THE CONNECTICUT SOCIETY OF THE
SONS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
Founded April 2, 1889, our purpose is to keep alive the memory of
men and women who fought or gave service for Independence in the American Revolutionary War.

Understanding The Connecticut Militia

during The American Revolution


By Todd L. Gerlander, Captain, Eleventh Regiment Connecticut Militia
Major Commanding, New England Contingent Sons of the American Revolution

“. . . We fix on our Standards and Drums the Colony arms, with the motto ‘qui transtulit sustinet,’ round it in letters of gold, which we construe thus : ‘God, who transplanted us hither, will support
us.” (Letter dated April 23, 1775 during the Lexington Alarm, “Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution”)

First, let me start out by giving a brief introduction on the purpose of the following paper on the organization and structure of the Militia of the Connecticut Colony during the American Revolution. As a commander of a re-created Connecticut militia unit, "The Eleventh Regiment of Connecticut Militia", I have given many lectures on the topic to Patriotic, Hereditary, and re-enactor organizations. Many years ago I started a re-created militia unit following the usual stereotypical models of what the militia was supposed to be, but after many years researching my own units history, there was no similarity between the two. The Connecticut Colony had an organized and highly structured militia system from the year 1739 on. To understand the Connecticut militia correctly, you will need to obtain copies of the following sources; (1) "Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution", Adjutant-General, Hartford, 1889; (2) "The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut", Charles J. Hoadley, 1874 (now on-line) (3) The Militia Archive Series, The Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT. (4) and various Town Histories, manuscripts, etc.

The Connecticut Militia during the American Revolution can be confusing, but it helps if you begin at the creation of the Militia Regiment system in 1739. This system of Militia Regiments would continue in Connecticut until the 1840's. The common misconception of the militia is that it was a small company of men from a particular Connecticut Town or Village who would occasionally muster on the local Common or Green and practice the military drill of the day. This conception is only partially correct. What seems to be forgotten, overlooked or misunderstood is that every town militia company (sometimes referred to as Trained Bands) in the Connecticut Colony belonged to a numbered Militia Regiment from 1739 on. Not only would the Town Militia Companies train among themselves, under company officers (a Captain, Lieutenant, Ensign, Sergeant and Corporal), but they would then in turn train with their numbered Regiments who were commanded by Field grade officers (a Colonel, Lieutenant-Colonel, and a Major). During the American Revolution, these Militia Regiments would be combined with others to form Militia Brigades which were under the command of a Brigadier General. The following is a portion of the act from the "Colonial Records of Connecticut", which by the way are now available on-line at: www.colonialct.uconn.edu

Illustration of a typical soldier [October 1739] "An Act for the better regulating the Militia of this Colony, and putting it in a more ready posture for the Defence of the Same.
Be it enacted by the Governour, Council and Representatives, in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
That the Governour of this Colony, for the time being, shall be Captain General, and the Deputy Governour, for the time being, shall be Lieutenant General, over all the military forces within this Colony.
And be it further enacted by the authority of aforesaid, That all the military companies in this Colony shall be formed into regiments, as followeth, . . . . .

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That where, by the division aforesaid, it hath, or, by any division that hereafter may be made, it shall so happen, that any of the said companies of foot-souldiers have or shall be divided and left part in one regiment and part in another, in such case the minor part of such company so divided shall be added to that regiment to which the major part of said company doth belong.
Be it also further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That there shall be in each of said regiments appointed by the General Assembly, a Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, and Major, who shall be commissioned by the Governour for the time being; which colonel or chief officer of each regiment shall be invested with the same power and authority in his regiment, and shall be obliged to the same duties, and liable to the same penalties, as by the laws of this Colony the majors in the several counties have heretofore been in their respective counties. And said chief officers are impowered and directed to dignify the companies belonging to their respective regiments.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That each regiment, where there is no troop of horse already formed, shall have liberty, with the advice and direction of the chief officers of said regiment, to form a Troop, consisting of a suitable number not exceeding sixty-four men including officers, and the chief officers shall lead, or cause such troop to be led, to the choice of officers necessary for said troop, and make return thereof to the General Assembly. . . . "

Militia Troops of Horse were also directly attached to regiments. In some cases independent companies were raised such as the Company of Grenadiers, and several Light Infantry and Artillery Companies but upon closer inspection they were also attached to one of the Connecticut Militia Regiments. All of your militia Officer commissions will also be found in the Colonies public records under regimental structure.

connecticut state seal The following organization can be found in the book, "Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution". For individuals looking to find information on an ancestor who served in the American Revolution from a militia company from a particular town, you will need to know what militia regiment he served with to find information in the records. A misconception that the Connecticut militia did little or nothing is commonly attained without understanding the proper formation. The same rule applies to Connecticut militia re-enactment units. Below you will notice that the original thirteen militia units as created in 1739 were composed of many Town Militia Companies. Many of these Town companies would separate and form new militia regiments as the Colony grew. (The * Towns represent the organization during the American Revolution.)

The Organization Of The Connecticut Militia
28 Connecticut Militia Regiments during the American Revolution

First Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1739
(Hartford, Windsor, Simsbury, Bolton, Tolland, Harwinton, Torrington, New Hartford, Barkhempsted, Hartland, Colebrook, Winchester, Farmington (First Society).)
* Hartford (West Side), Windsor, Suffield, Wintonbury *

Second Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1739
(New Haven, Milford, Branford, Derby)

Third Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1739
(New London, Norwich, Lyme)
* New London, Lyme *

Fourth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1739
(Fairfield, Stratford, Danbury, Newtown)
* Fairfield, Stratford *

Fifth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1739
(Windham, Mansfield, Coventry, Ashford, Willington, Stafford, Union)
* Windham, Mansfield, Coventry, Ashford *

Sixth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1739
(Wethersfield, Middletown, Glastonbury, Kensington Parish)
* Wethersfield, Glastonbury *

Seventh Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1739
(Saybrook, Guilford, Killingworth, Haddam)

Eighth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1739
(Stonington, Preston, Groton)

Ninth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1739
(Norwalk, Stamford, Greenwich, Ridgefield)
* Norwalk, Stamford, Greenwich *

Tenth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1739
(Wallingford, Waterbury, Durham, Southington Parish)
* Wallingford, Durham *

Eleventh Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1739
(Plainfield, Canterbury, Pomfret, Killingly, Voluntown)
* Pomfret, Woodstock, Killingly *

Twelfth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1739
(Lebanon, Colchester, Hebron, East Haddam)
* Lebanon, Hebron *

Thirteenth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1739
(Woodbury, New Milford, Litchfield, Kent, Cornwall, Goshen, Canaan, Norfolk, Salisbury, Sharon, New Fairfield)
* Woodbury, New Milford, Kent *

Fourteenth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1767
(Cornwall, Sharon, Salisbury, Canaan, Norfolk) Composed of Town Militia Companies formerly belonging to the 13th Conn. Regt.

Fifteenth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1769
(Farmington (Formerly of the 1st Conn. Regt.), Southington Parish (Formerly of the 10th Conn. Regt.), Kensington Parish (Formerly of the 6th Conn. Regt.), Harwinton (Formerly of the 1st Conn. Regt.)

Sixteenth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1771
(Danbury (Formerly of the 4th Conn. Regt.), Ridgefield (Formerly of the 9th Conn. Regt.), Newtown (Formerly of the 4th Conn. Regt.), New Fairfield (Formerly of the 13th Conn. Regt.)

Seventeenth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1774
(Litchfield (Formerly of the 13th Conn. Regt.), Goshen (Formerly of the 13th Conn. Regt.), Torrington (Formerly of the 1st Conn. Regt.), Winchester (Formerly of the 1st Conn. Regt.)

Eighteenth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1774
(Simsbury (Formerly of the 1st Conn. Regt.), New Hartford (Formerly of the 1st Conn. Regt.), Hartland (Formerly of the 1st Conn. Regt.), Barkhamsted (Formerly of the 1st Conn. Regt.), Colebrook (Formerly of the 1st Conn. Regt.)

Nineteenth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1774
(East Windsor, Enfield, Bolton (Formerly of the 1st Conn. Regt.), Hartford (East side of the CT. River)

Twentieth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1774
(Norwich (Formerly of the 3rd Conn. Regt.)

Twenty-First Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1774
(Plainfield (Formerly of the 11th Conn. Regt.), Canterbury (Formerly of the 11th Conn. Regt.), Voluntown (Formerly of the 11th Conn. Regt.), Killingly (South Company, Formerly of the 11th Conn. Regt.)

Twenty-Second Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1774
(Tolland (Formerly of the 1st Conn. Regt.), Somers, Stafford (Formerly of the 5th Conn. Regt.), Willington (Formerly of the 5th Conn. Regt.), Union (Formerly of the 5th Conn. Regt.)

Twenty-Third Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1775
(Middletown (Formerly of the 6th Conn. Regt.), Chatham)

Twenty-Fourth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1776
(Westmoreland, Pennsylvania)

Twenty-Fifth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 1776
(East Haddam (Formerly of the 12th Conn. Regt.), Colchester (Formerly of the 12th Conn. Regt.)

Twenty-Sixth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 17__
(New Hartford (Formerly of the 1st & 18th Conn. Regt's), Hartland (Formerly of the 1st & 18th Conn. Regt's), Winchester (Formerly of the 1st & 17th Conn. Regt's), Barkhamsted (Formerly of the 1st & 18th Conn. Regt's), Colebrook (Formerly of the 1st & 18th Conn. Regt's)

Twenty-Seventh Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 17__
Organized from division of the 8th Conn. Regt.
(Preston (Some Co.'s Formerly of the 8th Conn. Regt.), Groton (North Society, Formerly of the 8th Conn. Regt.), Stonington (That part lying north of an east line from the S.E. corner of Preston, Formerly of the 8th Conn. Regt.)

Twenty-Eighth Regiment Connecticut Militia - Raised 17__
(Waterbury (Formerly of the 10th Conn. Regt.), Watertown, taken out of Waterbury)

Connecticut Militia Brigades
The Connecticut Militia Regiments were then assigned to Brigades as follows:

First Brigade of Connecticut Militia
First Regiment Connecticut Militia
Sixth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Nineteenth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Twenty-Second Regiment Connecticut Militia

Second Brigade of Connecticut Militia
Second Regiment Connecticut Militia
Seventh Regiment Connecticut Militia
Tenth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Twenty-Third Regiment Connecticut Militia
Twenty-Eighth Regiment Connecticut Militia

Third Brigade of Connecticut Militia
Third Regiment Connecticut Militia
Eighth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Twentieth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Twenty-Fifth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Twenty-Seventh Regiment Connecticut Militia

Fourth Brigade of Connecticut Militia
Fourth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Ninth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Thirteenth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Sixteenth Regiment Connecticut Militia

Fifth Brigade of Connecticut Militia
Fifth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Eleventh Regiment Connecticut Militia
Twelfth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Twenty-First Regiment Connecticut Militia

Sixth Brigade of Connecticut Militia
Fourteenth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Fifteenth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Seventeenth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Eighteenth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Twenty-Fourth Regiment Connecticut Militia
Twenty-Sixth Regiment Connecticut Militia

Another problem which often occurs is confusing militia regiments with what are often referred to as State Regiments such as the eight regiments the Connecticut Colony created in May of 1775 which were adopted as part of the Continental Army in July of 1775. These eight regiments would disband in December of 1775, and be re-organized for the 1776 campaign as Continental Regiments of Foot. In 1777 a restructuring known as the Continental Line would be formed which would basically remain for the duration of the War, with some unit modifications. The Connecticut militia was the stock from which both the State and Continental Line troops were drafted from. When returning to the militia (which was required service for men between the ages of 16 and 60, with some exceptions) they brought back the experience received in the regular army, thereby raising the military level of the militia regiments, just as the French and Indian War had also previously trained many of the provincials for later service in the American Revolution.

Questions are welcomed at : eleventh.ct.regt.sar@snet.net