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Connecticut Militia: The Defense of New Haven at the Pardee-Morris House



New Haven, Conn. (July 2, 2021)— “Remember New London!” was General Lafayette’s battle cry to Connecticut troops at the siege of Yorktown in 1781, which led to the end of the Revolutionary War. The troops knew of the burning of New London earlier that year; perhaps some witnessed the attack on New Haven in 1779. Author and historian Robert A. Geake will don the uniform of a continental soldier to present a rarely heard story of courage and tenacity during “Connecticut Militia: The Defense of New Haven,” at the Pardee-Morris House (PMH)—which was torched by Redcoats and later rebuilt by the Morris family. The free lecture will be held on Sunday, July 25, 2021, at 2 p.m. For virtual attendance register here.

Geake’s presentation will be based on his book, “New England Citizen Soldiers of the Revolutionary War: Minutemen and Mariners.” He notes that while many leaders and heroes of the American Revolution are renowned, lesser known are the citizen soldiers who fought in regions far removed from their homes and families or became mariners in the fight for independence. Geake will tell how ordinary citizens united in the cause for freedom and struggled to balance their loyalty to their home state, their property, and families.

From the occupation of Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island by the British in 1776, the citizens of Connecticut found their coastline in almost constant peril from British raiding parties, and their merchant and marine vessels forced to venture out onto the now tempestuous waters of Narragansett Bay and Long Island Sound, according to Geake.

Fathers and sons who had eagerly enlisted at the start of the American Revolution now found themselves facing the risk of the loss of property and their loved ones as the war took them from home to the "foreign soil" of other colonies. Despite this, the homegrown militias left in defense of the state rose to the occasion repeatedly against tremendous odds.

Geake notes the raid on New Haven in 1779 is one example of a successful call-to-arms from neighboring communities that stemmed a planned invasion. “From the New Haven minister who bravely rode past the militia toward the enemy landing, to the wives and sisters who took up arms in the absence of their husbands and brothers to protect the shore, the resilience of Connecticut's citizens in defending their homeland remains an under told story of courage and tenacity during the American Revolution,” he says.

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