During May, the Heritage Consultants team continued working through documents and organizing resources for the Battle of Ridgefield narrative and also made contact with people who have significant relics from the Revolutionary War era. They also spoke with another historian who’s written about the Battle.
The researchers were finally able to begin study of the Connecticut Archives: Revolutionary War Series and Militia Series through digital access at the Otis Library in Norwich, ahead of the limited reopening of the State Library on May 17.
David Naumec visited the Connecticut State Library on the day it opened. There, archivists had pulled several books and materials related to the Danbury Expedition and the Battle of Ridgefield, copies of which were already housed at the Ridgefield Historical Society. Dr. Naumec spent time with the Trumbull Papers, correspondences between Connecticut Governor John Trumbull Sr. and various Connecticut military commanders, Continental commanders, politicians and citizens of the state.
The team met with Elijah Crehan to study the Revolutionary War artifacts he has recovered on Main Street. The consultants were able to view and photograph the collection and later did a brief survey with Mr. Crehan at the site. They found no battle-related artifacts but did find a number of historical artifacts, like iron nails, buttons, buckles, tools, etc. The following week, Mr. Crehan did some further work at the site and recovered two musket balls and a possible American Continental button.
Sam Young of Ohio spoke with Dr. Naumec about his British Revolutionary War musket, attributed to the British 27th Regiment, which fought at Ridgefield. He explained the weapon’s provenience and said he believes it was owned by Captain John Gray of Redding. Mr. Young, who grew up in Wilton, said he would be returning to Connecticut later in the year and would arrange to meet for further study of the musket.
Steven Darley, author of Call to Arms: The Patriot Militia in the 1777 British Raid on Danbury, Connecticut, discussed his research with Dr. Naumec, who also reviewed materials at Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center, which include cannonballs, antique firearms, Revolutionary War-era military records, books, maps and engravings.
All of the materials studied by Heritage Consultants are being used in the creation of the most detailed historical narrative of the Battle of Ridgefield possible. Further interim reports will follow.
Based on the May 2021 monthly report by David Naumec, Ph.D.