Connecticut to restore Fort Griswold, scene of sad Am Rev battle

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Fort Griswold in Groton, site of one of the saddest battles of the Revolutionary War and the only major battle in Connecticut, will soon get some long-overdue financing. Last week, Gov. M. Jodi Rell directed the State Bond Commission to release $500,000 for much-needed repairs, including a repointing of the fort’s obelisk, which rises 135 feet to honor the 88 men who died at the Battle of Groton Heights a few weeks before the war ended.

The obelisk, which resembles the Washington Monument, is one of the oldest of its kind in the country. It was dedicated in 1830, and the mortar holding the stones has been deteriorating so quickly that it is a common occurrence for park officials arriving in the morning to pick up pieces of the mortar that fell out during the night. The bond money will be used to stabilize the monument, which can be seen for miles, and for new sidewalks.

The monument commemorates a battle on the Sept. 6, 1781, in which British troops, led by Benedict Arnold, attacked Fort Griswold, the same day they burned New London. Most of the 165 men defending Fort Griswold were either related to one another or were neighbors and friends who lived in the area. More than half of the men were killed after their leader, Col. William Ledyard, surrendered the fort to the British. More than 200 children lost their fathers that day. The community as a whole was traumatized. The ramparts where the men fought remain, as are other earthworks surrounding the fort, which looms over the Thames River.

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