Margaret Anne Tockarshewsky, Executive Director, New Haven Museum

203-562-4183, ext. 20,

Julie Winkel, Media Specialist,                                                                                                             


Connecticut Militia: The Defense

of New Haven at the Pardee-Morris House

New Haven, Conn. (July 2, 2021)— “Remember New London!” was General Lafayette’s battle cry to Connecticut troops at the siege of Yorktown in 1781, which led to the end of the Revolutionary War. The troops knew of the burning of New London earlier that year; perhaps some witnessed the attack on New Haven in 1779. Author and historian Robert A. Geake will appear in the uniform of a continental soldier as he presents a rarely heard story of courage and tenacity during “Connecticut Militia: The Defense of New Haven,” at the Pardee-Morris House (PMH)—which was torched by Redcoats and later rebuilt by the Morris family. The free lecture will be held on Sunday, August 8, 2021, at 2 p.m. For virtual attendance register here.

Geake’s presentation will be based on his book, “New England Citizen Soldiers of the Revolutionary War: Minutemen and Mariners.” He notes that while many leaders and heroes of the American Revolution are renowned, lesser known are the citizen soldiers who fought in regions far removed from their homes and families or became mariners in the fight for independence. Geake will tell how ordinary citizens united in the cause for freedom and struggled to balance their loyalty to their home state, their property, and families.

From the occupation of Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island by the British in 1776, the citizens of Connecticut found their coastline in almost constant peril from British raiding parties, and their merchant and marine vessels forced to venture out onto the now tempestuous waters of Narragansett Bay and Long Island Sound, according to Geake.  

Fathers and sons who had eagerly enlisted at the start of the American Revolution now found themselves facing the risk of the loss of property and their loved ones as the war took them from home to the “foreign soil” of other colonies. Despite this, the homegrown militias left in defense of the state rose to the occasion repeatedly against tremendous odds.  

Geake notes the raid on New Haven in 1779 is one example of a successful call-to-arms from neighboring communities that stemmed a planned invasion. “From the New Haven minister who bravely rode past the militia toward the enemy landing, to the wives and sisters who took up arms in the absence of their husbands and brothers to protect the shore, the resilience of Connecticut’s citizens in defending their homeland remains an under told story of courage and tenacity during the American Revolution,” he says.

About Robert A. Geake

Geake is a public historian who has written 14 books on Rhode Island and New England history, including “From Slaves to Soldiers: The 1st Rhode Island Regiment in the Revolutionary War” and “New England Citizen Soldiers of the Revolutionary War.” His most recent book “New England Plantations, Commerce, & Slavery” was published in 2020. He serves as the president of the Cocumscussoc Association, which manages Smith’s Castle historic house museum in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. He is a member of the Friends and Associates of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, as well as the Rhode Island Historical Society. He manages his blog “RI Footprints” and is a contributing editor to the blog “Small State Big History,” the online review of Rhode Island history.

About the Pardee-Morris House

Located at 325 Lighthouse Road, in New Haven, the Pardee-Morris House dates from about 1780, and is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. Built by Amos Morris around 1750, the house was burned by the British during their raid on New Haven in 1779, and rebuilt and expanded by the Morris family. In 1918, William S. Pardee, a descendant of the Morris family, willed the property to the New Haven Colony Historical Society, today the New Haven Museum. For a complete list of summer events at the Pardee-Morris House, visit: 

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About the New Haven Museum

The New Haven Museum, founded in 1862 as the New Haven Colony Historical Society, is located in downtown New Haven at 114 Whitney Avenue. The Museum collects, preserves and interprets the history and heritage of Greater New Haven and through its collections, exhibitions, programs and outreach brings more than 375 years of the Elm City’s history to life. For more information visit or or call 203-562-4183.


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