fell by his own sword

So far this winter has given us only very cold days alternating with unseasonably warm days. Without a blanket of snow, everything looks barren and oddly exposed. Last January was the snowiest month ever in Connecticut history and it made for some very nice pictures! But now that we have a new camera there is no inspiration to get out there and put it to good use, but we decided to give it a try anyway.

Close to home is Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park. War is not my favorite subject, but this is the site where, on September 6, 1781, the traitor and Connecticut native Benedict Arnold led the British on a raid during the Revolutionary War. About 150 colonial militia and local men under the command of Col. William Ledyard were outnumbered. The British demanded surrender but Ledyard refused at first. There were heavy losses on both sides. The last picture tells how it ended.

The first picture was taken outside the dirt and stone wall surrounding the top of Fort Griswold. The second picture is Tim standing in a trench leading up to the top of the fort. The picture above is the entrance to a tunnel leading in to the highest part of the fort, and the picture below was taken inside the tunnel.

Through the tunnel now, in the picture below we are standing inside of the stone and dirt wall, which is taller than us, looking toward the Thames River and New London.

In the next picture we have climbed up the wall and are looking down at the Thames River and New London on the other side. British troops had set most of New London on fire, and from here the men from Groton must have seen all the fires burning and the British ships in the river…

It was a gruesome battle — aren’t they all? The British made it to the top in spite of many casualties… It’s sobering considering what happened here.

I took all these pictures with my gloves on — it was cold! — and I can’t remember which settings I was using on which shot. Clearly I am going to have to wait until spring to practice with the camera outside. Will have to see what I can learn about using it inside while I’m waiting for warmer weather!

10 thoughts on “fell by his own sword”

  1. Hi,
    What a very interesting place, full of history, I love exploring places like this.
    The photos are fantastic, and they do tell a story also, brilliant post, I enjoyed reading and learning a bit about the Fort.

    1. I’m glad you found this place interesting, Mags. Apparently there is an annual reenactment of the battle on a weekend in September. It’s funny how you can live in a locality and never see the neighborhood attractions – maybe next September we can make a point of catching the reenactment and get some pictures of the troops in uniform!

  2. I can hardly imagine what the battle would have looked like, the blood, the death, the pain, the suffering. However, your photos were tame enough and interesting enough to make up for the lack of imagination. Thanks for sharing, Barbara.

    1. You’re welcome, Kathy. Back then it seems like a battle had a lot more person to person contact. I sometimes wonder if people had to think harder about the likely consequences of fighting before they went to war than they do now, when technology seems to make war feel more impersonal, like a video game…

    1. I’m pretty sure that this was the only Revolutionary War battle fought in Connecticut. Benedict Arnold accomplished many “good” deeds for the Revolution before he turned traitor.

      Fortunately Connecticut has another native son, a hero, Nathan Hale. It’s interesting how many schools, parks and roads statewide are named after him. I used to live on a Nathan Hale Rd. myself. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jane. I used a flash inside the tunnel and was surprised what it looked like bathed in the light. It was pretty dark, creepy and winding to walk through. Amazing that it’s still holding up after 230 years!

    1. Thanks, Tracy, and you’re welcome! We’ve been trying to visit local places of interest, places visited by tourists but often overlooked by residents of the area, so there may be pictures of more historical sites here in the future.

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