My Brother Sam is Dead

This past week I took Sal Lilienthal of the Bicycle Touring Company on a Tour de Sam. We visited all the sites and even followed the route of the British Troops during the 1777 Raid of Danbury, Connecticut.

I have posted some photos of the locations we visited in Westport below.

View all the .My Brother Sam is Dead Photos


Redding is portrayed as a Tory town in my brother Sam is dead but town records contain very few references to the Loyalists of Redding during the Revolutionary period. They most certainly existed, and prior to the war openly disapproved of opposing the British Government, stating “a firm dependence on the Mother Country is essential to our political safety and happiness.”

Many, if not all, of Redding’s Tories were Anglican Church members. Anglicans were in a difficult position, their choice of religion was tied closely to the crown of England and a split from England left them with an uncertain future. Congregationalists did not have these ties, so for them it was a matter of right or wrong…did they agreed with the actions of England’s leaders or disagree.

The confusion of the Tories/Loyalists is explained by Tim Meeker in Chapter 2,

“Ever since I could remember, all my life in fact, there had been discussions and arguments and debates about whether we ought to obey His Majesty’s government or whether we should rebel. What kept confusing me about it was that the argument didn’t have two sides the way an argument should, but about six sides.”

It should be noted that many Anglicans were angered by the actions of England’s leaders, but felt a Rebellious split from England was excessive and a diplomatic approach to the issues was in the best interest of all colonists involved.

Redding’s Tories referred to themselves as the Redding Loyalist Association. The Redding Loyalist Association was led by the son of John Beach, Lazarus. In February of 1775, they and other Tories living in Fairfield County published an article in a New York publication proclaiming their loyalty to the King.

The Redding Loyalist’s “resolutions” sent to James Rivington’s Gazetteer, the government organ (paper) in New York City, proclaiming their allegiance to the Crown of England is as follows:

“Mr. Rivington: In the present critical situation of public affairs, we, the subscribers, Freeholders and Inhabitants of the town of Reading and the adjoining parts in the County of Fairfield, and Colony of Connecticut, think it is necessary (through the columns of your paper) to assure the public that we are open enemies to any change in the present happy Constitution, and highly disapprove of all measures in any degree calculated to promote confusion and disorder; for which purpose and in order to avoid the general censure, incurred by a great part of this colony from the mode of conduct here adopted for the purpose of opposing the British Government, we have entered into the following resolves and agreements, viz:

1st Resolved, that while we enjoy the privileges and immunities of the British Constitution we will render all due obedience to his most Gracious Majesty King George the Third, and that a firm dependence on the Mother Country is essential to our political safety and happiness.

2nd Resolved, that the privileges and immunities of this Constitution are yet (in a good degree) continued to all his Majesty’s American subjects, except those who, we conceive, have justly forfeited their rights thereto.

3rd Resolved, that we supposed the Continental Congress was constituted for the purpose of restoring harmony between Great Britain and her colonies and removing the displeasure of his Majesty toward his American subjects, whereas on the contrary some of their resolutions appear to us immediately calculated to widen the present unhappy breach, counteract the first principles of civil society, and in a great degree abridge the privileges of their constituents.

4th Resolved, that notwithstanding we will in all circumstances conduct with prudence and moderation, we consider it an indispensable duty we owe to our King and Constitution, our Country and posterity, to defend, maintain and preserve at the risk of our lives and properties the prerogatives of the Crown, and the privileges of the subject from all attacks by any rebellious body of men, any Committees of Inspection, Correspondence, etc…

This document was signed by 141 Freeholders and Inhabitants of the town of Reading and the adjoining parts in the County of Fairfield but the signers were not revealed by the publisher, James Rivington.

Patriots’ Reaction

Historian Charles Burr Todd wrote: “The effect of this document on the Patriots of Redding was like that of a red flag on a bull. They at once set to work to discover its signers and presently made public in a circular the entire list so far as they belonged to Redding. It was given out by the Committee of Observation under this preamble:”

“Whereas, there was a certain number of resolves published- and whereas said Resolves are injurious to the rights of this Colony, and breath a spirit of enmity and opposition to the rights and liberties of all America and are in direct opposition to the Association of the Continental Congress: and notwithstanding said resolutions were come into with a seeming view to secure the said signers some extraordinary privileges and immunities, yet either through negligence in the printer or upon design of the subscribers, said signed names are not made public – and now if there be any advantage in adopting those principles we are willing they should be entitled there to; and for which end and for the more effectual carrying into execution and Association we have taken some pains and by the assistance of him who carried said resolves to said Printer we have obtained the whole of said names. But as we mean not to publish the names except those who belong to said Reading(Redding).

The Committee of Observation added: “There are only 42 Freeholders in the above number. There are several minors, etc. that make the above number of 74 that belong to said Reading, and we hereby hold them up to the public as “adversaries” to the Association of said Congress.”

“Signed by the order of the Committee of Observation for said town of Reading.
Ebenezer Couch, Chairman.”

The entire list of Redding Loyalists was published by the Committee of Observation for all to see, publicly exposing the signers and placing them in great danger among their Patriotic neighbors. Not all of those who had signed were ardent adherents to the British cause, and the “pressure” applied by the Patriots in publishing the names of the signers caused some to realign themselves with the Patriot cause. Those remaining adamantly against the War of Independence fled to the safety of the British lines, while the majority simply fell silent opting for their trusted and beloved church leader, Rev. John Beach’s policy of passive resistance in the Revolutionary period.

The Loyalists of Redding, Revolutionary Period

In 1775, a number of loyalists in town signed what was essentially a neutrality agreement, saying they would not bear arms on the side of the British and would not discourage enlistment in the American army. Rev. John Beach was one of these signers and perhaps it was concessions such as this agreement that allowed the Anglican community to survive in Redding, while other Anglican parishes in Connecticut dwindled and the ministers of some of them went either into exile or were jailed.

Redding Tories that chose not to heed the warnings and yield to the Patriots were fined and imprisoned. Minutes of the Connecticut’s Governor and Council of Safety reveal the price paid by those parties:

“Lazarus Beach, Andrew Fairchild, Nathan Lee, Enos Lee, and Able Burr of Reading, in the county of Fairfield, being Tory convicts and sent by order of law to be confined in the town of Mansfield to prevent any mischievous practices of theirs, having made their escape and being taken up and remanded back to his Honor the Governor and this Council, to be dealt with.”

“Resolved, and ordered by the Governor and his Council aforesaid, that the said Lazarus Beach (etc…) be committed to the keeper of the goal in Windham, within said prison to be safely kept until they come out thence by due order of the General Assembly, or the Governor and his Council of Safety, and that they pay cost of their being apprehended and being remanded, etc…, allowed to be 25 pounds, 3 shillings. Mittimus granted Jan. 28, 1777.”

On Feb. 10, 1777, Beach, Burr, and Fairchild were ordered to “return to Mansfield and there abide under the direction of the Committee of Inspection of that town, while Enos and Nathan Lee were permitted to return home on their giving bonds for their good behavior.”

Though he headed efforts to protect the safety of his church societies, one agreement Rev. John Beach refused to comply with was the omission of the King’s prayer in his church services. This position brought upon him the active persecution of radical Patriots like the Sons of Liberty. In February of 1778, the Justices and Selectmen of Redding informed Rev. Beach that “in order that we may have peace and quietness at home” it was in his best interest to omit the prayer:

“Redding, Feb. 12th, 1778

Dear Sir: We have no disposition to restrain or limit you or others in matters of conscience. But understanding that you, in your Public Worship, still continue to pray that the King of Great Britain may be strengthened to vanquish and overcome all his enemies, which manner of praying must be thought to be a great insult upon the Laws, Authority, and People of this State, as you and others can but know that the King of England has put the People of these United States from under his protection, Declared the Rebels, and is now at open war with said States, and consequently we are his enemies.

Likewise you must have understood that the American States have declared themselves independent of any Foreign Power – Now Sir, in order that we may have peace and quietness at home among ourselves, we desire that for the future you would omit praying in Public that King George the third or any other foreign Prince, or Power, may vanquish, etc… the People of this Land.

Your compliance herewith may prevent you trouble.

We are, Rev. Sir, with due Respect, your obedient humble servants.

To the Revd. John Beach.

Lemuel Sanford, William Hawley – Justices

Hezekiah Sanford, Seth Sanford, Thaddeus Benedict, John Grey, William Heron – Selectmen of Redding”

Mr. Beach, however, continued to read the prayers for the King vowing that he would “do his duty, preach, and pray for the King till the rebels cut out his tongue.”

Rev. John Beach, as a result, wasn’t safe inside or outside of his churches. The Rev. Beach served not only Redding, but many of the surrounding towns as well. And it seems there’s a story of rebels bursting into his services and threatening his life in every one. The Redding version is as follows:

“A squad of soldiers (hired, it is said, by Squire Stephen Betts for a gallon of French brandy to shoot Mr. Beach), gathered outside the open door of the church, and from one of them a bullet was fired which lodged in the ribs of the sounding board, a foot or more above the head of the venerable preacher.

As the congregation sprang to their feet in unfeigned consternation to rush from the church, he quieted them by saying: “don’t be alarmed, brethren. Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” and then proceeded with his discourses as if nothing had happened.”

The Rev. John Beach died in March of 1782, well before the peace treaty of September, 1783, but not as a result of a Rebel sword or bullet, simply old age. In many recorded histories, he is credited for maintaining a more tranquil community than others in Connecticut.

Redding Tories: Issac Drew, Ephraim DeForest, John, Joseph and Peter Lyon, and Daniel Read, were among those whose land was confiscated by the State courts. Many others were fined for refusing to perform military duty but as a whole the Loyalists of Redding were a less tortured one – before, during and after the Revolution in comparison to others in the state, where recriminations against British sympathizers took the form of wholesale jailing and even murder. Lazarus Beach, most certainly a thorn in the patriot’s side in the early stages of the conflict, eventually fell into rank and remained in Redding after the Revolution serving as selectman from 1788-1789. Proof that extreme measures were not taken against the Loyalists of Redding unless the person had actually gone over to the enemy to take up arms or screen themselves under the protection of the Ministerial Army.

The musket Sam takes from his father in my brother Sam is dead, was a Brown Bess “Long Land” musket with a 46″ barrel length, .75 barrel caliber, and bayonet length of 16″-17″. A skilled soldier could fire three shots per minute with a musket of this type.

Brown Bess is a nickname of unknown origin for the British Army’s Land Pattern Musket and its derivatives. This musket was used in the era of the expansion of the British Empire and acquired a symbolic importance which was at least as significant as its physical importance. It was in use for over a hundred years with a good number of incremental changes in its design. The earliest version was the Long Land Pattern of 1722, 62 inches long (without bayonet) with a 46 inch barrel. It was later found that shortening the barrel did not lessen its accuracy and made handling the musket easier. This resulted in the Militia (or Marine) Pattern of 1756 and the Short Land Pattern of 1768, both of which had a 42 inch (1,067 mm) barrel. Other versions included the India Pattern, New Land Pattern Musket, and Sea Service Musket.

As most male citizens of the American Colonies were required by law to own a musket for militia duty, the Long Land Pattern was a common firearm in use by both sides at the commencement of the American Revolution.

Accuracy of the Brown Bess was, as with most other muskets, poor. The effective range is often quoted as 80-100 yards but it was more likely about 50 yards. The combination of the large diameter of the bullet, the heavy weight of its lead construction and its unstable aerodynamic shape (a round ball marred by hand casting) contributed to its low effective range. Though the large projectile could inflict a great deal of damage when it did hit its target, military tactics of the period stressed mass volleys and bayonet charges, instead of individual sniping due to the inaccuracy of these muskets. The great length of the weapon, 62 inches long, with a bayonet of 16 to 17 inches, was advantageous because it allowed longer reach in bayonet engagements, especially against horsemen. By forming a rectangle or square with men facing outward with their bayonets, horsemen could not ride through them.

Early usage of the term “Brown Bess” appears in an April 1771 issue of the Connecticut Courant, which noted “…but if you are afraid of the sea, take Brown Bess on your shoulder and march.” This familiar use must indicate widespread use of the term by that time. The 1785 Dictionary of Vulgar Tongue, a contemporary work which defined vernacular and slang terms, contained this entry: “Brown Bess: A soldier’s firelock. To hug Brown Bess; to carry a firelock, or serve as a private soldier.”

Popular explanations of the use of the word “Brown” include that it was a reference to either the color of the walnut stocks or to the characteristic brown color that was produced by russeting, an early form of metal treatment. Others argue that mass-produced weapons of the time were coated in brown varnish on metal parts as a rust preventative and on wood as a sealer (or in the case of unscrupulous contractors, to disguise inferior or non-regulation types of wood). However, the Oxford English Dictionary notes that “browning” was only introduced in the early 19th century, well after the term had come into general use.

Similarly, the word “Bess” is commonly held to either derive from the word arquebus or blunderbuss (predecessors of the musket) or to be a reference to Elizabeth I of England, considered unlikely as she died more than a century before the introduction of the weapon. More plausible is that the term Brown Bess could have been derived from the German words “brawn buss” or “braun buss”, meaning “strong gun” or “brown gun”; King George I who commissioned its use was from Germany.

The main parts of a flintlock are:

– The hammer, which holds and accelerates a piece of flint
– The mainspring, which powers the hammer
– The frizzen, which is the piece of steel the flint strikes
– The pan, which is the place where a small quantity of gunpowder waits to receive the sparks

You can see these parts labeled in the picture below.


During the Revolution, neither side of the conflict launched an active campaign during the winter months. For the most part, military activity halted for the winter. The exceptions being some raids and foraging expeditions by the British, and American counter raids and patrols in response to them.

There are three reasons the armies spent each winter encamped:

First, soldiers during the Revolution received only one standard uniform for the year. The standard uniform included: shoes, breeches, stockings, linen shirt, waistcoat, wool coat and hat or cap. There were a few modifications because of winter, for instance, troops might receive wool stockings or trousers, or a sleeved waistcoat. Overcoats (called Watchcoats) were only provided to the winter sentries, who because winter hats, gloves, mittens and footwear were not generally issued, could stand duty for only a couple of hours at a time in winter weather. So halting during the winter lessened the soldiers’ exposure to the harsh elements, thus preventing death and disease by keeping them indoors as much as possible.

Secondly, the roadways were not paved, they were dirt. Dirt roads in winter and spring are a mess.

Thirdly, draft animals pulled both armies heavy artillery and provision wagons. Neither side had large surpluses of food to feed themselves, let alone draft animals! These animals had to eat, and during the winter months, the grasses they preferred were either brown or covered in snow. Winter encampments allowed the armies to rest the animals and scatter them over many miles so they could all find something to graze on. When spring had sprung, and local pastures were able to support more animals, the army gathered them back together again in preparation for the campaign season.

In the winter of 1778-79, General Israel Putnam’s division of the Continental Army encamped at Redding, Connecticut. Troops began to arrive at camp in November and would continue to arrive until late December.

Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons arrived at Camp 2nd Hill (the middle camp) on November 14th.

The journal of Lt. Col. Henry Dearborn, 3rd New Hampshire Regiment shows his troops arrived at the main camp (Putnam Park) on November 30th. It also indicates a mixture of snow & rain in December:

•Dec. 10th: the weather very Cold, the Snow about 6 inches.
•Dec. 13th: a very heavy storm of Rain and no bread for two days.
•Dec. 17th: a heavy Rain…
•Dec. 22nd : a severe Snow storm…
•Dec. 24th: we had Snow last night & very severe Cold today. Our men are well…Clothed and well hutted.
•Dec. 26th: we have a very severe Snow storm.
•Dec. 27th: the weather seems more like Canada, then Connecticut…

The 8th Connecticut Regiment, which encamped at Camp 2nd Hill (the middle camp), 1-2 miles to the West of the main camp, arrived “about Christmas or a little before”. Private Joseph Plumb Martin’s writes:

“We arrived at Reading about Christmas or a little before, and prepared to build our huts for our winter quarters. And now came on the time again between grass and hay, that is the winter campaign of starving.”

“…I assisted in the building of our winter huts. We got them in such a state of readiness that we moved into them about New Year’s Day. The reader may take my word, if he pleases, when I tell him that we had nothing extraordinary, either eatables or drinkables, to keep a New Year or housewarming.”

Orders issued by General Parsons, to his troops on December 4th give specific details of how he wanted the huts built and aligned:

“The huts are to be built 14 x 16 between joints with logs dovetailed together; the door towards the brook at one end and the chimney at the other; the square of the hut must be six feet high at least before the roof comes on; the gable ends must be contracted until they come to a proper point; the ribs of the roof serving to form the roof proper for shingling. The huts to be built in two rows with eight feet distance between them, agreeable to our present mode of encamping…The officer’s huts of each regiment must be built in a regular line at about 16 feet distance from the rear line of the soldiers. The quartermasters of the several regiments of the brigade will run lines and mark trees between grounds both in front and rear of their respective regiments so as to secure the wood and timber property belonging to each.”

The troops slept in tents until they finished the construction of the huts. A review of Lt. Col. Dearborn’s journal entries above give you an idea of weather conditions the soldiers built their huts in…far from ideal.

The hut building process is described in detail by Private Martin:

“After procuring the most suitable timber for the business, it was laid up by notching them at the four corners. When arrived at the proper height, about seven feet, the two end sticks which held those that served for plates were made to jut out about a foot from the sides, and a straight pole made to rest on them, parallel to the plates; the gable ends were then formed by laying on pieces with straight poles on each, which served for ribs to hold the covering, drawing in gradually to the ridgepole. Now for the covering: this was done by sawing some of the larger trees into cuts about four feet in length, splitting them into bolts, and riving them into shingles, or rather staves; the covering then commenced by laying on those staves, resting the lower ends on the poles by the plates; they were laid on in two thickness’, carefully breaking joints. These were then bound on by a straight pole with withes, then another double tier with the butts resting on this pole and bound on as before, and so on to the end of the chapter. A chimney was then built at the center of the back side, composed of stone as high as the eaves and finished with sticks and clay, if clay was to be had, if not, with mud.”

Living Conditions & Pay

Soldiers: One room hut (14′ X 16′), One Fireplace, Dirt Floors, 12 Men to a hut, Soldiers received rations and salaries only when available. Soldiers’ wives and/or girlfriends that joined their partners in camp received 1/2 rations when available. 12 men or women to a hut may seem cramped but people slept in a sitting position back then and many of the huts were furnished with bunk beds so there was some breathing room.

Officers: Two room hut (14′ X 22′), Two Fireplaces, Dirt Floors (sometimes wooden, if available), No more than 2 to 4 men in each hut, Officers were one of the first to receive available rations.

Commanding Officers: Housed in-town in real houses with families, Did not suffer the harsh conditions of cramped living spaces and winter weather, First to receive salaries and rations.

Pay: The pay of officers and men was as follows: Major General, 20 pounds a month; Brigadier General, 17 pounds a month; Colonel, 15 pounds a month; Lieutenant Colonel, 12 pounds a month; Major, 10 pounds a month; Chaplain, 6 pounds a month; Lieutenant, 4 pounds a month; Ensign, 3 pounds a month; Adjutant 5 pounds, 10 shillings a month; Quarter Master, 3 pounds a month; Surgeon, 7 pounds, 10 shillings a month; Surgeon’s Mate, 4 pounds a month; Sergeant, 2 pounds, 8 shillings a month; Corporal, 2 pounds, 4 shillings a month; Fifer and Drummer, 2 pounds, 4 shillings a month; Private, 2 pounds a month.

Camp Music:

Camp music was an important aspect of the soldier’s daily life. Music served as the soldiers’ clock and regulated their activities. “Reveille” was beat at sunrise to wake the men; “Assembly” was beat to assemble the troops for inspection; “Troop Sequence” played while the troops were inspected; “The Roast Beef” was the lunch and dinner call; the “Retreat” was played at sunset to signal the end of the day’s duty, and “Taptoo” was beat by 10:00 pm as a signal for “lights out.”

Calls used in Camp/Battlefield:

•Drummers Call: to assemble the musicians
•Reveille: to wake the troops, usually at 7:00 am
•Assembly (or singlings of troop): to assemble the troops for inspection
•Troop Sequence (3 cheers, singlings of troop, doublings of troop, ending with 3 cheers): played while inspecting troops
•To Arms: to assemble the troops with haste for battle
•The Roast Beef: lunch and dinner call
•Bank: church call and parley(during battle)
•The Retreat: played at sunset to call roll and close the camp to public and to retreat during battle
•Pioneer’s March: to assemble the pioneers
•The General (first part): cease fire
•Preparative Sequence: for priming and loading during battle played only once
•Taptoo: quiet in the camp
•Grenadier’s March: to advance during a battle
•Point of War(first part of Reveille): charge bayonets
•Long March: cadence
•Adjutant, Sergeant, etc.: to call all adjutants, sergeants, etc.

Marches/Ceremonial Music:

•Bellisle March
•Boston March
•Brit. Grenadiers/Free America
•Capt. Money’s March
•Chain Cotillion
•Country Dance/Doublings of Troop
•Duke of York’s March
•Fanfare(masterpiece medley)
•French Quick March
•Girl I Left Behind Me
•Governor King’s
•I’ll Touzle Your Kurchy
•La Belle Catherine
•La Rejouissance
•Moon and 7 stars
•Norman Toy
•Paddy Whack
•Quick March in Cymon
•Rakes of Mallow
•Road/March to Boston
•Scotch Grey’s March
•Successful Campaign
•The Drum q Welcome Here Again
•When the King Enjoys His Own Again (The World Turned Upside Down)
•Yankee Doodle q York Fusiliers

[Music/Info sources: BAR music book, fellow Musicians of the historical reenactment community (esp. BAR fife major Erik Lichack), and The Old Barracks Fifes and Drums tune list (D.M. Steven Hudak)]

Camp Life:

What the soldiers did during waking hours depended on the day and the weather. Rainy/Snowy days would be spent in their huts and/or tents repairing their gear and weapons, sewing torn clothing, or if they were lucky playing cards or dice. Sunny days would be spent foraging for wood and food; assembly and drilling in preparation for battle; scouting missions to ferret out Tories or spies; scouting missions to determine whether Cattle or any species of provision found near the lines are in danger of falling into the hands of the Enemy, or are carried there with an intent to supply them.; patrols or marches in response to British alarms.

Many of the Connecticut troops were placed on patrols at Horseneck, Stamford and Norwalk. Some were sent over to “no-man’s land” in Westchester County and several hundred troops were sent to New London for guard duty and the construction of Fort Griswold.

Private Martin’s diary indicates some of the local troops obtained furloughs in February.

“It was now the beginning of February. Many of the men had obtained furloughs to go home and visit their friends…”

Martin was one of those sent to New London from March until May, and from his entries, the conditions there were not any better than in Redding.

“I had not been in camp more than a week before I was sent off with a large detachment to New London to guard the fortifications in and about that town…we were put into houses, and here, too, we almost starved to death, and I believe should have quite starved, had we not found some clams…we stayed here, starving, until the first of May, when we received orders to march to camp and join our regiments.”

Non-Military Activities:

Charles Burr Todd notes: On Sunday’s all the troops presentable were formed in column and marched to the Congregational Church at Redding Center, where they listened to the sermons of the eloquent and patriotic Nathaniel Bartlett, pastor of the church.

Todd also states that: One of the recreations of the officers was the practicing of the rites and amenities of Free Masonry. While the army lay at Redding, the American Union Lodge, which followed the fortunes of the army, was re-organized “on application of a number of gentlemen, brethren of the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons.”

Orders and reports coming out of Redding or relating to Redding:

Camp, 2nd Hill, Nov. 17, 1778
“The General having obtained permission of the Commander in Chief to be absent a few days from the Division, the Command will devolve upon Brigadier General Huntington. General McDougal is happy that it falls upon a gentleman in whose care for and attention to the Troops he has the utmost confidence. The orders will be issued as usual at the Headquarters of the Division.”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Date unknown
“162 men in Hazen’s regiment were ‘unfit for duty for want of shoes.'”
Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 5, 1778
“at twelve at night we were alarmed by hearing that the enemy are at Terry Town (below Peekskill) in force. In consequence of which a detachment of 1500 men from the three brigades under General Putnam’s command were ordered to march…'”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 9, 1778
“we returned to camp…'”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 12, 1778
“we are very busy at work upon our huts, amongst the snow…'”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 16, 1778
“we begin to get into our huts…'”

General Putnam’s Orders, Dec. 18, 1778
“Lieut. Col. Bulter of Wylly’s Regiment is promoted to the command of the 2nd Company Battalion and is to be obeyed as such. Colonel Meigs is appointed Inspector of the Division and to do the duty of Adj. General for the same until further orders. Quartermaster Belding of the 1st Connecticut Brigade is appointed Quartermaster of the Division and is to do that duty until further orders. David Humphrey, Esq. Late Brigade Major to General Parsons is appointed aide de camp to General Putnam until further orders.”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 19, 1778
“we are in our huts…'”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 22, 1778
“a severe snow storm…'”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 25, 1778
“Christmas Day. The Weather is so cold we take but little notice of the day…'”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 26, 1778
” we have a very severe snow storm…”

Parsons’ Brigade Orders, Dec. 27, 1778
“The General of the brigade informs the officers and soldiers that he has used every possible method to supply flour or bread to the brigade. Although a sufficiency of every article necessary is at Danbury, the weather had been so extreme that it is impossible for teams to pass to that place. Every measure is taken to supply flour, rum, salt and every necessary tomorrow, at which time, if a quantity sufficient comes in, all past allowances shall be made up. The General, therefore, desires for the honor of this corps and their own personal reputation, the soldiery, under the special circumstances caused by the severity of the season, will make themselves contented to that time.”

Petition of the Connecticut Soldiers in the Revolutionary Army, to His Excellency, Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut. Captain Nathaniel Webb’s Orderly Book, Camp Reading, Dec. 27, 1778.

“May it please your Excellency. The Sense of Importance of opposing with Force, ye attempts of Great Britain to enslave our Country, induces us to lay before your Excellency the Condition of that Part of ye Army raised from the State of Connecticut & ye great Danger of their disbanding & returning to their several Homes.

They have may it please your Excellency been promised a Blanket, & other Clothing annually from ye Continent & a Blanket from ye State every year, for each non-commissioned Officer & Soldier, those Promises have not been complied with, so far from it, that although we have not, one half ye Quota of Men this State was to raise, we assure you not less than four hundred are to this Day totally destitute, & no one has received two Blankets according to Contract, nor has more than one half of the Clothing promises ever been received or any compensation made for ye deficiency, that when they have Coats they are without Breeches, & when they are supplied with Shoes, they have neither Stockings nor Shirts, & at this Inclement Season many of our Men are suffering for want of Blankets, Shirts, Breeches, Shoes & Stockings, & some are destitute of Coats & Waistcoats.

The increasing Price of every necessary [necessity] and Convenience of Life, is another Grievance most [unreadable] experienced by ye Soldiery in their Marches, & in other Situations, they are necessitated to purchase Provisions and Vegetables when in Camp. The Prices now asked for one Meal is from three to eight Shillings. Turnips from two to three Dollars per Bushel & other Vegetables in proportion, that a Soldiers month Pay is consumed in about three days in furnishing himself with necessaries not supplied by the Public. – These are Grievances very greatly and Justly complained of by your Soldiers, & Officers of every Rank are Sharers in the Consequences of these Evils.
An expectation of Redress has retained ye Soldiery hitherto, but Desertions Daily increase & unless that Justice which is their due is done, We assure your Excellency we fear it will not be in our Power to retain them. We have ye greatest Reason to believe they will wait ye Event only of their Petition at ye Adj. Assembly, & should that Assembly arise without doing them Justice in ye past depredation of ye Currency, we are convinced ye greater part of ye Soldiery will desert.
We assure your Excellency we have & shall continue to appease every discontent which has ye remotest Tendency to produce Mutiny & Desertion or any other Act prejudicial to ye Service & we have ye Satisfaction to believe we posses ye Love & Affection of ye Soldiery & that they are not desirous to forsake us or ye Cause of their Country.
But it may please your Excellency they are naked in severe Winter, they are hungry & have no Money… We have promised them redress, we have assured them of ye good Intentions of their Country towards them, & that Justice…us as their Soldiery under our Command which is our just Right, but we cannot be convinced tis’ more.

Reasonable for us to rely on ye Provision Congress may be supposed to make some future Time, than for this State to rely on that Body for doing them Justice, especially when we consider ye conditions of ye Officers & Soldiers from ye Extreme Parts of ye States in ye Union, are so very different that one general Rule cannot be adopted which will do justice, & that when we consider that your Excellency is your Proclamation for raising ye Soldiers pledge ye faith of ye State for ye punctual fulfillment of every Engagement, made with ye Soldiers by Congress.

We hope & trust that our Assembly at their next Session will remove ye Causes of out Complaint & satisfy us those Loses we have sustained by ye past depreciation of Money & give those Assurances of keeping good our future pay & redress our other Grievances that no Cause of Complaint may remain among us, but should not this be done, we still think it to be our Indispensible Duty to make this public Representation before ye Evils we are convinced will flow from them have happened, least we should be [tough to read, ends in r-e-d] for our Silence when ye Event has taken place.

We beg your Excellency to lay this Representation before ye Assembly & to assure them we have ye most ardent Desire to assist in our several Stations in reducing that Power which involved out Country in this Cruel War & to promote that Order & decency in ye Soldiery, so necessary to ye Attainment of this End. We have furnished our Agent with a Calculation, founded on ye best Evidence in our power, that being adopted by our Assembly will in our Opinion quiet our Troops & that nothing short will give them Satisfaction.
We have the Honor to be with ye Greatest Esteem Your Excellencies.
Ob’t Servants”

Source: New England Historical and Genealogical Register (1873) Vol. 27:58-60

The journals of private Joseph Plumb Martin (stationed with the 8th Connecticut in Parsons’ middle camp) January, 1779
“We settled in our winter quarters at the commencement of the new year and went on in our old Continental Line of starving and freezing. We now and then got a little bad bread and salt beef (I believe chiefly horse-beef for it was generally thought to be such at the time). The month of January was very stormy, a good deal of snow fell, and in such weather it was mere chance if we got anything at all to eat.”

George Washington to Deputy Clothier Gen. George Measam, January 8, 1779

“It has been represented to me that the troops of Connecticut are in great want of Shirts, Stockings and Shoes. This leads me to inquire of you whether they have not received their proportion of these Articles in common with the rest of the Army. The troops in general have obtained orders for a Shirt and pair of Stockings per man and a pair of Shoes to each that wanted. If the Connecticut Troops have not been furnished … you will on receiving proper Returns for that purpose supply them in conformity to this Rule.”

George Washington to the Board of War, January 9, 1779

“Sir: I have the honor. of yours of the 7th. instant. As there is not probably a sufficiency of Mittens for the whole Army, a partial distribution would occasion uneasiness among those who were not supplied. Instead therefore of a general delivery, I should think it better to have them lodged with the Clothiers attending the Army to be delivered out occasionally to detachments going upon a duty that will expose them to the inclemency of the Weather.”

General Putnam’s Orders, Feb. 4, 1779
Edward Jones was tried at a General Court Martial for going to and serving the enemy, and coming out as a spy. He was found guilty of each and every charge exhibited against him, and according to Law and the Usage’s of Nations was sentenced to suffer Death:
“The General approves the sentence and orders it to be put in execution between the hours of ten and eleven A.M. by hanging him by the neck till he be dead.”

General Putnam’s Orders, Feb. 6, 1779
John Smith of the 1st Connecticut Regiment, was tried at a General Court Martial for desertion and attempting to go to the enemy, found guilty, and further persisting in saying that he will go to the enemy if ever he has an opportunity.

“The General approves the sentence and orders that it be put in execution between the hours of ten and twelve A.M. for him to be shot to death”

Report out of Canadian 2nd Regiment, Feb. 11, 1779
“This day a detachment from our Brigade (under the command of Major Torrey of our Regiment) consisting of one Major, two Captains, four Subalterns, six Sergeants, six Corporals, two Drums and Fifes, and one hundred and one Privates, marched from here to reinforce the Detachment at Horse Neck (Greenwich).”

General Putnam’s Orders, Feb. 13, 1779
“The General directs that no person be permitted to visit the prisoners under sentence of death unless at their request as frequent complaints have been made that they are interrupted in their private devotions by persons who come for no other purpose but to insult them.”

Headquarters, Reading, March 21, 1779
“Col. Hazen’s Regiment will march to Springfield in 3 Divisions by the shortest notice: the first Division will march on Monday next, and the other two will follow on Thursday and Friday next, weather permitting, and in case the detached parties join the Regiment, Col. Hazen will take with him one piece of Cannon and a proportionate number of Artillery men.”

Headquarters, Reading, April 11, 1779
“The officers are requested to lose no time in preparing for the field, that they may be ready to leave their present quarters at the shortest notice…No officers whose duty does not really require him to be on horseback will be permitted to keep horses with the Army- It ought to be the pride of an officer to share the fatigues, as well as the dangers to which the men are exposed to on foot…General Washington strongly recommends the officers divest themselves (as much as possible) of everything superfluous.”

Headquarters, Reading, May 24, 1779
“General Parsons orders the Brigade to be ready to march tomorrow at 6 o’clock A.M. Complete for Action.” *This Brigade seems to have returned to the Highlands via Ridgefield and Bedford.

Headquarters, Reading, May 27, 1779
“Major General Putnam about to take command of one of the Wings of the Grand Army, before he leaves the troops who have served under him the winter past, thinks it his duty to signify to them his entire approbation of their regular and soldier like conduct, and wishes them a successful and glorious campaign.”

Headquarters, Reading, May 28, 1779
“Daniel Vaughn and Jonathan Gore of the 8th Connecticut Regiment. Tried by a Brigade Court Martial whereof Lt. Col. Sumner was President, for stealing a cup from Captain Zalmon Read of Reading. The Court are of the opinion that the charges against Vaughn and Gore are not supported.”

Chapter Twelve:

Tim: “In June of that year, 1777, we found out that father was dead…we found all this out from one of the men who’d been taken away during the raid on Redding that spring.”

Life dying in a British prison ship is ironic seeing Life is loyal to the British cause. But it highlights the hardship of the loyalists who chose “passive resistance” in the war…they were caught in the middle of a war they didn’t support, suffering injustices when attempting to go on with their lives as they always had.

Redding prisoners taken away during the raid were: *Redding militiamen captured in Weston (James Rogers, Timothy Parsons, Russell Bartlett, Daniel Chapman, Thomas Couch, David Fairchild, Ezekial Fairchild, Jabez Frost, Daniel Meeker, Jonas Platt, Oliver Sanford, Nathaniel Squire and 13 year old, Jacob Patchen were among the captured.), Patriots Stephen Betts, Daniel Sanford, Jeremiah Sanford and a non-combatant (Benjamin Lines) captured on Redding Ridge.

*Betts, Bartlett, Lines, Patchen, and most of the Redding militiamen would all eventually return to Redding. Daniel and Jeremiah Sanford, Daniel Chapman, David Fairchild died in captivity while being held in the “sugar houses” of New York, where sanitation was deplorable and disease was rampant.

Tim: “Jerry? He’s dead?” Betsy: “You can understand why they took Mr. Rogers or Captain Betts, but why imprison a ten-year-old boy?”

Jerry Sanford is portrayed as a 10 year old, that is taken prisoner and dies in the prisons of New York in my brother Sam is dead. Jeremiah Sanford of Redding, Connecticut was taken prisoner by the British and did die in the prisons of New York but he was 19 years old not 10 years old. Jerry Sanford’s portrayal as a youth is no fault of the Collier brothers. He was long thought to be a youth in Redding history, as that is how Charles Burr Todd portrayed him in both versions of his History of Redding publications. Jeremiah Sanford’s gravestone holds the truth, it reads:

“Jeremiah Sanford, who died a prisoner in New York, June 28th in the 19th year of his age.”

Children of patriots were killed in the war. Relating to Redding, British General, William Tryon, was said to have an ill-natured propensity for women and boys. The latter especially he made prisoners of, and consigned to the horrible prison ships, holding them as hostages, on the justification that they “would very soon grow into rebels.”

In addition to prison ships, prisoners were also confined to the infamous “Sugar House”, a Revolutionary War version of a POW compound. There were actually three “Sugar Houses”- i.e. sugar warehouses which the British converted into makeshift prisons. Van Cortland’s on the northwest corner of the Trinity Church lot, Rhinelander’s on William & Duane Streets, and another on Liberty Street which was the largest and was used the longest. The most vivid accounts of confinement come from the journals of prisoners confined in the Liberty Street Sugar House, a five story stone building which was stifling in summer and frigid in winter. Food rations were minimal and of poor quality. Sanitation was deplorable and disease was rampant. Many prisoners died of mistreatment and/or neglect.

Tim: “We couldn’t get over to Verplancks Point that fall. The Rebels were holding all of northern Westchester County – Peekskill, Verplancks, Crompound, all of it.

By the time of the American Revolution, the tiny community of Peekskill was an important manufacturing center from its various mills along the several creeks and streams. These industrial activities were attractive to the Continental Army in establishing its headquarters there in 1776.

The mills of Peek’s Creek provided gunpowder, leather, planks, and flour. Slaughterhouses were an important part of the food supply. The river docks allowed transport of supply items and soldiers to the several other fort garrisons placed along the Hudson to prevent British naval passage between Albany and New York City. Officers at Peekskill generally supervised placing the first iron link chain between Bear Mountain and Anthony’s Nose in the spring of 1777.

Though Peekskill’s terrain and mills were beneficial to the Patriot cause, they also made tempting targets for British raids. The most damaging attack took place in early spring of 1777 when an invasion force of a dozen vessels led by a warship and supported by infantry overwhelmed the American defenders. Another British operation in October 1777 led to further destruction of industrial apparatus. As a result, the Hudson Valley command for the Continental Army moved from Peekskill to West Point where it stayed for remainder of the war.

Sam: “I’m going to be in Redding for a while, General Putnam, is bringing a couple of regiments here for winter encampment. We’re going up to Lonetown and hole up until spring.”

General Israel Putnam’s division of the Continental Army encamped in Redding in the winter of 1778-1779. This division was comprised of General Poor’s brigade of New Hampshire troops under Brig. General Enoch Poor, a Canadian Regiment led by Col. Moses Hazen, and two brigades of Connecticut troops: corps of infantry commanded by Brig. General Jedediah Huntington, and corps of cavalry commanded by Brig. General Samuel H. Parsons. This division had been operating along the Hudson (Eastern New York) during the fall, and as winter approached it was decided that it should go into winter quarters at Redding, as from this position it could support the important fortress of West Point in case of attack, intimidate the Cowboys and Skinners of Westchester County, and cover lands adjacent to Long Island Sound.

Colonel Aaron Burr, one of General Putnam’s aides and a frequent visitor to Redding, had suggested that Putnam look over the area for a future winter encampment during a summer visit to General Heath’s Brigade in Danbury. Putnam found the topography and location ideal. Three camp locations were marked and later prepped by an Army Corp. of Engineers: the first in the northeast part of Lonetown, near the Bethel line, on land owned by John Read, 2nd (now Putnam Park). The second also in Lonetown, was about a mile and a half west of the first camp, between Limekiln Rd. and Gallows Hill in the vicinity of present day Whortleberry Rd. & Costa Lane. The third camp was in West Redding, on a ridge about a quarter of a mile north of West Redding Station (vicinity of present day Deer Spring Drive & Old Lantern Road).

A full account of the encampment is located in Chapter Four: Redding, Connecticut and the Revolution.

Susannah: “You mean your troops are stealing from your own people?”

Given the conditions, it is difficult to blame the soldiers that took matters into their own hands and ventured out of camp in search of provisions. The citizens of Redding, did not see things this way, those who initially felt quite honored by the selection of their town for the army’s winter quarters, soon grew tired of soldiers looting their livestock. The soldiers position was that they were the one’s fighting the country’s battles and plundering the neighboring farms was within their rights as men of war. To them a well-stocked poultry yard, a pen of fat porkers or field of healthy heifers offered irresistible cuisine when compared to the horse-beef they were being offered back at camp. After a time, however, the wary farmers foiled the looters by storing their livestock over night in the cellars of their houses and in other secure places. Others butchered their stock as Sam urges his family to do.

A full account of the encampment is located in Chapter Four: Redding, Connecticut and the Revolution.

Tim: “Of course the ordinary soldiers didn’t have much fun. For one thing, there was always snow. It came down in a great blizzard about a week after the troops had started to build the encampment.”

Brigade orders out of Parsons’ command on December 27th reveal a desperate lack of food:

“The General of the brigade informs the officers and soldiers that he has used every possible method to supply flour or bread to the brigade. Although a sufficiency of every article necessary is at Danbury, the weather had been so extreme that it is impossible for teams to pass to that place. Every measure is taken to supply flour, rum, salt and every necessary tomorrow, at which time, if a quantity sufficient comes in, all past allowances shall be made up. The General, therefore, desires for the honor of this corps and their own personal reputation, the soldiery, under the special circumstances caused by the severity of the season, will make themselves contented to that time.”

The journals of private Joseph Plumb Martin (stationed with the 8th Connecticut in Parsons’ middle camp) show the desperate lack of food and poor weather conditions continued through January:

“We settled in our winter quarters at the commencement of the new year and went on in our old Continental Line of starving and freezing. We now and then got a little bad bread and salt beef (I believe chiefly horse-beef for it was generally thought to be such at the time). The month of January was very stormy, a good deal of snow fell, and in such weather it was mere chance if we got anything at all to eat.”

Report out of the New Hampshire division (main camp, present day Putnam Park), Dec. 22, 1778:

“a severe snow storm…'”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 25, 1778:

“Christmas Day. The Weather is so cold we take but little notice of the day…'”

Report out of the New Hampshire division, Dec. 26, 1778:

” we have a very severe snow storm…”

Tim: “I thought General Putnam gave strict orders against stealing.” Sam: “Oh he did, and knowing General Putnam he’ll hang any soldier he catches stealing. He’s tough as nails but he’s honest.”

General Putnam was more concerned with deserters and spies while he was in Redding. Nothing had so much annoyed Putnam and his officers during the campaign of the preceding summer on the Hudson than the desertions which had thinned his ranks, and the Tory spies, who frequented his camps, under every variety of pretext, and forthwith conveyed the information thus gathered on the enemy.

To put a stop to this it had been determined that the next offender of either sort (deserter or spy) captured should suffer death as an example.

Sam: “The other day some of the men were actually talking mutiny.”

The troops went into winter quarters at Redding in no pleasant humor, and almost in the spirit of insubordination. This was particularly the case with the Connecticut troops. They had endured privations that many men would have sunk under: the horrors of battle, the weariness of the march, cold, hunger, and nakedness. What was worse, they had been paid in the depreciated currency of the times, which had scarcely any purchasing power, and their families at home were reduced to the lowest extremity of want and wretchedness.

The forced inactivity of the camp gave them time to brood over their wrongs, until at length they formed the bold resolve of marching to Hartford, and airing their grievances in person to the Legislature then sitting. The two brigades were plotting their escape when the threat of troop desertion was brought to Putnam’s attention. He, with his usual intrepidity and decision of character, threw himself upon his horse and dashed down the road leading to his camps, never slacking rein until he drew up in the presence of the disaffected troops.

“My brave lads,” he cried, “whither are you going? Do you intend to desert your officers, and invite the enemy to follow you into the country? Whose cause have you been fighting and suffering so long in-is it not your own? Have you no property, no parents, wives, children? You have behaved like men so far-all the world is full of your praises, and posterity will stand astonished at your deeds; but not if you spoil it all at last. Don’t you consider how much the country is distressed by the war, and that your officers have not been any better paid than yourselves? But we all expect better times, and that the country will do us ample justice. Let us all stand by one another then, and fight it out like brave soldiers. Think what a shame it would be for Connecticut men to run away from their officers.”

When he had finished this stirring speech, he directed the acting major of brigades to give the word for them to march to their regimental parades, and lodge arms, which was done; one soldier only, a ringleader in the affair, was confined to the guard house, from which he attempted to escape, but was shot dead by the sentinel on duty- himself one of the mutineers. Thus ended the affair. Private Joseph P. Martin related two more uprisings that occurred in January, both thwarted by regimental officers, in his camp journal, indicating discontent among the troops still lingered.

New My Brother Sam is Dead Google Map has been updated with photos.

View towns, places, people, and events relating to the historical fiction novel, My Brother Sam is Dead.

To learn more about My Brother Sam is Dead, visit my online resources that cover the storyline and topics in the novel.

Redding Ridge

Park across the street from the Christ Church and explore where most of the book takes place.

Redding Ridge looking North

Redding Ridge looking North


Off I-95: take Exit 17. Take Route 136 north for 9 miles, at the intersection of Route 136 and Route 58; take Route 58 north to Redding Ridge. At the four-way stop make a left and park on the right side of the road.

Off the Merritt Parkway: take Exit 42. Take Route 136 north for 5.2 miles, at the intersection of Route 136 and Route 58; take Route 58 north to Redding Ridge. At the four-way stop make a left and park on the right side of the road.

From the West: off I-84, take Exit 5. Take Route 53 south for 3.4 miles, at Route 53 and Route 302 follow Route 302 east for 1.6 miles. At the intersection of Route 58 and Route 302, follow Route 58 southeast to Redding Ridge. At the four-way stop make a right and park on the right side of the road.

How Redding Ridge relates to My Brother Sam is Dead:

This is where the Meeker’s lived. Be sure to explore the Christ Church cemetery, you’ll be amazed at how many characters from the book are buried here. Across the street from the Church looking North are the fields Tim runs across when he attempts to steal back his Father’s Brown Bess from Sam. In front of the Church (Mr. Beach’s church) is a stone memorial that pays respect to the men and children captured during the 1777 Danbury Raid.

Google Map of My Brother Sam is Dead locations

Putnam Memorial State Park

Hours- Sunrise to Sunset. Putnam Memorial State Park, 492 Black Rock Turnpike, Redding, CT 06896


Off I-95: take Exit 17. Take Route 136 north for 9 miles, at the intersection of Route 136 and Route 58; take Route 58 north drive 8.8 miles. Putnam Memorial is at the intersection of Route 107 and Route 58.

Off the Merritt Parkway: take Exit 42. Take Route 136 north for 5.2 miles, at the intersection of Route 136 and Route 58; take Route 58 north drive 8.8 miles. Putnam Memorial is at the intersection of Route 107 and Route 58.

From the West: off I-84, take Exit 5. Take Route 53 south for 3.4 miles, at Route 53 and Route 302 follow Route 302 east for 1.6 miles. At the intersection of Route 58 and Route 302, follow Route 58 south for 2.8 miles. Putnam Memorial is at the intersection of Route 58 and Route 107.

How Putnam Park relates to My Brother Sam is Dead:

This is where Sam Meeker was encamped during the winter of 1778-79. This is the same camp Tim describes when he attempts to free Sam from the stockade.

Tim narrating: “I began to slip down the steep hillside from stump to boulder…I stopped and I stared. I couldn’t see anybody moving around…I glanced at the guard…he didn’t move for several moments…and I suddenly realized that he was asleep. I took the bayonet out of my belt and clutched it tight in my hand. If Sam could killed people, so could I…I stood up and charged…the guard stirred. I drove my feet faster…”Halt.” He shouted. He swept the musket up, the bayonet pointing straight at me, twenty feet away…”Sam” I shouted, and “Sam” again as loud as I could. The guard lunged at me. I lifted the bayonet and threw it in the air. It flashed in the moonlight, spinning lazily over and over and fell into the stockade. Then I turned and began racing as fast as I could across the snow for the safety of the boulders on the hillside. I had gone only three paces when the musket went off with a terrific roar…I dashed onto the slope, and then began staggering upward, zigzagging from boulder to boulder to keep protection at my back. Behind me there was shouting and running and the sound of a horse being wheeled around…I reached the trees at the top of the ridge and flung myself flat. They’d never get me now…I rolled over and looked down…I stared into the stockade. There was no action there, no people moving at all. Lying in the center of that square of snow, something shiny glistened in the moonlight. And I knew it had all been a waste. The prisoners weren’t in the stockade anymore.”

Google Map of My Brother Sam is Dead locations

Keeler Tavern Museum

Keeler Tavern Sign

Keeler Tavern Sign

February – December: Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday 1 pm to 4 pm. Each tour is approximately 45 minutes and is lead by guides in period costumes. The last tour begins at 3:30 pm. (The Museum is closed New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.) Admission charge- Adults $5.00 Seniors and Students $3.00 Children under 12 $2.00, Members Free.

132 Main Street Ridgefield, Connecticut 06877


From I-84 East or West: Take Exit #3 to Rte. 7 south to Rte #35. Bear right onto Rte #35 through the Town of Ridgefield. Continue south on Rte 35 past Rte #102 almost to the Cass Gilbert water fountain landmark. Keeler Tavern Museum is on the left just before reaching the fountain.

From New Jersey: Across the Tappan Zee Bridge to the Saw Mill Parkway north. Follow Saw Mill Parkway to the end, bearing right to exit at Katonah/Cross River. Turn right on to Route 35 east. Travel 12 miles, to the stop sign at the Cass Gilbert water fountain landmark. Turn left, still on Route 35. The Museum is across from the fountain on the right.

From New York City:

West Side: Take the West Side Highway north to the Henry Hudson Parkway (north) to the Saw Mill Parkway (north.) Follow the Saw Mill Parkway to the end bearing right to exit at Katonah/Cross River. Turn right on to Route 35 going east. Travel 12 miles to the stop sign at the Cass Gilbert water fountain landmark. Turn left, still on Route 35. The Museum is across from the fountain on the right.

East Side: FDR north to 87 north (Major Deegan Expressway) to the New York State Thruway to 287 east to White Plains (do not get on the Tappan Zee Bridge.) Take 684 (north) to exit 6 (Cross River/Katonah). Take a right turn onto on Route 35 east. Travel 12 miles to the stop sign at the Cass Gilbert water fountain landmark. Turn left, still on Route 35. The Museum is across from the fountain on the right. Or: FDR to Third Ave Bridge to Bruckner Expressway to route 95 east to 287 west (to White Plains) to 684 (as above).

How Keeler Tavern relates to My Brother Sam is Dead:

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Keeler Tavern Museum has been a farmhouse, tavern, stagecoach stop, post office, hotel for travelers and a private residence. The Meeker Family Tavern was very similar and thus Keeler Tavern gives a glimpse at the way Tim, Sam, Life and Suzanne lived and worked.

Google Map of My Brother Sam is Dead locations

Putnam’s Cottage / Knapp’s Tavern Museum

Cottage Tours by Appointment Only During January, February & March. In Season: Open Sundays from 1:00-4:00 p.m. and by Appointment Call for group tour information. 203-869-9697

243 East Putnam Avenue (U.S. Route 1) Greenwich, CT 06830


From the Merritt Parkway Take Exit 31 (North Street). Go south 4.2 miles on North Street to end at Maple Avenue intersection. Turn left onto Maple and go .3 miles to traffic light at East Putnam Avenue. Turn left onto East Putnam Avenue and go .2 miles. Cottage will be on your left.

From the Connecticut Turnpike (I-95) Take Exit 4 (Indian Field Road). Go north .7 miles on Indian Field Road, to traffic light at East Putnam Avenue (U.S. Route 1). Turn left and go west .7 miles (through 3 traffic lights) on East putnam. The Cottage will be on your right, just beyond the YWCA.

How Knapp’s Tavern relates to My Brother Sam is Dead:

The original house was probably built for the family of Timothy Knapp in the first quarter of the 1700s. He and his wife, Martha Weeks, shared it with their son Isaac Knapp, Sr. and his family, including his first two children. Later in the century it was used as a tavern and the meeting place for the local Freemasons.

It is intimately connected to the Revolutionary war, having housed General Putnam and hosted General Washington for lunch. The house has long been associated with General Israel Putnam and his heroic escape from the British during the Revolutionary War. General Putnam was Sam Meeker’s General in the novel.

Google Map of My Brother Sam is Dead locations

Compo Beach

There is a daily fee for non-residents, contact the town’s Park and Recreation Department at 203-341-5090 for fee schedule.

Compo Beach Road Westport, Connecticut

From the East: Take I-95 South to exit 18 to Sherwood Island State Park and continue 0.16 miles. Take the ramp to US-1/Westport and continue 0.09 miles. Take Sherwood Island Connector/Route 476 North and continue 0.19 miles. Turn left onto Greens Farms Road and continue 1.65 miles. Turn left onto Compo Road South and continue 0.88 miles. Turn slight right onto Compo Beach Road.

From the West: Take I-95 North. Take the Route 136 exit 17 to Route 33/Westport/Saugatuck and continue 0.27 miles. Turn slight left onto Saugatuck Avenue/Route 136. Continue to follow Route 136 for 0.37 miles. Turn right onto Bridge Street/Route 136 and continue 0.50 miles. Turn right onto Compo Road South for 0.88 miles. Turn slight right onto Compo Beach Road.

How Compo Beach relates to My Brother Sam is Dead:

The British landed on this beach in 1777. From here they marched north through Redding where they halted for several hours before their attack on Danbury Connecticut’s military depot. Tim describes their visit in the novel:

Tim narrating: “I began hearing from a long way away a heavy muttering noise. It sounded a bit like thunder, but not exactly. It made me uneasy. I jammed the spade in the ground and went out front of the tavern to have a look up and down the road. The sound seemed to be coming from the southwest over behind the church somewhere…And then I saw Ned, Samuel Smith’s Negro, come running up the road.

At the same moment Captain Betts, popped out of his house next door. Captain Betts was in the Rebel militia. “What is it, Ned” he shouted. “British Troops, Captain,” Ned shouted. He ran on by.”

“The noise grew louder. I watched, and all at once through the hedgerows I caught a glimpse of movement and things flashing. In a moment the vanguard appeared around the bend…On down the road toward me they came. It was a frightening thing to see. They just kept coming on and on as if nothing in the world could stop them.”

Google Map of My Brother Sam is Dead locations

Next Page »