Introduction to Connecticut in the Revolution


INTRODUCTION
I. REVOLUTIONARY RECORDS OF THE STATE

In the compilation of the following Military and Naval record of Connecticut in the War of the Revolution, as called for by Act of the General Assembly approved April 13, 1887, various sources of information have been sought and examined. The original and official manuscripts bearing upton the history of that interesting period are, and long have been, in a more or less dispersed condition ---- a fact true of the records of all the Thirteen States ---- and in some instances the greater part has been either lost or destoryed. In the case of Connecticut, while certain gaps occur at intervals in the continuity of her Revolutionary Papers, the more valuable portions have fortunately been preserved and are deposited in permanent and accessible archives. Of this material, the State herself retains a considerable proportion, the Departments of the General Government at Washington contain much, and the remainder has passed by gift and purchase into the keeping of individuals, Societies, and Libraries throughout the country. For convenient reference the documents may be classified as follows:

  1. The original minutes of the proceedings of the General Assembly of Connecticut, covering the period of the war, on file in the office of the Secretary of State, Hartford.
  2. The original minutes of the proceedings of the Governor and Council, or Committee of War, covering the period of the war, on file in the State Library, Hartford.
  3. Pay-Rolls of the Connecticut Regiments in the Continental "Line" for certain years, and scattering pay-table accounts of State troops and militia, together with individual accounts, bound in twelve volumes, on file in the office of the State Comptroller, Hartford.
  4. Thirty-eight bound folio volumes, marked "Revolutionary War," covering a period of ten years or more from 1774, and containing numerous orginal rolls, letters, accounts, resolutions, petitions, town-lists, and similiar material, unbound, on file in the State Library.
  5. Rolls, letters and various documents bearing on the service of Connecticut troops, on file among the papers of General Washington in the Department of State, Washington, D. C.
  6. Forty-seven bound folio volumes, containing company and regimental muster and pay rolls of the regiments of the Connecticut "Line," together with numerous militia rolls and miscellaneous papers, and the large mass of applications for pensions, on file in the Pension Bureau, Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C.
  7. The "Trumbull Papers" consisting of twenty-two bound volumes, containing the official correspondence of Governor Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut during the entire period of the war, inclusive also of many rolls and miscellaneous documents, in possession of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.
  8. Various Revolutionary papers, military and naval, in possession of the Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford.
  9. Forty or more Orderly Books, kept by Connecticut officers during the war, containing general, division, brigade, and regimental orders issued in camp and on the march in the possession for the most part of individuals and Societies.
  10. Miscellaneous letters, rolls, maps, diaries and other papers in the hands of descendants of Revolutionary soldiers, individuals and collectors, or deposited in Libraries and State and Town archives.

Supplementing these documents and included among the authorities on which this work is based, must be mentioned the mass of original letters and papers which have found their way into print in such publications as Force's American Archives, the volumes issued by Historical Societies, magazines, genealogies, monographs and Town histories.

II. ARRANGEMENTS OF THE ROLLS

The several rolls and lists in the following pages, compiled from the foregoing records, have been arranged chronologically according to the description of the service in which the troops engaged. Thus, after the first alarm, the Continental soldiers are classified in the order in which they were called out, then the State troops, and finally and Militia, with special lists following.

The Lexington Alarm - The first lists in the record, grouped under the head of the "Outbreak of the War," include the names of the men who, under the provocation of the moment, marched to the relief of their Massachusetts neighbors in the Lexington Alarm. Some explanation of the nature of this service appears in the intruductory text on pages 3 and 4. It will be observed that the forty-eight towns from which the companies set out represent, with three expections, the eastern and central counties, which were then the thickly settled sections of the State, the nearest to the point of danger, the best prepared for an emergency, and the most accessible in case of alarm. It may also be noticed that the four thousand townsmen who responded to the Lexington call were a representation body, largely descendants of original settlers, including all elements in the different communities - judges, pastors, lawyers, physicians, farmers, mechanies, sailors, laborers - and that as a list of a respectable number of the male inhabitants of the State in 1775, which may be utilized in historical and genealogical researches, a peculiar interest attached to it. Following in their proper place are the names of the men engaged in the Ticonderoga enterprise.

Continental Troops - Next in order have been arranged the rolls of the Connecticut quota of that part of the Revolutionary forces known as the "Continental" troops, which constituted the body of Washington's army in the field throughout the war. They stand first in importance, as explained on page 34, and as appears from their military history in the text introductory to the subdivisions A, B, C and D, under which they have been classified. After the Lexington Alarm the State raised eight regiments, which were adopted as Continental, to serve to the close of the year 1775. She furnished eight for the year 1776, and eight, with a large additional quota, for the consolidations. The rosters of these troops form a large portion of the record (pages 33 to 370), and with the exception of some of the rolls for 1775 and the greater part of those for 1776, are believed to be substantially complete. In view of the importance of the campaign of 1776, it is to names of very many of the men, however, appear on the rolls of 1775, when they served their first rolls of State troops and militia in subsequent years. In the absence of these lists the number of officers and soldiers that entered the Continental service from Connecticut during the war can only be approximately estimated; but it may be placed at about fifteen thousand.

State Troops - Under this heading appear a certain number of regiments which were neither Constinental nor militia, but were raised mainly in the early part of the war, to act as reinforcements for the army in the field, for limited terms. Organized by authority of the State of the Governor, with the officers' commissions signed by the Governor, they were designated as State troops, and at different periods rendered considerable service.

The Militia - The third distinctive class of troops was the standing Militia of the State, whose rolls, so far as preserved, are arranged, like the preceding, in chronological order. Here again several serious gaps occur in the list, which is a special misfortune from a historical point of view, inasmuch as the militia as the militia represented the greater part of the male population of the State. The rolls here published, however, represent a fair proportion of the regiments and men that were called into active service. From the return, as given on page 447, for the year 1782, it may be inferred that the number of effective militia varied during the years of the war from twenty-two to twenty-five thousand.

Miscellaneous Rolls - The closing pages of the work contain such portions of the Naval record of Connecticut as have been preserved among the documents, also unclassified lists of minutemen, volunteers, independent companies and individuals officers and soldiers and copies of the Pension lists as published in Congressional and Government documents at various periods since the war.

In compiling and arranging the rolls, as grouped above, a limited amount of explanatory text has been inserted, showing where and for what terms the troops served. It has been possible to do this with a satisfactory degree of accuracy in the case of the regiments of the Continental "Line" and on pages 125-140 and 301-311 may be found an outline of their organization and service generally ---- battles, encampments, itinerary and formations ---- which has been prepared from original letters and Order-books. An introductory note also appears before each regimental roster. In the case of many of the militia regiments and detachments, no record of service has been found.

The publication of this work will doubtless lead to the production or discovery of missing documents, including rolls of entire regiments, companies or the record of individuals, which it may be desirable to issue in supplementary form in the future. It is especially requested that the originals or copies of these may be forwarded to the Adjutant-General of Connecticut at Hartford.

III. RELATION OF THE STATE TO THE WAR

The number of separate names in the following lists, as arranged in the Index, reaches a total of twenty-seven thousand eight hundred and twenty-three. In a few cases, probably, through different spelling of names, the same individual has been entered more than once. On the other hand, it is to be observed that in numerous cases the same name represents different individuals. Thus, in the Lexington Alarm list, the William Lyon, of New Haven, could not have been the William Lyon of Woodstock, nor Lieut. William Adams, of the Fourth "Connecticut Line" for 1777-81, be either of the privates of the same name in his regiment. In the Index, however, these five individuals count only as two ---- William Lyon and William Adams. The identity of others, owing to the absence of a "residence" column in many of the rolls, cannot always be distinguished. From these circumstances it is evidently impossible to give the exact number of different individuals of whom some record has been entered. A total of thirty thousand may be accepted as a reasonable estimate. Of this number some ten thousand represent Continental soldiers ---- men who had enlisted for long terms and served in the field outside of the State under Washington's immediate command. A complete record, as already indicated, would embrace several thousand additional names, especially of the militia. From expressions used by Governor Trumbull in his correspondence, the wording of the calls for temporary service, and the make-up of town militia lists, it is apparent that, barring a small loyalist element in the western part of the State, nearly every able-bodied man in Connecticut rendered, or was enrolled as notified and prepared to render, some kind of service during the Revolutionary War. The exposed situation of the State, with her entire coast subject to incursions and ravages by the enemy and her proximity to the several fields of operations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York, required her to remain in a constant state of preparation. On this account, and because of the size of her population, then relatively large, she was regarded as one of the four strong States supporting the cause, ranking in capacity next after Massachusetts, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. How far the State was represented with her neighbors in the fortunes of the war, sharing with them both success and defeat, is a matter of general history, confirmed by the record in the following pages, from which it appears that after the Lexington Alarm, Connecticut troops participated in all the principal battles, with the exception of those fought in the extreme Southern field. They were present and engaged at the

In the preparation of this record assistance has been received , necessarily, from many quarters. Acknowledgments are especially due to Hon. Thomas F. Bayard, lately Secretary of State, Washington, D. C., who permitted free access to the rich collection of Revolutionary papers in that Department; to Gen. James B. Coit, Chief of the Old War and Navy Division, Pension Bureau, where another valuable collection accumulated in the early part of the century as evidence in pension claims; to Hon. Charles J. Hoadly, Librarian of the Connecticut State Library; to Hon. J. Hammond Trumbull, president of the Connecticut Historical Society; to Dr. Samuel A. Green, Librarian of the Massachusetts Historical Society; to Maj. E. K. Winship, Washington, D. C.; and to others ---- private individuals, librarians, and officials ---- who have extended courtesies and facilities. the interest taken in the work by United States Senator Joseph R. Hawley, by Governors Henry B. Harrison, Phineas C. Lounsbury and Morgan G. Bulkeley and by Adjutants-General Stephen R. Smith, Frederick E. Camp and Lucius A. Barbour, during whose terms of office the compilation was made, is also cordially acknowledged. To Col. George M. White, Assistant Adjutant-General of the State, under whose general supervision the work has progressed, the Editor is under many and special obligations.

HENRY P. JOHNSTON

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