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War and Defense


World War I Poster

War and the Fear of Enemy Aliens – Who Knew?

…that Greenwich had a special police unit trained to handle suspected foreign agents operating in Connecticut.

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The wreck of Major Lufbery's machine, May 19, 1918

World War I Flying Ace Raoul Lufbery

Although his time as a Connecticut resident was short, this aviator left his mark on Wallingford and a generation fighter pilots.

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The 29th First to Enter Confederate Capital When It Surrenders – Today in History: April 3

April 3, 2020 • Civil War, War and Defense

On the morning of April 3, 1865, the 29th (Colored)…

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Advertising card of the Dr. Warner’s Caroline Corset

From Bombs to Bras: World War I Conservation Measures Transform the Lives of Women

A shortage of metal during World War I encouraged women’s clothing manufacturers (such as Bridgeport’s Warner Brothers Corset Company) to switch from producing corsets to brassieres.

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The 29th Leaves for War – Today in History: March 19

On March 19, 1864, as the 29th (Colored) Regiment Connecticut…

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Connecticut Agricultural College coeds gathering maple sap for war effort

A New Source of Farm Labor Crops Up in Wartime

During times of war, in Connecticut, as in many other states, women became an increasingly important resource in food production.

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Assembly of parachute flare casings

Munitions Assembly Line 1943

The women and factory depicted in this picture are unknown,…

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Armory Fire

Colt Armory Burns – Today in History: February 4

On February 4, 1864, most of Colt’s East Armory burned…

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Mamie Eisenhower launches the USS Nautilus

The Launch of the USS Nautilus – Today in History: January 21

On January 21, 1954, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower launched the…

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Oakwood Acres temporary housing

The Debate Over Who Could Occupy World War II Public Housing in West Hartford

In the 1940s, African American war workers eligible for government-funded housing found access restricted to some properties despite vacancies.

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Hotchkiss & Sons Artillery Projectiles

Connecticut Arms the Union

Colt, Sharps, and other gun-makers weren’t the only Nutmeg-based firms that supplied armaments during the Civil War. Makers of kitchen utensils, sewing machines, textiles, and other goods re-geared production lines to meet demand.

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Soldiers with cannons, 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery

The Complicated Realities of Connecticut and the Civil War

Citizens’ dedication on the battlefield and home front did not always signal agreement on key issues of the day.

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The Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company in East Hartford

The Early Years of the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company

Wasp and Hornet engines secure the reputation and success of this 1920s start-up venture.

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Leroy Anderson at home in the 1950s

Leroy Anderson Composed Iconic Music in Woodbury

Leroy Anderson, a long-time resident of Woodbury, was one of…

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Reporting News of Pearl Harbor – Today in History: December 7

On December 7, 1941, Mansfield resident and UConn history professor Andre Schenker took to the airwaves to report on the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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Hopkins Street Center once known as the Pearl St. Neighborhood House

A Woman Who Developed Tolerance: Leila T. Alexander

November 18, 2019 • War and Defense, Waterbury, Women, World War II

On Saturday, November 18, 1944, at noon after the meeting…

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Little Sorrel

Little Sorrel, Connecticut’s Confederate War Horse

A foal born on a farm owned by Noah C….

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Honor and Duty: The Life of Alfred Howe Terry

Born in New Haven, Alfred Howe Terry studied law before heroically capturing Fort Fisher during the Civil War. He earned the thanks of Congress for this victory before maintaining peace between whites and Native Americans in the Dakotas.

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A Memorial to General Hawley at the State Capitol

Although not a native of Connecticut, one would be hard pressed to find a man more committed to the people of Connecticut than Joseph Roswell Hawley. He became Brigadier General of the 1st Connecticut Infantry during the Civil War and served the state as both a senator and as Connecticut’s 42nd governor. Within months of his death, the Connecticut legislature authorized construction of a memorial in his honor.

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Camp à Contorbery, le 7 Novembre, 10 milles de Windham

Map – Rochambeau’s Camp at Canterbury

This map, “Camp à Contorbery, le 7 Novembre, 10 milles…

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Whitneyville Armory, Whitney's Improved Fire-Arms, from an advertisement, ca. 1862

The Whitney Armory Helps Progress in Hamden

Eli Whitney is famous for the cotton gin. His invention…

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General Joseph R. Hawley

General Joseph R. Hawley Helps Commemorate Connecticut’s Civil War Soldiers

“Let monuments be raised in every town, let songs be sung and orations delivered,” urged this state politician and skilled speechmaker.

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Combat between the Frigate Constitution and the British Frigate Guerriere

A Patriotic Legacy in Print

September 10, 2019 • Arts, War and Defense, War of 1812

Two hundred years ago, on September 10, 1813, the US captured six vessels from the British Royal Navy, the most powerful maritime force in the world.

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Benedict Arnold

Benedict Arnold Turns and Burns New London

September 6, 1781 was a brutal and terrifying day for Connecticut citizens living on both sides of New London harbor, along the Thames River.

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Training and rescue submarine S-4 submerging

Video – Undersea University – US Navy’s Submarine School

Produced by the US Government in 1965, this film of…

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Fitch’s Home for Soldiers, ca. 1864

Fitch Soldiers’ Home Closes – Today in History: August 28

August 28, 2019 • Darien, Rocky Hill, War and Defense

On August 28, 1940, Fitch’s Home for Soldiers and their…

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U.S. Frigate Constitution, Isaac Hull, Esqr., commander

Fame and Infamy for the Hulls of Derby

Two Connecticut men, uncle and nephew, had starring roles—one in defeat and one in victory—during the War of 1812.

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Attack on the Narragansett fort

America’s Most Devastating Conflict: King Philip’s War

The ramifications of this bloody conflict echoed across the centuries.

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William Eustis plans for New London

Defending Connecticut: Fortifying New London Against the British in 1812

August 10, 2019 • New London, War and Defense, War of 1812

“Sir, You will immediately commence the repairs of the magazine at Fort Trumbull and the block house at Fort Griswold…,” wrote the US Secretary of War to a captain in New London.

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The Allied Market

Washington’s Sister Susie Society

The Sister Susie Society in Washington, Connecticut, started out as a reading circle but became a fundraising and World War I relief organization.

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USS Nautilus

USS Nautilus Passes Under North Pole – Today in History: August 3

On August 3, 1958, the USS Nautilus (SSN-571) made history…

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Civil War Sanitary Commission

Sanitary Fair – Today in History: July 25

On July 25, 1864, the Stamford Ladies Soldiers’ Aid Society…

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A Muster Ceremony, New Haven Green

The First Battle of Bull Run: Connecticut Troops Stand Firm When the Battle Turns Against Them

Connecticut troops earned admiration for staying to fight when others fled.

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Samuel Colt…and Sewing Machines?

The National Museum of American History explains how a revolver, sewing machine, bicycle, and early-model electric automobile are connected.

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James Lukens McConaughy sworn in as Governor by Chief Justice William M. Maltbie

Did You Know a Connecticut Governor Was a US Spy?

In late 1943 James Lukens McConaughy became Deputy Director in Charge of Schools and Training for the precursor of the Central Intelligence agency.

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Burning of Fairfield

British Burn Fairfield – Today in History: July 7

On July 7, 1779, during the Revolutionary War, the British…

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Amos Doolittle, The looking glass for 1787. A house divided against itself cannot stand

The War Connecticut Hated

For most Connecticans, the War of 1812 was as much a war mounted by the federal government against New England as it was a conflict with Great Britain.

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The Platt Amendment – Today in History: June 12

Orville Platt from Meriden presented the Platt Amendment to Congress in 1901. It essentially made Cuba an American protectorate.

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USS George Washington (SSBN 589)

USS George Washington Launched – Today in History: June 9

June 9, 2019 • Groton, War and Defense

On June 9, 1959, the first nuclear-powered, ballistic-missile submarine, the…

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John Warner Barber, Public square or green, in New Haven

Benedict Arnold Demands the Key – Today in History: April 22

On April 22, 1775, Benedict Arnold demanded the key to…

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Navy Steamship Galena, 1861

Ironclad Commissioned – Today in History: April 21

April 21, 2019 • Civil War, Groton, War and Defense

On April 21, 1862, the USS Galena was commissioned. New…

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Detail from View of Essex, Centerbrook & Ivoryton, Conn. 1881

The British Raid on Essex

On a cold April night in 1814 a British raiding force rowed six miles up the Connecticut River to burn the privateers of Essex, then known as Pettipaug. The raiders torched 27 ships and took or destroyed thousands of dollars’ in other supplies.

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More than two dozen veterans of the Ninth Regiment gathered for a reunion at Savin Rock in West Haven

Fighting Sons of Erin: Connecticut’s Irish Regiment in the Civil War

Men with names like O’Brien, Kennedy, Mahoney, Murphy, Donnelly, Fitzpatrick, and Sullivan flocked to enlist in what a recruiting poster confidently described as a “destined to be gallant Regiment.”

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The U.S. frigate United States capturing H.B.M frigate Macedonian

Site Lines: The Mysterious Blue Lights

During the War of 1812, warning signals in the form of two blue lights prevented US ships from slipping past the British blockade of New London’s harbor. This left officials and the public to wonder: who was lighting these “torches of treason,” and why?

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Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys

Ethan Allen Born – Today in History: January 10

On January 10, 1738, future hero of the Revolutionary War…

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Jack Brutus, Connecticut War Dog – Who Knew?

November 12, 2018 • War and Defense

… that although Jack Brutus’s military status was unofficial, he…

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Thomas Dodd (at podium), Nuremberg trial, ca., 1945-46

Connecticut Lawyer Prosecutes Nazi War Criminals at Nuremberg

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Thomas Joseph…

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A Monument Memorializes the Fallen

In front of the state capitol is a mortar commemorating the service of the First Connecticut Heavy Artillery Regiment. The mortar may or may not be the original “Petersburg Express” used at the famous siege of Petersburg, Virginia, during the Civil War.

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Combate de Cavite, 10 de Mayo 1898

The Colvocoresses Oak

September 11, 2018 • Environment, Litchfield, War and Defense

Litchfield remembers the Spanish-American War’s Battle of Manila Bay.

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Bushnell's Turtle

The Turtle Submarine – Today in History: September 6

On September 6, 1776, the first functioning submarine, called the…

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The Stonington Battle Flag

The Stonington Battle Flag

On August 10, 1814, during a lull in the attack by the British on Stonington, citizens nailed a large US flag–a banner of defiance–to a pole above the battery.

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Hammonasset Beach State Park

Hammonasset State Park Serves the State and its Residents

Hammonasset State Park is Connecticut’s largest shoreline park. Located in…

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USS Bexar tour, bazooka demonstration

The Bazooka Changes War – Today in History: June 14

On June 14, 1942, the General Electric Company in Bridgeport…

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Richard Brooks, Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell Launched – Today in History: June 13

On June 13, 1776, the ship Oliver Cromwell, built by…

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School children placing flowers on the graves of World War I servicemen

Memorial Day 1920 Brings a Changing of the Guard

In 1920, veterans groups played an active role in orchestrating…

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Gun Wheel of the First Light Battery, Connecticut Volunteers

The First Light Battery Connecticut Volunteers took part in numerous battles during the Civil War. A wheel damaged in battle now resides at the Connecticut State Capitol to commemorate the service of this unit.

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The figure of the Indians' fort or palizado in New England and the manner of the destroying it by Captayne Underhill and Captayne Mason

Connecticut Declares War Against the Pequot – Today in History: May 1

On May 1, 1637, Connecticut Colony declared war against the…

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Navy-Yard, Washington

Colt’s Submarine Battery – Today in History: April 13

On April 13, 1844, Samuel Colt blew up a schooner…

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Benedict Arnold: America’s Most Famous Traitor

Benedict Arnold of Norwich was one of the great Continental army heroes of the American Revolution before committing treason and joining the British army.

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Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys

Ethan Allen Born – Today in History: January 10

On January 10, 1738, future hero of the Revolutionary War…

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Alfred Howe Terry Born in Hartford – Today in History: November 10

November 10, 2017 • Civil War, Hartford, New Haven, War and Defense

On November 10, 1827 Alfred Howe Terry was born in…

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Nathan Hale Statue, Hartford

Nathan Hale Hanged in New York – Today in History: September 22

On September 22, 1776, the British hanged Revolutionary War soldier…

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Enoch Smith Woods, Colonel Thomas Knowlton

Thomas Knowlton: A Small Town’s National Hero

Thomas Knowlton is arguably Ashford’s most widely recognized war hero….

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Fort Griswold, 1781

Fort Griswold Attacked – Today in History: September 6

On September 6, 1781, British forces overtook Fort Griswold and,…

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Plan of USS monitor, 1862

Cornelius Bushnell and His Ironclad Ship

Cornelius Scranton Bushnell was a 19th-century Connecticut businessman and shipbuilder…

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Right foot of James Wilbraham

Civil War Soldier Dies of Gangrene – Today in History: July 10

On July 10, 1864, Civil War soldier Curtis Bacon of…

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Detail of Guilford and Long Island

Stealth Attack from Guilford Launched – Today in History: May 23

On May 23, 1777, Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs launched a…

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Cover of a patriotic song dedicated to Lincoln's secretary of the navy Gideon Welles

Gideon Welles, US Secretary of the Navy and Lincoln’s “Neptune”

“He was a man of no decorations; … but he understood his duty and he did it efficiently, continually and unwaveringly,” said a contemporary of this Glastonbury-born leader.

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Effect of Confederate shot on the USS Galena, 1862

Mystic-built USS Galena Part of Plan to Strengthen Union Navy

This 950-ton, steam-propelled gunboat took fire from critics and Confederates during the Civil War.

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Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company

Samuel Colt: From Yankee Peddler to American Tycoon

Hartford native Samuel Colt built a financial empire on his design and automated production of the revolver.

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Airmen returning home, Bradley Field, Windsor Locks

Bradley Airport’s Military Origins

In 1941, with war raging on the European continent, the…

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World War II scrap metal drive, Hartford, ca. 1941-1944

Women and Defense: World War II on the Connecticut Home Front

Women who stepped into civil defense positions managed and implemented programs that educated the public, promoted war bond sales, and aided emergency preparedness.

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Detail from the Articles of agreement between the English in Connecticutt and the Indian Sachems

Slavery and the Pequot War

For some, the existence of slavery in New England is…

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Detail from A mapp of New England by John Seller

Lion Gardiner Helps to Fortify Early Old Saybrook

In 1635, the governor of the Saybrook colony hired engineer…

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Detail view of the 29th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers

29th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers Fought More than One War

The state’s first African American regiment of the Civil War distinguished itself by battling Confederate forces and 19th-century prejudices.

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Stubby

A True Dog of War: Sergeant Stubby

In 1917, as the 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division of…

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Two A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the Connecticut Air National Guard's 103rd Fighter Wing fly in formation behind a KC-135

Connecticut’s “Yankee Watch” Squadron Protects the Skies Here and Abroad

Based in Orange, the 103rd Air Control Squadron of the…

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The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial Tablet

The Connecticut Division of the Sons of Veterans, USA, commissioned a memorial tablet to Ulysses S. Grant who led Union forces during the Civil War, became the eighteenth president of the United States, and whose ancestors had numerous ties to Connecticut.

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Launching of the Nautilus

Launching of the USS Nautilus 1954

The USS Nautilus demonstrates Connecticut’s continuing maritime traditions and dedication…

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Orville Platt Helps Define International Relations after the Spanish-American War

Orville Platt was a powerful Republican senator from Washington, Connecticut. He presented the Platt Amendment to Congress.

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Connecticut’s War Governor, William A. Buckingham

Connecticut governor William Buckingham made significant contributions to the state’s war effort, sometimes even covering war expenses out of his own pocket. His bronze statue at the Connecticut State Capitol honors the selfless manner in which he guided the state through the Civil War.

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Connecticut, from the Best Authorities

Stamford’s Three-Gun Armada

During the Revolutionary War, American privateers utilized armed whaling boats…

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D-Day – Today in History: June 6

Naugatuck, Tuesday, June 6, 1944 Night watchmen in Naugatuck’s factories…

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Defenders of the Flag Monument, Soldiers Monument, Plainville

A Special Place to Honor Military Veterans in Plainville

On the corner of Maple and Whiting Streets in Plainville,…

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Nathan Starr Cutlass

Nathan Starr’s Cutlass Fought the War of 1812

On May 18, 1808, the Navy Agent Joseph Hull of New London negotiated a contract with Nathan Starr of Middletown for 2,000 cutlasses.

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USS Tullibee

USS Tullibee – Today in History: April 27

On April 27, 1960, the USS Tullibee, the first atomic…

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Food Needed to Win the War Comes from Washington

During World War I, the Town of Washington instituted a number of programs to increase food production and preservation to feed Allied armies and the European people,

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The Old State House, Hartford

The Hartford Convention – Today in History: December 15

On December 15, 1814, delegates to the Hartford Convention met…

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Image of Soldiers Memorial, Company B, 29th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers

Connecticut’s Black Civil War Regiment

“If you win freedom and citizenship, we shall share your freedom and citizenship.” With these words, abolitionist Frederick Douglass reminded African American soldiers from Connecticut that they fought for the hopes of many.

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Video – Home Front: Connecticut During World War II – Migration and Housing

This excerpt from the Connecticut Experience series provides a glimpse into the people, places, and events that have shaped our state’s history.

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Captain Nathaniel Shaw Mansion, New London

New London’s Sound Defense

The use of privateers to supplement naval forces and wage…

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Commissary Sergeant 29th Regiment

Connecticut 29th Mustered into Service – Today in History: March 8

March 8, 2015 • Civil War, War and Defense

On March 8, 1864, the state’s first African American regiment,…

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Hazardville Powder Company

Powder Hollow in Hazardville – Who Knew?

…that 40% of all the gunpowder consumed in the Civil…

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Norwich Arms barrel room

Norwich’s “Volcanic” Past

With its year-round availability of water power, its location at…

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Connecticut in the French and Indian War

Connecticut troops sustained demoralizing losses before a reinvigorated British military turned the tide of the French and Indian War.

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Commemorating the USS Hartford at the Connecticut State Capitol

The Connecticut State Capitol currently houses two important artifacts to commemorate the service of the USS Hartford. The first is a figurehead taken from the original ship. The second is a scale model of the USS Hartford.

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Hall of Flags: Memorial to Connecticut’s Civil War Colors

Battle flags played an important strategic and ceremonial role in Civil War battles. The preservation of Connecticut’s Civil War colors has been a long, delicate, and expensive process.

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Almira Ambler, Civil War Nurse

A Voice for Veterans: A Civil War era ‘Whistle-Blower’ – Who Knew?

Her obituary stated that “Mrs. Ambler was always expected to say something” on behalf of those who had fought for the Union.

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Gideon Welles’s Role in Lincoln’s Cabinet

Earning the trust of Abraham Lincoln, despite reservations from many in Lincoln’s cabinet, Gideon Welles navigated the Union navy through the Civil War. He did this largely through expanding the navy and investing in new technology, such as ironclad ships.

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Colt workers in front of the Armory, 1876

Workers at the Colt Armory, Hartford 1867

Colt Firearms has been one of the most prominent industries…

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Fort Griswold

Fort Griswold and the Battle of Groton Heights 1781

East of the Thames River, on Groton Heights, Fort Griswold…

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Private Henry Cornwall

Private Henry Cornwall 1862

The State of Connecticut sent over 55,000 troops to help…

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The 29th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Flag and Display

Regimental flags played important symbolic and strategic roles in battle. The State of Connecticut maintains a collection of 110 such flags from the Civil War, among them, the flag of the 29th (Colored) Volunteer Infantry.

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Historic photo of the Ebenezer Avery House, Groton

The Ebenezer Avery House – Who Knew?

…that the Ebenezer Avery House on the grounds of Fort…

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First Company Governor’s Horse Guards escorting President Taft

Oldest Cavalry Unit – Who Knew?

….that the First Company Governor’s Horse Guards is the oldest,…

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Video – Home Front: Connecticut During World War II – Civil Defense

This excerpt from the Connecticut Experience series provides a glimpse into the people, places, and events that have shaped our state’s history.

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Nathaniel Lyon. Lithograph by E.B. & E.C. Kellogg

Nathaniel Lyon: Colorful Commander from Connecticut

The military exploits of this passionate abolitionist include an attack on pro-secessionist forces that may have assured Missouri remained part of the Union.

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Video – Home Front: A State Divided as War Looms in Europe

This excerpt from the Connecticut Experience series provides a glimpse into the people, places, and events that have shaped our state’s history.

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Camp a Danbury le 23 Octobre 11 milles de Salem

Map – Rochambeau’s Camp at Danbury

This map, “Camp a Danbury le 23 Octobre 11 milles…

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Camp à East Hartford, le 29 Octobre, 12 milles 1/2 de Farmingtown

Map – Rochambeau’s Camp at East Hartford

This map, “Camp à East Hartford, le 29 Octobre, 12…

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Camp à Walen-Town, le 8 Novembre, 10 milles de Contorbery

Map – Rochambeau’s Camp at Voluntown

This map, “Camp à Walen-Town, le 8 Novembre, 10 milles…

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Camp à Farmington le 28 Octobre, 13 milles de Barn's Tavern

Map – Rochambeau’s Camp at Farmington

This map, “Camp à Farmington le 28 Octobre, 13 milles…

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Camp à Windham, le 5 Novembre, 16 milles 1/2 de Bolton

Map – Rochambeau’s Camp at Windham

This map, “Camp à Windham, le 5 Novembre, 16 milles…

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Silas Deane House, Wethersfield

Site Lines: Silas Deane

Despite Deane’s role in securing French supplies and support for the American Revolution, his accomplishments have long been obscured by whispers of treason, a spy’s double-dealing, and his own sudden death.

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Pequot bowl, trade item, 17th century

Causes of the Pequot War

The outbreak of the Pequot War (1636-37) is best understood…

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Video – Connecticut’s Cultural Treasures: Lebanon Green

Connecticut’s Cultural Treasures is a series of 50 five-minute film vignettes that profiles a variety of the state’s most notable cultural resources.

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Hall of Flags, State Capitol, Hartford

Collections: Battle Flags

November 23, 2012 • Civil War, War and Defense

“Keep them, keep them, as long as there is a thread left,” said one soldier of the regimental flag for the 6th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry.

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