July 21: Testing the World’s First Attack 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 and Looting of Fairfield

  Throughout the Revolutionary War, Connecticut citizens lived in fear of devastating British raids on shoreline communities. From the British perspective, Connecticut was a nest of rebel activity, both overt and covert. Not only was it home to a government that had early and ardently supported the Patriot cause, its shoreline towns openly gave shelter…

May 22: The Plan That Won The American Revolution

  Today in 1781 marked the beginning of the end of the Revolutionary War. General George Washington of the Continental Army and Comte de Rochambeau of the French Army met at the elegant home of a Wethersfield merchant to plan the military campaign that would produce the decisive and ultimately war-winning victory at Yorktown, Virginia…

May 3: A Medal for the Common Soldier

  “The road to glory in a patriot army and a free country is thus opened to all.” So said George Washington when he created the Badge of Military Merit, which he first awarded today in 1783, to two brave enlisted Connecticut soldiers at the Continental Army headquarters in Newburgh, New York. Prior to this,…

April 27: Patriot Payback – The Battle of Ridgefield

  Today in 1777, one day after troops under William Tryon destroyed the Continental Army’s supply depot in Danbury, Patriot soldiers and militiamen struck back in the town of Ridgefield. Tryon’s raid on Danbury took local Patriots by surprise. They had assumed the Connecticut town was safe from a British coastal raid. And though regulars…

March 16: Quick— What Rhymes with “Connecticut”?

  In late 1977, temporarily setting aside the politics of a struggling national economy and election-year posturing, the Connecticut General Assembly took up the daunting task of selecting an official state song for the state of Connecticut. The request for a state song first came from then-governor Ella Grasso’s predecessor, Thomas Meskill, who was reportedly…

February 20: Patriotic Connecticut Women Organize For “God, Home, and Country”

  Following the centennial of American Independence in 1876, numerous civic organizations and heritage societies sprang up across the United States in response to increased national interest in early American history. In many cases, however, civically inclined women met with frustration when they were barred from joining prominent clubs founded by men. In 1890, after…

February 16: A Founding Father Becomes a Mayor

  In the midst of the American Revolution, one of the most chaotic and turbulent times in the nation’s history, it seems fitting that one of the most even-tempered and widely trusted statesmen would hail from the Land of Steady Habits. That statesman was Roger Sherman, and even though he was a reluctant public speaker,…

February 8: Defending the West from the Worst

  A descendant of the Puritan Joseph Wadsworth who protected his colony’s charter by hiding it in the legendary Charter Oak, Elijah Wadsworth would also be tasked with saving his people’s government. Not from a takeover, however, but from a British invasion. And not in Connecticut, but in in the part of Ohio once owned…

February 6: An Unappreciated Son’s Revolutionary Art.

  At John Trumbull’s birth, few would have expected him to live to age one, much less 87. Yet the infant born suffering multiple seizures daily slowly overcame that condition, and went on to spend a lifetime trying also to overcome his father’s censure of painting as a demeaning profession. In his effort to show…