Connecticut Line

views updated

Connecticut Line

CONNECTICUT LINE. Connecticut's Line benefited from the fact that alone of all the colonies, Connecticut did not have to change its existing government—it retained its Assembly rather than having to form a provincial congress, and its elected governor had been one of the leaders of the Revolutionary movement. Furthermore, because its own borders had been secure for a hundred years, Connecticut's military role throughout the eighteenth century had been to mobilize troops for distant service. This tradition and experience served Connecticut well in 1775, when it swiftly raised eight regiments and dispatched five of them to the siege at Boston and three to help in the invasion of Canada. The first six regiments were authorized on 27 April and became part of the Continental Army on 14 June. Two more were added in July and recruited as Continentals.

On 1 January 1776 the five Connecticut regiments at Boston reenlisted as the 10th, 17th, 19th, 20th and 22d Continental Regiments, with minor reshuffling of some of the companies. The 10th, 17th, and 22d disbanded on 31 December 1776 at Peekskill, New York; the 19th and 20th participated in the Trenton and Princeton campaign and extended their service until 15 February 1777 before disbanding at Morristown, New Jersey. The troops in Canada followed a different path—hardly a surprise given the confused state of the invasion. Two (the 4th and 5th Connecticut Regiments) disbanded in December 1775, whereas the 1st extended its enlistments until 1 April 1776 before disbanding. However, the veterans played an important role in forming two new regiments: Elmore's Regiment assembled in Canada on 15 April, and Burrall's Regiment assembled in Connecticut on 18 January, then moved north. Elmore's unit disbanded on 10 May 1777, while in garrison at Fort Schuyler in the Mohawk Valley. Burrall's disbanded at Ticonderoga on 19 January 1777. One other regiment, led by Andrew Ward, was formed in the summer of 1776 and deployed for the defense of New York City. It disbanded at Morristown on 14 May 1777.

The "88-Battalion Resolve" of 16 September 1776 gave Connecticut a quota of eight infantry regiments for 1777, and all were newly-organized in the winter and spring, but each included a majority of veterans. The state also raised (Samuel B.) Webb's Additional Continental Regiment, and it was formally taken into the line on 24 July 1780 as the Ninth Connecticut Regiment. Because Webb's troops had been issued captured British uniforms when they were assembled, the regiment had a great deal of success intercepting messengers and Loyalist recruiters in the Hudson Highlands, and was known as the "Decoy Regiment." The quota dropped on 1 January 1781 to five regiments through consolidations and renumbering, and then, on 1 January 1783, it was reduced to three. Two of those were furloughed on 15 June 1783 when the men serving duration enlistments went home. The remaining men became the Connecticut Regiment and remained in service until 15 November, when the line officially ceased to exist.

Connecticut also furnished other units to the Continental army that were never part of the line. These included the Second Continental Light Dragoons; half of Sherburne's Additional Continental Regiment; part of the Second Continental Artillery. In addition, Connecticut raised two Westmoreland Independent Companies, named for a county in the Wyoming Valley, which was part of Connecticut until 1783.


Bates, Albert C. ed. "Rolls and Lists of Connecticut Men in the Revolution 1775–1783." Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society 8 (1901).

Buel, Richard Jr. Dear Liberty: Connecticut's Mobilization for the Revolutionary War. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1980.

Connecticut Historical Society. "Orderly Books and Journals Kept by Connecticut Men while Taking Part in the American Revolution." Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, 7 (1899).

――――――. "Lists and Returns of Connecticut Men in the Revolution 1775–1783." Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, 12 (1909).

Hall, Charles S. Life and Letters of Samuel Holden Parsons, Major General in the Continental Army and Chief Judge of the Northwestern Territory 1737–1789. Binghamton, N.Y.: Otseningo Publishing Co., 1905.

Johnston, Henry P. ed. Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution, War of 1812, Mexican War. Hartford: Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co. for the Adjutant General's Office, 1889.

White, David O. Connecticut's Black Soldiers 1775–1783. Chester: Pequot Press, 1973.

About this article

Connecticut Line

Updated About content Print Article