Washington Crossing

Plaque sponsored by the Society of the Founders of Norwich, Connecticut

Located on 173 North Main Street (N.P.U property)

Springtime is approaching in 1781 and so also is the beginning of the end for England’s war against American independence. General Washington visits Norwich, then one of our largest cities, on his way to Newport to plan strategy with General Rochambeau, commander of 6,000 French soldiers sent by Kind Louis XVI. Admiral Grasse’s French navy gains control of Chesapeake waters just as English General Cornwallis sets up camp at Yorktown, Virginia. Combined French and U.S. armies trap Cornwallis by land as Admiral Grasse prevents an escape by sea. General Cornwallis surrenders 8,000 English soldiers on October 17, 1781. English realizes U.S. independence is inevitable and agrees to a peace treaty signed in Paris on September 3, 1783.

Diah Manning Home

Diah Manning House

The picture of a proud Irish Mary Collins Stanley with her three boys Bill, Jim and Chick, taken over 100 years ago.

Plaque sponsored by the Major J. D. Robertson Family

Located on 85 Town Street

Samuel Manning, born in 1723, married Anne Winship in 1746. He died in 1783 and his widow, Anne, daughter Eunice and son Diah inherited the house. Diah was born in 1760. In 1784 he married Anna Gifford, daughter of James and Susanna (Hubbard) Gifford. He and his brother, Roger, served as drummers in the Revolutionary War. In 1775 Roger was in Colonel Israel Putnam’s regiment and Diah in the 8th Regiment under Colonel Jedediah Huntington. At Valley Forge in 1778 both brothers were chosen to be in Washington’s Body Guard, Diah being designated Drum Major. Diah carried to Major Andrè his breakfast on the morning of his execution.

Diah’s family was extremely kind to a young mulatto from Haiti who was captured by the Americans. His name was Jean Pierre Boyer who became president of the Republic of Haiti and later sent a present of $400 each to the widows of Consider Sterry and Diah Manning in return for their kindness to him in his captivity.

Jedehiah Huntington Home

Jedediah Huntington Home

The picture of a proud Irish Mary Collins Stanley with her three boys Bill, Jim and Chick, taken over 100 years ago.

Located on 23 East Town Street

General Jedediah Huntington was born in 1743, the son of General Jabez and Elizabeth (Backus) Huntington. He graduated from Harvard College with honors, and then went into business with his father. He became a valiant soldier during the Revolution and fought courageously during the Battle of Bunker Hill, from which he emerged a Colonel.

After the Battle of Bunker Hill he fought in New York and Pennsylvania. He endured the hardships of Valley Forge and helped repulse the British at Danbury, Connecticut, in 1776. In 1777, at General Washington’s request, he was made a Brigadier General and at the end of the war received the commission of Major General. After the war he served many important positions such as High Sheriff for the County of New London, Judge of Probate for the district of Norwich, First Alderman of the city of Norwich, one of the representatives of the town in the State Legislature. He was one of the founders of the Order of Cincinnati.

He married Faith Trumbull in 1766, daughter of Governor Jonathan Trumbull of Lebanon, Connecticut. They had one son, Jabez. After her death he married Ann Moore of New York. They had seven children.

General Jedediah Huntington was the first collector of U.S. Customs under the Federal Constitution. He was appointed in 1789 by General Washington, removed to New London and built a home there at the corner of Broad and Washington Streets. He died in New London in 1818 at the age of 75. He was initially buried in New London but his remains were later removed to Norwich and buried in the old burying grounds near the Green.

This house contains a very handsome staircase with mahogany rail and rope balusters.

Benedict Arnold

Plaque sponsored by Bruce McDermott

Located on 299 Washington Street

Benedict Arnold was born here in January 1741. He and a younger sister, Hannah, were the only children in the family of his father, also named Benedict, and his mother, Hannah Waterman King, to survive killer childhood diseases and reach adulthood.

Many tales have circulated about Arnold’s wild, undisciplined childhood, but virtually

Benedict Arnold was born here in January 1741

none is true. His father’s health problems caused young Benedict to leave school and become an apprentice of his mother’s cousins, Daniel and Joshua Lathrop. Those two Norwichites taught him the apothecary’s trade and then helped set him up in business in New Haven, Connecticut. There, Arnold became a prosperous merchant, heavily involved in the West Indies trade.

The Revolution fostered Arnold’s remarkable talents as a daring commander on land and water. He fought courageously at Ticonderoga, Quebec, Lake Champlain, and at the pivotal battles of Saratoga. He repelled a British force at Danbury, Connecticut for which the Continental Congress finally named him a major general. George Washington praised Arnold as his fighting general.

Wounded seriously at Quebec and then again at Saratoga, and seeing how poorly Congress supported its army, Arnold started to doubt the merits of the patriot cause. Problems with local officials in Philadelphia during 1778, after Washington named him military governor there, added to his growing disillusionment. After a vicious public attack on his character, Arnold opened negotiations with the British. He believed the Revolution had lost its way and would collapse, and he hoped to lead the people in settling their differences with the Crown short of independence.

In September 1780, amid a failed plot to turn patriot defenses at West Point, NY over to the British, Arnold defected. The British awarded him the rank of brigadier and indemnified him for his property losses, although more had been requested.

As a British officer, Arnold led attacks on Richmond, VA and in September, 1781 on New London, Connecticut. The massacre of American soldiers at Fort Griswold across the Thames River, that day, as well as the burning of New London, further increased patriotic enmity toward Arnold. He was not at Fort Griswold but was in overall command of the troops who attacked that bastion.

After the war, Arnold resumed his mercantile career, trading out of Canada and England. He never quite enjoyed the prosperity of his earlier years. Arnold died in London In June 1801, aged 60 years, his name, despite his invaluable service to the patriot cause, to become synonymous with treason.

His remains are interred at St. Mary’s Battersea Church in London with his wife, Margaret Shippen Arnold, and daughter Sophia.

Text by Professor James Kirby Martin author, historian, professor of history.

The Glebe House

Located on 62 Church Street

Built in 1768 this was the home of the Reverend John Tyler, Rector of Christ Church for 54 years. He had been ordained by the Bishop of London. During the Revolution religious services were held in the house. Reverend Tyler took part in the historic meeting of March 25, 1783 at the Glebe House in Woodbury, Connecticut, at which Samuel Seabury was selected as the first American Episcopal Bishop. The house was later occupied by William Tyler Olcott, author and astronomer, who was the great-great-grandson of Reverend Tyler.

Daniel Tyler

In the early moments of the Civil War, governor Buckingham relied greatly on Norwich resident, at 130 Washington Street, Captain Daniel Tyler (age 62), a graduate of West Point and having served in the U.S. Army for approximately 15 years, was familiar with the details of military organization.

On April 18, 1861 Captain Tyler was promoted to Colonel and Commanding Officer of the Connecticut 1st Infantry Regiment. On April 22, 1861 the companies  of the Regiment (located throughout the state) were ordered to move to New Haven to begin training. Since Tyler was the only professional soldier in the Regiment, he had a huge responsibility placed upon him to train such a large amount of raw troops.

Soon after reaching Washington, D.C. with is Regiment, Daniel Tyler was promoted to Brigadier General at the earnest request of the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Army, Lt. General Winfield Scott. So impressed with the 39,000 troops that had assembled, General Scott was heard to remark that the Connecticut troops were the best disciplined, best equipped, and best trained.

President Lincoln was well aware his forces were not yet prepared for major battle but found it hard to resist the call of the press and public. More importantly, he had learned that a large Confederate Army was moving north from Richmond, Virginia and could pose a threat to Washington.

General Tyler then was ordered to lead the federal advance with his Infantry Division. They met the Confederate Army on July 18, 1861 at Manassas, Virginia. The battle is known as Bull Run by the North and Manassas by the South. The battle was won by the Confederate Army.

General Tyler returned to the state and rendered great service to the state and country in seeing the new forming Connecticut Regiments 14 through 21 were prepared for the field.

Again in March 1862, General Tyler returned to federal service and was assigned to command a brigade then a division in the Army of Mississippi.

General Tyler’s civilian profession was civil engineer. He founded the city of Anniston, Alabama and was buried there in early December 1882 at age 83.

Captain Robert Niles Monument

Located on 37 Oak Street

Captain Robert Niles of Norwich was Commander of the Revolutionary War vessel, The Spy. He was employed by the government to carry to France an official copy of the treaty ratified with that kingdom in 1778, known as the Treaties of Commerce And Alliance. Of six copies dispatch by different ships, Capt. Niles’ copy was the only one able to pass through the British blockade and arrived at Brest in 21 days. This treaty hastened the departure of troops and stores which France sent to the aid of the American cause. This treaty was the result of General Benedict Arnold’s victory at Saratoga on October 7, 1777; France entered the Revolutionary War actively on the American side leading to ultimate victory at Yorktown.

The inscription reads:

CAPT. ROBERT NILES

A patriot who commanded the Spy during the Revolution, He carried the treaty to France delivering in to BENJ. FRANKLIN

Capt. Miles served his country faithfully and died a Christian in the year 1818 aged 83 years