Setauket Setauket is a small coastal settlement on Long Island. In 1655, six pioneers from Massachusetts purchased the land from the Setalcott Indians. Richard Woodhull was an early ancestor, and his great-great-grandson Abraham Woodhull lived with his parents on the family farm, a modest tract on Strong’s Neck. The Tallmadge residence was a few minutes walk south.

Setauket was a strategically important asset to the Royal Army. As the breadbasket of Long Island, the area was rich in farmlands and orchards that could be commandeered for both sustenance and fuel. Places of interest included the village green and the docks, which provided ample fishing for locals.

Setauket - Church and Cemetery The original Setauket church building was built on the Setauket Village Green in 1674. When the town fell under British occupation in 1776, the Royal Army appropriated the church, which at the time was led by Ben Tallmadge’s father. The pulpit and pews were removed, and the church was used as a garrison and as a stable for British officers’ horses.

The original church building burned down in 1783 after being struck by lightning. A new church building was completed in 1812 and still stands today.

The cemetery outside of the Setauket church was desecrated by the British during their occupation. Gravestones were removed and used to fortify blockades and security checkpoints in the surrounding area. The graves of several members of the Woodhull (including Abe and Richard), Tallmadge, and Brewster families are located in the cemetery.

The title of Episode 4, “Eternity How Long,” was inspired by an 18th-century gravestone epitaph: “Life how short, eternity how long.”

Setauket - Mill Pond The Setauket Mill Pond was the inspiration for the location of the duel between Abe and Simcoe in Episode 107, “Mercy Moment Murder Measure.”

The mill pond is a tranquil, tree-lined body of water located not far from the Setauket Village Green. A one-mile path around the circumference of the pond, which still exists today, allowed townsfolk to enjoy the beauty of the water and wildlife.

When English settlers first came to Setauket in 1655, they settled along a stream that provided them with a source of fresh water. A dam at the north end of the stream, first built around 1644, created what became the mill pond. The first in a series of mill houses that have existed at the pond was built on the western shore in 1664. The current mill house was built in 1937.

Today, the mill pond is part of the Frank Melville Memorial Park, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in July 2010.

Sag Harbor When the raid on Setauket begins In Episode 10, “The Battle of Setauket,” Major Hewlett orders one of his corporals to ride to Sag Harbor for reinforcements.

Settled in 1730, the village of Sag Harbor is on Long Island’s south fork, approximately 50 miles east of Setauket. Sag Harbor became an important colonial port when a nearby harbor proved too shallow to accommodate international ships who were coming to the region to trade. Trade routes from the West Indies brought in items such as fruits, sugar, rum, and exotic woods, including cypress and mahogany.

During the Revolutionary War, British troops set up a garrison and a naval blockade to prevent the Port of Sag Harbor from sending and receiving supplies for the American army. Many residents who were not Loyalists fled to Connecticut.

The Battle of Setauket The battle seen in Episode 10, “The Battle of Setauket,” was inspired by the actual Battle of Setauket.

An American regiment of 500 men led by General Samuel Holden Parsons arrived in Setauket on the morning of August 22, 1777 to find a Loyalist garrison commanded by Lt. Colonel Richard Hewlett entrenched in Setauket’s Presbyterian meeting house behind six-foot-high fortifications. Parsons demanded that the Loyalists surrender, but Hewlett refused, and the two sides exchanged gunfire for three hours without incurring significant casualties or damage. Worried that British warships on the Sound would hear the battle and come to investigate, Parsons called off the assault, and the American troops retreated and successfully re-crossed the Sound.

The schoolhouse containing the store of British gunpowder in Episode 10 was inspired by Setauket’s actual first schoolhouse. The original Setauket schoolhouse was built on the village green in 1718, and was a one-room edifice where many of the town’s children were taught, including Abraham Woodhull, Caleb Brewster and Benjamin Tallmadge. In 1789, the original building was moved, and a new schoolhouse was built on the same site. A second story was added to that schoolhouse in 1893. In 1951, a new building replaced the second Setauket schoolhouse. That building remains in use today as Setauket’s elementary school.

Ben and Caleb’s Route Ben, Caleb and the Continental Dragoons' crossing of Long Island Sound in Episode 10, “The Battle of Setauket,” was inspired by the actual Battle of Setauket.

In response to the British raid that resulted in the Battle of Ridgefield (see Episode 9), General Samuel Holden Parsons decided to organize an act of reprisal. Parsons ordered Colonel Samuel Blachley Webb to muster his regiment of approximately 500 men, and on the night of August 21, 1777, the regiment set out from Fairfield, Connecticut in whaleboats to cross Long Island Sound. Early the next morning, they landed at Crane's Neck, Long Island and marched five miles southeast to Setauket.

Washington's Flying Camp Following the fall of Fort Lee, General Washington’s troops retreated across New Jersey, pursued by General Lord Cornwallis. On December 11, 1776, Washington and his men crossed the Delaware near Trenton, after collecting all of the boats in the area to prevent the British from following. Washington then established a “flying camp” (a mobile, strategic reserve of troops) on the Pennsylvania side of the river.

When Ben and Caleb falsify a patrol report in “Eternity How Long,” they focus on a stretch of the Delaware near Trenton where Loyalist militia patrols would likely be encountered.

The area was ideal for navigation, and became a port for shipping products between Philadelphia and New York City. In 1727, a ferry was chartered to connect Trenton with Philadelphia. Trenton also was a primary stopping point on the stagecoach line that connected the larger cities in the region.

Abe's Route Across Long Island Sound Rowing across Long Island Sound from the inlets of Long Island near Setauket to the Connecticut coastline would cover approximately 25 nautical miles round trip.

Long Island Sound was often called “The Devil’s Belt” during colonial times. Prone to storms and rough weather, the reefs that run across the waters were known as “Devil's Stepping Stones.”

Traversing the Sound was treacherous during the Revolutionary War. Ruthless smugglers and gunrunners from both the British and Continental sides sailed the waters and privateered. It was on these waters that the London Trade was born, the black market off which New Yorkers enjoyed a bounty of imported luxury goods.

Setauket - Village Green The inclusion of a green was typical of villages of the time. In 1776, Setauket had a New England-style village green with a cluster of shops surrounding its center. The green served as a meeting place for the townspeople and as the central staging area for events and celebrations such as the annual Harvest Festival and the Guy Fawkes Day celebration seen in “Who By Fire.” The Setauket docks, the Setauket church (established in 1660), several inlet coves used for sailing and fishing, and the woods where Abe and Anna held clandestine visits under an oak tree were all within walking distance of the green.

Connecticut Coastline The Connecticut Coastline was an ideal meeting place for sellers and traders on the black market known as the London Trade. They could buy and trade goods including Spanish olives, Gloucester cheese, Scottish smoked salmon, Indian spices, and Italian confectionery, all at reasonable prices.

To enter the trade, customers would find a whaleboat man docked at one of New York’s wharves or in a Long Island inlet and hitch a ride. Passengers would be smuggled across the Sound late at night to a quiet Connecticut bay to barter goods. Often the goods were bought and sold for British pounds instead of worthless Congress-issued Continental dollars.

Meeg’s Harbor The ambush at the safehouse at Meeg's Harbor on the Connecticut coastline was inspired by a 1777 military raid known as Meigs Raid, during which Continental Army forces crossed the Long Island Sound from Connecticut and raided Sag Harbor in Suffolk County. The battle was the first victory for the Continentals after major losses in New York and Long Island.

Brooklyn Brooklyn was an important staging ground during the war and the flashpoint of one of the first major battles of the American Revolution in August, 1776. With a fleet of more than 25,000 men, the British clashed with Washington and his army of 20,000. Washington attempted to defend New York City by splitting his forces in half but was met by an overwhelming force that drove him out of Brooklyn and across the river to Manhattan.

Following Washington’s withdrawal, the British took control of the city and occupied it for more than six years. During that time, those who committed crimes against the Crown found themselves sentenced to the H.M.S. Jersey, a 64-gun warship which was transformed into a prison ship and anchored in Wallabout Bay. Throughout the course of the war, thousands of prisoners died aboard the ship from malnutrition and disease.

New Jersey Battleground The ambush of Ben Tallmadge’s Dragoons by Robert Rogers’ Queen’s Rangers was inspired by a Dragoon patrol in December, 1777, during which Tallmadge and his men were ambushed by the enemy. Tallmadge wrote in his journal “We exchanged a few shots, but finding it impossible with 10 or 12 men to oppose 90 or 100.” The men attempted to circle back to rendezvous with the rest of Tallmadge’s Dragoons but were set upon by a superior force that attacked without mercy. Tallmadge lost many men in his troop and would later hunt down several enemy soldiers involved in the attack and capture them.

The Bowery - New York In the 1700s, the 1¼-mile thoroughfare known as The Bowery was New York City's most expensive and elegant piece of real estate. The broad boulevard was lined with mansions, theaters and the town's most fashionable shops. The area was also home to taverns, colorful entertainment venues and slaughterhouses.

The Bowery Theater (the inspiration for the theater where John Andre meets Robert Rogers in “Who By Fire’) was burned down four times and rebuilt each time. It would later be renamed the Thalia Theater, and it was there that Junius Brutus Booth (father of Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth) gained fame as an actor.

Bowery is the English translation of the Dutch word "bouwerij," which means "farm.” The Dutch gave the road the name when they settled the island because it connected the farmland on the outskirts of the city to the Wall Street area.

Colonial Jail - Connecticut Border Prisoners not sent to prison ships (like the HMS Jersey, where Selah Strong was sent in “Pilot”) or sugar houses (sugar refineries in New York City were often used as prisons by the British during the Revolutionary War) were subject to interrogation as prisoners of war at a variety of “off the grid” colonial jail sites. These sites were often used as temporary holding areas until captured prisoners could be transported to quarters more fitting of 18th century standards of prisoners of war.

In stark contrast to Ben and Caleb’s treatment of Simcoe in “Who By Fire,” POWs taken by both sides during the Revolutionary War were expected to be well cared for and treated to gentlemanly standards. POWs were often allowed to send letters to superiors and loved ones and afforded the opportunity to be exchanged.

Fort Lee Fort Lee was built in the New Jersey Palisades (a line of steep cliffs along the west side of the lower Hudson River) by the Americans in 1776. Originally known as Fort Constitution, its name was changed to honor General Charles Lee after his army achieved a major victory at Charleston, South Carolina that summer. The fort was a sister garrison to Fort Washington, which was located across the Hudson River on the northern end of New York Island. More than 3,000 American troops were stationed there.

Abe's Route From Setauket to New York The route from Setauket to New York via Oyster Bay and the Brookland Ferry that Abe and Richard travel in “Of Cabbages and Kings” covers a distance of approximately 55 miles.

A quaint coastal hamlet on western Long Island, Oyster Bay was known for its views, boarding houses, and oyster farming. It fell under British occupation after the defeat of the Continental Army in the Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776.

The Brookland Ferry was a thriving boat service that carried Long Island farmers and their produce across the East River to the markets of York Island. On August 29, 1776, George Washington used the ferry to assist with the retreat of American forces from New York City after being surrounded and outnumbered by the British.

King's College - New York A Tory-leaning institution, King’s College was founded in 1754 through a royal charter from King George II. King’s College promised an education that would "enlarge the mind, improve the understanding, polish the whole man, and qualify them to support the brightest characters in all the elevated stations in life."

Abraham Woodhull studied law at King’s College, and briefly visits his alma mater in “Of Cabbages and Kings.” Abe’s older brother, Thomas, was a member of the King’s Militia, and once fought to put down a riot that broke out near campus.

In 1776, escalation of the Revolutionary War caused the suspension of studies for eight years, during which time the school was transformed into a military hospital. The school reopened in 1784 with a new name: Columbia College.

Today the institution is officially known as Columbia University in the City of New York. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in New York State.

Northern New Jersey In “Of Cabbages and Kings,” Ben Tallamadge, Caleb Brewster and their military convoy are passing through northern New Jersey en route to Fort Lee when they learn the fort has fallen to the British.

The Hackensack Valley, located in northeastern New Jersey and Rockland County, New York, was an initial place of refuge for the Continental Army after the fall of Fort Lee and its sister garrison, Fort Washington. However, to avoid becoming trapped between the Passaic and Hackensack rivers by pursuing British forces, General Washington was forced to lead his retreating troops south, first to Newark, and then on to New Brunswick.

Basking Ridge, New Jersey Basking Ridge was once the home of Widow White’s Tavern, where General Charles Lee was captured by the British. Nearby was a log hospital that treated Continental soldiers during the war.

General Lee, who was reluctant to give up his command and felt he was best suited to lead the Continental Army, took his time marching his 3,000 men to meet up with General Washington, who was encamped with his troops on the banks of the Delaware near Trenton. Lee arrived at Widow White’s Tavern during the night of December 12, 1776. The main body of Lee's army was several miles away, leaving the general accompanied only by his aides and a handful of guards.

Word of General Lee's presence was spread by local Loyaists. At 10AM on the morning of December 13, the building was surrounded by British troops, who threatened to set the tavern ablaze and kill all of its occupants if Lee did not surrender. Still dressed in his sleeping gown, Lee eventually emerged from the building, and was immediately taken prisoner and conveyed to New York.

Today, a sign denotes where Widow White’s Tavern once stood.

Washington's Flying Camp Following the fall of Fort Lee, General Washington’s troops retreated across New Jersey, pursued by General Lord Cornwallis. On December 11, 1776, Washington and his men crossed the Delaware near Trenton, after collecting all of the boats in the area to prevent the British from following. Washington then established a “flying camp” (a mobile, strategic reserve of troops) on the Pennsylvania side of the river.

When Ben and Caleb falsify a patrol report in “Eternity How Long,” they focus on a stretch of the Delaware near Trenton where Loyalist militia patrols would likely be encountered.

The area was ideal for navigation, and became a port for shipping products between Philadelphia and New York City. In 1727, a ferry was chartered to connect Trenton with Philadelphia. Trenton also was a primary stopping point on the stagecoach line that connected the larger cities in the region.

18th Century Inns and Markets - New York 18th century inns like the one where Abe and Anna stay in Episode 108, “Challenge” were licensed to put up lodgers for extended stays. Many inns were also taverns which sold ale and food to travelers. Inns of the time were typically built in the clapboard style, featuring bevel weatherboard siding on the outside and large fireplaces on the inside. Inn taverns typically included a large bar on one side of the room and table seating, including long dining tables, to accommodate guests.

The vendue (auction) market where Anna finds Abigail in Episode 108, “Challenge” was located near Holy Ground. Used by small merchants to clear stock at low prices, the market and retail operation was essentially a combination flea market and discounter. It catered to working-class residents looking to obtain quality products at affordable prices during the war. Everything from freshly butchered meats to dry goods and handmade soaps was made available for purchase.

City Hall - New York New York's second City Hall building, built in 1700, was located at 26 Wall Street. City Hall hosted the Stamp Act Congress, which assembled in October 1765 to protest the colonies' "taxation without representation." At the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, the building was remodeled and enlarged, and in 1789 it was renamed Federal Hall when it became the first capitol building of the United States under the Constitution. The first United States Congress met there on March 4, 1789, and George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States on the building’s balcony on April 30, 1789.

In 1790, the U.S. capital was moved to Philadelphia, and Federal Hall once again became the home of New York City government. In 1812, a new City Hall building opened half a mile away on Broadway, and Federal Hall was razed. A new Federal Hall building opened in 1842 and served as the country's first Customs House. Today the Federal Hall building is a museum and memorial.

First Battle of Trenton As 1776 drew to a close, General Washington was in dire need of a victory following several battlefield defeats. On December 23, Washington had the first in a series of pamphlets called “The American Crisis” by philosopher Thomas Paine read aloud to his troops, who were encamped on the banks of the Delaware River in southeast Pennsylvania. The words inspired the tattered army as well as Washington's watchword for the mission, "Victory or Death."

During the night on December 25, Washington led 2,400 men across the Delaware, and on the morning of December 26, they executed a surprise attack on the Hessian garrison at Trenton, New Jersey. The Hessians surrendered after an hour, and more than 900 of their 1,500 men were taken prisoner. The Continental Army suffered very few casualties, and among their wounded was a Lieutenant who would later become President of the United States: James Monroe.

Battle of the Assunpink Creek Assunpink Creek is a 23-mile long tributary of the Delaware River. Ben and Caleb’s stand as decoys in Episode 5, “Epiphany” was inspired by the events that followed the Battle of the Assunpink Creek, also known as the Second Battle of Trenton.

Following their victory in the First Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776, the Continental Army faced a strong British counterattack on January 2, 1777 and established a defensive position south of Assunpink Creek. Three charges by Royal Army and Hessian soldiers led by General Charles Cornwallis were repulsed, and as darkness fell, Cornwallis decided to suspend the assault and finish the battle the next day.

That night, Cornwallis suspected General Washington and his troops might try to escape and set a watch on the Delaware River. To fool Cornwallis into thinking his men were staying put, Washington assigned 400 men to build earthworks parallel to the south bank of the creek and keep the campfires going. He then led the rest of his men along a back road frequented by local farmers, circumvented the Royal Army’s defensive line to the east, and marched 12 miles northwest to mount an attack on the British garrison at Princeton.

Battle of Princeton After successfully repulsing British troops led by General Cornwallis in the Second Battle of Trenton on January 2, 1777, Washington’s troops marched through the night to attack the British garrison at Princeton on the morning of January 3.

As dawn broke, Washington dispatched an advance brigade to secure the Post Road, which encountered a contingent of 800 Redcoats marching for Trenton. In the ensuing battle centered in an orchard, the American brigade was driven back until Washington arrived along with reinforcements from another division. Now outnumbered 5 to 1, most of the British troops fled south to join Cornwallis. 194 Redcoats took refuge in Nassau Hall on the Princeton (then known as the College of New Jersey) campus, where they were surrounded and forced to surrender.

Cornwallis’ troops swiftly advanced northward from Trenton, forcing the Americans to march on from Princeton without securing the extensive supplies the British had stored in the town. The American army marched to Morristown to establish winter quarters, while the British continued to New Brunswick, now their only remaining position in New Jersey.

The victory was the Americans' third successive defeat of the British in less than two weeks, now often referred to as the “Ten Crucial Days.” The victories fortified the Continental Army’s morale and brought about a much-needed boost in troop enlistments.

Huntington Checkpoint The Huntington checkpoint was located east of Oyster Bay on the road to York Island. Founded in 1653, Huntington was primarily populated by English settlers. Following the Battle of Long Island, the Royal Army used Huntington as a headquarters, and installed troops there until the end of the war.

Morristown Headquarters General Washington established a winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey on January 6, 1777. The surrounding hills offered Washington a vantage point from which he could watch the British army in New York, as well as an advantageous position from which to protect the roads leading from New Jersey to New England and Philadelphia.

During the harsh winter, the numbers in Washington’s army fluctuated. Buoyed by the hard-fought and much-needed wins for the Continental Army at Trenton and Princeton, a number of troops re-enlisted, while at the same time, a combination of desertions and expiring enlistment bounties resulted in numerous departures. When fighting resumed in the spring, Washington commanded approximately 11,000 men.

Morristown - Arnold Tavern Between January and May of 1777, Washington’s army wintered in Morristown, New Jersey. General Washington made his headquarters at Arnold Tavern, located in the center of town on the Morristown Green.

Built in 1764, the tavern was an imposing three-story structure with a barroom and parlor on the south side. Washington slept in the front room on the second floor, directly over the barroom. An adjoining back room served as his dressing room.

The tavern stood in its original location until 1886, when it was purchased, moved to another street, and remodeled into a larger building. Originally intended to be a boarding house, the expanded building became the first location of All Souls Hospital. The building was razed in 1918 after being badly damaged in a fire.

Today, the building’s original location on the Morristown Green is marked with a state of New Jersey heritage plaque.

Holy Ground" - New York In the 18th century, New York’s red light district was concentrated in a slum located just to the north of Trinity Church, which at the time was one of the largest structures in the city. The district’s location on land owned and leased by the church’s parish earned it the ironic nickname “Holy Ground.”

The district's centralized location made it a magnet for soldiers, working-class laborers from the nearby wharves, students from King’s College just to the north, and even the wealthy residents of lavish homes located not far to the east. More than 500 prostitutes plied their trade in the district’s brothels, taverns, and gambling halls, and the majority of violence and thievery in the city after dark occurred there.

On the night of September 21, 1776, the Great Fire of New York swept through Holy Ground, incinerating hundreds of buildings including the Trinity Church. The area remained in ruins throughout the British occupation of the city.

Philadelphia As the rebel capital and seat of the Second Continental Congress, Philadelphia was a strategic and symbolic target of great importance. General Washington was keenly aware of how crucial the security of Philadelphia was to the war and committed a significant amount of manpower to divining British plans and defending against their attempts to take the city.

In mid-January, 1777, from his base of operations in New York, General Howe proposed launching an offensive against Philadelphia that included both an overland expedition and a sea-based attack. By spring, having received only a fraction of the reinforcements requested and realizing the logistical challenges that moving an army through New Jersey presented (especially crossing the Delaware River), Howe curtailed his plans and proposed an invasion by sea only.

Washington was also concerned that Howe would move his forces northward via the Hudson to join with troops marching south from Montreal led by General John Burgoyne. A successful offensive by British forces at Albany would effectively split the Continental forces in New England from the rest of the colonies to the south.

Philadelphia Eager to put his embarrassing losses to General Washington at Trenton and Princeton behind him, British Major General William Howe set his sights on occupying Philadelphia. Though the city's strategic importance was minimal, symbolically the city was a significant target because it was the seat of the Second Continental Congress.

After a series of skirmishes between Howe’s troops and Washington’s troops in mid-September, 1777, the Continental Congress fled the city on September 19, and the British occupied the city on September 26.

HMS Jersey From 1776 to 1783, British forces occupying New York City used 11 warships anchored just offshore to hold captured Continental Army soldiers and sailors, as well as anyone else arrested on land or at sea. More than 11,500 prisoners died aboard these ships (by comparison, around 4,500 American soldiers died in combat), many from diseases including smallpox, dysentery, typhoid and yellow fever. Treatment by officers and guards was often brutal and cruel, resulting in numerous additional deaths from starvation and torture.

The HMS Jersey was a 64-gun warship that became the most notorious of the floating British prisons used during the Revolutionary War. Anchored in Wallabout Bay near the present-day Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Jersey was decommissioned and had its masts removed in March 1771. Originally converted into a hospital ship, it was also used for the storage of supplies. Following the outbreak of the Revolution, the Jersey was turned into a prison ship.

Referred to as “Hell” by its inmates, more than 1,000 men were kept aboard the Jersey at any one time. Packed into tight quarters, which became stiflingly hot in the summer months, the prisoners were typically served moldy, worm-filled bread and meat boiled using the fetid, stagnant water surrounding the ship.

As many as a dozen men died each day. As casualties mounted, the dead were piled together below deck until morning, when "Rebels, turn out your dead!" was called out to indicate it was time to bring the bodies up for disposal. The British would sink the corpses overboard, or bury them in shallow mass graves in Wallabout Bay’s tidal flats.

Erosion and an expansion of the Navy Yard exposed the remains of countless bodies, which were interred in a tomb near the Navy Yard in 1808. In 1873, the remains were moved to a crypt located inside what is now Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn. A 149-foot tall column called the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument marks the location of the crypt.

Elizabethtown - Neutral Ground In the fall of 1776, the Hackensack Valley, located in northeastern New Jersey and Rockland County, New York, became a neutral ground between the Royal Army based in New York City and the Continental Army based in the Hudson Highlands.

Elizabethtown was in the heart of an area where a power struggle was ongoing. Neither side was able to definitively gain the upper hand, primarily because both sides lacked the manpower to hold off enemy advances. Patriot and Tory sympathizers carried on a five-year war of neighbors while the armies maneuvered on both sides of what became a no man’s land between the lines.

Settled in 1664, Elizabethtown was the first permanent English community in New Jersey and became New Jersey’s first capital in 1668. It became known simply as Elizabeth when the New Jersey legislature granted the city a charter on March 13, 1855.

Howe's Troops In the spring of 1777, British Major General William Howe pulled his soldiers out of New Jersey and temporarily reassigned them to Staten Island, New York. Although the British war plan for 1777 intended for those troops to be used as part of a joint attack on Albany, Howe chose to interpret his orders from London as authorizing him to strike Philadelphia first.

More than 15,000 troops departed by ship from Sandy Hook, New Jersey on July 23, 1777 and traveled south on the Atlantic for several days. After turning into the Chesapeake Bay, the ships sailed to the bay's northern extremity, where the troops disembarked at the head of the Elk River on August 25.

Washington's Troops General George Washington originally interpreted General Howe sailing his army southward in late July 1777 as a feint to distract from an attack on Albany. He continued to be uncertain of Howe’s goal when Howe’s fleet passed the mouth of the Delaware without entering the river. It was only when he received word that Howe’s fleet had entered the Chesapeake Bay that Washington discerned that Philadelphia was Howe’s intended target. In late August, Washington hurried his army south overland and positioned 11,000 troops to defend the city.

Battle of Ridgefield Ben and Caleb’s march to Connecticut to rendezvous with Brigadier General Benedict Arnold in Episode 109, “Against Thy Neighbor,” was inspired by the Battle of Ridgefield.

On April 25, 1777, under the command of Major General William Tryon, approximately 1,800 British troops disembarked from 26 ships anchored at the mouth of the Saugatuck River (near present-day Westport, Connecticut) and marched north to raid a Continental Army supply depot in Danbury.

On April 26, word of the raid reached Brigadier General Benedict Arnold and Major General David Wooster. Both men rounded up their local militia and raced to engage the enemy, eventually joining up with the Fairfield County militia, led by Brigadier General Gold Silliman, to create a combined American force of approximately 600 men.

Though they arrived too late to prevent the destruction of the depot and its supplies, the Americans attacked and harassed Tryon's superior force throughout their march back to the coast via Ridgefield. During the battle, Wooster was mortally wounded, and Arnold was nearly captured after his horse was shot out from under him, briefly pinning his leg beneath it. After dispatching a soldier with his pistol, Arnold freed himself and fled to a pre-arranged rendezvous.

Having expected much of the countryside to rise up in support of the Crown, the resistance the British faced during their return to their ships caused concern, and future raids in Connecticut were limited to coastal targets. The raid also led to an increase in support for the Patriot cause in Connecticut, including an upswing in enlistments.


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