September 22: Nathan Hale Hanged as a Spy

  In early September 1776, the Continental Army was enduring some of the darkest days it would ever encounter in the entire Revolutionary War.  George Washington and his troops had just been soundly defeated in the Battle of Brooklyn, and had just barely escaped annihilation during their retreat.  It looked more and more likely that…

September 16: Lt. Col. Thomas Knowlton Killed at the Battle of Harlem Heights

  On this day in 1776, one of Connecticut’s most valiant heroes of the Revolutionary War, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Knowlton, died while commanding his men at the Battle of Harlem Heights in New York City.  Born in Massachusetts but raised in Ashford, Connecticut since early childhood, Knowlton was a seasoned veteran who had served under…

September 6: Benedict Arnold’s Deadly Raid on New London and Groton

  Today in Connecticut history marks the anniversary of a horrible homecoming by one of Connecticut’s most infamous native sons — Benedict Arnold. In early September 1781, the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War was in full swing, with major battles waged across Virginia and North and South Carolina earlier in the year.  With so…

September 3: Lafayette Returns to Connecticut on his American Tour

  On this day in 1824, Revolutionary War hero Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier — better known as the Marquis de Lafayette — began his second journey through the state of Connecticut as part of his 1824-1825 grand tour of America. Having joined the Revolutionary War effort almost fifty years earlier as a…

August 28: John Hancock Gets Married in Fairfield

  On this day in 1775, several members of prominent families from Connecticut and Massachusetts gathered at the Burr homestead in Fairfield, Connecticut to witness the marriage of one of America’s most famous patriots, John Hancock, to his fiancée Dorothy Quincy. 1775 had already quite a memorable year for the couple. In April, John Hancock…

August 13: Daniel Bissell Becomes a Spy for the Continental Army

    During the eight long years of the Revolutionary War, both British and American commanders employed creative and dangerous tactics in an attempt to gather valuable military intelligence that could give their armies an edge on the battlefield.  One common but incredibly risky method of obtaining such intelligence was to have a soldier pretend…

August 3: Connecticut Chooses its Delegates for First Continental Congress

  Today, Americans are so familiar with the imagery and historical stories surrounding the creation of the Declaration of Independence that they often forget just how radical an event it was.  The very notion that representatives from all thirteen American colonies would meet in secret to discuss a coordinated, organized resistance to British rule as…

July 21: Testing the World’s First Military Submarine — in 1776

  While Connecticut has been home to an outsized share of American innovators and creative geniuses, few of them have had as long-lasting an impact as David Bushnell, inventor of the Turtle — the world’s first combat submarine. Born in Saybrook in 1740, Bushnell decided at age 30 to sell his share of the family…

July 7: The Burning of Fairfield

  Throughout the duration of the Revolutionary War, Connecticut citizens lived in fear of devastating British raids on shoreline communities.  In the eyes of the British, Connecticut was a nest of rebel activity, home to a government that ardently supported the Patriot cause and scores of residents who smuggled, spied, and fought against the King’s…

June 16: The Liberty Bell Comes to Connecticut

  On this day in 1903, one of the most iconic symbols of American freedom — the Liberty Bell — arrived in Connecticut as part of a multi-state tour. Most Americans today think of the Liberty Bell as a stationary, permanent fixture of Philadelphia; a typical “look but don’t touch” museum piece viewed from behind…

May 29: Revolutionary War Hero Israel Putnam Dies In Brooklyn

    On this day in Connecticut history, Revolutionary War general and French & Indian War veteran Israel Putnam passed away on his farmstead in Brooklyn, Connecticut.  Best known today for his participation in the Revolutionary War’s crucial Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, Putnam had actually earned a reputation for bravery and boldness long…

May 22: Washington & Rochambeau Plan Yorktown Campaign in Wethersfield

  This day in Connecticut history marked the beginning of the end of the Revolutionary War, as General George Washington of the Continental Army and Comte de Rochambeau of the French Army met in Wethersfield, Connecticut to plan the Yorktown Campaign of 1781. Wethersfield was a logical choice for such a crucial meeting: it was…