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240th Anniversary of the Battle of Ridgefield, CT
April 29 - April 30Free
The Battle of Ridgefield was a battle and a series of skirmishes between American and British forces during the American Revolutionary War. The main battle was fought in the village of Ridgefield, Connecticut on April 27, 1777 and more skirmishing occurred the next day between Ridgefield and the coastline near modern Westport, Connecticut.
On April 25, 1777 a British force under the command of the Royal Governor of the Province of New York, Major General William Tryon landed between Fairfield and Norwalk (in what is now Westport), and marched from there to Danbury. There they destroyed Continental Army supplies after chasing off a small garrison of troops. When word of the British troop movements spread, Connecticut militia leaders sprang into action. Major General David Wooster, Brigadier General Gold S. Silliman, and Brigadier General Benedict Arnold raised a combined force of roughly 700 Continental Army regular and irregular local militia forces to oppose the British, but could not reach Danbury in time to prevent the destruction of the supplies. Instead, they set out to harass the British on their return to the coast.
The company led by General Wooster twice attacked Tryon’s rear guard during their march south on April 27. In the second encounter, Wooster was mortally wounded; he died five days later. The main encounter then took place at Ridgefield, where several hundred militia under Arnold’s command confronted the British and were driven away in a running battle down the town’s main street, but not before inflicting casualties on the British. Additional militia forces arrived, and the next day they continued to harass the British as they returned to Compo Beach, where the fleet awaited them. Arnold regrouped the militia and some artillery to make a stand against the British near their landing site, but his position was flanked and his force scattered by artillery fire and a bayonet charge.
The expedition was a tactical success for the British forces, but their actions in pursuing the raid galvanized Patriot support in Connecticut. While the British again made raids on Connecticut’s coastal communities (including a second raiding expedition by Tryon in 1779 and a 1781 raid led by Arnold after his defection to the British side), they made no more raids that penetrated far into the countryside.