The Revolution in Connecticut

July 19, 2013 · Collections ·

I recently returned from a mini-vacation to visit some friends in Colonial Williamsburg (and brought back a cold, which leads to my apology at this late posting!).  Even after living in New England for almost six years, I still think of Virginia and Massachusetts when I think of the American Revolution.  Being a Midwestern girl, most of my education on the subject of the American Revolution revolved around these two states (when we weren’t talking about the French fur traders on the mighty Mississippi).  These were the places you learned of and the places you yearned to visit.  However, after being immersed in a crash-course of New England history upon my move, I’ve learned quite a bit about the part Connecticut played in our fight for independence.

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A New and Correct Map of the United States of North America. 1784. Engraved and Printed by Abel Buell. 1950.553.0.

The above map was engraved and printed by Abel Buell.  It was the first map of the United States created after the Revolutionary War.  The map shows the newly formed states and a representation of our new flag.

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Man’s Hat. 1782. Gift of Colonel Phineas Meigs. 1850.10.0

Another Connecticut story is that of Captain Phineas Meigs.  Captain Meigs was the last man killed on Connecticut soil during the Revolution.  He was shot through the head by a musket ball during the Battle of Madison in May of 1782 while fighting an armed British vessel on the Long Island Sound.

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Woman’s Cloak. 1770-1800. Gift of Elizabeth Alden Steele and Deborah Champion Steele Geier. 1981.37.1

Deborah Champion offers up another story of bravery amidst revolution.  According to family tradition, Deborah left her home in New London and smuggled payroll across British lines to Boston, Massachusetts, wearing this very cloak.

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Man’s Uniform Coat. 1777-1783. Gift of Henry L. Mills. 1896.9.1

Patriots and Loyalists alike came from Connecticut during the war.  This coat was part of the officer’s uniform worn by Munson Hoyt of Norwalk when he fought as part of the Prince of Wales’s Loyalist regiment.  It is one of the few surviving Loyalist redcoats known to exist in America.

It is important to know what a strong role Connecticut, and all of the states and territories played in our fight for independence.  The fight, and win, that we celebrate this time every year.  If even one of those states or territories had not stood together, who knows what may have resulted.

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