January 4, 1999 Free-Give One Away

Editor Hans DePold, Bolton Town Historian


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. Motive For Declaration of Independence

A tradition For the Revolutionary Road

In 1780 when the French landed their army in Newport, that town administration offered free liberty candles to everyone who wanted to light their windows that night to welcome our allies. At Christmas time, Bolton, Connecticut, glows with welcoming window lights. Liberty candles during the holidays would be a good way to delineate the entire route.

Diversity on the Revolutionary Road

Historian and author Dr. Robert Selig recently wrote; “Many of the details that form the multi-colored and multi-faceted puzzle called Revolutionary America are still buried in unpublished manuscripts in public and private archives on both sides of the Atlantic, others are available in published form. One of the purposes of the Rochambeau in Connecticut project is to rescue from the mist of history the contributions by Frenchmen — but also by the Africans, Germans, and Irishmen in the French military — to American Independence. Another goal has to be the preservation for the present and future generations of as many resources as possible connected with the Revolutionary Road. They are the witnesses of your state’s important contributions to the cause of American liberty and of Connecticut’s great past. As such they form the natural foci for keeping the memory of Connecticut’s patriots and of America’s French allies alive in the citizens of your state and in out-of-state visitors as well.”

Phase 2 of the Connecticut plan

It was the CT Legislature that launched the Revolutionary Road in Connecticut. An historic road vaguely remembered after 218 years, finally takes its first steps towards the National Resister of Historic Places. Now the project becomes a budget item. Still the partnership of historians and citizens is vital if this work and other similar work is to be completed.

We received a note from the Connecticut SSAR. They plan to keep their members informed of progress and to increase their support in the upcoming budget process. The State Historic Preservation Office needs continued funding. State Representative Pamela Sawyer will let us know who and when to write to on the CT Legislative Appropriations Committees.

Archaeological work has begun in CT

State selected archaeologists Mary Harper and a crew of six or seven people were reported scouring camp site 5 in Bolton during the warm spell in early December. No word yet on what new artifacts if any were found. I have seen three previous collections of artifacts from that site. They include a two pound knee buster cannon ball, several musket balls, a uniform button of the Regiment de Soissonnais, buckles, lead for musket balls and a few coins. Lets hope some artifacts were missed to reward the state archaeologists.

How to register the entire Revolutionary Road

It is time to put together a list of key partners needed to register the entire length of the road. Over the years historical societies, the SAR, and the DAR have done much to mark the Route of Washington and Rochambeau. Yet the actual roads have moved considerable distances in some places. Parts of the original bustling Revolutionary Road are unused and abandoned. After 218 years many of the encampments and important taverns and homes have been lost because the owners did not know their historic value

We will begin a list of contact groups in each state. If you have the e-mail or other address of a group that wants to support registration of the entire route, please send it in at this time.