty silver dollars bounty, over and above the bounty given by the State, and pay him the same annually as long as he continues in the service; also 40s. per month in silver money or Indian corn at 3s. per bushel, fresh port at 3d., per pound, and wheat at 6s. per bushel.'
"The committee were not able to carry this vote into effect,--the term of enlistment was too long,--nor were the men raised until by a subsequent vote the term of service was restricted to six months. In July of the same year, upon a requisition of the Governor, twenty-seven more men were enlisted for six months, to whom the same bounty and pay were given.
"The General Assembly had passed an act to arrange all the inhabitants of the State into classes, each class to raise so many recruits and furnish such and such clothing and other supplies. Norwich at first refused to enter upon this system and remonstrated. With great reluctance, the measure was at last adopted by the inhabitants, and being found to accomplish the end, was continued through the war, though it was never popular with them.
"After recovering from the first stunning blow of the Revolution, the inhabitants of Norwich were not only alert in turning their attention to various industrial pursuits, but engaged also in the brilliant change game of privateering. The war, therefore, while it exhausted the strength and resources of neighboring towns that lay exposed upon the seacoast, acted like a spur to the enterprise of Norwich. New London, at the mouth of the river, was depressed in all her interests, kept in continual alarm, and finally, but the blazing torch of th enemy, almost swept from the face of the earth; but Norwich, securely seated at the head of the river, defended by her hills and nourished by her valleys, planting and reaping without fear of invasion or loss, not only built new shops and dwelling-houses, and engaged with spirit and success in a variety of new manufactures, but entered into ship-building, and boldly sent out her vessels to bring in spoils from the ocean.
"In 1781 and 1782 the town was overflowing with merchandise, both tropical and European.1 New mercantile firms were established,--Daniel RODMAN, Samuel WOODBRIDGE, Lynde MCCURDY, and others,--and lavish varieties of fancy texture, as well as the substantial products of almost every climate, were offered for sale. The shelves and counters of the fashionable class of shops displayed such articles as superfine broadcloths, men's silk hose, India silks, Damascus silks, taffetas, satins, Persians, and velvets, blonde lace, gauges, and chintzes. These goods were mostly obtained by successful privateering. [1 In May, 1782, a very large stock and great variety of European goods, imported in the brigantine "Firebrand" from Amsterdam, was sold by auction at the store of Messrs. Zabdiel ROGERS & Co., Bean Hill.]
"Another class of merchandise, generally of a cheaper kind, and not dealt in by honorable traders, but covertly offered for sale in various places or distributed by peddlers, was obtained by secret and unlawful intercourse with the enemy.
"The coast of Connecticut being entirely girdled by Long Island and New York, and the British and Tories having these wholly under their control, it was very difficult to prevent the secret intercourse and traffic of these two parties through the Sound. In the latter years of the war especially a corrupt, underhand, smuggling trade prevailed to a great extent, which was emboldened by the indifference of connivance of the local authorities, and stimulated by the readiness of people to purchase cheap goods without asking from whence they came. Remittances for these goods must be made in coin, therefore they were sold only for cash, which, finding its way back to the enemy's lines, impoverished the country. Thus the traffic operated against agriculture and manufactures, against honest labor and lawful trade. Moreover, it nullified the laws and brought them into contempt.
"Against this illicit traffic a strong association was formed at Norwich in July, 1782. The company bound themselves by solemn pledges of life, fortune, and honor to support the civil authority; to hold no intercourse, social or mercantile, with persons detected in evading the laws; to furnish men and boats for keeping watch in suspected places, and to search out and break up all deposits of smuggled goods; such goods to be seized, sold, and the avails devoted to charitable purposes.
"The vigorous manner in which this company began to carry out their principals caused great commotion in the ranks of the guilty parties. Suspected persons suddenly disappeared; sales were postponed; goods which before had been openly exposes withdrew in cellars and meal-chests, or were concealed in barns under the hay, and in hollow trees, thickets, and ravines.
"Several seizures were made during the season, but the treaty of peace soon put an end to this clandestine traffic, and the association had but a brief existence.
"Its object, however, was creditable to the patriotism and efficiency of the inhabitants, and a list of the signers gives us the names of sixty-eight prominent men who were on the stage of life at the close of the war, and all within the bounds of the present town.
MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATION AGAINST ILLICIT TRADE,1 ALPHABETICALLY ARRANGED. [1 Conn. Gazette, Vol. xix.]
Samuel ABBOT, Simeon CAREW,
Elijah BACKUS, Thomas COIT,
Ephraim BILL, William COIT,
Jonathan BOARDMAN, John CRARY,
John M. BREED, Jacob DEWITT,
Shubael BREED, Michael DUMONT,
Samuel CAPRON, Thomas FANNING,
Eliphalet CAREW, Jabez FITCH,
Joseph CAREW, Joseph GALE,
Joseph HOWLAND, Joseph PECK,
Andrew HUNTINGTON, Andrew PERKINS,
Eliphalet HUNTINGTON, Jabez PERKINS,
Jonathan HUNTINGTON, Jabez PERKINS, Jr.,
Joshua HUNTINGTON, Joseph PERKINS
Levi HUNTINGTON, Joseph PERKINS, Jr.,
Simeon HUNTINGTON, Erastus PERKINS,
William HUBBARD, Hezekiah PERKINS,
Russell HUBBARD & Son, Levi PERKINS,
Ebenezer JONES, Daniel RODMAN,
Joshua LATHROP, Theophilus ROGERS,
Rufus LATHROP, Zabdiel ROGERS,
Christopher LEFFINGWELL, Ransford ROSE,
Benejah LEFFINGWELL, Andrew TRACY, Jr.,
Jonathan LESTER, Mundator TRACY,
Elihu MARVIN, Samuel TRACY,
John McCALL, Asa WATERMAN, Jr.,
Lynde McCURDY, Samuel WHEAT,
Seth MINER, Joseph WHITMARSH,
Thomas MUMFORD, Benajah WILLIAMS,
Nathaniel NILES, Joseph WILLIAMS,
Robert NILES, Jacob WITTER,
Timothy PARKER, Dudley WOODBRIDGE,
Asa PEABODY, Samuel WOODBRIDGE,
Nathaniel P. PEABODY, Alexander YOUNGS.
"In January, 1781, the inhabitants were divided into forty classes to raise forty soldiers, which was their quota for the Continental army; and again into twenty classes for a State quota to serve at Horseneck and elsewhere. A list of persons in each class was made out, and each taxed in due proportion for the pay and fitting out of one recruit, whom they were to procure; two shirts, two pairs of woolen stockings, shoes, and mittens were requisite for every soldier; arms and uniforms were furnished by the State or country.
"Each soldier's family was in the charge of a committee to see that they were supplied with the necessaries of life, for which the soldier's wages to a certain amount were pledged. The whole number of classes this year to procure clothing was sixty-six.
"In 1782 only thirty-three classes were required.
"1783. Instructions were given to the representatives to use their influence with the Assembly to obtain a remonstrance against the five years; pay granted by Congress to the officers of the Continental army. The manifesto of the town on this subject was fiery, dictatorial, and extravagant. A few paragraphs will show in strong relief the characteristics of the people, --jealous of their rights, quick to take alarm, and sensitively watchful over their cherished liberties.
"Where is the free son of America that ever had it in idea when adopting the Articles of Confederation to have pensions bestowed on those characters (if any such there be) whose virtue could not hold them in service without such regards over and above the contract which first engaged them?
"'For a free people, just rising out of a threatening slavery into free shining prospects a most glorious peace and independence, now to be taxes without their consent to support and maintain a large number of gentlemen as pensioners in a time of universal peace, is, in our view unconstitutional and directly in opposition to the sentiment of the States at large, and was one great spoke in the wheel which moved at first our late struggle with our imperious and tyrannical foes."
"Further instructions were given at the same time to the representative to urge upon the Assembly the necessity of keeping a watchful eye upon the proceedings of Congress, to see that they did not exceed the powers vested in them, and to appoint a committee at every session to take into consideration the journals of Congress, and approve or disapprove, applaud or censure the conduct of the delegates.
"At no period during the war were the people of Norwich alarmed with the fear of a direct invasion of the enemy, except at the time of the attack on New London, Sept. 6, 1781. It was then rumored that Arnold, inflamed with hatred against the country he had betrayed, and cherishing a vengeful spirit towards his native town, had determined at all hazards to march thither and spread desolation through the homes of his ancient friends and neighbors. Preparations were therefore made to receive him; goods were packed, and women and children made ready for flight. The fiery patriots of Norwich wished for nothing more than that he should attempt to march thither, as it would give them a long-coveted opportunity of wreaking their vengeance on the traitor. But the undertaking was too hazardous; Arnold, if he had the will, was too prudent to attempt anything but a sudden and transient attempt upon the seaboard.
"The last time that the militia were called out during the war was in September, 1782. A detail of the circumstances will serve as a specimen of the harassing alarms which had previously often occurred.
"Benajah LEFFINGWELL was then lieutenant-colonel of the Twentieth Regiment, and at seven o'clock in the morning an express reached him with the following order:
"'To Major LEFFINGWELL: I have certain intelligence that there is a large fleet in the Sound, designed for some part of the Main-would hereby request you without loss of time to notify the regiment under your command to be ready to march at the shortest notice-also send express to New London immediately for further news, and continue expresses as occasion may be. Your humble servant in the greatest haste.
"'Samuel M'CLELLAND, Colonel.
"Wednesday morning, six o'clock.
"'I have much more to say if I had time. I am on the road to New London from Windham, where express came to be in the night.'
"Before nine o'clock the whole regiment has been summoned to turn out with one or two day's provisions, and be ready to march on hearing the alarm guns.
"The regiment upon the ground that day, as the returns of the orderly-book show, consisted of one field-officer, thirty-five commissioned officers, and seven hundred and fifty-eight men, in eleven companies, under the following captains: Joseph CAREW, Samuel WHEAT, Isaac JOHNSON, Nathan WATERMAN, Moses STEPHENS, William PRIDE, Jabez DEMING, Abner LADD, Jonathan WATERMAN, Samuel LOVETT, Jacob DEWITT.
"Orders at last came for them to march; they were just ready to start when the order was countermanded. Again an express arrived saying that the fleet appeared to be bound in, and orders were issued to stand ready. One house they heard that the enemy was making preparations for a descent, the next that the fleet was moving up the Sound. Finally the hostile ships, having explored Gardiner's Bay, flitted out of the Sound, and the militia, after two days of harassing suspense, were dismissed to their homes."
BENEDICT ARNOLD.1 - The painful task now devolves upon the writer to chronicle some of the leading events in the career of one whose baseness has been unequaled since the day that his prototype betrayed his master for thirty pieces of silver. The faithful historian will be just to all; hence no attempt will be made to remove the stain which has long tarnished the history of this fair section of country. Benedict ARNOLD descended from an honorable Rhode Island family, where one of his ancestors, bearing the same name, held the office of Governor for fifteen years. Two brother of this family, Benedict and Oliver, removed from Newport to Norwich in 1730. The elder Benedict, the father of the traitor, soon became engaged in business, and not long after his arrival in Norwich married Mrs. Hannah KING, whose maiden name was LATHROP. Benedict, the subject of this sketch, was born in Norwich, Jan. 3, 1741. Early in life he was apprenticed to Dr. LATHROP, a druggist in Norwich, with whom he remained during his minority. He subsequently embarked in the same business in New Haven, and while there became the captain of a company of militia. After the battle at Lexington he made a hasty march to Cambridge at the head of his company, and volunteered his services to the Massachusetts Committee of Safety. With the rank of colonel in the Continental army, he joined Ethan ALLEN and assisted in the taking of Ticonderoga in May, 1775. In the expedition against Quebec, in the autumn and winter of 1775, he took a leading part. Having been wounded at Quebec and at Saratoga, his disability was of a character to render him unfit for active field service, and he was consequently, by WASHINGTON, placed in command at Philadelphia after the place had been evacuated by Clinton in 1778. He was at this date a major-general in the Continental army. While at Philadelphia he lived in a style far above his means, and his haughty and overbearing manner involved him in a quarrel with the authorities of Pennsylvania, who accused him before Congress of abusing his official position and misusing the public funds. After a long delay he was tired by a court-martial and was sentenced to be reprimanded by the commander-in-chief. WASHINGTON performed this disagreeable task as delicately as possible, but did not lose his confidence in ARNOLD. While in Philadelphia, ARNOLD married the daughter of Judge SHIPPEN, a Tory, which connection enabled him to communicate without discovery with the British officer. He opened a correspondence with Sir Henry Clinton, signing himself "Gustavus." In the mean time, at his earnest solicitation, he was appointed by WASHINGTON, in August, 1780, to the command of West Point, the strongest and most important fortress in America. He sought this command with the deliberate intention of betraying the post into the hands of the enemy. In compliance with a previous understanding, ARNOLD and Maj. ANDRÉ met at Haverstraw, on the west bank of the Hudson, Sept. 22, 1780, and arrangements were fully completed for an easy conquest of the fortress by the English. [1 By Ashbel WOODWARD, M. D.]
On his return to the city of New York, ANDRÉ was arrested as a spy at Tarrytown, was tried by a court-martial, and sentenced to be executed by hanging. He suffered the penalty of his crime Oct. 2, 1780. When it became known to ARNOLD that ANDRÉ had been arrested, he fled from West Point in the utmost haste, and in his flight took passage to New York City in the "Vulture," a British sloop-of-war. He was immediately made a brigadier-general in the British service, which rank he preserved throughout the war as a stipulated reward of his treachery.
Early in 1781 he was dispatched by Sir Henry CLINTON to make a diversion into Virginia. After his recall he conducted an expedition against Connecticut. The objective point was the flourishing town of New London. He took Fort Trumbull, September 6th, with inconsiderable loss. A detachment made an assault on Fort Griswold, on Groton Heights, and with great difficulty entered the works. The brave but conquered defenders of the fortress after their surrender became the victims of a most merciless slaughter. New London was plundered and laid in ashes. After a brief campaign of conflagration and slaughter, ARNOLD returned to New York, crowned with a description of laurels that no one would covet unless totally lost to a true sense of honor. ARNOLD died at Gloucester, London, in June, 1801.
"Capt. Oliver ARNOLD, of Norwich, the uncle of Benedict, died in 1781. HE had long been an invalid, and left his family with little for their support. To these relatives Benedict was always liberal, and even after his exile made them occasional remittances. The oldest son, Freegift, he assisted in obtaining a good classical education, and designed him for one of the professions; but the young man joined himself to the Sons of Liberty, entered into the naval service under Paul JONES< and after fighting bravely came home with a ruined constitution to languish and die. The other son, Oliver, had a particular talent for making extemporaneous rhymes, which seemed to flow from him without premeditation, in all the ease of common speech, so that his casual remarks and answers to questions would often run in a jingling measure. Many of these familiar rhymes were formerly current in the neighborhood. They were mostly of a local and transient character. An example of a more general interest, which has been often quoted, is the following:
"In a bookseller's shop in New Haven Oliver ARNOLD was introduced to Joel BARLOW, who had just then acquired considerable notoriety by the publication of an altered edition of WATTS' Psalms and Hymns. BARLOW asked for a specimen of his talent, upon which the wandering poet immediately repeated the following stanza:
"'You've proved yourself a sinful crea'tur';
You've murdered WATTS, and spoilt the metre;
You've tried the Word of God to alter,
And for your pains deserve a halter.'
"Oliver was also a sailor and a patriot, and cordially despised the course taken by his cousin Benedict in betraying his country.
"In his habits he was roving and unsettled, absenting himself from home in long and vagrant rambles, from one of which he never returned. According to report, he was found dead by the wayside in a road little frequented in the northern part of New York.
"Three daughter of Capt. Oliver ARNOLD, sisters of Freegift and Oliver the rhymester, died aged but unmarried, the last of the family in Norwich. The brothers Benedict and Oliver, with their wives, and six children of the former and four of the latter, were interred near the centre of the old burial-lot, but mostly without inscribed gravestones.
"GEN. EBENEZER HUNTINGTON.1 - Ebenezer, the fourth son of Gen. Jabez, was a member of Yale College, and within two months of completing his course when the battle of Bunker Hill was fought. He and other ardent young patriots of his class asked permission of President DAGGETT to leave the institution and enlist as volunteers in the army that was gathering at Boston. Being refused, they decamped in the night, hastened to Wethersfield, where there was a recruiting station, enrolled their names, and were soon on duty at the heights of Dorchester. [1 For biography of Gen. Jedediah HUNTING, see chapter xxviii.]
"Mr. HUNTINGTON was at first threatened by the college faculty with the loss of his degree, but ultimately, as he was under no previous censure, he was allowed to graduate with his class in 1775.
"In the army he rose by successive promotions to the rank of colonel, and took part in several of the most remarkable contests of the war. After his commission of captain of a company, in October, 1776, he lived with the army, and was ever at his post in camp and field, losing no time in long furloughs for rest and recreation. Subsequent to the evacuation of New York his regiment was stationed on the Hudson, at Fort Lee, Tarrytown, and Tappan Bay. In 1778 he was sent in command of a battalion to Rhode Island to operate against the British, who then held possession of Newport. He afterwards joined the main army, and participated in several severe engagements with the enemy. At the siege of Yorktown he served a part of the time as volunteer aide to Gen. LINCOLN, and in that capacity witnessed the magnificent spectacle of the surrender of Cornwallis to the soldiers of liberty.1 He remained on duty with the army till the troops were disbanded, having served through the whole war from April, 12775, to May, 1783. [1 In TRUMBULL's historical picture of the surrender of Cornwallis, Gen. HUNTINGTON is represented in the group of American officers, his portrait having been taken by the artist from life.]
"Gen. HUNTINGTON retired from the army to the peaceful pursuits of merchandise. But his experience in tact and military evolutions and discipline made it desirable that he should be retained in the home service. In 1792 he was appointed major-general of the militia of the State, an office which he held more than thirty years, under six successive Governors.
"In 1799 he was appointed by President ADAMS, at the recommendation of Gen. WASHINGTON, a brigadier-general in the United States army, raised upon the apprehension of a war with France. In 1810, and again in 1817, he was elected member of Congress. He died June 17, 1834, in the eightieth year of his age.
"Gen. HUNTINGTON was noted for his fine manly form and military deportment. He was twice married. His first wife was Sarah ISHAM, of Colchester; his second, Mary Lucretia, daughter of Gen. Samuel MCCLELLAN, of Woodstock.
"Zachariah, the fifth son of Gen. Jabez HUNTINGTON, was too young to take part in the Revolutionary contest, but he attained a high rank in the militia, and was endowed by nature with many soldierlike qualities,--a commanding person, a voice of great compass, firmness of purpose, and habits of great precision and accuracy.
"It is seldom that five such distinguished men as the brothers HUNTINGTON appear in one family, all living to an age ranging from seventy to eight-six years.
"Joseph TRUMBULL, Commissary.-When the war commenced Norwich had on her roll of inhabitants no one of fairer promise or of more zealous devotion to the cause of liberty than Joseph TRUMBULL. He was the eldest son of Governor TRUMBULL, and born at Lebanon, March 11, 1737, but had been for twelve or fifteen years a resident in Norwich, taking an active part in the business, the municipal affairs and patriotic proceedings of the town. In 1775 he was appointed the first commissary-general of the American army, an important and honorable office, but bringing with it a crushing weight of perplexity, labor, and responsibility. He devoted himself with unremitting ardor to his duties, and was soon worn out by them. In July, 1778, he came from Philadelphia with a desponding heart and a broken constitution. His father and other friends gathered around him, and after a few days of rest he was carefully removed from his home in Norwich to his father's house in Lebanon, where he died July 23d, aged forty-two.
"The hopes of his friends, who expected much from his talents and integrity, and whose affections were fondly fixed upon his person, were blasted by his untimely death. In the eulogy pronounced at his funeral great praise is awarded to his abilities, his patriotism, and his moral worth, and it is added, 'In all the winning and agreeable arts of life he had no superior.' These qualities account for the tender attachment of his friends and the lamentations that were uttered on his death.
"COL. JOHN DURKEE.-John DURKEE was a native of Windham, but settled early in life at Norwich. He served upon the frontier against the French in several distinct expeditions, and afterwards held the rank of major in the militia. He kept an inn, cultivated a farm, and was often engaged in public business. After the repeal of the Stamp Act he became interested in the purchase made by the Susquehanna Company in Pennsylvania, and was one of the forty pioneers sent out by the company in 1769 to take possession of the Wyoming Valley. Robert DURKEE was also of the company, and the first fortress erected by these emigrants was called Fort DURKEE.
"Against this scanty band of settlers the Pennamites or Pennsylvania claimants of the valley soon appeared in considerable force, and an obstinate contest for the possession of the territory ensued. Maj. DURKEE was at one time carried to Philadelphia as a prisoner, but when released returned to the scene of conflict. After a long and stormy experience the Connecticut party so far prevailed as to keep possession of their settlements.
"Maj. DURKEE afterwards returned to Norwich, and the trouble with England deepening and gradually overshadowing the land, he relinquished the idea of removing to the western wilderness. His brother Robert remained at Wyoming, and was subsequently one of the victims of Indian barbarity in the fearful slaughter of July 3, 1778. His name is on the commemorative monument in the Wyoming Valley.
"Maj. DURKEE was promoted to the command of a regiment, and took part in the battles of Long Island, Harlem Heights, White Plains, Trenton, and Monmouth. He was also with Gen. SULLIVAN in the expedition against the Six Nations. But his health gradually failed, and in 1780 he resigned his command, and was succeeded by Lieut.-Col. Thomas GROSVENOR, of Pomfret.
"He died before the return of peace, May 28, 1782, in his fifty-fourth year. One of his sons, a youthful volunteer, aged seventeen years, died in 1777, of wounds received in fighting for his country.2 [2 Out of twenty recruits that enlisted from Norwich in the company of Capt. Nathaniel WEBB, of Windham (DURKEE's regiment), from 1776 to 1778, engaging to serve during the war, only four were over twenty years of age.-Webb's Orderly-Book.]
"Col. Benjamin THROOP was another gallant officer who served in the regular army. He enlisted as first lieutenant in April, 1775; was promoted by successive steps to the rank of colonel, and continued in the service to the end of the war.
"Col. Zabdiel ROGERS, of the State militia, was often called out during the war. In 1775 his regiment was sent with others from the State to the city of New York. It was afterwards several times ordered to the western border line of Connecticut. In 1781 he was on duty at Rye and Horseneck.
"The brothers Christopher and Benajah LEFFINGWELL, belonging to the State militia, were often summoned to the sea-coast upon an alarm of invasion, or to take a turn in manning the forts and batteries. In 1777, Benajah LEFFINGWELL, then captain of a company, performed a tour of duty in Rhode Island.
"Christopher LEFFINGWELL was an early and active member of the Committee of Correspondence, and eminently useful in rousing the spirit of the people, and in devising ways and means by which the common cause might be benefited.
"He was a grandson of the second Thomas LEFFINGWELL, of Norwich, and died Nov. 27, 1810, aged seventy-six years. His life through its whole length was active, useful, and prosperous.
"Capt. David NEVINS enlisted early in the contest for liberty, and lived long to witness its happy results. He was fir employed as the confidential messenger of the Norwich Committee of Correspondence, one of those voluntary patriotic agencies that managed the whole business of the Revolution in its earlier stages. His personal activity and daring spirit, combined with trustworthiness and ardent participation in the popular cause, peculiarly fitted him for the work. But the battle of Lexington carried him from all minor employments into the army. He joined the Eighth Company, Sixth Regiment, which was organize don Norwich Green in May, 1765, and was its color-bearer on Dorchester Heights.
"He remained with the army during the siege of Boston, the occupation of New York, and the retreat through the Jerseys, returning home in the winter of 1777. He did not, however, relinquish the service of his country, but was several times again in the field upon various emergencies during the war.
"Capt. NEVINS was born at Canterbury, Sept. 12, 1747, and died in New York, Jan. 21, 1838, aged ninety.
"Capt. Jedediah HYDE, son of the Separatist minister, born in 1738, left his farm and family-a wife and eight children-to enlist among the first recruits in the cause of liberty. After the war he removed to Vermont, and about the year 1788 established himself at Hyde Park, in that State, which place derives its name from him. He died in 1825.
"Capt. James HYDE, of Bean Hill, who married Martha NEVINS, and Capt. James HYDE, of the West Farms, whose wife was Eunice BACKUS, were both engaged in the Revolutionary contest, the former on the land and the latter on the sea. Capt. HYDE of the army was a man noted for his gentleness and philanthropy, yet he enlisted early, fought bravely, and served to the end of the war. Great must have been the hatred of British tyranny that moved such a spirit to rush into the battle-field. He was afterwards a Methodist local preacher.
"Capt. Jared TRACY served as a commissary during the siege of Boston, and subsequently fought the enemy upon the sea. After the war he went into the West India trade, and died at Demerara in 1790. William G. TRACY, an early and prominent settler at Whitestown, N. Y., was his son.
"Capt. Simeon HUNTINGTON commanded a company in Col. HUNTINGTON's regiment, and served through the first two campaigns of the war. He was a man of bold, adventurous spirit, and had taken a conspicuous part in resistance to the Stamp Act. He died in 1817, aged seventy-seven.
"Capt. Elisha PRIOR, of Norwich, was in the garrison of Fort Griswold when it was stormed by the British, and received a severe wound. He died at Sag Harbor, L. I., in 1817.
"Lieut. Andrew GRISWOLD, of DURKEE's regiment, was wounded at the battle of Germantown by a ball in the knee and made a cripple for life. He lay for ten months in the hospital at Reading, Pa., and was afterwards only able to perform light service in camp and fortress. But he still clung to the army, and when the war closed was at West Point. He died at Norwich in 1827, at the age of seventy-two.
"Capt. Richard LAMB, a native of Leicester, Mass., served during most of the war in the Connecticut militia, and was stationed at Danbury and at Fishkill, N. Y. He belonged to a company of artificers, and recruited for this company at Norwich in September, 1777. After the conclusion of the war he came to Norwich, married the sister of Lieut. Andrew GRISWOLD, and became a permanent inhabitant of the place. He died in 1810.
"Capt. Andrew LATHROP commanded a company in 1776, and was on duty in New York.
"The brothers Asa and Arunah WATERMAN took an active part in the war as soldiers, agents, and commissaries.
"Capts. Asa KINGSBURY and Ebenezer HARTSHORN, John ELLIS, and Joshua BARKER, all of the West Farms, were in the service for longer or shorter periods.
"Ebenezer and Simon PERKINS, not brothers, but both of the Newent family, were Revolutionary captains.
"Lieut. Nathaniel KIRTLAND, of Newent, was killed in battle Oct. 12, 1777.
"Lieut. Charles FANNING was an ensign of the Fourth Connecticut Battalion in 1776; was often referred to as one of the town's quota during the war, and is on the roll of Continental officers that served till the army was disbanded.
"It would be a pleasing task to register the names and memorials of all those old soldiers and patriots of Norwich, to whom later generations are so much indebted, but after the most diligent gleaning only a few individuals can be names. The town covered a large area. It furnished a throng of volunteers at the opening of the war, and its regular quota afterwards. But we have no muster-roll of the men, and respecting many of the officers nothing is recovered beyond a casual reference in the relation of incidental matters or the record of a death.
"The highest honor belongs to those who served during the whole war. The following have an undoubted claim to this distinction, as various public records and returns show that half-pay during life and bounty lands were awarded to them by the government on that account: Rev. John ELLIS, chaplain; Brig.-Gen Jedediah HUNTINGTON, Lieut.-Col. Ebenezer HUNTINGTON, Maj. Benjamin THROOP, Lieuts. Charles FANNING, James HYDE, Andrew GRISWOLD, Silas GOODELL, Jacob KINGSBURY.
"Preston was no near to Norwich and its military companies were so often united with those of the latter that the names of its prominent officers slide easily into our history. Cols. John TYLER and Samuel MOTT, Majs. Nathan PETERS, Jeremiah HALSEY, Edward MOTT, and Capts. Samuel CAPRON and Jacob MEECH were some of the patriots and soldiers from that town who breasted the first waters of the Revolution, and were often afterwards in the field during the war.
"Maj. PETERS enlisted as an ensign in the company of Capt. Edward MOTT, immediately after the battle of Lexington, and soon rose to the rank of captain. In 1777 he was appointed brigade-major in the Rhode Island campaign under Gen. TYLER, and performed several other tours of detached service during the war.
"Happening to be at home on furlough in September, 1781, when the British made a descent upon New London, with characteristic ardor he rushed to the scene of action, and was the first person who entered Groton fort after it had been deserted and a train laid for its destruction by the British troops. Hovering in the vicinity, he scarcely waited for them to leave the premises before he cautiously entered the fort, and with water from the pump extinguished the train which had been laid to cause an explosion of the magazine. In fie minutes more the whole would have been a heap of ruins, under which the dead and dying would have been buried.
"Maj. Peters died in 1824, aged seventy-nine.