Life and Orders Relating to Redding's Encampment
the Revolution, neither side of the conflict launched an active
campaign during the winter months. For the most part, military
activity halted for the winter. The exceptions being some
raids and foraging expeditions by the British, and American
counter raids and patrols in response to them. There are three
reasons the armies spent each winter encamped. First, soldiers
during the Revolution received only one standard uniform for
the year. The standard uniform included: shoes, breeches,
stockings, linen shirt, waistcoat, wool coat and hat or cap.
There were a few modifications because of winter, for instance,
troops might receive wool stockings or trousers, or a sleeved
waistcoat. Overcoats (called Watchcoats) were only provided
to the winter sentries, who because winter hats, gloves, mittens
and footwear were not generally issued, could stand duty for
only a couple of hours at a time in winter weather. So halting
during the winter lessened the soldiers' exposure to the harsh
elements, thus preventing death and disease by keeping them
indoors as much as possible.
the roadways were not paved, they were dirt. Dirt roads in
winter and spring are a mess.
draft animals pulled both armies heavy artillery and provision
wagons. Neither side had large surpluses of food to feed themselves,
let alone draft animals! These animals had to eat, and during
the winter months, the grasses they preferred were either
brown or covered in snow. Winter encampments allowed the armies
to rest the animals and scatter them over many miles so they
could all find something to graze on. When spring had sprung,
and local pastures were able to support more animals, the
army gathered them back together again in preparation for
the campaign season.
the winter of 1778-79, General Israel Putnam's division of
the Continental Army encamped at Redding, Connecticut. Troops
began to arrive at camp in November and would continue to
arrive until late December.
Samuel Holden Parsons arrived at Camp 2nd Hill (the middle
camp) on November 14th.
journal of Lt. Col. Henry Dearborn, 3rd New Hampshire Regiment
shows his troops arrived at the main camp (Putnam Park) on
November 30th. It also indicates a mixture of snow & rain
- Dec. 10th: the
weather very Cold, the Snow about 6 inches.
- Dec. 13th:
a very heavy storm of Rain and no bread for two days.
- Dec. 17th: a
- Dec. 22nd :
a severe Snow storm…
- Dec. 24th: we
had Snow last night & very severe Cold today. Our men are
well…Clothed and well hutted.
- Dec. 26th: we
have a very severe Snow storm.
- Dec. 27th: the
weather seems more like Canada, then Connecticut…
8th Connecticut Regiment, which encamped at Camp 2nd Hill
(the middle camp), 1-2 miles to the West of the main camp,
arrived "about Christmas or a little before". Private Joseph
Plumb Martin's writes:
at Reading about Christmas or a little before, and prepared
to build our huts for our winter quarters. And now came
on the time again between grass and hay, that is the winter
campaign of starving."
in the building of our winter huts. We got them in such
a state of readiness that we moved into them about New Year's
Day. The reader may take my word, if he pleases, when I
tell him that we had nothing extraordinary, either eatables
or drinkables, to keep a New Year or housewarming."
issued by General Parsons, to his troops on December 4th give
specific details of how he wanted the huts built and aligned:
"The huts are
to be built 14 x 16 between joints with logs dovetailed
together; the door towards the brook at one end and the
chimney at the other; the square of the hut must be six
feet high at least before the roof comes on; the gable ends
must be contracted until they come to a proper point; the
ribs of the roof serving to form the roof proper for shingling.
The huts to be built in two rows with eight feet distance
between them, agreeable to our present mode of encamping…The
officer's huts of each regiment must be built in a regular
line at about 16 feet distance from the rear line of the
soldiers. The quartermasters of the several regiments of
the brigade will run lines and mark trees between grounds
both in front and rear of their respective regiments so
as to secure the wood and timber property belonging to each."
troops slept in tents until they finished the construction
of the huts. A review of Lt. Col. Dearborn's journal entries
above give you an idea of weather conditions the soldiers
built their huts in…far from ideal.
hut building process is described in detail by Private Martin:
the most suitable timber for the business, it was laid up
by notching them at the four corners. When arrived at the
proper height, about seven feet, the two end sticks which
held those that served for plates were made to jut out about
a foot from the sides, and a straight pole made to rest
on them, parallel to the plates; the gable ends were then
formed by laying on pieces with straight poles on each,
which served for ribs to hold the covering, drawing in gradually
to the ridgepole. Now for the covering: this was done by
sawing some of the larger trees into cuts about four feet
in length, splitting them into bolts, and riving them into
shingles, or rather staves; the covering then commenced
by laying on those staves, resting the lower ends on the
poles by the plates; they were laid on in two thickness',
carefully breaking joints. These were then bound on by a
straight pole with withes, then another double tier with
the butts resting on this pole and bound on as before, and
so on to the end of the chapter. A chimney was then built
at the center of the back side, composed of stone as high
as the eaves and finished with sticks and clay, if clay
was to be had, if not, with mud."
One room hut (14' X 16'), One Fireplace, Dirt Floors, 12 Men
to a hut, Soldiers received rations and salaries only when
available. Soldiers' wives and/or girlfriends that joined
their partners in camp received 1/2 rations when available.
12 men or women to a hut may seem cramped but people slept
in a sitting position back then and many of the huts were
furnished with bunk beds so there was some breathing room.
room hut (14' X 22'), Two Fireplaces, Dirt Floors (sometimes
wooden, if available), No more than 2 to 4 men in each hut,
Officers were one of the first to receive available rations.
Housed in-town in real houses with families, Did not suffer
the harsh conditions of cramped living spaces and winter weather,
First to receive salaries and rations.
pay of officers and men was as follows: Major General, 20
pounds a month; Brigadier General, 17 pounds a month; Colonel,
15 pounds a month; Lieutenant Colonel, 12 pounds a month;
Major, 10 pounds a month; Chaplain, 6 pounds a month; Lieutenant,
4 pounds a month; Ensign, 3 pounds a month; Adjutant 5 pounds,
10 shillings a month; Quarter Master, 3 pounds a month; Surgeon,
7 pounds, 10 shillings a month; Surgeon's Mate, 4 pounds a
month; Sergeant, 2 pounds, 8 shillings a month; Corporal,
2 pounds, 4 shillings a month; Fifer and Drummer, 2 pounds,
4 shillings a month; Private, 2 pounds a month.
Camp music was an important aspect of the soldier's daily
life. Music served as the soldiers' clock and regulated their
activities. "Reveille" was beat at sunrise to wake the men;
"Assembly" was beat to assemble the troops for inspection;
"Troop Sequence" played while the troops were inspected; "The
Roast Beef" was the lunch and dinner call; the "Retreat" was
played at sunset to signal the end of the day's duty, and
"Taptoo" was beat by 10:00 pm as a signal for "lights out."
Calls used in Camp/Battlefield:
- Drummers Call:
to assemble the musicians
- Reveille: to
wake the troops, usually at 7:00 am
- Assembly (or
singlings of troop): to assemble the troops for inspection
- Troop Sequence
(3 cheers, singlings of troop, doublings of troop, ending
with 3 cheers): played while inspecting troops
- To Arms: to
assemble the troops with haste for battle
- The Roast Beef:
lunch and dinner call
- Bank: church
call and parley(during battle)
- The Retreat:
played at sunset to call roll and close the camp to public
and to retreat during battle
- Pioneer's March:
to assemble the pioneers
- The General
(first part): cease fire
Sequence: for priming and loading during battle played only
- Taptoo: quiet
in the camp
March: to advance during a battle
- Point of War(first
part of Reveille): charge bayonets
- Long March:
- Adjutant, Sergeant,
etc.: to call all adjutants, sergeants, etc.
- Bellisle March
- Boston March
- Brit. Grenadiers/Free
- Capt. Money's
- Chain Cotillion
- Country Dance/Doublings
- Duke of York's
- French Quick
- Girl I Left
- Governor King's
- I'll Touzle
- La Belle Catherine
- La Rejouissance
- Moon and 7
- Norman Toy
- Paddy Whack
- Quick March
- Rakes of Mallow
- Scotch Grey's
- The Drum q
Welcome Here Again
- When the King
Enjoys His Own Again (The World Turned Upside Down)
- Yankee Doodle
q York Fusiliers
BAR music book, fellow Musicians of the historical reenactment
community (esp. BAR fife major Erik Lichack), and The Old
Barracks Fifes and Drums tune list (D.M. Steven Hudak)]
What the soldiers did during waking hours depended on the
day and the weather. Rainy/Snowy days would be spent in their
huts and/or tents repairing their gear and weapons, sewing
torn clothing, or if they were lucky playing cards or dice.
Sunny days would be spent foraging for wood and food; assembly
and drilling in preparation for battle; scouting missions
to ferret out Tories or spies; scouting missions to determine
whether Cattle or any species of provision found near the
lines are in danger of falling into the hands of the Enemy,
or are carried there with an intent to supply them.; patrols
or marches in response to British alarms.
Many of the Connecticut
troops were placed on patrols at Horseneck, Stamford and Norwalk.
Some were sent over to "no-man's land" in Westchester County
and several hundred troops were sent to New London for guard
duty and the construction of Fort Griswold.
diary indicates some of the local troops obtained furloughs
"It was now the
beginning of February. Many of the men had obtained furloughs
to go home and visit their friends…"
Martin was one
of those sent to New London from March until May, and from
his entries, the conditions there were not any better than
"I had not been
in camp more than a week before I was sent off with a large
detachment to New London to guard the fortifications in
and about that town…we were put into houses, and here, too,
we almost starved to death, and I believe should have quite
starved, had we not found some clams…we stayed here, starving,
until the first of May, when we received orders to march
to camp and join our regiments."
Activities: Charles Burr Todd notes: On Sunday's all the
troops presentable were formed in column and marched to the
Congregational Church at Redding Center, where they listened
to the sermons of the eloquent and patriotic Nathaniel Bartlett,
pastor of the church.
Todd also states
that: One of the recreations of the officers was the practicing
of the rites and amenities of Free Masonry. While the army
lay at Redding, the American Union Lodge, which followed the
fortunes of the army, was re-organized "on application of
a number of gentlemen, brethren of the Ancient and Honorable
Society of Free and Accepted Masons."
Agreeable to the
application a summons was issued desiring the members to meet
"At Widow Sanford's" on February 15, 1779, at 4 o'clock. At
this meeting General Parsons was elected Master. Records of
several meetings of the Lodge at Redding (i.e. Mrs. Sanford's")
follows. *Widow Sanford lived on what we call Cross Highway,
near the old Heritage House.
On March 25th the
Lodge gave a state dinner which was thus described:
at half-past 4 o'clock, in the following order:
to clear the way.
with their wands.
brother with the bag.
Master with the Treasurer on his right hand supporting
the sword of justice, and the Secretary on his left hand
supporting the bible, square and compass.
The Entered Apprentice March.
Esq. Hawley's where Brother Little delivered a few sentiments
on Friendship. The Rev. Evans and a number of gentlemen
and ladies being present.
- After dinner
the following songs and toasts were given, interspersed
with music, for the entertainment of the company.
- Songs: *Hail
America; Montgomery; French Ladies' Lament; Mason's
Daughter; On, on Dear Brethren; Huntsmen; My Dog and
General Washington; The Memory of Warren; Montgomery
and Wooster; Relief of the Widows and Orphans; Ladies
of America; Union, Harmony and Peace; Social Enjoyment;
Grand March; Dead March; Country Jig; Mason's Daughter.
- The festivities
were concluded with a speech by Rev. Waldo. At half past
7 o'clock the procession began returning to the Lodge room
in reverse order from the afternoon procession, music playing
the Mason's Daughter.
was the most popular in the army. We give it entire. It was
sung to the tune of the British Grenadier.
That seat of science,
And earth's great mistress, Rome,
Where now are all their glories?
We scarce can find the tomb.
Then guard your rights, Americans,
Nor stoop to lawless sway,
Oppose, oppose, oppose, oppose,
My brave America.
bound to Caesar
And numerous lords before
To Picts, to Danes, to Normans
And many Masters more.
But we can boast, Americans,
We never fell a prey
Huzza, Huzza, Huzza, Huzza,
For brave America.
We led fair freedom
And lo, the desert smiled,
A Paradise of pleasure
Was opened in the wild.
Your harvest, bold Americans
No power shall snatch away,
Assert yourselves, yourselves,
Ye sons of brave America.
Torn from a world
Beneath the western sky
We formed a new dominion,
A land of Liberty.
The world shall own its Masters here,
The heroes of the day.
Huzza, Huzza, Huzza, Huzza,
For brave America.
God bless this
And through her vast domain
Let hosts of heroes cluster,
Who scorn to wear a chain.
And blast the venal sycophants,
Who dare our rights betray,
Preserve, Preserve, Preserve, Preserve
Our brave America
Lift up your heads
And swear with proud distain,
The wretch who would enslave you
Shall spread his snares in vain.
Should Europe empty all her force,
We'd meet them in array,
And shout and shout, and fight and fight,
For brave America
Some future day
shall crown us
The masters of the main,
And giving laws and freedom
To England, France, and Spain.
When all the isles o'er ocean spread,
Shall tremble and obey
Their Lords, their Lords, their Lords,
The Lords of brave America.
On April 7th, 1779,
they dined at 3 o'clock, going in procession as they had on
March 25th. They were joined by "a number of respectable inhabitants,
gentlemen and ladies"; the Rev. Dr. Evans delivered a discourse
suitable to the occasion. After dinner there were the usual
songs and toasts, and at 6 o'clock the procession returned
to the lodge room. Thanks were presented to the Rev. Dr. Evans
for his discourse, and to Rev. Mr. Bartlett and the other
gentlemen and ladies who favored the lodge and their company
The last meeting
was held in Redding on April 16th, 1779, the Connecticut Line
having about that time marched to the Highlands for the summer
Orders and reports
coming out of Redding or relating to Redding:
Camp, 2nd Hill,
Nov. 17, 1778
"The General having
obtained permission of the Commander in Chief to be absent
a few days from the Division, the Command will devolve upon
Brigadier General Huntington. General McDougal is happy that
it falls upon a gentleman in whose care for and attention
to the Troops he has the utmost confidence. The orders will
be issued as usual at the Headquarters of the Division."
Report out of
the New Hampshire division, Date unknown
"162 men in Hazen's
regiment were 'unfit for duty for want of shoes.'"
Report out of
the New Hampshire division, Dec. 5, 1778
"at twelve at
night we were alarmed by hearing that the enemy are at Terry
Town (below Peekskill) in force. In consequence of which a
detachment of 1500 men from the three brigades under General
Putnam's command were ordered to march...'"
Report out of
the New Hampshire division, Dec. 9, 1778
"we returned to
Report out of
the New Hampshire division, Dec. 12, 1778
"we are very busy
at work upon our huts, amongst the snow...'"
Report out of
the New Hampshire division, Dec. 16, 1778
"we begin to get
into our huts...'"
Orders, Dec. 18, 1778
"Lieut. Col. Bulter
of Wylly's Regiment is promoted to the command of the 2nd
Company Battalion and is to be obeyed as such. Colonel Meigs
is appointed Inspector of the Division and to do the duty
of Adj. General for the same until further orders. Quartermaster
Belding of the 1st Connecticut Brigade is appointed Quartermaster
of the Division and is to do that duty until further orders.
David Humphrey, Esq. Late Brigade Major to General Parsons
is appointed aide de camp to General Putnam until further
Report out of
the New Hampshire division, Dec. 19, 1778
"we are in our
Report out of
the New Hampshire division, Dec. 22, 1778
"a severe snow
Report out of
the New Hampshire division, Dec. 25, 1778
The Weather is so cold we take but little notice of the day...'"
of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 26, 1778
" we have a very
severe snow storm..."
Orders, Dec. 27, 1778
"The General of
the brigade informs the officers and soldiers that he has
used every possible method to supply flour or bread to the
brigade. Although a sufficiency of every article necessary
is at Danbury, the weather had been so extreme that it is
impossible for teams to pass to that place. Every measure
is taken to supply flour, rum, salt and every necessary tomorrow,
at which time, if a quantity sufficient comes in, all past
allowances shall be made up. The General, therefore, desires
for the honor of this corps and their own personal reputation,
the soldiery, under the special circumstances caused by the
severity of the season, will make themselves contented to
the Connecticut Soldiers in the Revolutionary Army, to His
Excellency, Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut. Captain
Nathaniel Webb's Orderly Book, Camp Reading, Dec. 27, 1778.
"May it please
your Excellency. The Sense of Importance of opposing with
Force, ye attempts of Great Britain to enslave our Country,
induces us to lay before your Excellency the Condition of
that Part of ye Army raised from the State of Connecticut
& ye great Danger of their disbanding & returning to their
They have may it
please your Excellency been promised a Blanket, & other Clothing
annually from ye Continent & a Blanket from ye State every
year, for each non-commissioned Officer & Soldier, those Promises
have not been complied with, so far from it, that although
we have not, one half ye Quota of Men this State was to raise,
we assure you not less than four hundred are to this Day totally
destitute, & no one has received two Blankets according to
Contract, nor has more than one half of the Clothing promises
ever been received or any compensation made for ye deficiency,
that when they have Coats they are without Breeches, & when
they are supplied with Shoes, they have neither Stockings
nor Shirts, & at this Inclement Season many of our Men are
suffering for want of Blankets, Shirts, Breeches, Shoes &
Stockings, & some are destitute of Coats & Waistcoats.
Price of every necessary [necessity] and Convenience of Life,
is another Grievance most [unreadable] experienced by ye Soldiery
in their Marches, & in other Situations, they are necessitated
to purchase Provisions and Vegetables when in Camp. The Prices
now asked for one Meal is from three to eight Shillings. Turnips
from two to three Dollars per Bushel & other Vegetables in
proportion, that a Soldiers month Pay is consumed in about
three days in furnishing himself with necessaries not supplied
by the Public. - These are Grievances very greatly and Justly
complained of by your Soldiers, & Officers of every Rank are
Sharers in the Consequences of these Evils.
of Redress has retained ye Soldiery hitherto, but Desertions
Daily increase & unless that Justice which is their due is
done, We assure your Excellency we fear it will not be in
our Power to retain them. We have ye greatest Reason to believe
they will wait ye Event only of their Petition at ye Adj.
Assembly, & should that Assembly arise without doing them
Justice in ye past depredation of ye Currency, we are convinced
ye greater part of ye Soldiery will desert.
We assure your
Excellency we have & shall continue to appease every discontent
which has ye remotest Tendency to produce Mutiny & Desertion
or any other Act prejudicial to ye Service & we have ye Satisfaction
to believe we posses ye Love & Affection of ye Soldiery &
that they are not desirous to forsake us or ye Cause of their
But it may please
your Excellency they are naked in severe Winter, they are
hungry & have no Money… We have promised them redress, we
have assured them of ye good Intentions of their Country towards
them, & that Justice…us as their Soldiery under our Command
which is our just Right, but we cannot be convinced tis' more.
us to rely on ye Provision Congress may be supposed to make
some future Time, than for this State to rely on that Body
for doing them Justice, especially when we consider ye conditions
of ye Officers & Soldiers from ye Extreme Parts of ye States
in ye Union, are so very different that one general Rule cannot
be adopted which will do justice, & that when we consider
that your Excellency is your Proclamation for raising ye Soldiers
pledge ye faith of ye State for ye punctual fulfillment of
every Engagement, made with ye Soldiers by Congress.
We hope & trust
that our Assembly at their next Session will remove ye Causes
of out Complaint & satisfy us those Loses we have sustained
by ye past depreciation of Money & give those Assurances of
keeping good our future pay & redress our other Grievances
that no Cause of Complaint may remain among us, but should
not this be done, we still think it to be our Indispensible
Duty to make this public Representation before ye Evils we
are convinced will flow from them have happened, least we
should be [tough to read, ends in r-e-d] for our Silence when
ye Event has taken place.
We beg your Excellency
to lay this Representation before ye Assembly & to assure
them we have ye most ardent Desire to assist in our several
Stations in reducing that Power which involved out Country
in this Cruel War & to promote that Order & decency in ye
Soldiery, so necessary to ye Attainment of this End. We have
furnished our Agent with a Calculation, founded on ye best
Evidence in our power, that being adopted by our Assembly
will in our Opinion quiet our Troops & that nothing short
will give them Satisfaction.
We have the Honor
to be with ye Greatest Esteem Your Excellencies.
Source: New England
Historical and Genealogical Register (1873) Vol. 27:58-60
of private Joseph Plumb Martin (stationed with the 8th Connecticut
in Parsons' middle camp) January, 1779
"We settled in
our winter quarters at the commencement of the new year and
went on in our old Continental Line of starving and freezing.
We now and then got a little bad bread and salt beef (I believe
chiefly horse-beef for it was generally thought to be such
at the time). The month of January was very stormy, a good
deal of snow fell, and in such weather it was mere chance
if we got anything at all to eat."
to Deputy Clothier Gen. George Measam, January 8, 1779
"It has been represented
to me that the troops of Connecticut are in great want of
Shirts, Stockings and Shoes. This leads me to inquire of you
whether they have not received their proportion of these Articles
in common with the rest of the Army. The troops in general
have obtained orders for a Shirt and pair of Stockings per
man and a pair of Shoes to each that wanted. If the Connecticut
Troops have not been furnished … you will on receiving proper
Returns for that purpose supply them in conformity to this
to the Board of War, January 9, 1779
"Sir: I have the
honor. of yours of the 7th. instant. As there is not probably
a sufficiency of Mittens for the whole Army, a partial distribution
would occasion uneasiness among those who were not supplied.
Instead therefore of a general delivery, I should think it
better to have them lodged with the Clothiers attending the
Army to be delivered out occasionally to detachments going
upon a duty that will expose them to the inclemency of the
Orders, Feb. 4, 1779
Edward Jones was
tried at a General Court Martial for going to and serving
the enemy, and coming out as a spy. He was found guilty of
each and every charge exhibited against him, and according
to Law and the Usage's of Nations was sentenced to suffer
"The General approves
the sentence and orders it to be put in execution between
the hours of ten and eleven A.M. by hanging him by the neck
till he be dead."
Orders, Feb. 6, 1779
John Smith of the
1st Connecticut Regiment, was tried at a General Court Martial
for desertion and attempting to go to the enemy, found guilty,
and further persisting in saying that he will go to the enemy
if ever he has an opportunity.
"The General approves
the sentence and orders that it be put in execution between
the hours of ten and twelve A.M. for him to be shot to death"
Report out of
Canadian 2nd Regiment, Feb. 11, 1779
"This day a detachment
from our Brigade (under the command of Major Torrey of our
Regiment) consisting of one Major, two Captains, four Subalterns,
six Sergeants, six Corporals, two Drums and Fifes, and one
hundred and one Privates, marched from here to reinforce the
Detachment at Horse Neck (Greenwich)."
Orders, Feb. 13, 1779
"The General directs
that no person be permitted to visit the prisoners under sentence
of death unless at their request as frequent complaints have
been made that they are interrupted in their private devotions
by persons who come for no other purpose but to insult them."
Reading, March 21, 1779
"Col. Hazen's Regiment
will march to Springfield in 3 Divisions by the shortest notice:
the first Division will march on Monday next, and the other
two will follow on Thursday and Friday next, weather permitting,
and in case the detached parties join the Regiment, Col. Hazen
will take with him one piece of Cannon and a proportionate
number of Artillery men."
Reading, April 11, 1779
"The officers are
requested to lose no time in preparing for the field, that
they may be ready to leave their present quarters at the shortest
notice…No officers whose duty does not really require him
to be on horseback will be permitted to keep horses with the
Army- It ought to be the pride of an officer to share the
fatigues, as well as the dangers to which the men are exposed
to on foot…General Washington strongly recommends the officers
divest themselves (as much as possible) of everything superfluous."
Reading, May 24, 1779
orders the Brigade to be ready to march tomorrow at 6 o'clock
A.M. Complete for Action." *This Brigade seems to have returned
to the Highlands via Ridgefield and Bedford.
Reading, May 27, 1779
Putnam about to take command of one of the Wings of the Grand
Army, before he leaves the troops who have served under him
the winter past, thinks it his duty to signify to them his
entire approbation of their regular and soldier like conduct,
and wishes them a successful and glorious campaign."
Reading, May 28, 1779
and Jonathan Gore of the 8th Connecticut Regiment. Tried by
a Brigade Court Martial whereof Lt. Col. Sumner was President,
for stealing a cup from Captain Zalmon Read of Reading. The
Court are of the opinion that the charges against Vaughn and
Gore are not supported."
free to email me with any questions @ email@example.com.