Announcing “Rev War Roundtable with ERW” on Zoom!

On April 19, 1775, Massachusetts militia and minutemen responded to the call of British Regulars, “redcoats” marching from Boston to the town of Concord. What ensued was the “shot heard around the world” at the North Bridge in that town. What that shot signified was the changing course from words to war, that would define the relationship between 13 British North American colonies and Great Britain.

Now, 245 years later, Emerging Revolutionary War will turn that war back into words with its inaugural Rev War Revelry Zoom series. On Sunday, 7 p.m. EST, tune in to listen and watch historians from Emerging Revolutionary War discuss in an informal setting this momentous day in American history. Other topics are welcomed that pertain to the American Revolutionary War era as well.

As the title of the Zoom series relates, this will be similar to a tavern talk, much like the talks and information sharing rendezvous that went on in the 18th century, in places like Boston, where the road to revolution gained momentum as ales and spirits flowed. Thus, grab your favorite beverage, rest assured that ERW historians will be doing the same and join us, virtually, in our tavern Sunday evening.

Part Two: The Battle of Groton Heights, September 6, 1781: The Fort Griswold Massacre

For Part One, click here.

Lt. Col. Edmund Eyre’s battalion of 800 Regulars and Loyalists landed on the east bank of the Thames River, facing tangled woodlands and swamps. The New Jersey Loyalists, in fact, had so much difficulty moving the artillery that they did not participate in the assault on Fort Griswold.

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Model of Fort Griswold (author collection)

Eyre sent a Captain Beckwith to the fort under a flag of truce to demand its surrender. Ledyard called a council of war and consulted with his officers. The Americans believed that a large force of militiamen would answer the call, and that this augmented force could defend the fort. Ledyard responded by sending an American flag to meet the British flag bearer. The American told Beckwith, “Colonel Ledyard will maintain the fort to its last extremity.” Displeased by the response, Eyre sent a second flag, threatening no quarter if the militia did not surrender. Ledyard gave the same response even though some of the Americans suggested that they should leave the fort and fight outside instead.  Continue reading “Part Two: The Battle of Groton Heights, September 6, 1781: The Fort Griswold Massacre”

The Battle of Groton Heights, September 6, 1781: The Fort Griswold Massacre

Part One

Benedict Arnold
Benedict Arnold

After turning coat, Benedict Arnold received a commission as a brigadier general in the British army as part of the deal that he made in order to betray his country.

In August 1781, George Washington decided to shift forces in order to attack the army of Lt. Gen. Lord Charles Cornwallis in Virginia. Washington began pulling troops from the New York area. Lt. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander-in-chief in America, realized on September 2 that Washington’s tactics had deceived him, leaving him unable to mobilize quickly enough to help Cornwallis. Further, there was still a significant force of Continentals facing him in front of New York, and Clinton did not feel that he could detach troops to reinforce Cornwallis as a result.

Sir Henry ClintonInstead, Clinton decided to launch a raid into Connecticut in the hope of forcing Washington to respond. Clinton intended that this be a raid, but he also recognized that New London could be used as a permanent base of operations into the interior of New England. Clinton appointed Arnold to command the raid because he was from Connecticut and knew the terrain.

Arnold commanded about 1,700 British solders, divided into two battalions. Lt. Col. Edmund Eyre commanded a battalion consisting of the 40th and 54th Regiments of Foot and Cortland Skinner’s New Jersey Volunteers, a Loyalist unit. Arnold himself commanded the other battalion, made up of the 38th Regiment of Foot and various Loyalist units, including the Loyal American Regiment and Arnold’s American Legion. Arnold also had about 100 Hessian Jägers, and three six-pound guns. This was a formidable force anchored by the three Regular regiments. Continue reading “The Battle of Groton Heights, September 6, 1781: The Fort Griswold Massacre”