Battlefield Research Blog: Entry #7, July 2021

Heritage Consultants (Heritage) continued research on the Ridgefield Historical Society’s (RHS) National Park Service (NPS) American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) grant studying the 1777 Battle of Ridgefield (BOR) which began March 1, 2021.

The Heritage Research Team completed the “processing” of historical materials gathered since March in terms of cataloging the materials in the Source Database, transcribed relevant materials, and analyzed the documents for details needed to reconstruct battle events and the battlefield landscape. They are now moving forward with drafting the historical narrative necessary for the Final Technical Report.

Correspondences

David Naumec of Heritage spoke with a person who owns a British Musket attributed to the British 27th Regiment of Foot which participated in the April 1777 Danbury Expedition and BOR. This person shared his research which documented the chain of ownership and history of the firearm. It came from the home of a Captain John Gray of Redding, Connecticut when the owner’s father came in possession of the home in early 1960. The owner will make arrangements to meet when he visits Connecticut in early August.

Patrick Raftery of the Westchester County Historical Society shared addition information and historical context and clarification regarding the published McDonald Papers versus the McDonald Papers manuscripts.

Sharon Dunphy of RHS shared a correspondence from a Danbury resident who described a Revolutionary War bayonet found on the George Washington Highway years ago. Although it may be related to the Rochambeau Route from Ridgebury to Danbury, David Naumec will follow up.

Nick Foster of the Wilton Historical Society provided a list of Wilton men who fought at Ridgefield as well as the names of two loyalists. This info will be uploaded to the shared research drive and future pension research could be conducted.

A resident of Wilton, Connecticut contacted David George of Heritage wishing to discuss BOR research. The resident shared a great deal of information regarding New York Militia research concerning the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Westchester Regiments and New York veterans from the battle. He had an ancestor from New York who fought at the BOR. He receives RHS mailings which is how he heard of the project and of Heritage.

Tasks Completed

RHS Volunteers researched 137 veterans for US Federal Pension records information. The material will be databased and future research will be coordinated thereafter.

The RHS online repository continues to be populated with a number of sources, summaries, images and landholder materials as they are gathered and/or processed.

RHS staff consulted with Heritage to work on compiling a list of historical references to artifacts (cannonballs, musketballs, buttons, etc.) to link to contemporary properties for future mapping. Any recent identifications received through social media outreach will also be added to this list. This project will be used to identify actions that may have occurred beyond the three documented engagements commemorated through town. Identifying where those artifacts were found will also help identify areas where RHS should seek landholder permission for future archaeological surveys.

Heritage began writing the Historical Battle Narrative required for the final Technical Report and an initial rough draft of the report outline as well. Heritage researchers also continue to gather relevant mapping materials to create a digital map of the battlefield study area.

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.

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