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American Revolution: Battle of Groton Heights and the Storming of Fort Griswold

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  • Denison Avery (1749 - 1846)
    Revolutionary War Service: In the fall of 1776 Denison was drafted into the militia company under the command of Capt. Joseph Gallup in the regiment commanded by Col. Clevis Smith; ordered to White Pla...
  • Lt. Henry Denison (1753 - 1835)
    Military Service: BET 1775 AND APR 1778 Revolutionary War Patriot; 1775 served in 2nd Company, 6th Regiment and later became a 2nd Lieut in the 8th Regiment; Connecticut; 1776 served in Captain John Br...
  • Nehemiah Gallup, Sgt. (1751 - 1843)
    Nehemiah submitted a deposition, along with his brother Andrew, supporting Christopher Avery's application for a war pension through service in the Revolutionary War. He states he was a Sergeant in t...
  • Samuel Doty Stillman, Capt. (1762 - 1821)
    Wounded in defense of Fort Griswold. Captain Samuel Doty Stillman, Revolutionary War veteran. He oined ae 18 in Col. Ledyard's garrison at Fort Griswold, New London; was there wounded in arm and thig...
  • Stephen Billings, II (1748 - d.)
    Was serving in General Washington's army at the time of the storming of Fort Griswold on September 6, 1781, where his brother Andrew was killed in its defense. "Andrew Billings lived at the time with...

The Battle of Groton Heights

The Battle of Groton Heights (also known as the Battle of Fort Griswold, and occasionally called the Fort Griswold massacre) was a battle of the American Revolutionary War fought on September 6, 1781 between a small Connecticut militia force led by Lieutenant Colonel William Ledyard and the more numerous British forces led by Brigadier General Benedict Arnold and Lieutenant Colonel Edmund Eyre.

In an unsuccessful attempt to divert General George Washington from marching against Lord Cornwallis's army in Virginia, Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton ordered General Arnold to raid the Connecticut port of New London. Although the raid was a success, the Connecticut militia stubbornly resisted British attempts to capture Fort Griswold, across the Thames River in Groton. Several leaders of the attacking British force were killed or seriously wounded, and much of the defending garrison was either killed, mortally wounded, or captured when the fort was stormed. British casualties were also high, leading to criticism of General Arnold by some of his superiors.

The battle was the last major military encounter of the war in the northern United States, preceding the decisive American victory at Yorktown, Virginia by about six weeks.

This project seeks to gather the names of those patriots who participated in the defense of Fort Griswold; escaped to live another day, were wounded, captured or gave an ultimate sacrifice to their newly formed nation. Lists containing the of names of the defenders of Fort Griswold have long been assembled, but with the tool of Geni, perhaps the relationships of these heroes, their stories and their family relationships to following generations can be better understood.

The Battle of Groton Heights, by William Wallace Harris is one of many accounts of the battle and stories of those it touched.

Other historical accounts of the storming of Fort Griswold:

The Fort Griswold Battle and Massacre excerpted from HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF LEDYARD 1650-1900, by Rev. John Avery, published by Noyes & Davis: Press, Norwich, Connecticut, 1901, p. 67-79

American Forces Killed:

A partial list of those killed or died later from their wounds received from the storming of the fort on September 6, 1781

Wounded and Paroled:

Prisoners Taken by British Forces:



William Latham, 12 years of age

Related Stories:

  • Elisha Miner, great grandson of Lieut. Parke Avery recalls Ft. Griswold eighty years after the battle


Bridgeport, Connecticut Friday, November 28, 1924]