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Heroic Battle of Stonington was not the area's only War of 1812 event, "Key 1814 battle commemorated this weekend in Stonington," (Aug. 9).
New London Harbor was Connecticut's major center of activity and best defense in the War of 1812. On June 1, 1813, the British fleet, blockaded Commodore Decatur's squadron into the Thames River until 1815. Decatur recognized Fort Griswold, high above the Village of Groton Bank, as the eminent harbor defense and strengthened it with his guns.
Remembering the 1781 British massacre of colonists, residents evacuated Groton Bank and New London in early June. Thousands of state militia were deployed, principally to Fort Griswold but also along the banks of the river, including the smaller Fort Trumbull in New London.
For 20 months the British fleet off the mouth of the Thames River maneuvered and exercised their guns keeping residents in constant fear. From here the British fleet, blockaded trade, captured American vessels, fired on lesser defended coastal towns, including battles at Roger's farm west of New London, Nov. 28, 1813; Essex, April 5, 1814; Stonington, Aug. 9-12; and Groton Long Point, Aug.12, 1814.
Strong defenses at Fort Griswold and along the banks of the Thames River probably prevented an attack here.