With the 4th of July fast approaching here’s another seasonal post from Balladeer’s Blog. This action was also called the Battle of Groton Heights.
FORT GRISWOLD – Fort Griswold was an American fortess on Groton Heights in Connecticut overlooking the Thames River. On September 6th, 1781 the American traitor General Benedict Arnold and his British troops raided Groton and burned New London while battling the massively outnumbered Rebel troops in the fort.
Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton had sent General Arnold to raid and seize ships in Connecticut and to determine if the former colony was ripe for occupation by British forces. The spirited defense of Fort Griswold permitted multiple American ships to escape the attacking Red Coats and nipped in the bud Clinton’s plans for occupying Connecticut.
Benedict Arnold led at least 1,700 British regulars in the battle. Fort Griswold was defended by a mere 150 American Militiamen under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William Ledyard.
The Americans killed between 52-60 Brits and wounded nearly 150 more. Exact casualties suffered by the Militiamen before surrendering are uncertain because Arnold’s troops disregarded the surrender and upon entering the fort proceeded to fall upon nearly all of the men still standing.
Many of the Americans died from wounds inflicted during the massacre over the next few days. Even the British criticized Benedict Arnold for his handling of the situation.
Weeks later at Yorktown the Marquis de Lafayette spurred on his men with the cry “Remember Fort Griswold” just as Sam Houston’s men would cry “Remember the Alamo” during the Texas War of Independence from Mexico.
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