A recent discovery in Ridgefield reminds us of our state’s deep involvement in the war that led to our independence as a nation.
Three skeletons recently found buried beneath a house in Ridgefield are believed to be remains of soldiers killed during the Revolutionary War and are being analyzed by researchers at Quinnipiac University’s medical school in North Haven. After the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that the bodies were historical skeletons, State Archeologist Nick Bellantoni began exhuming the remains.
Researchers had already been looking for evidence of a mass grave that British soldiers are believed to have dug after the Battle of Ridgefield in 1777. Because the remains were found clustered within 10 feet of each other, it's believed that this could be that mass grave.
Of course, there are other facts that remind us of the place that Connecticut holds in the history of American independence and in the early life of our country.
For example, in 1775, Connecticut raised six regiments that fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill. In 1781, the French general Rochambeau led 6,000 troops through Southington on their way from Rhode Island to Yorktown, Virginia, to aid George Washington and his soldiers. That critical battle, which was planned in Wethersfield, turned out to be the final nail in the coffin of Britain’s war to hold on to its colonies here.
It is well known that Washington visited this area both during and after the war — passing through Wallingford, Meriden and Berlin on his way to assume command of the Continental Army in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and again in November 1789 on a presidential tour. On the latter journey he ate breakfast in Berlin and lunch in Wallingford.
And there are veterans of the Revolutionary War buried at East Cemetery in Meriden, as well as Chatham Freeman, a former slave who served in the 6th Connecticut Regiment, who is believed to be buried in the Broad Street Cemetery. Lyman Hall, a native of Wallingford who signed the Declaration of Independence, has a monument in the historic Center Street cemetery.
At a time when we hear so many discouraging words about our state perhaps a renewed look at our state’s early history can be a source of renewed pride.