Begin your Revolutionary tour at Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park in Groton, where, in September 1781, British troops under Benedict Arnold raided and burned New London in the Battle of Groton Height. Arnold was a traitor, and he gave the British enough secrets about the Americans’ defenses so they were able to prevail after a pitched battle. Today the site here includes the restored earthwork battery, cannons, monuments and memorials.
It was 240 years ago, in 1776, that the American Revolution truly began with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. You can recall those remarkable days with this tour of Connecticut’s Revolutionary highlights.
The small, rural town of Lebanon played a remarkably important role in the American Revolution, and visitors there today will still find some of the flavor of life during that far-off time. Begin your visit at the Lebanon Historical Society Museum and Visitor Center, then on to the Governor Trumbull House (at first, he was the only Colonial governor to support the independence movement) and the Revolutionary War Office, where the Revolutionary Council of Safety held more than 1,000 meetings during the war, and where Gens. Washington, Knox, Rochambeau and the Marquis de Lafayette were visitors.
Stay in the mood by spending the night at a historic B&B in the heart of Wethersfield. After breakfast, get out and explore Old Wethersfield itself, where many of the attractions predate the Revolution. The Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum consists of three houses – the Joseph Webb House served as George Washington’s headquarters in May 1781, the Silas Deane House was built for America’s Revolutionary War diplomat to France.
Next, get over to western Connecticut to take in some of the Revolutionary War sights there. Before Benedict Arnold was a turncoat, he was an inspirational leader, never more so than during the Battle of Ridgefield in April 1777. Here, outmanned Colonial forces engaged British troops three separate times as the latter attempted to return to the coast after burning a supply depot in Danbury. The story of the battle can be found at the Keeler Tavern Museum, where a cannonball from that day remains lodged in the side of the building.
End your tour at Putnam Memorial State Park in Redding, the site chosen by Major General Israel Putnam as the encampment for his troops during the winter of 1778/79. Today, the park holds the remains of the encampment, reconstructed log buildings and a museum, where large display panels tell the story of the war in general, Connecticut’s role in it and the events that took place during Putnam’s winter encampment.