Researchers are compiling the history of the Battle of Ridgefield. The public can weigh in on what it’s used for.

RIDGEFIELD — As researchers continue to compile the complete history of the Battle of Ridgefield, the town’s historical society is planning to ask for the public’s help in determining how that research should be used.

This spring FHI Studio, of Hartford, will conduct two large planning workshops to engage residents in the ongoing efforts to document and preserve evidence linked to the revolutionary engagement.

Heritage Consultants is assembling a database to reconstruct the events as they occurred through the historical society’s American Battlefield Protection Program grant, administered by the National Park Service.

The organization was one of 14 entities nationwide to receive the grant in 2020, according to project director Sharon Dunphy.

“This is the first time a professional group has come in to study this battle, and it’s very interesting watching the way they … approach the research,” she said. “They go after the primary documents and put together the scenario themselves.”

While the battle is historically understood as a series of three encounters, Heritage’s research suggests the fighting occurred throughout the route the British blazed as they entered Ridgefield on April 27, 1777.

The next phase of the grant program involves educating the public on what the research has found and brainstorming ways in which it can be used, Dunphy said. This could include establishing a historic walking trail, designating historic sites or adding curriculum within the local schools.

“There are different ways to honor it,” Dunphy said. The battle “is part of our identity as a community. …You don’t realize when you walk around today what happened on the land you’re walking on unless it’s researched.”

The first workshop will likely take place around the time of the live reenactment this April, when the town commemorates the 245th anniversary of the battle.

Research will continue in the interim. The historical society is soliciting landowners who will allow Heritage to search their properties for bullets, buttons, cannonballs and other war artifacts.

Using a metal detector, researchers will sweep an area and mark spots for further investigation. Those spots will be excavated to determine the exact location of a possible artifact. If one is found, the object will be bagged, the soil returned and the sod restored.

Artifacts that appear to be from the Revolutionary War era will become the property of the National Park Service and stored in RHS’s climate-controlled vault. Any items that are not of that period will be returned to the landowner.

The site surveys will take place next fall, but if the historical society qualifies for more grant funding, the detecting and digging could occur sooner.

For more information about the workshops, the site surveys or the grant program, email bor.grant@ridgefieldhistoricalsociety.org.

alyssa.seidman@hearstmediact.com