THE CONNECTICUT REVOLUTIONARY ROAD NEWSLETTER-NO. 15

July 19, 1999

Editor: Hans DePold, Bolton Town Historian

Purpose

This newsletter is to provide a means for keeping historians, re-enactors, and other interested people aware of the activity to list the Revolutionary Road in the National Register of Historic Places. The Revolutionary Road was the choice of Rochambeau’s French army when they marched from Newport to Yorktown and back to Boston. The goal is also to encourage registration not only the Connecticut portion, but also the Revolutionary Road that passes through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

E-Mails To The Editor

We have the honor of receiving an email from Martha and George of the Washington ancestral home in Great Britain.

Just thought you’d like to know, the Rochambeau Road is being well-represented in England — indeed, by a real Representative !!!

Over the July 4th weekend at Sulgrave Manor in Northamptonshire, the ancestral Washington family home, we had the pleasure to meet and talk with Connecticut General Assembly Representative Pamela Z. Sawyer, one of the Road’s more enthusiastic and knowledgeable supporters. (My wife and I had come up from Devon to represent Martha and George.)

As one of the “originals” who reenacted Rochambeau’s march it was a pleasure to meet her and to talk with her about your present-day plans and activities.

Below are selected e-mails in response to the article on the dismal condition of the context in which the White Plains Washington’s headquarters is located, a letter from down state.

1) I absolutely agree with you regarding Washington’s headquarters in White Plains. I finally found the site about a year ago after many wrong turns and getting lost ( because they don’t think it warrants signage). After I finally located the site, I fully understood the absence of signs … they’re embarrassed to have anyone see where it is! They need a junkyard guard dog chained up by the gate!

2) Please be aware that the White Plains War Office is run by a local group that does not have ample funds. They try their best and get many volunteers and they do keep the building in very good condition. Unfortunately it isn’t the National Park Service that owns it and that could afford to give it decent surroundings.

I must comment on Washington’s headquarters. This headquarters deserves the honor, and respect of everyone who enjoys the liberties we hold today gained at great sacrifice by patriots such as Washington. Captain Jonathan Birge, our Bolton Revolutionary War hero, was mortally wounded defending the site. Please take the time to visit the site sometime and tell me what we should do. I was saddened reading the history of the preservation of the Valley Forge site, saddened that it took several generations and saddened that each group that tried to help took unfair criticism. First they criticized the DAR, then the SAR, then the Governor. We certainly don’t want to criticize the caretakers of this property. But something needs to be done about the surrounding conditions. The conditions seem so disrespectful of Washington… almost a slap in the face.

Nathan Hale Muster July 24/25

I think the best ancient fife and drum corps muster this year will be the in Coventry CT. this coming weekend. I plan to be there Sunday with some copies of early maps of the area that indicate the homestead was on the 1776 Boston Road.

The Coventry Ancient Fifes and Drum Corps hosts the affair. Their musicians wear the uniform of the 19th Connecticut Regiment in which Captain Nathan Hale served in 1776. The Color Guard carries the Cambridge flag of 1776, the flag of the Connecticut Colony, the gold regimental colors the 19th regiment, and the corps own colors derived from the Hale family coat-of-arms.

Knowlton’s Connecticut Rangers represents the infantry of the revolutionary period. The unit patterns itself after the original unit formed by Lt. Col. Thomas Knowlton of Ashford, Connecticut in 1776, under a commission from Gen. George Washington, to provide a force for probing attacks, scouting, and espionage. Capt. Nathan Hale was on a volunteer mission of espionage from this unit when he was captured and executed in New York.

Capt. Stephen Buckland’s Artillery is patterned after the original unit, which saw service from 1776 and 1781.

The Company of Artificers is composed of people who are preserving 18th-century CRAFTS. Appropriately dressed interpreters demonstrate activities such as flint-knapping, pewter casting, candle dipping, spinning, cooking, the art of the apothecary and weaving on looms.

A tour of the homestead costs only $4 and you get the treat of hearing the kitchen and other chatter done by interpreters who talk in the same foreign language (English) they spoke in the 18th century.

Come in period costume if you can and add to this festive occasion.