Monday, October 10, 2022

Gov. Jonathan Trumbull 312th Birthday Commemoration (1710-2022)

 


Gov. Jonathan Trumbull 312th Birthday Commemoration
(1710-2022)


Gov. Jonathan Trumbull Branch #13
The Connecticut Society Sons of the American Revolution


War Office, Lebanon, Connecticut
Sunday October 9, 2022



Wreath ceremony commemorating Gov. Jonathan Trumbull's 312th birthday


Musket salute by the Connecticut Line, living history/color guard unit 

of the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution




Tribute to Governor Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

 


We, the members of the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution gather here today to commemorate and remember the 312th Birthday of Governor Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., Revolutionary War Governor of Connecticut, Commander-in-Chief of the Connecticut Militia and Connecticut Naval Forces. A Patriot who bore the honored title of "Rebel Governor" in England, a term the British called Governor Jonathan Trumbull. He was the rebel governor whose proclamation dated, March 22, 1775, providentially picked April 19, 1775, the day they "fired the shot heard round the world," the start of the American Revolution, as a "Day of publick Fasting and Prayer, throughout this Colony, by all Christian Churches and Societies in it; . ." He was the rebel governor who penned Connecticut's own "Declaration of Independence", June 18, 1776, and he was the rebel governor, a friend and supporter of the rebel general George Washington. A “Rebel Governor” whom the British would have hanged, as they would any signer of our nation's Declaration of Independence.

Gov. Trumbull was the only patriot governor to serve prior to, during, and after the American Revolution. This gave Connecticut a steady government leading up to, and throughout the Revolutionary War, which helped earn Connecticut the title of “The Provision State.” Although unsourced, George Washington is believed to have said, “But for Jonathan Trumbull, the war would not have been won.”

This annual ceremony remembering the birthday of Governor Jonathan Trumbull, Sr. was started 12 years ago by the Connecticut Line, living history/color guard unit of the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. It was one of the activities in Lebanon honoring the 300th birthday of Governor Jonathan Trumbull in 2010. That year's activities also included the large Revolutionary War reenactment/encampment on Lebanon Green, during which I believe we had over a thousand visitors to the War Office that weekend. I’ll place a copy of the Willimantic Chronicle newspaper article reporting on the 300th birthday ceremony inside the War Office if anyone is interested in reading it.

Behind me are several flags associated with the Trumbull family of Lebanon. The first is a thirteen-star flag known as the “Trumbull Flag.” Col. John Trumbull, the Artist of the American Revolution, the youngest son of Gov. Jonathan Trumbull, "depicted the stars as six pointed, and only once as five pointed. His favorite star pattern was a square of twelve with one in the middle," states Richardson, from the book, “Standards and Colors of the American Revolution.” The second flag is commonly referred to as the New England flag, or Trumbull’s version of the Bunker Hill flag as depicted in his famous painting,“The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, 17 June 1775.” It is interesting to note that several Revolutionary War naval ships were named after Gov. Trumbull. One specifically referred to in Hurd's 1882, "History of New London County," as the "audacious Privateer "Governor Trumbull"," which bore "on her pennant the Trumbull motto, "Fortuna Favet Audaci" (fortune favors the bold). Attached to that is a streamer of Scottish Turnbull Clan tartan, of which the Trumble/Trumbull family was a Sept of. A Sept, as defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary is, "a branch of a family. especially: CLAN." Over the years I have encouraged Trumbull family descendants to wear a swatch of Turnbull tartan in honor of the Governor, such as the cockade worn on my tricorn today.

Gov. Trumbull, a Patriot that, “When the news of Lexington reached Connecticut, the Governor hastily converted his Lebanon store into a supply depot, and for days worked feverishly, coatless and hatless, his gray locks loose in the breeze, giving tents and rations to the train-bands that came through, and packing wagons with munitions, provisions, and clothing for the camps about Boston. This little shop throughout the war was one of the government centers of Connecticut. Hundreds of meetings of the Governor and Council were held there, and within its walls at various times stood Washington, John Adams, Hancock, Jefferson, Greene, and Rochambeau.” States Nevins in his 1924 book, "The American States during and after the Revolution 1775-1789.”

Barber's "Connecticut Historical Collections" published in 1836 states, “Gov. Trumbull was employed in many civil offices all of which he executed with great fidelity, and grew in the esteem of the people as he advanced in years. He was an active man in public life, 51 years; 15 of which he was Governor of Connecticut colony. When he first went into this office it required a man of Prudence, firmness, consistency and ability to manage affairs. A good pilot is necessary for every bark which sails upon a tempestuous sea. In Connecticut the appearance was more tranquil than the neighboring province, but the clouds were gathering which soon darkened the face of the country. Gov. Trumbull saw the storm burst upon Massachusetts in 1775; he lived to see the auspicious day, also, when his country enjoyed the blessings of peace, and the glory of her independence. No man could guide the vessel of state with more care. No man ever loved his country more. During the whole American war, he showed himself the honest and unshaken patriot, the wise and able magistrate.”

The citizens of the State of Connecticut thought so highly of Trumbull, that when the State dedicated two statues in the United States Capitol, Governor Jonathan Trumbull and Roger Sherman were chosen. The Honorable Stephen W. Kellogg of Connecticut in his 1872 speech in the House of Representatives quotes Trumbull’s biographer Isaac Stuart, who states, “If strong intellect and extensive knowledge, fixed industry, the conception of great ends, and perseverance and success in their execution; if an exalted sense of honor, incorruptible integrity, energy of purpose, consummate prudence, impregnable fortitude, a broad, generous, and quenchless patriotism, charities ever active, wise and fervent – if all these qualities, in union with a most amiable temper and the gentlest manners, and in affiliation, too, with all the noble graces of the Christian faith; if these constitute a great and a good man, that man was Trumbull.”

Jonathan Trumbull, Past-President of the Connecticut SAR, a Great Great Grandson of Gov. Trumbull stated in an address delivered in 1897, “To no single individual, who lived within our borders, is the cause of American Independence so largely indebted for its success as to Jonathan Trumbull. The honors which he has received from the historians and from Connecticut have not been extravagant. His statue, with Roger Sherman’s, properly represents our State in the rotunda of the National Capitol, and a reproduction of these two statues adorns the face of our State Capitol. The Sons of the American Revolution have honored themselves in restoring his old war office.”

George Washington, upon hearing of the Governor's death in 1785 stated, "A long and well spent life in the service of his country, justly entitled him to the first place among patriots."

Gov. Jonathan Trumbull, we, the inheritors of the Liberty that was secured during the American Revolution, reaffirm your fervor for the Patriot cause. We, the members of the Gov. Jonathan Trumbull Branch #13 of the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, descendants of the Patriots who fought for, and secured our Nation's Independence, remember your service and sacrifice. We are thankful for your service, and for our birthright as citizens of the greatest nation on earth, the United States of America.

We come together today in the shadow of your WAR OFFICE, as Barber stated in his book, “Among First Patriots,” “that little building had to yield precedence only to Faneuil and Independence Halls as a cradle of American Liberty.”

We will now have a moment of silence while the wreath is placed, which will be followed by a musket salute from the Connecticut Line CTSSAR.


· Placement of the Wreath.

· Musket salute by the Connecticut Line CTSSAR.


Governor Jonathan Trumbull, we remember and commemorate your 312th Birthday.


Three Huzzahs for Governor Jonathan Trumbull . . . Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!








Thursday, February 17, 2022

Governor Jonathan Trumbull and the Wreck of the Connecticut State Navy Ship Defence

 


Governor Jonathan Trumbull
and the Wreck of the
Connecticut State Navy Ship Defence


March 10, 1779





Defence, a Connecticut State Navy Ship of War
Painted by Todd Gerlander, January 2022, Acrylic Paint and Pen & Ink on Illustration Board




"but her career was closed March 10, 1779, on Goshen Reef, within sight of New London. She struck, bilged, overset and went to pieces, as she was about to enter the harbor from 
a successful cruise. Several of her crew perished in the hold."[1]





Goshen Point, Waterford, Connecticut, vicinity of the wreck of the Defence, March 10, 1779




"and in returning into port unfortunately struck on Goshen Reef where she
soon oversat & bilged by which sudden position lost four or five men."[2]




"I suppose Capt. Smedley has informed you that the Ship Defence is lost on
a Reef of Goshen Point. We have saved most of her riggin, sparrs & sales."[3]



This blog post is a follow-up to the previous post on Governor Jonathan Trumbull's Naval Expedition of 1779 and the Wreck of the Defence. If you have not read that post yet, you might want to read that first to put things into perspective. I've attached the link below.




Recently I met up with a fellow SAR member at Goshen Point, who is very knowledgeable of the area, and of maritime Connecticut during the Revolutionary War. We had a long discussion there about the wreck of the Defence. As previously mentioned, the 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution is rapidly approaching, and we are looking to put together an SAR commemoration ceremony for the Defence, but first we are trying to determine the fate and identities of these 4 or 5 men who are said to have drowned in the ship's hold,[4] and whether these patriots are interred in the shipwreck. If there even is a shipwreck?






The following are my thoughts on the Defense. Bear in mind these are my opinions surmised from a half dozen years of research and a visit to Goshen Point. These thoughts are not carved in stone. Others may have different opinions. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, mainly due to the lack of primary documentation. Captain Samuel Smedley's March 17, 1779 Court of Inquiry records for example, where he is exonerated for the loss of the Defence are missing, if they ever existed. It's also interesting that the Public Records of the State of Connecticut, including the Journal of the Council of Safety say little to nothing regarding the wreck of the Defence. It is actually the note added by State Librarian Charles J. Hoadly (who edited the records), which includes the notice of the shipwreck from the Courant on March 16, 1779.[5] From some of the letters, I get a sense that her loss was something of an embarrassment.[6] An event they wanted to forget about and quickly move on, while at the same time she was a great loss, being one of Connecticut's most successful State navy ships. Over the years I've seen a lot written about the Defence, but I haven't really seen anything that delves into what actually happened to her when she was wrecked. Just by visiting Goshen Point, many of the prior conceptions I had were changed.




Connecticut State Navy Flag or Connecticut Privateer Flag.[7] (Reproduction)



The Defence was a Connecticut State Navy Ship of War, it was not a treasure ship. I've seen numerous treasure hunting sites on the internet stating that this ship was carrying a payroll or treasure worth $500,000 when she sank. The amount of $500.000 is actually referring to the total monetary value of the prizes she captured from 1776-1779.[8] The Defence was not a schooner or sloop, she was a brig, which was later, "lengthened out and made into a ship."[9]

Colonel Henry Dearborn states in his journal on March 10, 1779, "the ship Defence of 18 guns ran on shor near the mouth of this harbour & is Lost. Crew & Stores saved".[10] So there is probably very little left except for the remains of the ship itself, if any? It's a question whether this ship actually sank or whether it just broke apart on the reef? That may be why the wreck of this ship has never been found. Nathaniel Shaw (who served as Continental and State Naval Agent.[11]) in his letter to Governor Jonathan Trumbull dated March 13, 1779, states that they were still trying to, "save all we can."[12] They were having a lot of trouble getting vessels out there because of the strong winds. That was days after the wreck of the Defence on March 10, 1779. Captain Samuel Smedley of the Defence states that, "After about thirty hours fatigue up to our middels in water we secured all our Guns, rigging, warlike stores, provisions & everything of any value above water."[13] Smedley never actually mentions the ship sinking, just that it, "oversat & bilged."[14] He places the word oversat before the word bilged. This may infer that the ship either hit or grounded on the reef, overset (turned or tipped over), and bilged (began to leak or take in water). With the winds and current the ship may have broken apart on the reef.

The notice in the Courant published March 16, 1779, states that the Defence, "struck on Goshen Reef and bilged; she soon after overset so suddenly that (as it is said) some of the people in the hold were drowned."[15] This is in reverse order of what Smedley stated. This newspaper published about a week after the shipwreck also states that, "Her guns and most of her stores are saved; but the vessel, it is tho't, will be lost."[16] This also seems to imply that the Defence did not sink, or sink completely, and may have either settled on the reef or in shallow water. If the ship sank there would be no question about saving her? Since we don't know the actual site of the shipwreck, the exact location on the reef, or the depth of the water, the ship could have rested on either the reef or the ocean floor. Wherever it rested the men were standing in water at least waist deep, and they were able to salvage the ship for at least a week.

"Finding my situation such as there was no possibility to saving the Ship I immediately dispatched Capt. Lloyd of the detachment to Mr. Shaw for lighters which was soon supplied."[17] The "Captain Lloyd" mentioned is Captain Richard Lloyd of New Jersey, an officer in Hazen's 2nd Canadian "Congress' Own," Regiment, which was part of the Continental detachment of Connecticut and New Hampshire soldiers stationed at New London (Hazen's Regiment was part of the New Hampshire Brigade) under the command of Lt. Colonel Henry Dearborn, which was under the overall command of Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons. This Continental detachment composed of Continental soldiers from the Connecticut and New Hampshire Brigades was detached from the Winter encampment at Camp Reading (Putnam Memorial State Park) 1778-1779. I'm still trying to find Captain Lloyd's orderly book for 1779 to determine if his entire company was on board the Defence (See previous blog post). The crew muster roll for the final cruise of the Defence also seems to be missing.

In Smedley's own words, "having no men belonging to the Ship it was thought proper to man her from the detachment stationed here,".[18] If you take this statement at face value, there were no experienced sailors on board except for Captain Samuel Smedley, and perhaps his ship's officers. This inexperienced crew could have contributed to the wreck. He also states, "having on board a regular Ships pilote for the Sound whose knowledge in Pilotage I had reason to believe was good, but to my sorrow found he knew not what he pretended."[19] Smedley's words puts the blame on him. Although he does not mention it in his letter, later accounts mention that they were being pursued by enemy British ships at the time, and they were trying to reach the safety of New London Harbor as quickly as possible.[20] With an inexperienced crew and pilot, sailing blindly through the reef, with the wind, currents, etc., it seems to be the perfect recipe for disaster. There is also a statement in Middlebrook's, "History of Maritime Connecticut," stating that, "The ship Defence was wrecked on Goshen Reef, presumably to avoid capture".[21] This seems to imply that maybe the ship was intentionally wrecked. I know this was a common practice to ground or beach ships, and usually burn them to avoid capture, but I don't think Smedley's letter supports this idea.

The "lighters" mentioned are a type of barge that was flat bottomed, and were used to move goods and passengers to and from ships.[22] These lighters were needed to save as much of the Defence's crew, armament, rigging, sails, stores, etc. It's possible that the four or five men who drowned in the ship's hold were lightermen who came from New London in the lighters (barges) to help salvage the ship. That could answer why Captain Samuel Smedley did not know their names, or whether four or five men drowned. It could also be why Col. Dearborn stated that the Defence's, "Crew & Stores saved." These men may not have been crew, but they were still patriots, doing their part for American Independence.

Following the wreck of the Defence, some of the salvaged items went to the sloop Guilford.

"Voted. That Nathaniel Shaw, Esq., deliver to Capt. Nott two guns and such cable and small rigging taken from the wreck of the ship Defence as may be necessary for the use of the armed sloop Guilford."[23]

Nathaniel Shaw in his letter to Gov. Jonathan Trumbull, March 13, 1779, recommended that, "I think it best for Major Ledyard to take charge of all the generall stores of the Defence and the remainder that is saved sent to Capt. Perkins at Norwich."[24]

As mentioned below, Simon Fitch and Nathaniel Hyde both served in the Connecticut Light Horse and each purchased a case of pistols from the Defence from Captain Jabez Perkins.




The Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution
Patriot Grave Marking Ceremony for Simon Fitch
Center Cemetery, Lebanon, Connecticut, October 14, 2018


Simon Fitch was a portrait painter. As boys, he and John Trumbull (The Artist of the American Revolution) went to the Tisdale School in Lebanon, Connecticut.[25] He served in the Revolutionary War, "Detachments from Militia Horse, 1779. ["A return of men detached from the 2nd Regt. of Light Horse in the State of Conn., to serve in the Continental Army until the 15th of Jan'ry next, agreeable to Orders from Lieutenant-Col. Seymour, Commandant."]"[26] Simon Fitch is listed in "Capt. Dan. Throop's Company, Lebanon."[27]

"Voted, That Cap. Jz. Perkins be authorized and desired to sell and dispose to Simon Fitch one case of pistols, in his care late belonging to the ship Defence, at such price as he shall think just and reasonable, receive the money and be accountable. 1779, Aug' 31. Order given for another case to Mr. Nath Hyde, in like manner."[28]



Notes:

1) History of New London, Connecticut, Francis Manwaring Caulkins, Published by H. D. Utley, New London, 1895, page 539. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
2) Letter from Samuel Smedley to Governor Jonathan Trumbull, March 12, 1779, The History of Maritime Connecticut During the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume II, Louis F. Middlebrook, The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1925, page 319. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
3) Letter from Nathaniel Shaw to Governor Jonathan Trumbull, March 13, 1779, The History of Maritime Connecticut During the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume II, Louis F. Middlebrook, The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1925, pages 319-320. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
4) The Public Records of the State of Connecticut, from May, 1778, to April, 1780, inclusive, with the Journal of the Council of Safety from May 18, 1778, to April 23, 1780, and an Appendix., Charles J. Hoadly, LL.D., Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, Hartford, 1895, page 344. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com> 
5) Ibid.
6) Life and Letters of Samuel Holden Parsons, Major General in the Continental Army and Chief Judge of the Northwestern Territory 1737-1789, Charles S. Hall, Otseningo Publishing Co., Binghamton, N. Y., 1905, pages 220-221. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
7) Maritime Connecticut during the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume II, Louis F. Middlebrook, The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1925, see sketch between pages 16 and 17; Standards and Colors of the American Revolution, Edward W. Richardson, The University of Pennsylvania Press and the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution and its Color Guard, 1982, pages 73-74, 205; Flags to color from the American Revolution, Bellerophon Books, California, 1991, page 1; Flags of the State Navies in the Revolutionary War: A Critical Overview, Peter Ansoff, Raven, Volume 17, 2010, pages 32-33.
8) The History of Maritime Connecticut During the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume I, Louis F. Middlebrook, The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1925, page 58.
9) Exploits of the Connecticut Ship "Defence," Commanded by Captain Samuel Smedley of Fairfield, CT., Revolutionary War, Louis F. Middlebrook, Hartford, Connecticut, 1922, page 24. Digitized by the Connecticut State Library, <digitalcollections.ctstatelibrary.org>.
10) Journals of Henry Dearborn, 1776-1783., [Reprinted from the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1886.] John Wilson and Son, University Press, Cambridge, 1887, page 27. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
11) Connecticut's Naval Office at New London During the War of the American Revolution, Including the Mercantile Letter Book of Nathaniel Shaw, Jr., Ernest E. Rogers, Collections, Volume II, The New London County Historical Society, New London, Connecticut, 1933.
12) Letter from Nathaniel Shaw to Governor Jonathan Trumbull, March 13, 1779, The History of Maritime Connecticut During the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume II, Louis F. Middlebrook, The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1925, pages 319-320. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
13) Letter from Samuel Smedley to Governor Jonathan Trumbull, March 12, 1779, The History of Maritime Connecticut During the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume II, Louis F. Middlebrook, The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1925, page 319. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
14) Ibid.
15) The Public Records of the State of Connecticut, from May, 1778, to April, 1780, inclusive, with the Journal of the Council of Safety from May 18, 1778, to April 23, 1780, and an Appendix., Charles J. Hoadly, LL.D., Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, Hartford, 1895, page 344. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
16) Ibid. 
17) Letter from Samuel Smedley to Governor Jonathan Trumbull, March 12, 1779, The History of Maritime Connecticut During the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume II, Louis F. Middlebrook, The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1925, page 319. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
18) Ibid.
19) Ibid.
20) Exploits of the Connecticut Ship "Defence," Commanded by Captain Samuel Smedley of Fairfield, CT., Revolutionary War, Louis F. Middlebrook, Hartford, Connecticut, 1922, page 27. Digitized by the Connecticut State Library, <digitalcollections.ctstatelibrary.org>; The History of Maritime Connecticut During the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume I, Louis F. Middlebrook, The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1925, page 213; The Story of Captain Samuel Smedley, Norwich Captain Commanded the Good Ship "Defence," Norwich Bulletin, April 6, 1922, page 5; Connecticut, A Fully Illustrated History of the State from the Seventeenth Century to the Present, Albert E. Van Dusen, Randon House, New York, 1961, page 156; Fairfield Privateer Took 12 British Ships, The Bridgeport Post, Bridgeport, Connecticut, November 9, 1975, page 24; Ships of the American Revolution, John Fitzhugh Millar, Bellerophon Books, Santa Barbara, California, 1993.
21) The History of Maritime Connecticut During the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume I, Louis F. Middlebrook, The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1925, page 213.
22) Wikipedia - Lighter (barge).
23) The Public Records of the State of Connecticut, from May, 1778, to April, 1780, inclusive, with the Journal of the Council of Safety from May 18, 1778, to April 23, 1780, and an Appendix., Charles J. Hoadly, LL.D., Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, Hartford, 1895, page 344. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com> 
24) Letter from Nathaniel Shaw to Governor Jonathan Trumbull, March 13, 1779, The History of Maritime Connecticut During the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume II, Louis F. Middlebrook, The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1925, pages 319-320. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
25) Memories, Counsels, and Reflections. By an Octogenary. Addressed to his Children and Descendants, and Printed for their use., Dan Huntington, Metcalf and Company, Cambridge, 1857, Page 107.
26) Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution, Adjutants-General, Hartford, 1889, Page 556.
27) Ibid.
28) The Public Records of the State of Connecticut, from May, 1778, to April, 1780, inclusive, with the Journal of the Council of Safety from May 18, 1778, to April 23, 1780, and an Appendix., Charles J. Hoadly, LL.D., Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, Hartford, 1895, pages 391-392. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>








Friday, January 28, 2022

Gov. Jonathan Trumbull's Naval Expedition of 1779 and the Wreck of the Defence

 



Governor Jonathan Trumbull's
Naval Expedition of 1779
and the 
Wreck of the Defence





This blog post came about while researching that mysterious white flag with blue canton that was presented to the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution back in 1891. This flag was used as the State Society's first flag before the National Society flag was adopted. I wrote a blog post about it last year, and attached the link below. 






It was the colors and shape of that flag that started me looking at the Connecticut State Navy ship Defence, whose colors were blue and white. That lead me to draft a proposal for a future SAR patriot grave ceremony on the sea for the 4 or 5 unknown men who drowned in the ship's hold on March 10, 1779,[1] when the ship was wrecked on Bartlett's (Goshen) Reef off the coast of Waterford, Connecticut. The ceremony is tentatively set for 2029, hopefully to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution.





Recently, while trying to find the names of these drowned men, I came across letters referring to an interesting naval expedition initiated by Governor Jonathan Trumbull. This was new to me, books that I have read about the Defence, or the Continental Navy, refer to this expedition vaguely, or not at all, and Trumbull's name rarely, if ever appears. The same goes for who or what this Continental detachment was stationed at New London, of which some Continental soldiers served as crew aboard the Defence when she was wrecked. 

Trumbull's biographer, Isaac Stuart, states, 

"Upon some of these emergencies - as, particularly, when that immense British flotilla was expected from Point Judith, and the roar of cannon, from Stonington and New London, roused the militia of the whole surrounding country to arms - the consternation created was universal - and the energies of the Captain General of Connecticut [Gov. Jonathan Trumbull], and of the forces under his command, were tasked to the utmost. At the very beginning of the year [1779], when the western sound was filled with the armed craft of the enemy - for the purpose of either taking or destroying them - he concerted, with the Marine Committee at Philadelphia, a plan for joining two ships of Connecticut to a Continental armed vessel - and by his judicious arrangements, fresh troops, as emergencies happened, were poured to every exposed point."[2]

This expedition was to include two Connecticut State Navy ships; the Defence, and the Oliver Cromwell. At least that was the original plan.




Defence and Oliver Cromwell, Two Connecticut State Navy Ships of War
Painted by Todd Gerlander, January 2022, Acrylic Paint and Pen & Ink on Illustration Board


For more information on flags of the Connecticut State Navy, see section following notes below.



In January of 1779, Gov. Jonathan Trumbull wrote to the Navy Board in the Eastern Department, the Marine Committee, of which Samuel Adams was the Chairman, regarding a plan to join the Continental frigate Confederacy to two State navy ships to destroy or capture the enemy ships in the Sound. 

In a letter from Samuel Adams to Gov. Jonathan Trumbull, dated February 10, 1779, permission for this expedition was granted.[3] On February 10, 1779, Captain Seth Harding (Commander of the Confederacy) receives his orders to, "receive and obey the orders and directions of his Excellency Governor Trumbull in a proposed expedition against the enemys Ships in the Western Sound."[4] These orders were not to exceed a ten day expedition. Captain Joseph Olney, Commander of the Queen of France, received similar orders, that, "If in the Course of this Cruize you should meet with the Deane or the Confederacy or both of them it is our orders, that you and they proceed on this Cruize in Company under the command of the Superior Officer to execute these orders, . . ".[5]

At a Council of Safety meeting held at Lebanon [War Office] on February 17, 1779, voted,

"That his Excellency Governor Trumbull be desired and empowered, to order Timothy Parker, Esq., commander of the State ship of war called The Oliver Cromwell, and Samuel Smedley, Esq., commander of the other state ship of war called The Defence, now lying in the harbour of New London, to go on an expedition in the Sound against the enemy in company with the continental ships and troops."[6]

On March 1, 1779, Colonel Henry Dearborn states that, "I was at a Dance on board the Confediracy frigate."[7] This dance could have been held to celebrate the upcoming naval expedition. The Confederacy was docked in New London at the time. The Confederacy was built in Norwich, Connecticut, launched on November 8, 1778, and towed to New London to be fitted out. The Confederacy did not take part in this expedition.[8] It's possible some of her crew took part,

"Captain Smedley was hampered because he still had not raised enough crewman to operate the ship properly, but the complement was completed with a detachment of sailors from the Continental Navy ship "Confederacy" on orders of the "Defence's" former Captain Seth Harding, who commanded the Continental ship but who was recovering at an infirmary at the time."[9]

Due to starvation, sickness, and better shares aboard the privateers, they had trouble finding crew for these two State ships of war. Joseph Plumb Martin was part of this detachment stationed at New London, and you can read about it in his memoirs.[10] 

On the Defence, Continental soldiers from the Continental detachment at New London supplemented the crew. This lack of experienced sailors, as well as having a poor ship's pilot,[11] probably contributed greatly to the Defence's wreck.

Aboard the Defence, this Continental detachment was likely commanded by Captain Richard Lloyd of New Jersey, from Hazen's 2nd Canadian, "Congress' Own," Regiment. The "Captain Lloyd" who was sent to Mr. Shaw for lighters, mentioned in Captain Samuel Smedley's letter to Gov. Jonathan Trumbull on March 12, 1779,[12] is identified in Col. Henry Dearborn's Journal.[13] Col. Dearborn of the Third New Hampshire Regiment, commanded the detachment at New London, which was under the overall command of Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons.[14] This Continental detachment was composed of Continental soldiers from the Connecticut and New Hampshire brigades which were in Winter encampment at Camp Reading. Hazen's 2nd Canadian, "Congress' Own," Regiment was part of the New Hampshire Brigade. This Regiment was composed of men from the thirteen States and Canada. It's possible Lloyd's entire company was on board the Defence, so far I have only been able to find the muster roll for Lloyd's Company for 1778, and his orderly book for 1780-1781. 

Several books mention that this Captain Lloyd may have been present at Captain Samuel Smedley's Court of Inquiry held at the Nathan Douglas Tavern in New London on March 17, 1779,[15] but this is doubtful, since Captain Lloyd and his company left New London and marched back to Camp Reading on March 16, 1779.[16] No records of this Court of Inquiry exist, except for the tavern receipt. 

The letters of General Samuel Holden Parsons to Governor Jonathan Trumbull following the loss of the Defence, speak of the situation and status of this expedition,

"After forming measures to be executed with a force in the Sound which would have rendered our success almost certain, the Navy board has countermanded one half the naval force, and, as though Heaven and Earth conspired to render our measures abortive, the "Defence" was lost on Goshen Reef two days ago and Mr. Shaw refuses to let his ships on the proposed expedition. This leaves us to rest the event on the "Confederacy," when ready, and the "Oliver Cromwell," which will render the success at least doubtful."[17]

In early 1779 General Israel Putnam sent Continental detachments from Camp Reading out to New London, Horseneck, Stamford, Norwalk and Fairfield to protect the coastline along the Sound.[18] You can read more about these detachments in the letters of Samuel Holden Parsons, the Journal of Col. Henry Dearborn, the Narrative of Joseph Plumb Martin, the Records of the State of Connecticut, Journal of the Council of Safety, and the letters between Washington and Putnam, etc.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, one of my patriot ancestors, Corporal Joseph Johnson, who served in Captain Nathaniel Webb's Company of Colonel John Durkee's Fourth Connecticut Regiment of the Continental Line, wintered at Camp Reading, and was, On Detachment," from February to April 1779. He may have served in one of these detachments stationed along the Sound, maybe even at New London.





Another interesting statement in Col. Dearborn's Journal is that the Defence's, "Crew & Stores saved."[19] This seems to imply that maybe these 4 or 5 men who drowned were not crew, but local men who came to help salvage the ship before it sank. That could also account for Captain Samuel Smedley not knowing their names, or whether 4 or 5 men drowned in his letter to Gov. Jonathan Trumbull.

It's interesting how starting research on that CTSSAR white and blue flag back in 2016 ends up here on a completely different topic. Hopefully we will be able to determine who these men were before 2029.




Back in 2006, The Connecticut Line, Living History/Color Guard Unit of the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution set up a one-day Revolutionary War encampment at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, Connecticut, to celebrate the grand opening of their exhibit, "Launching Liberty." The Connecticut State Navy ship Oliver Cromwell was built in Essex, Connecticut. 


Launching Liberty
Connecticut River Museum, Essex, Connecticut
May 6, 2006










Notes:

1) The Public Records of the State of Connecticut, From May, 1778, to April, 1780, inclusive, with the Journal of the Council of Safety from May 18, 1778, to April 23, 1780, and an Appendix, Volume II, Charles, J. Hoadly, LL. D., Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, Hartford, 1895, note on page 344.
2) Life of Jonathan Trumbull, Sen., Governor of Connecticut., I. W. Stuart, Crocker and Brewster, Boston, 1859, pages 447-448. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
3) Out-Letters of the Continental Marine Committee and Board of Admiralty, August, 1776-September, 1780, Volume II, Edited by Charles Oscar Paullin, Printed for the Naval History Society, The De Vinne Press, New York, 1914, pages 40-41. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
4) Ibid. page 43.
5) Ibid. pages 41-43.
6) The Public Records of the State of Connecticut, From May, 1778, to April, 1780, inclusive, with the Journal of the Council of Safety from May 18, 1778, to April 23, 1780, and an Appendix, Volume II, Charles, J. Hoadly, LL. D., Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, Hartford, 1895, page 216.
7) Journals of Henry Dearborn, 1776-1783, Reprinted from the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1886., John Wilson and Son, University Press, Cambridge, 1887, page 27. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
8) Out-Letters of the Continental Marine Committee and Board of Admiralty, August, 1776-September, 1780, Volume II, Edited by Charles Oscar Paullin, Printed for the Naval History Society, The De Vinne Press, New York, 1914, pages 67-68. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
9) Fairfield Privateer Took 12 British Ships, The Bridgeport Post, November 9, 1975, Digitized at <Newspapers.com>.
10) A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier, Some of the Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of Joseph Plumb Martin, Joseph Plumb Martin, Signet Classic, New American Library, New York, 2001, pages 136-139; also published as, Private Yankee Doodle, Being a Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier, Joseph Plumb Martin, edited by George F. Scheer, Popular Library Edition, Little, Brown & Company, Inc., New York, 1962, pages 138-141.
11) History of Maritime Connecticut during the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume II, Louis F. Middlebrook, The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1925, page 319. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>; "Putnam's Folly, Putnam's Valley, Devil's Den," An Excerpt from the Continental Army Diary of Sergeant-Major John Hawkins, "Congress' Own" Regiment (Colonel Moses Hazen commanding, General Enoch Poor's Brigade) Relating to the Redding, Connecticut Winter Cantonment December 1778-March 1779, Transcribed by Bob McDonald, April 1998, Transcribed from a microfilm copy of the manuscript diary of Sergeant-Major Hawkins within the collections of The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, by and for which all rights of reproduction and/or publication are reserved.
12) Ibid.
13) Journals of Henry Dearborn, 1776-1783, Reprinted from the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1886., John Wilson and Son, University Press, Cambridge, 1887, page 27. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
14) History of New London, Connecticut. From the First Survey of the Coast in 1612, to 1852., Francis Manwaring Caulkins, Published by the Author, New London, 1852, page 528. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
15) Exploits of the Connecticut Ship "Defence," Commanded by Captain Samuel Smedley of Fairfield, CT. Revolutionary War, Louis F. Middlebrook, Hartford, Connecticut, 1922, pages 28-29. Digitized at <digitalcollections.ctstatelibrary.org>.
16) Journals of Henry Dearborn, 1776-1783, Reprinted from the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1886., John Wilson and Son, University Press, Cambridge, 1887, page 27. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
17) Life and Letters of Samuel Holden Parsons, Major General in the Continental Army and Chief Judge of the Northwestern Territory 1737-1789, Charles S. Hall, Otseningo Publishing Co., Binghamton, N.Y., 1905,  page 221. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
18) "To George Washington from Major General Israel Putnam, 22 March 1779," Founders Online, National Archives, <founders.archives.gov> [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, Vol. 19, 15 January-7 April 1779, ed. Philander D. Chase and William M. Ferraro. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, pp. 569-570.] 
19) Journals of Henry Dearborn, 1776-1783, Reprinted from the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1886., John Wilson and Son, University Press, Cambridge, 1887, page 27. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>



* For more information regarding the Connecticut State Navy Flag, or Connecticut Privateer Flag, see:

Maritime Connecticut during the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume II, Louis F. Middlebrook, The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1925, see sketch between pages 16 and 17.

The American Navies of the Revolutionary War, Paintings by Nowland Van Powell, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1974, pages 68-69. 

Standards and Colors of the American Revolution, Edward W. Richardson, The University of Pennsylvania Press and the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution and its Color Guard, 1982, pages 73-74, 205.

Flags to color from the American Revolution, Bellerophon Books, California, 1991, page 1.

Proceedings of the Northeastern Native Peoples & the American Revolutionary Era: 1760-1810, Symposium, David Naumec, editor, A Publication of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, Mashantucket, Connecticut, 2008, see sketch of Oliver Cromwell flag by Todd Gerlander on page 70.

Flags of the State Navies in the Revolutionary War: A Critical Overview, Peter Ansoff, Raven, Volume 17, 2010, pages 32-33











Monday, January 24, 2022

The Audacious Privateer Governor Trumbull - Fortuna Favet Audaci

 


The Audacious Privateer
Governor Trumbull


The Audacious Privateer Governor Trumbull, 
Painted by Todd Gerlander, January 2022, Acrylic Paint and Pen & Ink on Illustration Board.



"Among the very large number of war-vessels fitted out by this State two notedly successful ones bore his own honored name, viz., the frigate "Trumbull" and the audacious privateer "Governor Trumbull," the latter bearing aloft on her pennant the Trumbull motto, "Fortuna favet audaci."[1]



FORTUNA  FAVET  AUDACI
~ Fortune Favors The Bold ~
(Trumbull Family Motto)



In addition to this pennant, it should also be noted that the flag in the illustration above is generally referred to as the Connecticut State Navy Flag or Connecticut Privateer Flag. This flag is believed to have had a blue field with a white canton bearing one grape vine. No original exists, but there is a contemporary drawing of this flag. * See note below for more information.



The privateer Governor Trumbull was built in 1777 at Willet's ship yard in Norwich, Connecticut. She was owned by Howland and Coit. Her first cruise was in November of 1778 under the command of Captain Henry Billings.[2] The Governor Trumbull was rigged as a Sloop, holding a crew of 150 men and 20 guns.[3]

Trumbull's biographer, Isaac Stuart refers to this Connecticut privateer several times,

"Among the vessels that he fitted out for sea this year was the Governor Trumbull - a fine privateer ship of twenty guns - which was built by Howland and Coit at Norwich, and named after himself."[4] 

An advertisement appeared in the Connecticut Gazette, November 17, 1778,

"The fine new ship Governor Trumbull, Henry Billings, commander, now lying in the harbor of New London, mounting 20 guns, will sail in 6 days. Apply on board or to Howland & Coit, Norwich."[5]

On March 5, 1779 while cruising in the West Indies she was captured by the H. M. S. Venus and sent into St. Kitts.[6]

Stuart states, "that privateer twenty gun ship to which we have heretofore referred, as having been named after the patriot we commemorate - the Governor Trumbull. While cruising off the West Indies, in March, she was captured, and taken into St. Kitts, by the Venus".[7]



Notes:

1) History of New London County, Connecticut, with Biographical Sketches of many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men, D. Hamilton Hurd, J. W. Lewis & Co., Press of J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia, 1882, page 492. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
2) Maritime Connecticut during the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume II, Louis F. Middlebrook, The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1925, pages 100-103. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
3) See Wikipedia; Governor Trumbull (1777 ship).
4) Life of Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., Governor of Connecticut, I. W. Stuart, Crocker and Brewster, Boston, 1859, page 393. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
5) Maritime Connecticut during the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume II, Louis F. Middlebrook, The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1925, page 101. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>
6) Ibid. pages 100-103.
7) Life of Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., Governor of Connecticut, I. W. Stuart, Crocker and Brewster, Boston, 1859, page 449. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>


* For more information regarding the Connecticut State Navy Flag, or Connecticut Privateer Flag, see:

Maritime Connecticut during the American Revolution 1775-1783, Volume II, Louis F. Middlebrook, The Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1925, see sketch between pages 16 and 17.

Standards and Colors of the American Revolution, Edward W. Richardson, The University of Pennsylvania Press and the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution and its Color Guard, 1982, pages 73-74, 205.

Flags to color from the American Revolution, Bellerophon Books, California, 1991, page 1.

Flags of the State Navies in the Revolutionary War: A Critical Overview, Peter Ansoff, Raven, Volume 17, 2010, pages 32-33.







Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year! from The Lost Trumbull Blog 2022

 


Happy New Year!

from The Lost Trumbull Blog 2022



Following the storm,
Sarah Trumble ponders her future as she gazes at the sea,
the shoreline littered with ship wreckage and debris.
She is reminded of her father, who she hardly knew,
lost at sea years ago, with the ship "Lebanon," cargo and crew.

Painted by Todd Gerlander, December 2021, Pen & Ink and Acrylic Paint on Illustration Board.



Researching and writing upcoming blog posts on the following subjects,


~ ------------ ~

Captain Benoni Trumbull of Hebron, Connecticut,
brother of Captain Joseph Trumble, Sr., of Lebanon, Connecticut

~ ------------ ~

The Twelfth Regiment of Connecticut Militia
from its organization in 1739 to the end of the American Revolution in 1783

~ ------------ ~

Captain Charles Bulkeley
"Naval officer of the American Revolution, was on board the Alfred in the Delaware River, and witnessed the first unfurling of the Stars and Stripes, to the wind, on board that vessel."
(from descriptions, John Paul Jones raised the American Continental Colors or Grand Union Flag)

Captain Charles Bulkeley was the nephew of Sarah (Bulkeley) Trumble Welles, and first cousin
of Sarah Trumble. He built the Bulkeley House (1790) on Bank Street in New London, CT
(location of many CTSSAR State meetings/luncheons over the years.)

~ ------------ ~

Liturgical east and west, and geographical east and west,
understanding the difference

~ ------------ ~



Happy New Year





Saturday, December 18, 2021

Remembering Gov. Jonathan Trumbull and Revolutionary War Patriots, Wreaths Across America 2021, Lebanon, Connecticut

 


WREATHS  ACROSS  AMERICA

"LIVE UP TO THEIR LEGACY"

December 18, 2021
Lebanon, Connecticut


Remembering Gov. Jonathan Trumbull (1710-1785)
Connecticut's Rebel Governor during the American Revolution

Captain-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Connecticut Militia, 
and Connecticut State Naval Forces during the 
American Revolution (1775-1783)

and his sons

Joseph Trumbull (1737-1778) Connecticut Commissary General, and first Commissary General of the Continental Army.

Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. (1740-1809) Paymaster General of the Northern Continental Army, and Military Secretary to General George Washington. 

David Trumbull (1751-1822) Assistant State Commissary, and his father's right-hand man at the War Office.


Members of the Connecticut Line, Living History/Color Guard Unit of the Connecticut 
Society of the Sons of the American Revolution and Ye Olde Lebanon Towne Militia,
place a wreath at the Trumbull Family Tomb, Trumbull Cemetery, Lebanon, Connecticut



"Governor Jonathan Trumbull, we the inheritors of the liberty that was secured during the American Revolution, reaffirm your fervor for the patriot cause. We, the members of the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, descendants of the patriots who fought for and secured our nation's independence, remember your service and sacrifice. We are thankful for your service, and for our birthright as citizens of the greatest nation on earth, the United States of America."




Proclamation of the President General
National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution





Trumbull Thirteen Star Flag




Remembering Revolutionary War Patriots
Trumbull Cemetery, Lebanon, Connecticut







































WREATHS  ACROSS  AMERICA
Lebanon Town Hall, Lebanon, Connecticut

December 18, 2021

Hosted by Lebanon Post #180 of the American Legion, with all branches of the military being properly represented.


Also participating:

The Connecticut Line, Living History/Color Guard Unit of 
the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution

Ye Olde Lebanon Towne Militia











The President of the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution reads the Wreaths Across America Proclamation from the President General of the National Society 
of the Sons of the American Revolution.