Battle Apron: When the battle was over
Editor’s note: This is the eighth of eight columns provided to The Press in lead-up to the Battle of Ridgefield re-enactment Saturday, April 29.
The British left the Village of Ridgefield the morning of April 28, 1777. Before leaving, they set fire to the Episcopal Church where the Continental Army supplies were stored. The church would remain an empty shell for seven years until the American Episcopal Church severed its ties to the Church of England.
The villagers buried the dead. Only one of the dead was from Ridgefield. Keith Jones tells us it was Bradley Dean. He was probably buried in the mass grave dug for the Patriot soldiers. Three Ridgefielders were taken prisoner: James and Benjamin Northrop, and John Smith.
The British had burned Isaac Keeler’s grist mill and saw mill, along with 100 barrels of flour and some Indian corn. Six houses and two barns were destroyed, and Keeler Tavern had suffered extensive damage. The British patrols had searched and plundered almost every house in the Village. Live stock had been stolen or destroyed.
On May 26, 1777, the Selectmen of the Village of Ridgefield submitted a “Memorial” to the General Assembly hoping to obtain some compensation for the damage left behind by the British. In all, 65 households submitted claims.
The “Memorial” was submitted to a committee that inquired into the matter and reported their findings in a bill dated December 5, 1777. It reached the General Assembly, January 2, 1778. After going to Ridgefield and accessing the damage, the committee prepared a list of claims which totaled £2625, 1 shilling and 8 pence. The General Assembly paid out £250 to tide the villagers over the winter. In the end, the villagers received £1,730, 1 shilling and 1 pence in damages. This was the balance owed after the monies already advanced to the Village had been subtracted.
The battle was over, and the war continued.