Connecticut River Museum, Essex – Rich Bruchal
Essex, in Middlesex County, is located in southern Connecticut and lies on the Connecticut River. Originally part of Saybrook and called the Potapaug Quarter, it separated and became a town in 1852, receiving the name Essex in 1854. The villages of Ivoryton and Centerbrook became a part of Essex in 1859. With a history of shipbuilding, Essex was the main port of Saybrook until 1871. The town is known for building the state’s first battleship in 1774, the Oliver Cromwell, and for the British raid and burning of twenty-eight ships in the harbor during the War of 1812.
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. …[more]
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