A CALL TO ARMS: Ridgefield's Female Paul Revere


           April 27, 1777, 240 years ago this year,  is a day of infamy and remembrance for the residents of Ridgefield, Connecticut.  Two days earlier, on April 25, 1777, British General William Tryon, former Royal Governor of the Province of New York, landed at Compo Beach, present-day Westport, Connecticut. Their mission was to bring an approximate 2000 men through Connecticut to the City of Danbury to destroy patriot munitions stored there. The general's efforts were successful; supplies were burned and people were killed. Patriot troops were called to suppress the insurgents and drive them from Danbury; Brigadier General Gold S. Silliman, Major General David Wooster, Brigadier General Benedict Arnold and Colonel Henry Ludington of New York answered the call to arms.

            According to historian Martha J. Lamb, from her History of The City Of New York, Volume 2, published in 1880, “A flying messenger for aid reached Colonel Ludington in Carmel, NY, whose men were at their homes scattered  over the distance of many miles; no one being at home to call them, his daughter Sybil Ludington, a spirited young girl of sixteen mounted her horse in the dead of night and performed this service, and by breakfast-time the next morning the whole regiment was on its rapid march to Danbury. But the mischief had been accomplished. The British, apprised of the approach of the Americans...retreated upon the Fairfield road towards the Sound...”

            And there, of course, the history of the Battle of Fairfield begins with all of its glories and sorrows. Was it a significant battle of the Revolutionary War?  The great General Wooster lost his life that day, as did many patriots. Any battle that claims the loss of lives and homes of Americans is significant.

            Ironically, Sybil, a New Yorker, and her father, Colonel Ludington, were both born in Connecticut, but their cause, and the cause of all the colonists who fought side-by-side on that day was indeed a call to arms for every colonist of the time; a reminder that every battle was important in the quest to win the war for freedom. And indeed we did.

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