The Stratford Historical Society
Stratford Historical Society Box 382
SHS Members visit the re-enactment of the Battle of Ridgefield May 7, 2017
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By Dolores Hoctor

   It was on one quiet Connecticut Sunday in late May 1777 when the peace was suddenly broken by an alarming cry, "British forces led by General Tryon have landed at Campo Beach headed for the American supply depot in Danbury!"

   There to receive the news were General Benedict Arnold in New London, General David Wooster in New Haven and General Gold Silliman in Fairfield. All three hastily gathered local militiamen and began the frantic chase to head off the British army and save the poorly guarded supplies.

   It was on a fair Saturday morning in May 2017, 240 years later, that six members of the Stratford Historical Society traveled to Ridgefield to witness the reenactment of the battle that took place there.

   Allen Fanslow, Shirley Clevenger, Christine Lesko, Mary Ann Vlahac, Gail Liscio and Dolores Hoctor representing Stratford stood on the sidelines while British uniformed soldiers marched in formation down the main thoroughfare of the town, flags flying, fife and drum providing the cadence, only to be temporarily deterred at the barrier hastily thrown up across the street to deter the British retreat.

   By this time the soldiers were on their return from Danbury where they set fire to the supplies causing a huge conflagration that could be seen for miles. By this time, too, a small force led by General David Wooster had fought twice to deter a small contingent of British from joining up with the main force on its way back to the ships. Unfortunately, not only was this plan unsuccessful, but it took the life of the general in command, David Wooster who was shot from his horse as he attempted to rally his troops.

   Today a marker has been erected in Ridgefield at the spot where Wooster received his mortal wound. The significance of this event is important to Stratford because it is the town where David Wooster was born, raised and educated. He served honorably in both the French and Indian War as a British soldier fighting the French and in the Revolution as an American officer defending Connecticut on the New York border and farther afield in Montreal during the American attempt to take Canada from the British early in the war. Sadly, his career and his life ended at the Battle of Ridgefield.