Battlefield Research Blog: Entry #1, March 2021

Heritage Consultants, working with the Ridgefield Historical Society on the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program grant to study the 1777 Battle of Ridgefield, has begun collating and studying materials from a variety of sources, with the help of volunteers from the Historical Society.

Heritage Consultants and volunteers have been in Ridgefield recently to do some site investigations. The group included (from left) Megan Goldstein, University of Massachusetts graduate student; Dr. Kevin McBride, archaeologist; David George, archaeologist; Elijah Crehan, Ridgefield volunteer; and Dr. David Naumec, military historian.

The grant’s aim is to create databases and organizational methods for the materials gathered and to overlay important discoveries and events on a mapping program that will extend to the full battleground. The Battle of Ridgefield’s true extent and the number of engagements are still not precisely determined and it’s hoped that the project will help clarify this. Early research is suggesting new avenues for the researchers to pursue.

As they began their work in March, the consultants delved into the Ridgefield Historical Society collection, which led to other primary documents as well as information on historians and authors who have published on the Battle of Ridgefield. Heritage Consultants also began contact with the Connecticut State Library to gain access to relevant archives in its possession, a process that was delayed by Covid-19 restrictions. Connecticut State Historian Walter Woodward, who serves on the Battle of Ridgefield grant advisory committee, added his support to the request for archival access and expressed his interest in the Loyalist elements in the Battle region and how they may have affected British General Tryon’s decisions.

Heritage Consultants also put out a call for information on any artifacts that may relate to the Battle that are in private collections. Several leads are being pursued, with the goal of documenting what has been found over the two-plus centuries to further develop understanding of the events of April 27-28, 1777.

Based on the March 2021 monthly report by David Naumec, Ph.D.

David Naumec

By David Naumec

Dr. David Naumec has 20 years’ experience in Colonial and American history and specializes in African and Native American history, American military history and Connecticut history. He has served as military historian and field coordinator on 14 National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program projects.