The Derby Historical Society put on a magnificent program on June 12 at the Humphreys House at 37 Elm Street in Ansonia.
Joining the program were reenactors from the 6th Connecticut Regiment. The 6th Connecticut Regiment, a provincial regiment, was raised on May 1, 1775, under the command of Col. Samuel Holden Parsons.
Known as the "Connecticut State Regiment" it was authorized by Connecticut on June 20, 1776, for home defense with William Douglas, then a captain of the 1st Connecticut Regiment, appointed as its colonel. The state regiment was raised at New Haven by Douglas and in Middletown by Return Jonathan Meigs, a major of the 2nd Connecticut Regiment then on parole after being captured during Arnold's Invasion of Canada.
Ansonian Biaggia Ryan joined the tour
On May 23, 1777, three weeks after the Battle of Ridgefield, Col. Meigs and 170 men from New Haven left Guilford, Connecticut in 13 whale boats and 2 armed sloops, bringing with them an extra sloop in which to bring back prisoners. This raid was planned as a reprisal for the British Brig. Gen. William Tryon's raid on Danbury, Connecticut whose action had cost the life of General David Wooster of New Haven.
Landing on Long Island they marched across to Sag Harbor, surprised the garrison, burned a dozen vessels, destroyed a large quantity of military stores, killed several of the enemy and took 90 prisoners, without losing a man. For this action, Col. Meigs was voted a Sword by Congress, which now hangs in the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
After the Sag Harbor raid, the 6th Connecticut went to Peekskill, New York to join the other regiments of the Connecticut Line. The Connecticut Line wintered at West Point during the winter of 1777-1778. While there, they constructed the "Meigs Redoubt" and other fortifications in the area.
In the summer of 1778, the Connecticut Line was encamped with the Main Army under General Washington at White Plains, New York, near the site of the 1776 battle. It was here that the Connecticut Line was divided into two brigades, which stood until January 1, 1781. The 6th Connecticut was placed in the 1st Brigade under Parsons. From White Plains, they took up winter quarters at Redding, Connecticut. The troops built huts and settled in. Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam took command of all forces at Redding.
In the early part of 1779, the 6th Connecticut was encamped on the Highlands across from West Point. When Tryon raided Connecticut in July, the Connecticut Line was sent to defend its own state, but arrived after Tryon and his men had left.
On July 15, 1779 this force successfully stormed the British fort at Stony Point on the Hudson River.
From Stony Point, the 6th Connecticut was stationed with the Connecticut Line around West Point where it worked again on fortifications in the area. Maj. Gen. Baron Von Steuben praised the Connecticut Line for their proficiency on performing his manual of arms exercises.
In 1781, the 6th Connecticut was consolidated with part of the 4th as the Continental forces wound down their forces pending the outcome of peace talks in Paris. Peace came two years later in September 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.