Lt. Colonel William Ledyard (Connecticut militia)

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Lt. Colonel William Ledyard (Connecticut militia)'s Geni Profile

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William Ledyard, Col.

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Groton, New London, Connecticut Colony
Death: Died in Groton Heights, New London, Connecticut
Cause of death: Killed by own sword at Fort Griswold
Immediate Family:

Son of John Ledyard and Deborah Ledyard
Husband of Anna Ledyard
Father of Charles Grover Ledyard; Henry Young Ledyard; William Ledyard; Sarah Ledyard; Deborah Ledyard and 4 others
Brother of John Ledyard; Youngs Ledyard, Capt.; Ebenezer Ledyard and Mary Ledyard
Half brother of Lucretia Sands; Austin Ledyard and Lucretia Stevens

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Ledyard, Col.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William Ledyard (December 6, 1738 – September 6, 1781) was a lieutenant colonel in the Connecticut militia who was killed in the American Revolutionary War.

Born in Groton, Connecticut, Ledyard was in command of Fort Griswold on September 6, 1781, when the fort fell to the British under Benedict Arnold in the Battle of Groton Heights. Ledyard had refused a British demand to surrender the fort.

According to American accounts of the battle, after the British stormed Fort Griswold, a British officer demanded to know who commanded the fort. Ledyard replied "I did, sir, but you do now," and offered his sword. The British officer took the sword and stabbed Ledyard to death, initiating a massacre of some eighty captive Americans.

The town of Ledyard, Connecticut, is named for William Ledyard.

William Ledyard's nephew was noted explorer John Ledyard.

External links

Ledyard's service record from Francis B. Heitman's Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army "The Coming of the Revolution 1773-1776", Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Joseph Duffy, "Connecticut At War", Connecticut Humanities Council Ledyard genealogy page (source for birthdate) Columbia Encyclopedia entry Persondata Name Ledyard, William Alternative names Short description Date of birth December 6, 1738 Place of birth Date of death September 6, 1781 Place of death

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=William_Ledyard&oldid=398048476"

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[Note: It appears the following passage is untrue regarding William's parentage as son of Isaac and Elizabeth]

COLONEL WILLIAM LEDYARD

William Ledyard the son of Isaac and Elizabeth Saltonstall Ledyard was born in Groton Conn in the old Ledyard homestead near the site of the monument that calls the traveller to mark the spot where was performed one of the most inhuman and disgraceful acts ever known in civilized or barbarous warfare Much of tradition has been circulated concerning this man who by his tragic death became the property of the nation and one of the most distinguished heroes of the Revolution He was a man of fine form good education for the times unassuming in his manners possessed of great executive ability and could be depended on in cases of emergency These traits of character naturally brought him to the surface and the people by intuition sought him out for prominent usefulness in religious civil and military life and he never failed in the church the state and the field He married Miss Anna Williams daughter of Nathaniel and Amey Hewitt Williams of Stonington by whom he had nine children seven surviving him one of whom was only ten days old on the day of the slaughter 1 He was named Charles and died in 1 789 a few hours before his mother and by her special request was buried in her arms

The edict of Parliament to close the port of Boston roused general indignation protest and sympathy Groton was not behind and in a public meeting to consider the issue June 20 1774 William Ledyard was chosen the first member of a committee of correspondence with a view to some united effort November 22 1775 orders were issued to erect Fort Griswold and July 3 1776 he was appointed captain of a company of artillery and commander of the fort In March 1778 his command was extended to cover New London Groton and Stonington with the rank of major and under his direction the works were repaired and additional batteries erected July 5 1779 the whole coast in this section was stirred with the expectation of an attack but so well were they prepared under his direction that the enemy turned away and made New Haven the objective point

September 6 1781 early in the morning it was noticed that the enemy were bearing down on New London harbor with thirty two sail Signal guns were fired to give the alarm but the traitor was on board one ship and the report of another gun misled the people in the surrounding country But Colonel Led yard lost no time in dispatching messengers to Governor Trumbull at Lebanon and to the various military companies near at hand and improved every moment for the disposition of his few defenders planning every move and as far as possible preparing for every emergency and did all he could to protect New London He stood by the shore passed some words of cheer to the anxious crowd and stepping into the boat to cross the ferry he bade them good morning with this remark If I must lose honor or life to day you who know me best can tell which it will be With a majestic and elastic step he hurried to his command His presence and his buoyant spirit inspired the little untrained garrison with hope and courage and the gallant defence they made rendered them immortal in a struggle with overpowering numbers of thoroughly disciplined and experienced soldiers He seemed ubiquitous and cheered and directed the defenders at every point History has assured to them and to him the just praise of an unparalleled struggle and an unexcelled exhibition of valor and courage When the assailants had effected an entrance in spite of the efforts of his unsupported force he could only take the last resort of military necessity and when asked who commanded the fort reply I did but you do now and turning his sword give it to the officer who with the fury of a demon plunged it into his heart causing instant death 1 which was followed by a carnage that history blushes to record The vest and shirt he wore on that fatal day are preserved among other sacred relics in the Athenaeum at Hartford and the cruel rents made by his own sword in the hands of the victor still speak in eternal condemnation of the wretch who thus murdered one of the noblest specimens of the human race Many were the distinguished dead that were left in that fort but none wore a calmer or more serene face than that of our hero

Upon him had fallen the duty of maintaining liberty and he did it nobly to the end He suffered the loss of all things even his life for his country and the man who for personal ambition or selfish ends preys on the national interest is guilty of a crime equal in character to the act of that infamous English officer

source: The Battle of Groton Heights: A Collection of Narratives, Official Reports ...

By William Wallace Harris  p.212-15

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A battalion of New Jersey loyalists who were responsible for moving the artillery, could not keep pace with the Regulars who came within striking range of Fort Griswold. The fort was garrisoned with about 150 militia and local men under the command of Colonel William Ledyard. He and his officers were expecting reinforcements to come soon. The British commander, Colonel Eyre had sent a flag demanding the surrender of Ft. Griswold. Col. Ledyard declined. Soon the same demand was sent again and this time Eyre threatened that “If he were to force to storm the fort, no quarter would be given to its defenders”. Col. Ledyard responded the same way as the first demand. Soon the British force began to spread their ranks and advanced to the fort. As they neared the ditch, they were met with artillery bombardment in which many were killed and wounded. Some tried to gain the southwest bastion but were repulsed. Colonel Eyre was badly wounded during the assault. Under heavy musket fire, another group removed some pickets and by hand-to-hand combat reached the cannon and turn ed it against its own men. Another party, led by Major Montgomery, led a bayonet charge. Major Montgomery was killed in the charge. A few of the British Regulars made it to the gate and forced it open and marched in. Colonel Ledyard ordered his men to cease fire but fighting continued on both sides. An account of Colonel Ledyard’s death varies between the Americans and the British. The American version states that after Ledyard gave up his sword in surrender, he was immediately killed with his own sword and a massacre followed. The British version makes no mention of either the massacre or Ledyard’s death.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Ledyard

William Ledyard (December 6, 1738 – September 6, 1781) was a lieutenant colonel in the Connecticut militia who was killed in the American Revolutionary War.


Born in Groton, Connecticut, Ledyard was in command of Fort Griswold on September 6, 1781, when the fort fell to the British under Benedict Arnold in the Battle of Groton Heights. Ledyard had refused a British demand to surrender the fort.


According to American accounts of the battle, after the British stormed Fort Griswold, a British officer demanded to know who commanded the fort. Ledyard replied "I did, sir, but you do now," and offered his sword. The British officer took the sword and stabbed Ledyard to death, initiating a massacre of some eighty captive Americans.


The town of Ledyard, Connecticut, is named for William Ledyard.


William Ledyard's nephew was noted explorer John Ledyard.

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Lt. Colonel William Ledyard (Connecticut militia)'s Timeline

1738
December 6, 1738
Groton, New London, Connecticut Colony
1761
December 6, 1761
Age 23
New London, Connecticut
1763
February 16, 1763
Age 24
1765
May 6, 1765
Age 26
1766
December 30, 1766
Age 28
1769
January 27, 1769
Age 30
1773
June 24, 1773
Age 34
1775
September 2, 1775
Age 36
1777
September 1, 1777
Age 38
1780
January 6, 1780
Age 41