The 6th Connecticut Regiment
A brief history of battle
In the year 1777, there was a re-organization of the Continental Army. Each Colony was to provide a number of infantry regiments, the number being based on the population of the colony. Each colony was also to provide additional regiments of Dragoons and Artillery.
The Continental Regiments from each colony were to called a LINE, for example, the Connecticut Line. Collectively the Lines were known as the Continental Line. Connecticut provided eight regiments plus many additional Regiments, such as, Webb’s Additional Regiment.
General Parsons had the job of organizing the Connecticut Line. On April 14, 1777, he instructed the regiment as to where they were to be raised. The 6th Connecticut
Regiment was raised at New Haven under Col. William Douglas and in Middletown under Col. Return Jonathan Meigs. Col. Douglas was to expire from previous wounds and Col. Meigs then headed the Regiment.
On May 23, 1777, three weeks after the Battle of Ridgefield, Col. Meigs and 170 men from New Haven left Guilford, CT in 13 whale boats and 2 armed sloops, not forgetting to take an extra sloop in which to bring back prisoners. This raid was planned as a reprisal for the British General Tyron’s raid on Danbury whose action had cost the life of General David Wooster of New Haven.
Landing on Long Island they marched across to Sag Harbor, surprised the garrison, burned a dozen vessels, destroyed a large quantity of military stores, killed several of the enemy and took 90 prisoners. All of this, without losing a man. Imagine, if you will, rowing across the Sound, doing all of what they did and rowing back again, without losing a man. Incredible! For this action, Col. Meigs was voted a Sword by Congress. This sword now hangs in the Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
After the Sag Harbor raid the 6th went to Peekskill, NY to join the other line regiment. The Connecticut Line wintered at West Point during the winter of 1777-1778. While there, they constructed “Meigs Redoubt” and other fortifications in the area.
In the summer of 1778, the Connecticut Line was encamped with the Army under General Washington at White Plains, NY near the battlefield of 1776. It was here that the Connecticut Line was divided into two brigades, which stood until January 1, 1781. The 6th was placed in the 1st Brigade under Parsons. From White Plains, the 6th took up winter quarters at Redding, CT (which is now Isreal Putnam Memorial Park). The troops built huts and settled in. General Isreal Putnam took command of all forces at Redding.
In the early part of 1779, the 6th was encamped on the Highlands across from West Point. When Tryon raided Connecticut in July, the Connecticut Line was sent to defend it’s own state, but arrived after Tryon and his men had left..
The Connecticut Line was then called on to provide a number of Light Infantry Companies to join with General “Mad” Anthony Wayne. Being a Light Infantry Regiment, the 6th filed the role perfectly and was sent, under Col. Meigs, to join with General Wayne. On July 15, 1779 this force successfully stormed the British Fort of Stony Point on the Hudson River.
From Stony Point, the 6th was stationed with the Connecticut Line around West Point where it worked again on fortifications in the area. Baron Von Steuben praised the Connecticut Line for their proficiency on performing his manual of arms exercises.
The Morristown huts in New Jersey were the site of winter quarters for the two Connecticut Brigades in the winter of 1779-1780. While the troops were in Morristown, the Connecticut troops protested their conditions and mutinied. Col. Meigs quelled this mutiny with reason and affection and with no loss of life. A letter from General Washington for this action commended him.
The Connecticut Line spent the summer of 1780 along the Hudson and while in Orangetown, NJ, heard of the treason of Connecticut’s own General Benedict Arnold and his flight on September 25th. The Connecticut 6th Regiment was ordered to West Point to defend any attack the enemy might have planned. There was no attack and Connecticut Line went into winter quarters near West Point.
In 1781, the 6th was consolidated with part of the 4th as the Continental forces wound down their forces pending the outcome of peace talks in Paris. Peace was to come some two years later in September 1783.