He proved his courage — Connecticut Tercentenary Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin

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Today, the Connecticut Tercentenary Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin remembers when Governor Tryon of New York and 2000 men burned and pillaged Danbury on April 26, 1777.

From Scribner’s Popular History of the United States by William Cullen Bryant, Sydney Howard Gay, Noah Brooks, published in 1897:

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A far more destructive incursion was that of April 26th, into Connecticut, under Ex-governor Tryon.

With two thousand men, Tryon, who had been made a Major-general of provincials, sailed down the Sound from New York, and on the 25th, late in the evening, debarked his force on the east bank of the Saugatuck River.

The distance from this point to Danbury was about twenty miles.

Tryon, keeping on the east side of the Saugatuck, marched with but slight opposition toward Danbury, where he arrived at two o’clock the next day.

The neighboring country was speedily alarmed, and General G. S. Silliman, of Fairfield, started in pursuit with five hundred militia.

Major-general Wooster, of the State troops, Brigadier-general Arnold, Lieutenant-colonel Oswald, of the artillery, and other officers, were at New Haven, sixty miles distant, and they rode with all speed toward Danbury.

A heavy rain on the afternoon of the 26th prevented any considerable numbers of the militia from reaching the village of Bethel, two miles southeast of Danbury, until near midnight.

The American plan was, to intercept the enemy as they returned to their vessels in the morning.

Tryon rapidly accomplished the object of his expedition, destroying over sixteen hundred tents — a loss the Americans could ill sustain — and other stores, and after burning all the buildings belonging to rebels, set out on his return.

Finding the militia in force on the road by which he had come, he turned westerly toward Ridgefield, intending to reach his ships by another route.

Wooster, Arnold, and Silliman divided their forces to meet this movement.

By a forced march, Arnold reached Ridgefield before noon on the 27th, in advance of Tryon.

Wooster was in pursuit with a small body. If his courage had ever been doubted before, he proved it now.

Urging his men to follow him to the attack of the enemy, he fell, mortally wounded, and was carried from the field upon his sash.

At Ridgefield, Arnold attempted, with his usual daring, to check the enemy, but could effect nothing with his small handful of men.

Here he had a horse shot under him, and the tradition is, that while he was struggling to release his feet from the stirrups, a Tory from New Fairfield, named Coon, advanced and called to him, ” Surrender!”

“Not yet,” returned Arnold, who at that moment, having extricated himself, drew a pistol, shot the Tory, and dashed into the woods amid a shower of bullets.

He presently reappeared and renewed the attack.

Unable to check the retreat of the enemy, the militia gathered at Saugatuck Bridge on the morning of the 28th, where Arnold, Silliman, and Colonel Huntington, with a small party of Continentals, prepared to make a final stand.

Lieutenant-colonel Oswald and Colonel Lamb, of the artillery, had guns posted advantageously; but the enemy crossed the stream above, and passing down the east side before they could be attacked, reached Compo and their vessels.

Their loss was forty killed, and many wounded; on the other side eighty were wounded, and twenty killed, among them Dr. David Atwater of New Haven, and Lieutenant-colonel Gold.

Other marauding expeditions followed this, on both sides.

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The Connecticut Tercentenary Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin shows with an artist’s image of Major-general David Wooster.

Connecticut Tercentenary Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin

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