Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Gov. Jonathan Trumbull and Camp Reading (1778-1779), Connecticut.




Gov. Jonathan Trumbull and Camp Reading (1778-1779)
Putnam Memorial State Park, Redding, Connecticut



Memorial Monument
Putnam Memorial State Park


Two interesting items were published in, "The New England Historical & Genealogical Register," in 1868 and 1873. Both documents were taken from Captain Nathaniel Webb's Orderly and Company Roll Books during the American Revolution. My ancestral grandfather, Corporal Joseph Johnson, who we have looked at in several past blog posts, served in Captain Nathaniel Webb's Company of Colonel John Durkee's Fourth Connecticut Regiment of the Continental Line, and is listed on the 1779 Company Roll published in 1868.[1]



Gravestone of Joseph Johnson
Old Cemetery, Colchester, Connecticut


During the Revolutionary War Winter encampment (1778-1779) at Camp Reading, Joseph Johnson was furloughed on December 25, 1778 for 30 days. He was also listed as, "on Detachment," during the months of February, March, and April of 1779. More information is needed to determine what he was doing while on detached service, but there may be a hint in his sister, Faith (Watrous) Isham's affidavit when she applied for a pension for her husband, Isaac Isham's Revolutionary War service. She mentions that her husband Isaac Isham, and brother Joseph Johnson, drove wagons from, "Colchester to headquarters of the army at Hartford and in the neighboring Country."[2] This service lasted several months, it's just hard to determine the dates when this actually took place. He may have been transporting food/clothing/military supplies for the army while on detached service?

Colonel John Durkee's Fourth Connecticut Regiment of the Continental Line, along with the Third Connecticut, Sixth Connecticut, and Eighth Connecticut Regiments of the Continental Line were part of General Samuel Parson's First Connecticut Brigade. In February 1998, local historians gave us a private tour of the encampment site of Gen. Parson's Brigade, and we were able to fire a musket salute in their honor. An article regarding the preservation of this Revolutionary War Winter encampment site was published in the Spring 1998, Volume XCII, No. 4, issue of the SAR (Sons of the American Revolution) Magazine.[3]





A musket salute to the Revolutionary War soldiers in Gen. Parson's Brigade!



Gov. Jonathan Trumbull.[4]



Revolutionary War soldiers constructing huts for the Winter encampment.[5]



The second item mentioned, published in 1873, is a copy of the, "Petition of the Connecticut Soldiers in the Revolutionary Army, to his Excellency, Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut."[6] This petition is dated, "Camp Reading, Dec. 27th 1778."[7] The petition was written over fears that the army would disband and return to their homes due to lack of supplies and overall poor living conditions at the Winter encampment.

"May it please your Excellency. The Sense of the Importance of opposing with Force, ye attempts of Great Britain to enslave our Country, induces us to lay before your Excellency the Condition of that Part of ye Army raised from the State of Connecticut & ye great danger of their disbanding & returning to their several Homes.'[8]

The petition described the living conditions of the Connecticut soldiers, the lack of food, clothing, and money during the Winter encampment.

"wee assure you not less than four hundred are to this Day totally destitute, & no one has received two Blankets according to Contract, nor has more than one half of the Cloathing promised ever been received or any compensation made for ye deficiency, that when they have Coats they are without Breeches, & when they are supplied with Shoes, they have neither Stockings nor Shirts, & at this Inclement Season many of our Men are suffering for want of Blanketts, Shirts, Breeches, Shoes & Stockings, & some are destitute of Coats & Waistcoats."[9]

The Connecticut soldiers are, "naked in a severe Winter, they are hungry & have no money. Wee have promised them redress, wee have assured them of ye good Intentions of their Country towards them, & that Justice was intended & would be done them, but their patience is exhausted & wee shall not be able longer to gain Credit with them."[10]

In closing the Connecticut soldiers asked Gov. Jonathan Trumbull to bring these grievances before the General Assembly, and to address and prevent the desertion of a naked and starving army at Camp Reading.
 
"Wee beg your Excellency to lay this Representation before ye Assembly & to assure them wee have ye most ardent Desire to assist in our several Stations in reducing that Power which involved our Country in this Cruel War & to promote that Order & decency in ye Soldiery, so necessary to ye Attainment of this End."[11] 




Revolutionary War soldiers during the Winter encampment.[12]



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Pictured are members of Putnam's Eleventh Regiment of Connecticut Militia. A detachment of the Connecticut Line, Living History/Color Guard Unit of the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. 2003 Education Week at Putnam Memorial State Park, Memorial Monument, Redding, Connecticut.

Members of the Eleventh Regiment first started attending meetings of The Friends and Neighbors of Putnam Memorial State Park in 1997, to help in, "re-establishing reenactments at Putnam Park."[13] We were active at the park from November 1997 to June 2006, being named the "official militia regiment"[14] of the park in 2001. In June of 2002 we made a donation to the Friends group to initiate a "hut fund," in hope of raising funds to reconstruct Revolutionary War era huts like those used during the 1778/1779 Winter encampment.[15] We participated in Living History Days/Weekends and Educational Days/Weeks; Battle of Redding Ridge reenactments; Scout Encampments, including the George Washington Bicentennial Scout Encampment in 1999; The Town of Redding Patriot Monument Dedication; 225th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremonies of the 1778/1779 Winter Encampment; State of Connecticut opening ceremonies for the new park pavilion;  and the State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Great Park Pursuit Scavenger Hunt in 2006.



The Friends and Neighbors of Putnam Memorial State Park display table at the George Washington Birthday Revolutionary War Exhibit and Muster, Old State House, Hartford, Connecticut.
Presented by the Gen. Israel Putnam Branch #4, Connecticut SAR (1996-2003).



Programs for Living History Weekends at
Putnam Memorial State Park, Redding, Connecticut.



George Washington Bicentennial Flag (1799-1999)



"A Salute to George Washington," George Washington Bicentennial 1799-1999,
Scatacook District Boy Scout Camporee and Revolutionary War Encampment,
Putnam Memorial State Park, Redding, Connecticut, November 5-7, 1999.



11th Connecticut Regiment adopted by Putnam Park in 2001.[16] 




The Connecticut Line, Living History/Color Guard Unit of the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution fired the musket salute at the Redding Patriot Monument 
Dedication Ceremony, April 27, 2002, Redding, Connecticut.



The Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution
225th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony of the Continental Army Winter Encampment (1778-1779), Putnam Memorial State Park, Redding, Connecticut, November 15, 2003.



On Wednesday October 5, 2005, the 11th Regiment of Connecticut Militia was invited to serve as the Color Guard at the State of Connecticut Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to open the new pavilion at Putnam Memorial State Park in Redding, Connecticut.




Signed photo to the 11th Regiment of the Connecticut militia from 
M. Jodi Rell, Governor of the State of Connecticut, Putnam Memorial State Park, Redding, CT.



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Putnam Memorial State Park Photo Gallery 1998-2006
In memory of our friend and compatriot, Carlton D. Kline

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Education Days/Weeks at Putnam Memorial State Park 
(1999-2005)































































You may have noticed piles of stones in many of the photographs, these are called firebacks. These firebacks are all that remain of the chimneys/fireplaces of the Revolutionary War soldier huts that were used during the Revolutionary War Winter encampment (1778-1779).


Scout Encampments at Putnam Memorial State Park 
(1999 & 2001)




In 1999, we were part of historic Mount Vernon's nationwide George Washington Bicentennial Community (1799-1999), and we participated in several events to commemorate George Washington. In addition to participating in, "A Salute to George Washington" Scout Encampment at Putnam Park, we put on the 1999 4th Annual George Washington's Birthday Revolutionary War Exhibit and Muster at the Old State House in Hartford; and we helped charter the New England Contingent, Living History/Color Guard Unit of the New England District of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (1999-2006), to help promote Revolutionary War living history in the SAR.





















Living History Days/Weekends Battle of Redding Ridge
(1998-2002)














































State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection
Great Pursuit Scavenger Hunt 2006









Notes:

1. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume XXII, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, 1868, pages 281-282, Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
2. Affidavit of Faith Isham, page 6, Revolutionary War Pension Application of Isaac Isham, R.5491, can be accessed at www.fold3.com.
3. Undisturbed 1778-1779 Patriot Encampment Site Disclosed, Charles A. Couch, The SAR Magazine, The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Spring, 1998, Vol. XCII, No. 4, pages 4-6.
4. American Christian Rulers or Religion and Men of Government, compiled by Rev. Edward J. Giddings, Bromfield & Company, New York, 1890, Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
5. The American Revolution A Picture Sourcebook, John Grafton, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1975, page 77.
6. The New England Historical & Genealogical Register and Antiquarian Journal, Volume XXVII, No. 1, January, 1873, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, 1873, page 58, Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid. pages 58-59.
10. Ibid. page 59.
11. Ibid.
12. The American Revolution A Picture Sourcebook, John Grafton, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1975, page 77.
13. The Friends and Neighbors of Putnam Memorial State Park, Meeting Minutes, November 15, 1997, page 4.
14. The Connecticut Line, Newsletter of The Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Inc., September 2001, page 3.
15. *June 28, 2002, The History of the 11th Regiment of Connecticut Militia, Living History/Color Guard Unit of the Gen. Israel Putnam Branch #4 of the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Raised 1993 & Organized 1995, The First Twenty Five Years, 2019 (unpublished history).
16. The Connecticut Line, Newsletter of The Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Inc., September 2001, page 3.