Burning of Fairfield (1779)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Burning of Fairfield
Part of the American Revolutionary War and Tryon's raid
DateJuly 7, 1779
Location
Result Decisive British Victory
Near total destruction of Fairfield, Connecticut
Belligerents
 United States  Great Britain
Commanders and leaders
Unknown William Tryon
George Garth
Strength
Fairfield Militia 800 (Initial Landing Force)
1,700 (Reinforcements under Garth)
Casualties and losses
10 Killed
2 Wounded
6 Captured
11 Killed
44 Wounded
6 MIA

The Burning of Fairfield (also known as the Battle of Fairfield) refers to the action of the American Revolutionary War at Fairfield, Connecticut on July 7, 1779, when a British landing force under the command of General William Tryon attacked the town, engaged and defeated its militia forces, and burned down the vast majority of buildings in Fairfield.[1]

Background[edit]

The attack on Fairfield was part of a broader British operation known as Tryon's raid,[2] in which 2,600 regulars[3] launched a punitive campaign on Fairfield and New Haven counties from their base in Long Island.[4] At the time, Fairfield and surrounding areas had developed a reputation for their strong support of the Revolution.[5]

Attack[edit]

On the morning of July 7, the British fleet was spotted by coast guard militia forces at Fort Black Rock, and the town was alerted. Hours later, Tryon and his initial landing force of 800 infantry made their way ashore and trekked inland. Despite a short but spirited resistance from the local militia,[6] the British shortly took the town and began laying waste to it. After the initial attack on the town, Tryon's forces were reinforced by 1,700 men commanded by General George Garth.[7]

It is said that a redcoat threw a torch into a house on the Old Post Road and the person inside threw it back at them. The house still stands and there are apparently still burn marks on the floor.

Commemoration[edit]

For many years after the Burning, citizens of Fairfield, with the help of the Historical Society, stage re-creations and guided tours[8] centering on the movements of the British on that day and the (few) properties which survived their incursion.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Burning of Fairfield". Fairfield Museum and History Center.
  2. ^ Townshend, Charles Hervey (1879). The British Invasion of New Haven, Connecticut, Together With Some Account of Their Landing and Burning the Towns of Fairfield and Norwalk, July 1779. New Haven: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor. p. 103.
  3. ^ Hinman, Royal R. (comp.) (1842). A Historical Collection, from Official Records, Files, &c., of the Part Sustained by Connecticut, During the War of the Revolution. With an Appendix, Containing Important Letters, Depositions, &c., Written During the War. Hartford: E. Gleason.
  4. ^ Lossing, Benson (1860). A Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution. New York: Harper.
  5. ^ Miner, Marcia (July 7, 1999). "July 7, 1779, A Day to Remember". Fairfield Citizen-News.
  6. ^ Hinman, Royal R. (comp.) (1842). A Historical Collection, from Official Records, Files, &c., of the Part Sustained by Connecticut, During the War of the Revolution. With an Appendix, Containing Important Letters, Depositions, &c., Written During the War. Hartford: E. Gleason.
  7. ^ Lossing, Benson (1860). A Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution. New York: Harper.
  8. ^ Barone, Meg (July 8, 2010). "Words of fiery attack on Revolutionary Fairfield live again". Connecticut Post.
  9. ^ "Fairfield 375: Town's first Independence 'fireworks' were no sky show". Fairfield Citizen. July 3, 2014.